Monthly Archives: July 2007

Take a Deep Breath

Yoga provides relief from many of the stresses associated with working in an office.
Working at a desk can be more stressful for your body than you may think. Spending long periods in a chair can cause your circulation to slow down and that often results in muscle tension. And if you have the added stress of a type-A personality boss, you could be on your way to a major ibuprofen moment. This stress can carry over into your personal life as well, resulting in increased anxiety and sleepless nights.

Fortunately, as many have discovered, yoga can offer great relief from many of the stresses associated with working in an office. Certain yoga movements can even be accomplished in just a few minutes, right at your desk.

“Yoga stretches and breathing exercises oxygenate the blood, improve blood flow to the muscles and relieve tension,” says Sarah Schain, a certified yoga instructor and the founding director of Little Yoga Studios in Bethesda, Maryland.

Anger management:
Schain says the first step to relaxing in office is learning proper breathing techniques.
“When I’m having a tough day and I’m ready to blow up at my boss, I take an anger-management breath,” says Lori Wiley, a certified yoga instructor at New Generation Yoga in New York City, who also works as an administrative assistant.

Calm of mind:
• Schain’s Office Refresher: Breathe deeply into the bottom of your stomach (diaphragm), watching as your belly expands like a balloon. Then breathe out slowly. Repeat this for at least one minute. Close your eyes if you can, and try to take deeper, slower and longer breaths every time. Don’t hold your breath, but keep it moving as you relax your body.

• Wiley’s Anger-Management Breath: Breathe in through your nose for a second, and then breathe out through your nose for a second. Repeat this, adding one second to breathe in and one second to breathe out each time. You will feel much calmer by the time you build up to 10 seconds.

Cat pose:
“Stretching is one of the best ways to cool down during the workday,” Schain says. “There are therapeutic yoga poses that can be done while sitting in your chair that will work wonders for your posture, your peace of mind and the chronic neck and shoulder tension that happens so easily at a desk job.”

Schain recommends the “cat pose in a chair”. Sit on the edge of your chair, resting your hands on your knees. Rock your spine forward, squeezing your shoulders forward as you create a slump in your back. Hold the position for a second or two, and then sit up tall bringing your shoulders all the way down. Repeat this process until you feel your back relax.

Pamper yourself:
In addition to breathing and stretching exercises, Wiley recommends bringing a few items that will help.
• Aromatherapy: Keep a lavender-scented moisturiser at your desk as it has soothing characteristics. You may also consider bringing in some lavender potpourri. Just be sure the aroma is subtle enough so that it doesn’t bother your co-workers.

• Tea: Instead of taking a midday coffee break, indulge in some chamomile tea. Chamomile can help you calm down after a stressful bout with your manager or co-workers.

• Visual aids: Keep a photograph of your favourite place, an inspirational quote or even fresh flowers at your desk — treat yourself.

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata,India)

All Is Not Lost

Snap out of it,” say friends and relatives if you are “feeling down” or “having the blues.” However, the person soon starts to feel better, with or without such ineffectual advice, as negative thoughts and feelings usually last for about two weeks.
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Several bouts of depression may occur during the course of a lifetime. These may be precipitated by chronic illness, the loss of a loved one, financial difficulties or failures. If the precipitating situation changes for the better, recovery is faster.

Depression becomes a disease when it lasts longer than two weeks. It may occur as repeated attacks with short symptom-free intervals, or it may be present constantly. Sometimes a precipitating factor may not exist. It is a difficult diagnosis for the person and his or her relatives to accept as there are no outward physical signs of illness. There is only an all-pervading sense of gloom and inability to get things done. Everything becomes too much of an effort. The person may also become increasingly isolated as he or she fails to keep social obligations or maintain relationships. Constant talk about death, pacing, agitation and withdrawal are danger signals. It means the depression is severe enough for the sufferer to even attempt suicide. “Getting over it” is no longer an option and medical treatment is required.

The changes during a bout of depression are not due to a weak personality. The altered behaviour results from an imbalance in the ratios of three chemical messengers in the brain: serotonin, adrenaline and dopamine. This may be genetic, with the condition running in families. Or it may be a response to a life event, precipitated by medication or hormonal changes.

Women become depressed four times more often than men. This is because the female hormone, estrogen, affects the brain chemicals. Menarche, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause produce sudden marked alterations in a woman’s hormone levels. Sometimes “post delivery” blues may be severe enough to incapacitate the mother and even drive her to suicide.

People of all age groups and communities are prone to depression. Children react differently in such a situation than do adults. They perform poorly in class or may refuse to go school. They may develop vague abdominal symptoms and vomit. Adolescents, who generally have confused and uncontrolled emotions, may respond to an underlying depression with unreasonable anger or substance abuse.

