Stroke Rehabilitation Treatment Options

Stroke rehabilitation strives to help individuals who have suffered a stroke relearn verbal and daily living skills. The extent of rehabilitation depends on many factors such as the extent of damage to the brain, the knowledge of the rehabilitation team, the amount of support from family members and how soon recovery training has started.

According to MayoClinic, stroke rehabilitation should consist of a team of rehabilitation members from a variety of specialties such as physicians, nurses, speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers, psychologists, therapeutic recreation workers and voluntary counselors. Physicians and nurseries that treat stroke patients specialize in neurology and rehabilitation. Speech therapists help those who have had a stroke regain communication skills. Occupational therapists can help individuals regain skills that make them fully functional in society. Physical therapists help people regain mobility. Social workers and psychologists can deal with social and emotional issues that affect stroke patients. Vocational counselors can help individuals regain skills to reenter the work after they have suffered a stroke. Therapeutic recreational therapists help individuals relearn hobbies that they were participants in before having a stroke.

WebMD states that stroke rehabilitation should occur while the patient is still in the hospital. The sooner the strike victim starts recovery the better. The best chance for patients to rehabilitate occurs within the first couple of months after a stroke has occurred. Most hospitals will offer five or six therapeutic sessions a week which lasts for approximately three hours. The length of a recovery program depends on the amount of damage the individual endured as a result of the stroke. Often it is a lifelong process although the majority of rehabilitation will occur during the first few weeks that follow a stroke.

Problems seen in stroke sufferers rely heavily on which side of the brain was affected during a stroke and the amount of damage caused by it. Often there are problems with body movements. Individuals suffering from a stroke may not be able to turn toward the side. They may also have trouble walking or getting up from a chair. They may need others to help them with daily living skills such as brushing their teeth, eating with utensils, drinking from a cup or picking up objects. Language and thinking is also frequently impaired in stroke sufferers. Emotional problems are often seen in these individuals due to fears, sadness or anger.

Stroke rehabilitation can help individuals who have suffered a stroke regain daily living skills and help them with emotional and physical problems. Progress takes time and patience in stroke sufferers.

Top Reasons to Consider Acupuncture for Glaucoma Treatment

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

What Causes Glaucoma?

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

Who is at Risk?

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

Treatment Options for Glaucoma

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

Positive Effects of Acupuncture

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

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

Glaucoma Prevention is Possible – With Antioxidant Nutrition

Although not widely promoted, age-related eye diseases such as glaucoma have been rising, along with all the other degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis and Alzheimer's. Four million Americans now suffer from glaucoma, the leading cause of blindness in the United States. Approximately 120,000 of these people have actually gone blind from glaucoma. Ten percent of the population in America between the ages of 66 and 74 have macular degeneration, thirty percent of the population from 75-85 years old.

What makes these numbers so astonishing is that these are diseases that do not have to occur at all if people were getting enough antioxidants in their diet. Studies suggest that diets rich in antioxidants may help reduce your risk of developing age-related diseases like glaucoma.

Foods for Protecting Your Eyesight

For basic prevention of degenerative eye problems, antioxidants called carotenoids are the most important ones to consider. Carotenoids are found in fruits and vegetables that are red, orange, and deep yellow in color, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, tomatoes, corn, and peppers, among others. Dark-green leafy vegetables are some other good sources. The highest concentration of lutein and zeaxanthin is found in egg yolks, another reason not to avoid this incredibly nutritious food.

Dark green vegetables are other good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin. Think of kale, spinach, turnip greens, collard greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, garden peas and brussels sprouts, corn, kiwi and honeydew.

If you eat a lot of foods from this list on a daily basis, you are probably giving your eyes all the antioxidants that they need for glaucoma prevention. However, I suspect that this includes a very small percentage of the population. How about you?

When Should You Supplement Your Diet with Carotenoids?

If you're not keen on these foods, or you have some already-developed symptoms of degenerative eye disease, you might want to consider nutritional supplements specifically designed for eye nutrition. A single capsule of one of these can provide you with 25,000 International Units of mixed carotenes, an amount large enough to get powerful antioxidant protection from cancer and heart disease, as well as eye problems. In order to get that much from your diet, though, you've got to eat these depths of any one of the following:

  • 3 medium-sized cooked carrots, or
  • 3 cups of collard greens
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 9 cups of cantaloupe
  • 6 cups of red peppers

You can see why taking carotene supplements can be so powerful!

What are the best Carotenoid Supplements for Glaucoma Prevention?

Mixed-Carotene Supplements Look for natural, mixed carotenes combined into one capsule. The carotene content of these supplements is usually listed in international units (IU). Look for products made from an algae called Dunaliella salina, in amounts of from 10,000IU to 25,000IU of beta carotene. These mixed carotene supplements will typically include the carotenoids alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and cryptoxanthin. You'll need at least that much to get the full antioxidant benefits from the carotenoids.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids found in the retina and lens of the eye. When combined with vitamin C and vitamin E, they protect your eyes from free radical damage and improve your vision by filtering out potentially-dangerous ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

Bilberry

For more protection, or for treating specific eye problems, you could also take one of the combinations that combine lutein and zeaxanthin with bilberry. These supplements usually contain 10 to 20mg. of lutein and about 1mg. of zeaxanthin. That would be the equivalent of eating about 3 cups of cooked spinach or a dozen-and-a-half eggs. The typical dose for bilberry is usually between 40mg. for preventive measures and 160mg. per day as a therapeutic dose.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is an herbal supplement that has also been shown to be extremely beneficial for eye health. This herb increases blood flow in the capillary network and repairs oxidative stress damage to the capillary walls and retina. Ginkgo is certainly a valuable part of a glaucoma prevention program, as well as for cataracts and macular degeneration.

