Monthly Archives: March 2008

Personality Disorders

Definition:
Personality disorders are defined by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) as “an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the culture of the individual who exhibits it”. These patterns, as noted, are inflexible and pervasive across many situations, due in large part to the fact that such behavior is ego-syntonic (i.e., the patterns are consistent with the ego integrity of the individual), and therefore, perceived to be appropriate by that individual. The onset of these patterns of behavior can typically be traced back to the beginning of adulthood, and, in rare instances, early adolescence.

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This definition allows significant deviance from societal norms, such as conscientious objection to a social regime, to be classified as a mental disorder. In the former Soviet Union and elsewhere this has been used to justify treatment of political dissidents as though they were psychologically disturbed.

Personality disorders are also defined by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) which is published by the World Health Organization. Personality disorders are categorized in ICD-10 Chapter V: Mental and behavioural disorders, specifically under Mental and behavioral disorders: 28F60-F69.29 Disorders of adult personailty and behavior. It is seeking to develop an international diagnostic system. The ICD-10 has been structured in part to mesh the DSM’s multiaxial system and diagnostic formats.

Whether you’re sociable, reserved, funny or forthright, everyone who knows you would likely list the same traits when describing your personality. These characteristics are the combined product of your heredity and early life experience, and they are fixed by the time you reach adulthood.

People with personality disorders have traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways, which often limit their ability to function in relationships and at work. Depending on the disorder, their personalities are generally described in more-negative terms: dramatic, clingy, antisocial or obsessive. As many as 15 percent of U.S. adults have one or more personality disorders.

Among the 10 conditions that are considered personality disorders, some have very little in common. Doctors typically group the personality disorders that have shared characteristics into one of three clusters:

*Cluster A includes personality disorders marked by odd, eccentric behavior, including paranoid, schizoid and schizotypal personality disorders.

*Cluster B personality disorders are those defined by dramatic, emotional behavior, including histrionic, narcissistic, antisocial and borderline personality disorders.

*Cluster C personality disorders are characterized by anxious, fearful behavior and include obsessive-compulsive, avoidant and dependent personality disorders.

It is a condition characterized by impulsive actions, mood instability, and chaotic relationships.There’s no cure for these conditions, but therapy and medication can help. The symptoms of some personality disorders also may improve with age.

Signs and symptoms:
People with personality disorders commonly experience conflict and instability in many aspects of their lives, and most believe others are responsible for their problems.

Signs and symptoms of cluster A (odd, eccentric) personality disorders may include:

Paranoid personality disorder
*Belief that others are lying, cheating, exploiting or trying to harm you
*Perception of hidden, malicious meaning in benign comments
*Inability to work collaboratively with others
*Emotional detachment
*Hostility toward others

Schizoid personality disorder:
*Fantasizing
*Extreme introversion
*Emotional distance, even from family members
*Fixation on your own thoughts and feeling
*Emotional detachment

Schizotypal personality disorder
*Indifference to and withdrawal from others
“Magical thinking” — the idea that you can influence people and events with your thoughts
*Odd, elaborate style of dressing, speaking and interacting with others
*Belief that messages are hidden for you in public speeches and displays
*Suspicious or paranoid ideas

Signs and symptoms of cluster B (dramatic, emotional) personality disorders may include:

Histrionic personality disorder
*Excessive sensitivity to others’ approval
*Attention-grabbing, often sexually provocative clothing and behavior
*Excessive concern with your physical appearance
*False sense of intimacy with others
*Constant, sudden emotional shifts

Narcissistic personality disorder
*Inflated sense of — and preoccupation with — your importance, achievements and talents
*Constant attention-grabbing and admiration-seeking behavior
Inability to empathize with others
*Excessive anger or shame in response to criticism
*Manipulation of others to further your own desires


Antisocial (formerly, sociopathic) personality disorder

*Chronic irresponsibility and unreliability
*Lack of regard for the law and for others’ rights
*Persistent lying and stealing
*Aggressive, often violent behavior
*Lack of remorse for hurting others
*Lack of concern for the safety of yourself and others
Borderline personality disorder
*Difficulty controlling emotions or impulses
*Frequent, dramatic changes in mood, opinions and plans
*Stormy relationships involving frequent, intense anger and possibly physical fights
*Fear of being alone despite a tendency to push people away
*Feeling of emptiness inside
*Suicide attempts or self-mutilation

Signs and symptoms of cluster C (anxious, fearful) personality disorders may include:

Avoidant personality disorder
*Hypersensitivity to criticism or rejection
*Self-imposed social isolation
*Extreme shyness in social situations, though you strongly desire close relationships
Dependent personality disorder
*Excessive dependence on others to meet your physical and emotional needs
*Tolerance of poor, even abusive treatment in order to stay in relationships
*Unwillingness to independently voice opinions, make decisions or initiate activities
*Intense fear of being alone
*Urgent need to start a new relationship when one has ended
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
Excessive concern with order, rules, schedules and lists
Perfectionism, often so pronounced that you can’t complete tasks because your standards are impossible to meet

*Inability to throw out even broken, worthless objects

*Inability to share responsibility with others

*Inflexibility about the “right” ethics, ideas and methods

*Compulsive devotion to work at the expense of recreation and relationships

*Financial stinginess
*Discomfort with emotions and aspects of personal relationships that you can’t control

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is not the same as obsessive-compulsive disorder, an anxiety disorder that shares some symptoms but is more extreme and disabling.