Monsoon days are dull and grey with little or no sunlight. The darkness and enforced physical inactivity may aggravate an underlying depression.

National public health does not consider depression a priority as it is a nebulous condition which is not contagious. But depression does seriously affect the national economy as many patients remain undiagnosed and untreated. Their productivity is affected as they are frequently absent from work, apparently uninterested, inefficient and have poor interpersonal relationships.

Sleep disturbances — excessive sleep or insomnia — may be the first sign of depression. There may be early wakening with an inability to fall asleep again. The weight may increase or decrease as the person experiences appetite swings, eating too much or too little. Alcohol or drugs may be used as an escape mechanism to elevate the mood. After the initial euphoria passes, there is a rebound and this worsens the condition. In older people, depression may manifest itself as vague physical symptoms, aches and pains which defy diagnosis, requiring repeated unsatisfactory visits to the doctor.

Depression may alternate with elation in people with a “bipolar disorder”. Such people may be withdrawn and non-functional or productive and creative depending on their mood swings. They either talk too much or not at all.

Once depression is diagnosed, it needs to be tackled. Taking sleeping tablets (sedatives) purchased without a prescription OTC (over the counter) to correct the sleep disturbances alone is not the answer. A combination of anti-depressant medication and psychotherapy probably works best. The medication corrects the imbalances in the chemicals in the brain. The drugs belong to various groups and subtypes. The response of each person varies; a drug that works for one may not work for another. The medications take around six weeks to start acting. Once the mood becomes stable, the person is able to function normally.

Children and young adults respond paradoxically to some anti-depressants. Drugs like paroxetine may increase the suicidal tendency in persons between 18 and 24 years of age. Treatment in adolescents and young adults thus has to be carefully monitored.

Patients need to be supported by family, friends and psychotherapy during treatment. Otherwise, they may prematurely discontinue the treatment thinking that the drug “does not work.” Also, once the symptoms have disappeared, treatment needs to be continued for 9 to 12 months for complete recovery. This, too, may not be followed as patients may not see the need to continue medication once they start feeling better.

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Itch Gene Discovered

Relief may soon be at hand for chronic scratchers:-
Scratch no more. A remedy for that unpleasant itching sensation could be in the offing with researchers spotting the first ever gene responsible for itchiness in the central nervous system.

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Itching is a widespread problem often associated with skin diseases.

The discovery of the “itch gene” — GRPR (gastrin-releasing peptide receptor) — by two Washington University School of Medicine researchers could lead to treatments that provide relief from chronic and severe scratchiness.

Zhou-Feng Chen and his post-doctoral fellow Yan-Gang Sun reported in Nature last week the GRPR gene codes for a receptor that resides in a very small population of spinal cord nerve cells that relay pain and itch signals. Their tests on mice showed that the animals that lacked this gene scratched much less than those having it when given itchy stimuli.

Chronic itching is a widespread problem and is often associated with skin disorders such as eczema. But sometimes kidney failures or liver disorders too trigger an itching sensation. It can also be a serious side effect of certain cancer therapies or powerful painkillers like morphine. For some, chronic itching can be very disruptive, interfering with sleep or resulting in scarring. Whatever the cause, effective treatment options are limited for itchiness.

Traditionally, scientists regarded itchiness as just a less intense version of the pain sensation. As a result, research on itching has been patchy. “Itch research has always lived in the shadow of pain research,” says Chen.

In the beginning, Chen’s team, too, wasn’t actually looking for the itch gene. The scientists stumbled upon it accidentally while trying to figure out the genes associated with the pain stimuli. Among the pain-sensing genes they identified, GRPR stood out because it was present in only a few nerve cells in the spinal cord known to relay pain and/or itch signals to the brain. This prompted them to study some mice that were missing the GRPR gene to find out how they were different from normal mice.

“The research was a little disappointing at first,” says Chen. “The knockout mice seemed to have the same reactions to painful stimuli as normal mice.”

But the puzzle was resolved when his co-worker, Sun, injected a substance that stimulated GRPR to the spinal cords of normal mice — the rodents started scratching themselves as if they had a severe itch. This tip off led to detailed investigation that resulted in the discovery of the first gene implicated in the urge to itch.

Source:The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Kokum to the rescue

A molecule in the popular spice can help prevent the spread of the AIDS virus in the human body.
The fight against the deadly human immuno deficiency virus (HIV) is all set to get a desi flavour. Indian researchers have isolated a compound from kokum — a berry widely used as a flavouring agent in Goan cuisine — that has a remarkable anti-HIV potential. But the compound may have to cross several hurdles before it becomes a potent weapon in the war against AIDS, an epidemic that has already killed millions and may kill several millions more in the near future.