Astaxanthin

Another relatively new discovery for eye problems is the carotenoid astaxanthin, extracted from microalgae. Astaxanthin is one of the most powerful antioxidants that we know of. It is one of the few antioxidants that can cross the blood-retinal barrier and bring protection to the eyes. It is said to be more beneficial for the eyes in some ways than lutein. It also works all through the body – organs and skin, and in every part of the cell.

Eyesight Combination Products

Some product-makers create antioxidant combinations specifically formulated for eyesight. These will include any number of nutrients beneficial for the eyes, including some of the ones mentioned above. What you pay for with the convenience of just one combination capsule is that the dosages of each will be somewhat lower than if they were separate supplements.

Do not Drop Out the Veggies Altogether!

Remember that carotenoid supplements will not have all of the phytonutrients that are present in the foods themselves, so do not drop out the veggies altogether! Diet is a key part of any glaucoma prevention program.

Gadgets and Health

We all love our gadgets but do our gadgets love us? The news is full of reports about the links between health and gadgets. Parents are equipping their children with cell phones at youngger ages, and new laws are in place to make driving with cell phones safer. We thought we'd take a look at the current state of health and gadgets and came up with this assessment.

Cell Phones

Microwave radiation, thermal radiation, electro-magnetic fields, repetitive stress, and even psychological harm; the list of potential threats goes on and on. There is a lot of science being applied to studying the effects of gadgets on our health. At the same time there are also a lot of myths in circulation.

History is full of examples where health hazards like asbestos, cigarettes, and lead in paint went unrecognized or even intentionally suppressed. Many recent studies show no harmful effects from cell phone use however, some long terms studies have turned up disconcerting findings. And there are always that group of neurosurgeons who will not hold their phones next to their ears.

In either case there is enough doubt to warrant some caution. According to one recent report from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, "Studies in humans do not indicate that cell phones are safe, nor do they yet clearly show that they are dangerous. But, growing evidence indicates that we should reduce exposures, while research continues on this important question. "

Real or perceived, cell phones represent potential threats for a number of reasons including:

Microwave Electromagnetic Radiation

A typical GSM cell phone can generate up to 2 watts of power at microwave frequencies. SAR (Specific Absorption Rates) values ​​indicate how much radiation is absorbed by the body and is limited by government standards. Despite the fact that cell phone radiation is characterized as non-ionizing or too weak to damage genes, concern remains for thermal effects and blood-brain barrier leakage. Younger cell phone users could have been more vulnerable to adverse effects.

A 2007 Israeli study recently linked microwave radiation from frequent cell phone use (22 hours a month) to an increased risk of salivary gland cancer. The report, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology also notes that risk was higher in rural areas where cell phones transmit at higher levels to compensate for weaker signals.

Thumbs Down for Texting to Prevent RSI

One saving grace for young people using cell phones is that they typically spend more time texting than talking. The only problem is that thumbs, having evolved for gripping things, are not so well adapted for poking things and as a result many cell phone users are suffering from RSI (repetitive stress injury). Recent reports recommend texting with two thumbs at a time.

Cell Phone Elbow

From the same orthopedic specialists that greeted you carpal tunnel syndrome, we now have cubital tunnel syndrome. The ulnar nerve runs under the funny bone to your fingers. When this nerve gets stretched by cell phone users holding a phone up to their ear for long periods, it can become weakened. Blood supply to the nerve can also be affected. The result is pain.

Car Accidents

If it's not one thing like microwave radiation, it could be another thing like being distracted while driving and crashing your car. Many statistics now point to dramatic increases in traffic accidents from talking or texting while driving. Almost hands free devices do not help much.

Minimize Risks

  1. Talk and listen from a distance when possible; use the speaker phone or use hands-free devices (Bluetooth is good, wired headsets are best)
  2. Avoid "second hand," radiation; keep your distance from someone talking on their phone.
  3. Be aware of the radiation coming from your own cell phone and do not use it in close proxies to a child.
  4. Cell phones communicate to the carrier even when you're not using your phone. Put your phone on the desk when in the office, carry it in your purse, and do not sleep with it under your pillow
  5. In addition to distance, shorter duration of exposure can minimize risks. Be brief, limit your calls and use a landline if possible. Switch answers periodically or use text messages when possible.

Other Gadgets, Other Risks?

Cell phones are just one type of gadget that might represent a health risk. Some other potential harm could come from these:

  • MP3 players at high volume levels can damage your ears and cause hearing loss. MP3 players may interfere with pacemakers and we've heard that you can hurt your thumb from too much iPod "scrolling?"
  • Big flat panel TVs can be dangerous falling objects that have caused serious injuries to children.
  • There is concern that laptops can cause fertility problems in men from the heat t laptops generate on the lap (area).
  • We've seen some reports about laser printers emitting ultrafine particles from the toner that can damage your lungs and there are also ozone emissions from laser printers.

No Cause for Alarm

After all is said and done, are we going to stop using our cell phones – probably not. With a little caution especially for kids and cell phones and a little common sense about using gadgets, we do not see any reason not to go out and buy that new flat panel TV, smart phone, camcorder, or new laptop. In fact, Retrevo is just the place to learn what to buy, when to buy it, and where to get the best deal.

Psoriasis Can Impact the Erect Penis

Psoriasis is one of the more well-known skin disorders, and it can cause discomfort for many who suffer from it. It also can be something of a penis health concern as, surprisingly, many men with psoriasis also suffer from erect penis issues.

What is psoriasis?

The National Psoriasis Foundation defines psoriasis as “an immune-mediated disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin.” It most often presents on the knees, elbows or scalp, but it can occur anywhere on the body (including the penis). The rash is often itchy and in some cases it can also sting and crate a burning sensation.

The exact cause of psoriasis is not known, although it appears to have a genetic connection that somehow affects the immune system. People with psoriasis grow skin cells at a much faster rate than is typical, which is what brings about the scaly skin rashes.

Study

A recent article published in JAMA Dermatology looked at 28 previously published studies. Entitled “Association Between Psoriasis and Sexual and Erectile Dysfunction in Epidemiologic Studies,” the article sought to examine evidence for any links between psoriasis and sexual health.

The 28 studies reviewed involved more than 52,000 people with psoriasis. (It also compared them to more than 1,800,000 people without psoriasis, so that they had a large control group.)

After completing the study, the authors determined that men with psoriasis may be up to four times as likely to have erect penis issues than men who do not suffer from psoriasis.

Not the disease itself

The study did not seem to indicate that the disease itself caused the erectile dysfunction; it was more that having the disease created situations in which an erect penis issue was more likely to occur. For example, the study found that many men with psoriasis exhibited signs of increased anxiety and depression, and that it was these factors which were ultimately more responsible for the erectile dysfunction.

In some cases, the presence of psoriasis on the penis and/or balls could also be likely to increase erectile issues. Again, this seems to be less a result of the disease itself and more a result of the feelings that it arouses in the victim.

Because the disease has an impact beyond the visible presence on the skin, the study authors suggest that doctors need to take this into consideration when treating psoriasis. For example, in addition to prescribing medications designed to treat the skin eruption, a doctor may want to try to ascertain if anxiety or depression is being fueled by the disease. If so, they may suggest a visit to a mental health professional or, if they are qualified, suggest strategies for dealing with these emotional issues.

The age of the individual was also seen as a factor; often men experience more erect penis challenges as they approach their older years.

Men with psoriasis who also experience erectile issues should discuss this with their doctors and seek assistance in resolving this issue.

Even with no erect penis issues, psoriasis on the penis can cause discomfort to a man. Maintaining expert penis health may help, so men should regularly apply a top notch penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin). Achieving proper skin moisturization is crucial, so the chosen crème should include both a high end emollient (such as shea butter) and a natural hydrator (such as vitamin E). Additional vitamins, such as C and D, can also help to benefit delicate penis skin. Finally, if the crème also contains alpha lipoic acid, so much the better. This potent antioxidant fights excess free radicals and thereby reins in potential oxidative stress.

Health Benefits of Filberts

Filberts are more commonly known as hazelnuts, however filberts are a slightly larger than hazelnuts. There are over 100 varieties of these nuts grown world-wide including United States and Canada. Filberts are used to flavor foods such as ice cream, chocolate, tea and coffee. But did you know that these nuts have a lot of health benefits to offer you?

Filberts are a good source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, vitamins E, B1, B2 and B6, folate, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, protein and dietary fiber.

Here are some of the benefits that you can obtain by adding them to your diet.

Healthy Heart

Filberts can help you to lower your cholesterol levels, and thereby prevent high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart disease and stroke. Filberts can also help to relax your blood vessels to increase the blood flow. This makes it easier on your heart.

Prevent Cancer

Filberts are a good source of folate which can help you to prevent cancer.

Mental Health

Filberts contain B vitamins which are essential for a healthy mind, especially during early childhood. In addition, the folate can help to protect your mind against depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

Birth Defects

They can also help to protect your baby from neural tube defects which are birth defects of the brain and spinal chord.

Absorb Nutrients

Adding filberts in with your salads or green smoothies can help you to better absorb fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K. This is due to the healthy fats in filberts which help to carry those vitamins around the body so that they can be absorbed.

Anti-Aging

The antioxidants in filberts will help you to remove harmful free radical from your body, so that you can prevent premature aging. Studies show that free radicals are the major cause of aging, and thus if you eliminate them you can prevent wrinkles and age related diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and arthritis.

How to Eat Them

The best way to obtain all the health benefits is to simply eat them raw, fresh out of the shell. You can purchase them out of the shell, but they are more likely to rancid, as the shell helps to preserve their freshness. Therefore if you buy them while they are still in the shell you can take them out of the shell as you eat them.

You can also toast them and add them to your salads, deserts, or add them raw to your smoothies. You can also make a butter out of them and use it as a spread for your wraps and sandwiches.

My Penis Is So Big, Whenever I Get An Erection I Pass Out!

Have you ever heard that joke before? You know, the one where guys are sitting around, bragging about how “big” they are, and one guy states that, “I’m so big that I pass out whenever I get an erection!”

Of course, that makes us all laugh, as we know we’re just having a bit of fun. Guys like to make jokes like this. I remember hearing about this joke when I was younger, but I didn’t really understand what it meant. Really, how could a man pass out from just his member going from the soft phase to the hard phase?

The answer to that is also the answer to how the penile-growth system works for us. I thought I’d bring this up to help men understand what all is going on with their sexual system. And understanding this will also help men get the best results from their enhancement program. This is because we start to become educated on all that is going on with our private parts.

A man’s fishing rod is a pretty neat device. It’s neat because it doesn’t have a bone. That’s right. Most other animals have a bone that is hiding up inside of them. When they get stimulated, this little bone moves out from inside of him and slides into his willy. This is what makes his pole erect and ready for fishing.