Tapas Kundu and his team at Bangalore’s Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) knew for at least three years that the rind of kokum (Garcinia indica, a plant indigenous to the Western Ghats) contains a wonder molecule called garcinol. Kokum is also used as a substitute for tamarind in Konkani cuisine and select dishes in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Kerala. In addition to garnishing curries and soups, it is used for its astringent, cardio-tonic, anti-allergic and digestive properties. Kokum seeds yield a unique fat that is used in making ointments, suppositories, lipsticks and chocolates.

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In 2004, Kundu’s team showed for the first time that garcinol has a unique property of impeding a human enzyme that, incidentally, is marshalled by the HIV virus for its own proliferation in the human body. So if one has a compound that inhibits this protein, called p300, one can substantially curb the multiplication of the dreaded virus to such an extent that the human immune cells can take over from there. Garcinol does possess this capability, but there is one problem: it is toxic to normal human cells which in its presence die in a few hours.

It is here that Kundu’s grounding in biochemistry was of help. Kundu, who has a doctorate in biochemistry from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, chemically tweaked garcinol to create what is known as isogarcinol. Further chemical modification yielded 50 different compounds and one of these — LTK-14 — was found to spare human cells but block p300.

“What is remarkable about their work is that they modified this natural molecule in such a way that it has become cell friendly,” says Udaykumar Ranga, a molecular virologist at JNCASR who specialises in HIV. Besides, LTK-14 — unlike its parent compound — has the ability to cross the cell membrane with ease, he observes.

According to Kundu, the newly derived molecule was found to reduce the viral load by up to 80 per cent in the infected cells. The work was recently reported in Chemistry & Biology. “We have found that the compound inhibits all p300-mediated gene expressions,” Kundu, who has a basic degree in agriculture from Bidhan Chandra Agricultural University in Nadia, told KnowHow.

However, Ranga — also a co-author of the paper — thinks it’s too early to be upbeat. The molecule’s action is radically different from that of existing drugs. While anti-viral medicines target the virus itself, this one is trying to destroy a molecule in human cells whose mechanism the virus hijacks to proliferate. “It’s quite like bombing a neighbourhood where enemies are holing up. The bomb has to be dropped in such a way that it kills the maximum number of enemies with bare minimum damage to others,” Ranga explains.

A histone acetyltransferase protein, p300 has several functions in cells. A molecular switch that turns on or off a number of genes inside the cell, it’s pivotal for several key functions such as cell growth, differentiation and its eventual death. “Living cells are remarkable. Our studies have shown that when p300 is absent, others within the cells take over and carry out these tasks,” Kundu observes. On the other hand, the prominent HIV protein — known as TAT — that ensures the virus’ multiplication in the human cells can do so only if p300 is available.

Developing drugs against viruses as wily as HIV is tricky. “They are like volcanoes,” says Ranga. “While some erupt and explode, others lay latent and wait for an opportune time. No weapon in our arsenal today is capable of tackling a dormant virus.”

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Honesty Is The Best

The Energy Of Honesty
As children most of us learn that honesty is better than dishonesty, and we may not question this beyond whether or not to do what we’re told. As adults, however, we can go deeper to examine our choices as investments of energy with predictable risks and returns. When we speak the truth, we affirm what already is. This is like using a paddle when the stream is already moving the same direction. We are already supported by the universe and its energy flow, so we don’t need to exert much energy, leaving more for other pursuits. But dishonesty redirects a portion of our energy against the flow, which requires extra effort. In addition, it creates an alternate reality that requires further energetic input to be maintained. So we can easily see that we are best served when we work with the flow of the universe.

Life is not always clearly defined, so we may find it useful to follow our choices to their logical conclusions. We may feel that little untruths are harmless, but they can be like small cracks that weaken an overall structure over time. Even giving someone a compliment or trying to protect them can create problems later when the alternate reality we’ve created becomes the basis for further actions. Even if the actions that follow are honestly done, the underlying unstable foundation of dishonesty will threaten to topple things eventually. This can lead to further energy being spent on keeping things hidden, working to remember the tales we’ve spun and fearing the consequences of being found out. Life doesn’t need to be this draining, but we can make the choice to free ourselves from the bonds of dishonesty at any time.

Speaking and living our truth may involve risking, among other things, the possibility of rejection. But when we allow ourselves to follow the flow of life, we are supported. We can then use our energy to cultivate physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being and to create our dreams, rather than leaving ourselves too drained to even maintain our existence. Today we can make honesty our choice in every interaction, bringing the nurturing power of the universe’s energy into our lives to bring positive, lasting results.