But men don’t have this bone. This means we need some other way to stand up-right, tall, and proud. This is done by your heart and blood system. It’s really simple. A man gets aroused and all this blood starts getting pumped into his member. The gates close off and this traps the blood inside of his member. As more fluid gets pumped in, the harder and bigger his fishing pole becomes. This allows him the ability to penetrate the vagina. After the man has his orgasm, then this liquid stops getting pumped in, the gates open up, and he becomes flaccid again.

What this means in relation to our joke, is that it is blood that gives a man an erection. If we go back to the joke, now we can understand what it is saying. The guy is saying that his fishing pole is so huge (and can hold so much blood), that if he does get aroused, all the serum in his body will be channeled into his tackle. When this happens, he will become unconscious, because of the lack of this fluid to his brain.

Anyway, that’s what that tale is about. When we can grasp this concept it tells us a lot about penis enlargement. Meaning that you want to have a way to get more of that liquid into your tackle, and that you want to find a way to help your tackle hold more of this red liquid. Once we understand this, then we can go about doing exercises to accomplish this goal.

Penile enhancement isn’t rocket science at all. It’s actually really simple.

A book on penile exercising that helped me and stands a good chance of helping you, too, is Iron Man Penis.

Billy “Blackjack” Carson

Glaucoma and Eye Symptoms Caused by Prescriptions For Depression – When to Call Your Optometrist

Serotonin re uptake inhibitors are as common as aspirin today (and probably much safer). There category as selective serotonin re uptake inhibitors is a long winded way of saying it makes the molecule serotonin stay around longer and act on you brain instead of being recycled. This allows a prolonged action of serotonin, one of the feel good molecules used to treat depression and a variety of other conditions. The eye has numerous receptor sites where serotonin acts, though they are not well understood at this time. A number of other prescription drugs also fall in this category.

One thing they share in common is a tendency to mildly dilate the pupils. This is rarely a problem, but if you have been told you have "Narrow Angles" or are susceptible to angle closure glaucoma it can be a concern. Farsighted patients have smaller drainage angles for the fluid inside the eye to escape back into the general circulation. With age, the lens inside the eye grows and moves forward, further restricting the drainage channels. When you enter into a dark room or movie theater the pupil naturally dilates also. When diluted, the colored tissue known as the iris bunches up it's outside edges. This thickens right at the location where the fluid is supposed to drain out. In a normal eye there is plenty of extra space to compensate for this but eyes with narrow angles start to be blocked by the bunched up iris tissue. Occasionally, the drain can be completely blocked and since fluid is being produced in the eye the pressure skyrockets up.

Usually these results in an acute attack of a very painful, blurry red eye with nausea and headaches. Drugs like Prozac in a rare handy cases have been known to push this process over the edge and precipitate angle closure glaucoma attacks. While very illegally, if you have narrow angles you should be aware of this, since this form of glaucoma is curable with early treatment.

The other possibility from this category of drugs is a transient rise in eye pressure for several weeks (although some cases report drops in pressure). If you have just started Prozac or a similar drug and your eye pressure readings are a little high, discuss this with your optometrist and have the pressures retested in 2-3 weeks. There is usually a return to normal if it is a mild medication induced increase. A retest in a few weeks could save you money on unnecessary treatment and testing.

One of the anti convulse-ant drugs used to treat epilepsy, migraines and depression has also been documented to cause angle closure glaucoma in a small number of patients. This tend to occur in the first few months and there are not necessarily predisposing factors. If you start having eye symptoms shortly after starting one of these medications notify your doctors immediately. Finally, be happy that we have treatments that have such better safety profiles than the prior generation.

Essential Oils – Healing Broken Bones is Not That Hard With the Right Healing Oils

Recently I slipped on ice and broke my arm. Luckily the bones were not displaced-a simple fracture of the head of the radius bone as shown on x-ray. What is significant is that the pain was greatly lessened by applying certain essential oils that are anti-inflammatory and pain relieving. Can essential oils help the healing process? In my case, absolutely! When bones are fractured, there may be swelling, internal bleeding into the area, nerve and even tendon damage. Applying ice and in my case splinting my arm to immobilize it greatly decreased the pain. Here are the essential oils that I used to get back full use of my arm in half the time someone of my age would take.

Helichrysum italicum also called Everlasting, was the first oil I used for pain and swelling. This is an outstanding oil that has several great medical properties. It is known as an anticoagulant, anesthetic, antispasmodic, antiviral, a liver protectant, detoxifier and stimulant, chelates chemicals and toxins, and helps to regenerate nerves.

Next I applied lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) for its anti-inflammatory action and its ability to regenerate connective tissues and ligaments. Lemongrass also dilates blood vessels, improves circulation, and promotes lymph flow. Lemongrass can be a little warm to the skin because of its high aldehyde content, so the third oil I chose was high in monoterpenes which served to quench the warmth.

Idaho balsam fir (Abies balsamae) is 98% monoterpenes making it an outstanding anti-inflammatory oil. It also has anticoagulant properties and is known as a great oil for arthritis/rheumatism, lumbago and sciatica. Plus the smell of balsam fir is that of Christmas trees-very refreshing and an improvement over the heavy lemongrass fragrance and “weed” smell of helichrysum.