Source:Daily Om

Drink tomato soup for super sperms

Scientists have discovered that lycopene, which gives tomatoes their bright red colour, can turn sperm into super-sperm:

Researchers at the University of Portsmouth studied the effect of lycopene in the diet on a random group of six healthy men, with an average age of 42. The men were asked to consume a 400g tin of Heinz cream of tomato soup every day for two weeks.

The researchers, from the university’s biomedical science department, said that during the two weeks, levels of lycopene in the men’s semen rose between seven and 12 per cent, which was ‘significant’.

They added that further studies should be carried out to discover whether the same boost would be seen in infertile men. The results, published in the British Journal of Urology, said that infertile men have lower levels of lycopene in their sperm. The study suggests that higher levels of lycopene are associated with increased fertility.
It is not known what part lycopene actually plays in fertility, although it has been suggested that the antioxidant may mop up harmful free radicals in the body which can affect fertility.

Tomato products have been thought for some time to have beneficial health properties because of their high concentration of lycopene, but this is the first time they have been shown to boost fertility.

Other fruits and vegetables that are high in lycopene include watermelon, pink grapefruit, pink guava, papaya and rosehip. Lycopene has previously been identified as a potential aid in conditions ranging from exercise-induced asthma to prostate cancer. However, earlier this month, the US Food and Drug Administration said it has found almost no evidence that lycopene has any effect on cancer prevention. A review, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, examined 81 studies of lycopene and concluded that none produced any credible evidence to support a relationship between consumption of the antioxidant and the risk of developing cancer.

About 2.6 million men in the United Kingdom have a low sperm count and doctors have suggested a healthier lifestyle can increase the chances of conceiving. Nigel Dickie, a spokesman for Heinz said: “It’s good to know that our tomato soup could give guys extra oomph.”

Click to read Tomato soup boosts fertility

Source: The Times Of India

African Plant Helps Stop Bleeding

The leaves of Aspilia africana, a plant used in African traditional medicine, can stop bleeding, block infection and speed wound healing, a new study from Nigeria confirms.

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The leaves and flowers of A Africana, a bristle-covered herb known as the “hemorrhage plant,” have been used to stanch bleeding, remove foreign bodies from the eyes, treat scorpion stings, and for several other purposes across the African continent, note Dr Charles O Okoli and colleagues at the University of Nigeria.

Dr Okoli is currently located in Sydney, Australia at the University of New South Wales.

To test the plant’s medicinal properties, Okoli and his team performed a series of lab and animal experiments comparing the effects of an extract of the powdered leaves in methanol, and two different portions or fractions containing hexane or methanol. They report their findings in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

The extract and the fractions of the plant significantly reduced bleeding and clotting time in rats, the researchers found, with the methanol fraction having the strongest effect.

Source: The Times Of India

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Magic pill to cut heart attack risk

LONDON: Men over 50 should take daily 3-in-1 ‘polypill’ to keep heart attack at bay, according to a UK government’s leading cardiac expert.

Professor Roger Boyle, the Department of Health’s national director for heart disease and stroke suggested that the magical 1 pound a day pill will have a cholesterol-busting statin, aspirin and drugs to lower blood pressure.

As for women, there was no early requirement of the pill because their hormones protected against heart disease until menopause.

One such polypill is being tested in New Zealand and Professor Boyle, who himself takes statins regularly, believed that taking a polypill to keep a check on BP and cholesterol at 50 will protect from future heart risks.

“Although we have seen a decrease in death rates, heart disease remains our country’s biggest killer. It kills more than all the cancers put together. The short cut to all this is to say that when you are a man of 50, you need treatment,” he was quoted as saying.

He also emphasised that the people should understand the benefits of mass medication, as it could cut down the rate of heart attacks and strokes by 80 per cent.

However, mass medication critics believe that it turns healthy people into patients and might make them neglect exercise and diet.

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, warned about the side-effects of the drug.

“The problem is that if you take a polypill and end up with a side effect, you don’t know which constituent is behind it. It is an interesting concept but you would need proper clinical trials to see if it has acceptable tolerability and works,” he said.

Source: The Times Of India

The Wisdom Of Surrender

Resistance Equals Persistence
We all know the feeling of being repeatedly haunted by the same issue, no matter how we try to ignore it, avoid it, or run away from it. Sometimes it seems that we can get rid of something we don’t want by simply pushing it away. Most of the time, the more we push away, the more we get pushed back. There are laws of physics and metaphysics that explain this phenomenon, which is often summed up in this pithy phrase: That which you resist persists.