The fourth oil I used was a blend called Trauma Life. It is a blend of valerian, lavender, frankincense, sandalwood, rose, helichrysum, spruce, geranium, davana and citrus hystrix. This particular blend helps to release buried emotional trauma from, in my case, the accident, but it also helps release emotional trauma from the death of loved ones, assault or abuse. It combats stress and uproots traumas that cause insomnia, anger, restlessness, and a weakened immune response. The valerian component of this oil certainly helped me to rest better since getting my arm in a comfortable position was a bit of a feat.

Many other essential oils have been found to be helpful in bone healing including wintergreen, peppermint, spruce, pine, ginger and vetiver. The key is finding out which oils are going to be most helpful for you. I found a formula that worked for me.

But I Can See Just Fine – Things No One Told Me About Diabetic Eye Disease

Living with diabetes, I’ve been told many times that I need a retinal eye exam every year. I’m told this by my health insurance, by my doctors, by every diabetes awareness council out there. Now, I’m spreading the message, but with a difference.

None of these sources ever told me WHY I needed a retinal eye exam. I found them to be quite an ordeal and never kept up with them. Now I am paying the price.

Things I’ve learned about 2 1/2 years ago:

  • I was legally blind.*
  • There is such a thing as an eyeball injection.
  • No matter what Ophthalmologist tells you, eyeball injections feel exactly the way you imagine they feel.
  • By the time you notice symptoms of diabetic eye problems, you’re already at the point where you probably need said injection and maybe even surgery (and not the laser kind… the scalpel kind).

*”Was” is the operative word there. Fortunately, in my case, much of the damage was still reversible.

About ten years or so ago, I was having some vision problems and figured it was time to go in and get a new pair of glasses. I had been prescribed lenses in the past for my astigmatism, but they were not very strong and I almost never wore them. I figured that the years had worsened the problem and maybe it was time to give in and get a new pair. I had excellent vision benefits at my job, so there was no reason to put it off any longer.

Through the refractive examination (that’s where they put different lenses in front of you and you tell them which is better) we reached a point where there was improvement, but they couldn’t get me to 20/20. That’s when they gave me my first retinal exam, and problems were found.

I was diagnosed with Diabetic Retinopathy. This occurs when blood vessels in the retina are damaged as a result of diabetes. These damaged blood vessels are no long able to adequately nourish the retina, so your body responds by growing new blood vessels. However, it doesn’t do a very good job of it, and these new blood vessels are prone to leakage.

I was treated with a laser to seal off those blood vessels and was warned that I needed to keep my blood sugar and blood pressure under control to avoid further complications. My vision at this point did suffer some permanent damage. There were small areas in my field of vision that just didn’t work anymore. I didn’t notice until I began looking for it that my brain was filling in these gaps subconsciously. I found that if I looked at printed text with one eye closed, it became more apparent. I could see places where the text would warp to fill in one of the holes.

The exam itself was unpleasant, but the treatment was a nightmare. The exam involved shining a bright light in my eye to illuminate my retina while the doctor looked into my dilated pupils while the doctor used a magnifying lens to look examine the retinal surface. The treatment involved a device to hold my eye open, while a lens was pressed against my eye to flatten the cornea while lasers were shot at the blood vessels. Those appeared as even more super bright lights, and I could feel a burning sensation inside my eye. I was glad when that was finally over.

The following year, the memory of my last visit still very fresh in my mind, I was hesitant to go back for another checkup. I ended up not going. After all, my vision hadn’t changed any, so I didn’t think there was any need to go back.

The following year, I found a similar excuse. The year after that, well, I just didn’t bother. Nor did I bother the following year, nor the one after that… This was a mistake.

Fast forward a bit. At least, that’s what it feels like. The years go by so quickly now. I found myself noticing what I thought was shoddy workmanship on the bathroom tile. The grout was all crooked and it made the tiles look like the edges were indented. After a few weeks, I realized it wasn’t the tile at all. It was my eyes. I didn’t have any medical insurance by then, so rather than make an appointment, I put it on my list of things to get checked out once I had insurance again. Another mistake.

Months pass. I got new insurance through my new job. I began noticing my vision is noticeably worse than it had been in the past. However, it was November, I had just moved, the holiday season was beginning, there was surely no time to be making doctor appointments. I’m just making all kinds of mistakes here.

About a month into the new year, 2013, I found an ophthalmologist that accepted my insurance and scheduled an appointment. I had my appointment on a Friday afternoon. After a few standard tests, the ophthalmologist took pictures of my retina. After looking them over he told me I needed to see a retina specialist right away. And he meant RIGHT AWAY. He didn’t want me to wait until Monday. He made some calls and found someone who could see me that day.

I was immediately sent to a retinal specialist. The news was bad. I had more issues with Diabetic Retinopathy, and also Diabetic Macular Edema. The macula is a small indentation in the back of the eye, in the middle of the retina, near the optic nerve. This area was severely swollen, due to fluid leakage from all of those haphazardly formed blood vessels, leading to further warping of my vision, and also it gives things kind of a washed out look, like if you have your TV set too bright and the contrast too high. It makes it hard to see detail. It had gotten to a point where I could barely read my computer monitor anymore, and driving had become dangerous.

These issues would have been detected with regular eye exams, and they could have been solved before causing damage to my vision. At the time of the diagnosis, my vision was 20/400 in my left eye, and 20/200 in my right (legally blind).

I’ve been undergoing treatment for about two and a half years. Those treatments have included several more lasers, monthly injections of medicine into each eye (which those have come to an end about 3 months ago), and one surgery on my left eye. I may still need surgery on my right eye in the near future.

All in all, the treatments have been an ordeal, but, combined with keeping my blood sugar under better control than ever, they are working. My uncorrected vision right now is 20/50 and 20/40.

I wish I knew ten years ago what I do now. I certainly would have opted to take the inconvenience of an annual exam. Many diabetic eye conditions don’t affect your vision until they are fairly advanced. A retinal eye exam can reveal issues before you become symptomatic.

For more information about Diabetic Eye diseases, their causes, diagnoses and treatment, please contact your eye care specialist. Don’t put it off.

Brain Sarcoidosis – All You Need to Know and Exciting News

Brain sarcoidosis is a complex disease and its treatment in modern medicine is based on dealing with the symptoms, rather then addressing the causes which remain obscure. In sarcoidosis, the immune system is activated to fight a non-existent enemy, hence the name autoimmune.

This is an article that will be looking into the involvement of the Central Nervous System in sarcoidosis or Neurosarcoidosis.

Sarcoidosis may affect any part of our brain. CNS involvement occurs in 2-7% of patients. One of the most common symptoms in those affected by neurosarcoidosis is facial weakness (if the disease affects the nerves of the face). It can also cause distortions in the ways our senses function (hearing, taste …).

One of the worst implications is the involvement of hypothalamus, which regulates our body weight, body temperature and sleep.

Brain sarcoidosis diagnosis

Neurosarcoidosis is the most difficult to diagnose, because of the inaccessibility and the risk of biopsies of CNS lesions. That is why MRI scans are the first choice in health practitioners looking into brain involvement in sarcoidosis.

Brain sarcoidosis manifestations

Common manifestations of brain sarcoidosis include: Meningitis, Seizures, Cerebellar ataxia (loss of coordination), Psychiatric symptoms, Decreased hearing, Speech impairment, Loss of sense of smell, Dementia or delirium, Dizziness or vertigo (abnormal sensation of movement), Papilledema ( optical disc swelling).

Brain Sarcoidosis – Optic nerve

This is the second most commonly hidden cranial nerve in sarcoidosis (after the facial nerve). Optic nerve lesion occurs in 5% of patients with brain sarcoidosis. Visual symptoms of optic nerve involvement include blurred vision, field defects, and pupillary abnormalities. Examination of the optical fundi reveals characteristic sarcoid changes, including edema of the disc, optic neuritis, and optic atrophy secondary to granulomatous infiltration in brain sarcoidosis.

Brain sarcoidosis and the spinal cord

There are no rules to what part of the spinal cord can be involved in sarcoidosis. Clinical signs of spinal cord dysfunction include: paraparesis (weakness of the lower extremitudes), tetraparesis (weakness of all four limbs), back and leg pains, incontinence (inability to control excretory functions).

Korean Movies

North Korea doesn’t have much of a film industry, so this look at Korean movies is strictly limited to those works produced in South Korea. The film industry experienced a major boom in the late 1990s, and this success has carried over into the new millennium. With projects boasting high production values, original and challenging storylines, and plenty of talented and attractive actors, Korean movies have garnered international acclaim with no sign of slowing down.

The following list is intended to be an introduction to the cinema of South Korea. You’ll notice that the oldest film on the list was released in 1998, but that was an intentional choice on my part. I want to get viewers who are unaccustomed to foreign films interested, and I’m guessing that including Korean movies from the ’60s and ’70s isn’t the best way to go about this.

Oldboy (2003) – The second film in director Park Chan-wook’s Vengeance Trilogy, Oldboy tells the story of businessman Oh Dae-Su (Choi Min-sik). Captured and imprisoned in a hotel room for unknown reasons, he’s released after 15 years and tasked with finding the identity of his captor. What follows is a wickedly beautiful tale of revenge and forbidden love. Voters on CNN named it one of the 10 best Asian films ever made, and it’s drawn rave reviews from Quentin Tarantino.

Attack the Gas Station (1999) – A gang of likable thugs rob a gas station at the beginning of the movie, and then they turn right around and rob it again the next night. But this time the manager has stashed the cash, and so the quartet of hooligans kidnap the employees, pump the gas themselves, and keep the money. As they fend off bullies, cops, and deadbeat customers, they become more sympathetic and learn a few things about themselves.

Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000) – The directorial debut of Bong Joon-ho (The Host), this film revolves around an out-of-work college professor who’s driven up the wall by the barking dogs in his apartment complex. Resorting to abuse and kidnapping to silence them, he’s soon pursued by a plucky young employee at the building (Bae Doona). In case you’re wondering, it’s a dark comedy.

Thirst (2009) – Park Chan-wook helms this tale of a priest who gets turned into a vampire due to a failed medical experiment. As he tries to cope with his condition, he falls for the abused wife of an old friend–with rather bloody results.

The Quiet Family (1998) – Combining horror and dark comedy, this Korean film centers around a family who opens a lodge for hikers, but their clients always end up dying. Korean stars Song Kang-ho and Choi Min-sik co-star.

Joint Security Area (2002) – When two soldiers are killed in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, a special investigative unit is dispatched to get to the truth. Quentin Tarantino named it one of his 20 favorite films since 1992.

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005) – The final film in Park Chan-wook’s Vengeance Trilogy, the motion picture follows a mild-mannered woman just released from prison for the murder of a schoolboy. It turns out that she’s innocent, and every day spent in prison was a day she was plotting revenge against the man who was actually guilty of the crime. A delicious tale of revenge and high-heel pumps.

The Host (2006) – An average Korean family is nearly torn apart when their youngest member is captured and drug into the sewers by a mutated amphibious monster. Pooling their talents together, they seek to rescue the girl and destroy the loathsome creature. Directed by Bong Joon-ho, it’s the highest-grossing South Korean film of all time.