Resistance tends to strengthen the energies it attempts to oppose by giving them power and energy to work against. Additionally, resistance keeps us from learning more about what we resist. In order to fully understand something, we must open to it enough to receive its energy; otherwise, we remain ignorant of its lessons. There is a Tibetan story of a monk who retreats to meditate in a cave only to be plagued by demons. He tries everything—chasing, fighting, hiding—to get the demons out of his cave, but the thing that finally works is surrender. He simply lets them have their way with him and only then do they disappear.

Now, this wisdom must be applied practically. We are not meant to get ourselves physically injured. Instead, this story speaks of how, in essence, our demons are inside of us. What plagues and pursues us on an inner level has a way of manifesting itself in our environment in the form of people, events, and issues that appear to be beyond our control. But all these external expressions are reflections of our insides, and it is inside ourselves that we can safely experiment with surrendering to what we fear and dislike. It may feel scary, and we may find ourselves in the company of a lot of resistance as we begin the process of opening to what we fear. But the more we learn to surrender, and the more the demons that plague us disappear in the process, the more courageous we will become.

Source:Daily Om

Stiff Neck

The causes and symptoms of stiff neck are various, let me jot down some of them and their links which might help to learn more about it.

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1. Whiplas-—Whiplash is when the soft tissues of the neck are injured by a sudden jerking or “whipping” of the head.

Symptoms:Depressed mood ,neck Pain ,Dizziness and Fatigue

2. Sprains and Strains: Definition Sprain refers to damage or tearing of ligaments or a joint capsule.

Symptoms:Irritability ,Knee joint – tender ,Back pain and Bruises.

3.Torticollis :It is sa twisted neck, referring to the head being tipped to one side, while the chin is turned.

Symptoms:Neck lump ,neck Pain ,Headache and Facial asymmetry.

4. Meningitis : Meningitis is an infection¿that causes inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Non-…
This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Symptoms:Drowsiness, neck Pain ,Bulging fontanelle and Disorientation .

5.Tetanus :Tetanus is a disease caused by the toxin of the bacterium Clostridium tetani that affects the central nervous system.

Symptoms:Abdominal pain ,Fecal incontinence ,Abdominal cramp and Stops breathing.

6.Cervical spondylosis :Cervical spondylosis is a disorder caused by abnormal wear on the cartilage and bones of the neck

Symptoms:Numbness of skin , Incomplete emptying of bladder, Finger numbness and Pain .

7. Encephalitis :Encephalitis is an inflammation (irritation and swelling) of the brain, usually caused by infections.
This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Symptoms: Chorea ,Flat affect ,Indifferent mood and Impaired judgement

8.Subarachnoid hemorrhage: Subarachnoid hemorrhage is bleeding¿between the middle membrane covering of the brain and the brain itself. S…
This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Symptoms: Hemianopsia ,Pain ,Alteration in consciousness and Blindness .

9. Head injury :A head injury is any trauma that leads to injury of the scalp, skull, or brain. These injuries can range from…
This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Symptoms: Communication disorders ,Personality change ,Oversensitive hearing and Bleeding eye .

10. Lyme disease: Lyme disease is an inflammatory disease characterized by a skin rash, joint inflammation, and flu-like sympto…

Symptoms:Visual problems ,Lethargy ,Low grade fever and Arm pain
11. Tuberculosis: Definition Tuberculosis (TB) is a potentially fatal contagious disease that can affect almost any part of the…

Symptoms:Loss of appetite ,Abdominal pain ,Drowsiness and Coughing up yellow sputum .

12.Mononucleos: Mononucleosis is a viral infection causing fevers, sore throat, and swollen lymph glands, especially in the neck..

Symptoms: Loss of appetite ,Abdominal pain ,Abnormal heart rhythms and Pale stools .

13.Histoplasmosis: Histoplasmosis is a fungal infection caused by Histoplasma capsulatum, which primarily affects the lungs but .

Symptoms: Malaise ,Joint pain ,Headache and Pain.

14. West Nile virus: West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitos and causes an illness that ranges from mild to severe. Mild, flu-…

Symptoms: Diarrhea ,Stuporous ,Confusion and Swollen lymph nodes .

Ayurvedic treatment of stiff neck

Natural & Herbal treatment of Stiff neck

Self-help for stiff neck and shoulders

Home Remedies for Stiff Neck

4 home remedy submissions for Stiff Neck

Stiff Neck Homeopathy Remedy

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.
Resources:http://www.healthline.com/symptomsearch?&state=stiff%20neck&pagenum=2

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