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) – The first film in Park Chan-wook’s excellent Vengeance Trilogy, Sympathy takes a look at a deaf-mute man trying to get a kidney transplant for his sister. When things don’t work out, he resorts to kidnapping the young daughter of an executive–with tragic consequences.

Shiri (1999) – The South Korean version of a Hollywood action film, Shiri is about a team of North Korean agents intent on wreaking havoc against their southern neighbors. Their most successful member is a female sniper who’s been active in South Korea as a sleeper agent for years, picking off a number of government officials during that time. An honest cop and his partner must try to unravel the plot and root out the enemy agent, although her true identity may prove troublesome for very different reasons. You’ll recognize Yunjin Kim, better known as Sun from the television series Lost.

If you’re the type of person who avoids subtitles, I’m hoping this brief look at Korean movies may tempt you to give at least one film on the list a try. You’ll find Korean cinema to be a rich blend of foreign culture and modern filmmaking techniques, and they’re currently turning out some of the most entertaining motion pictures on any continent. This is just the tip of the iceberg, however, and a search of online rental sites such as Netflix and Blockbuster will turn up hundreds of other films from the country.

Raising Goats – Goat Care Basics

Raising goats can be expensive and time consuming, but if you know the goat care basics it will make life a lot easier for you and your animals! If you love your goats you will want them to be healthy and happy. There are ways to achieve these goals.

There are hundreds of goat breeds. Before buying, you might want to ask yourself, "What kind of people do I want to raise?" For example, there are milk goats, meat goats, show goats and pet goats. The Alpine and Saanen goats are examples of some great milk producers. Boers can be raised for meat or show. Miniature goats or Nigerian Dwarf goats can be raised for show or as a pet. Fainting guys are great farm fun animals! Raising these animals can be challenging and expensive, so there are lots of facts to consider.

Look at the environment and things surrounding you. Is your environment accommodating for raising goats? These animals like to roam and graze in large pastures, like you would find on many farms. They should never be cramped or contained in small areas. Does your environment have proper structures surrounding it? You sure would not want your goats wandering off, getting lost or pestering your neighbors. Proper structures could include different kinds of fencing and gates.

Goats need some kind of shelter whenever it is a small barn or shed. Although they do well in cold environments they can be very sensitive to excessive heat. Their shelter should be bedded well, clean and draft-free. The floors of their shelter should stay dry since goats can be sentenced to foot rot. Maintaining a good and clean shelter will decrease the spread of bacteria. It will help maintain a healthy animal.

Feeding your goats the proper foods and placing their food appropriately is very important. After all, what good would it do to have the best food for your goats, that you could find, but it was not accessible for them to consume? A mixture of foods is used to feed many goats, but the nutritional needs of your goats may need to be determined by a professional, such as a licensed veterinarian. A professional or local breeder can help you learn the proper amounts of food to give your goats and the proper time (s) to feed them. Water should always be nearby and accessible for these animals.

Maintain the health of your goats with preventive care. Get to know your animals and their daily routines. Notice if there are any changes in their appearance, behavior or temperament. There are many indications that could signify a problem. For example, a dull coat may indicate parasites, refusing to eat, not being alert, or having a droopy tail could all signify problems. These are just a few examples to be aware of regarding the condition of goats, there are many more.

Make sure your dogs stay in healthy condition. Keep up with their immunizations and medical history. Do a close and thorough check of their coat, eyes, feet and bag. Do an overall, periodic, check of their appearance, temperament and behavior. Maintain proper goat care will allow them to live long and happy lives.

Make sure to spend time with your goats. Pet them. Talk to them using a calm voice. Goats do not like to be alone all of the time. They enjoy the companionship of other goats and people too! Raising one goat may not be a good idea. Having companionship will help them stay happy.

Raising goats is well worth the hard work and efforts. They can be enjoyable, interesting and amusing animals. Whatever types of goats you raise, knowing and maintaining basic goat care will make life easier for you and help keep your goats healthy and happy.

What is an Antitoxin?

A toxin is a poison produced in our bodies by germs or bacteria that cause certain kinds of disease. An antitoxin is something that works against this kind of poison. Diphtheria, cholera, scarlet fever and tetanus (lockjaw) are among the diseases caused by toxins produced by germs. Our bodies manufacture sources to fight off these toxins and make them harmless. These substances are called antitoxins. Enough antitoxin is usually manufactured by our bodies when we have a mild case of a disease that is caused by a toxin.

Sometimes there is too much toxin present and our bodies need help. Doctors give this help by injecting antitoxin into us when we need it. The antitoxin comes from the blood of an animal that has been given the disease. The animal is ill for a short time and soon recovers. After recovery the animal's blood contains a large amount of antitoxin. The antitoxins taken from the blood of such an animal are used to help people who have that particular disease. Diphtheria germs are injected into horses. The horses' bodies build up antitoxins to fight off the diphtheria toxin.

The antitoxins in their blood are injected into people who have diphtheria, and also to help people avoid catching diphtheria. A person who has received an injection of antitoxin will rarely catch the disease and be made sick by it. The antitoxin attacks the toxins of the disease as soon as they enter the body and renders them harmless before sickness sets in. The modern medical way of avoiding disease is to use something called toxin-antitoxin. The toxin injected into our bodies in this mixture makes it possible for our bodies to start manufacturing antitoxin. The antitoxin injected in this mixture makes sure that the toxin does not become so strong in our bodies that it will make us sick.

Fighting the Common Cold – My Personal Experience With Over-The-Counter Sambucol

Background

In my line of work as a Medical Librarian in a community hospital, I receive a number of weekly email updates from publications and databases to help keep me informed on topics likely to be of interest to the clientele I serve – our physicians, nurses, hospital staff and general public. A little over a year ago, I received one during the height of the H1N1 or Swine Flu outbreak that was of particular interest to me.

I am unable to get the flu vaccine, due to a previous reaction a few years ago. This is of some concern to me, since I do work in a hospital. (And even if you can get the flu shot, it is not always 100% effective against the year’s current flu strain as it must be produced ahead of time; it’s at best an educated guess as to which strains will be involved — so it’s great to have some additional support on hand). Fortunately, I’ve only had the flu once in my life — but it was enough to know that it’s something I don’t want to go through again! So when this email came through with an update titled “Elderberry Extract May Reduce Influenza Symptoms”, I was definitely interested.

Not only was the subject pertinent, but the source was one of the most highly respected in the medical field. It came from DynaMed, an evidence-based “reference tool created by physicians for physicians and other healthcare professionals” by monitoring over 500 medical journals and databases. The editors select “articles most likely to change clinical practice”. What makes this topic particularly fascinating is that elderberry is an herb, not a pharmaceutical. It is not often that mainstream medicine shows an interest in “folk remedies”.

Summary of the Article

In a spring 2009 study done in China, patients were given either elderberry extract or a placebo within 24 hours of exhibiting flu-like symptoms. After 48 hours, the elderberry group had a higher rate of either complete symptom relief or significantly reduced symptoms. Other studies showed similar results with an elderberry extract syrup called Sambucol. In one of those studies, conducted by the Norwegian University of Oslo School of Medicine, those individuals given Sambucol showed significant improvement after an average of just 3.1 days, as compared with 7.1 days for the placebo group. Anyone who has ever had the flu can appreciate the value of those 4 days! And unlike many medications with long lists of side effects, no major adverse effects have been reported with Sambucol, as long as the proper recommended dosing is followed.

How Sambucol Works

It’s important to note that the only version of elderberry syrup used in the studies and definitively shown to have an effect is marketed as “Sambucol”. It’s available in the cold and cough syrup aisle of the pharmacy. One dose of 2 teaspoons contains 3.8 grams of elderberry extract. The packaging for Sambucol describes it as providing “Immune System Support”. Elderberries are unusually high in phytochemicals called flavonoids, particularly anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants These anthocyanins enhance our body’s immune system by aiding in the production of cytokines. Cytokines essentially let the body know when an increased immune response is required. The healing properties of the flowers and berries of the black elder bush were noted as far back as in the ancient writings of Hippocrates, considered to be the “Father of Modern Medicine”.

My Experience

Sambucol must be taken within 48 hours of your first symptoms in order for it to have an effect — and the sooner the better. Consequently, when I first read the email from Dynamed over a year ago, I decided to buy a bottle to have on hand — just in case. It was not cheap compared to some cold syrups — $12.99 — although I was able to find it on sale for around $10.00. I would have paid the higher price anyway, as it’s still less expensive than a visit to my doctor. (It should be noted that although Sambucol provides immune system support, there is no evidence to date that it works to actually prevent the flu; it just lessens the symptoms and allows for a quicker recovery once you think you have it).

Late on a recent Friday evening, I started to develop the unmistakable signs of a cold coming on. I guess it wasn’t too surprising since a number of people I work with had really severe colds and even my hair stylist (who I had just visited two days earlier) had one. Although Sambucol is indicated for flu, not colds, I remembered the bottle I had on hand. I figured any immune support would be welcome and decided to give it my first test. Even though my bottle had been purchased over a year earlier, I was relieved to see that it apparently had a very long shelf life and was not due to expire for another 11 months. So about 2 hours after the onset of my symptoms, I took my first dose (2 teaspoons). I was pleasantly surprised that my symptoms (mainly a runny nose) seemed to disappear within about 10 minutes. I had a good night’s sleep.

But when I woke up the next morning, I realized the cold symptoms had returned — although they were still relatively mild. But I could definitely tell I had a cold. So I took another two teaspoons, as well as some Vitamin C — which I figured couldn’t hurt (although I’ve never been able to prevent a cold by taking Vitamin C alone). Again the symptoms disappeared within 10 minutes. However, they did return throughout the day, about every four hours (when the dose would wear off). I continued to take the Sambucol — with the same symptom-reducing effects each time and had another good night’s sleep.

By day 3, I still had to take the syrup, which I might note is rather pleasant tasting, thank goodness. But I was able to go longer between doses. And by that evening, I didn’t even feel like I had a cold. I took it for one day longer though, just for additional support. I can definitely say that the Sambucol helped limit the severity of the cold and quickened my recovery. I went out and bought two more bottles since they were on sale for $3.00 off and won’t expire for more than two years.

Conclusion

Based on the medical literature and my own personal experience, it is my belief that it is definitely worthwhile to keep a bottle of Sambucol on hand — just in case. It seems to have worked to lessen the severity and duration of my cold. But I hope I never have to find out whether or not it works on the flu!

Disclaimer

Sambucol is not a substitute for visiting your doctor or for taking adequate precautions against the flu such as recommended immunizations, hand washing, adequate rest, and avoiding crowds and sick people when possible during the flu season. There is a child’s version available for children as young as 2 years old; it is not recommended for children younger than age 2. Please remember that all such herbal remedies and other supplements should be discussed with your health care professional. Herbal remedies are not regulated by the government and quality can vary widely from brand to brand.