Causes:
Personality disorders are chronic patterns of behavior that impair relationships and work. The cause of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is unknown. People with BPD are impulsive in areas that have a potential for self-harm, such as drug use, drinking, and other risk-taking behaviors.

A combination of personal history and biology appears to play a role in most personality disorders. Genetics play a significant — but not necessarily singular — role in the development of schizotypal, schizoid and paranoid personality disorders, which all are more common in families with a history of schizophrenia. Heredity also contributes to the development of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

A family history of antisocial personality disorder increases your risk of developing the condition, but childhood trauma also has considerable influence. Children with an alcoholic parent, or who have an abusive or chaotic home life, are at increased risk of developing antisocial personality disorder.

Sexual abuse is a common risk factor for borderline personality disorder. People with borderline personality disorder who report sexual abuse at a younger age — younger than 13 years old — are also more likely to have post-traumatic stress disorder. Heredity and childhood head injuries also may influence the development of this disorder.

The causes of narcissistic, histrionic, avoidant and dependent personality disorders have been minimally studied and aren’t yet well understood.
Risk factors:
More women than men develop borderline personality disorder. But men are much more likely than women to have antisocial personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

Other risk factors for personality disorders include:

*A history of childhood verbal, physical or sexual abuse
*A family history of schizophrenia
*A family history of personality disorders
*A childhood head injury
*An unstable family life
Diagnosis:
Personality disorders are diagnosed based on psychological evaluation and the history and severity of the symptoms.
There are no specific tests for personality disorders. Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms, personal history and emotional well-being, and may talk to friends and relatives about your behavior. A mental health professional will probably help make the diagnosis, and he or she will also evaluate whether you have other mental health or substance abuse problems.

Doctors regard the diagnosis of most personality disorders in adolescents as premature. That’s because what appear to be signs or symptoms of personality disorders often disappear as adolescents grow older. However, signs and symptoms of antisocial personality disorder become evident before age 15.

Complications:
People with personality disorders are at significantly increased risk of:

*Social isolation.
An inability to forge and maintain healthy relationships, lack of desire for closeness, or extreme shyness may cause those with personality disorders to be socially disconnected.

*Suicide. The risk of self-inflicted injury and suicide is highest among people with cluster B personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder.

*Substance abuse. Those with cluster B personality disorders are at especially increased risk of alcohol and drug addiction.
Depression, anxiety and eating disorders. People with all types of personality disorders are at increased risk of developing other psychiatric problems.

*Self-destructive behavior. People with borderline personality disorder are particularly at risk of engaging in dangerous behaviors, such as risky sex and gambling. Those with dependent personality disorder — who may tolerate mistreatment in order to stay in a relationship — are at increased risk of physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

*Violence and homicide. Aggressive behavior is a significant risk among those with paranoid and antisocial personality disorders.

*Incarceration. People with antisocial personality disorder are at increased risk of committing serious crimes. The condition is common among prisoners.

The intensity of the symptoms of personality disorders may change over time. The symptoms of cluster A and cluster B personality disorders may become less severe later in life. Those with cluster C personality disorders often experience worsening symptoms as they age.
Treatment:
A number of barriers make personality disorders among the most challenging mental health conditions to treat. People with these conditions are likely to have difficulty opening up to or retaining closeness with therapists. Perceived criticism may cause them to react angrily and break off therapy. Those who seek treatment on their own and who are motivated to stick with therapy over many years are the most likely to succeed.

Treatment for most personality disorders is with a combination of therapy and medications.

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Therapy
Types of therapy that can help people with personality disorders include:

*Psychodynamic psychotherapy. This approach entails talking about your condition and related issues with a mental health professional. Psychotherapy can help people with personality disorders recognize how they’re responsible for the turmoil in their lives and learn healthier ways of reacting to people and problems. Individual, group and family therapy can all be helpful.

*Cognitive behavior therapy. This form of psychological treatment involves actively retraining the way you think about problems, which in turn improves your emotions and behaviors.

*Dialectical behavior therapy. This type of cognitive behavior therapy focuses on coping skills — learning how to take better control of behaviors and emotions with techniques such as mindfulness, which helps you observe your feelings without reacting. It is most often used to treat borderline personality disorder. Doctors are studying the effectiveness of this type of therapy with all types of personality disorders.

Medications:
People with personality disorders often experience serious mental and emotional strain, causing additional mental health problems, such as depression, phobia and panic. Medications may help alleviate these related conditions, but they can’t cure the underlying disorder. Therapy aimed at building new coping mechanisms must be the cornerstone of treatment.

Medications that may offer support during therapy include:

*Antidepressants.
Doctors commonly prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa), paroxetine (Paxil), nefazodone, and escitalopram (Lexapro), or the related antidepressant venlafaxine (Effexor) to help relieve depression and anxiety in people with personality disorders. Less often, monoamine oxidase inhibitors such as phenelzine (Nardil) and tranylcypromine (Parnate) may be used.

*Anticonvulsants. These medications may help suppress impulsive and aggressive behavior. Your doctor may prescribe carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol) or valproic acid (Depakote). Your doctor may also prescribe topiramate (Topamax), an anticonvulsant that’s being studied as an aid in managing impulse-control problems.

*Antipsychotics. People with borderline and schizotypal personality disorders are at risk of losing touch with reality. Antipsychotic medications such as risperidone (Risperdal) and olanzapine (Zyprexa) can help improve distorted thinking. For severe behavior problems, doctors may prescribe haloperidol (Haldol).

*Other medications. Doctors sometimes prescribe anti-anxiety medications such as alprazolam (Xanax) and clonazepam (Klonopin) and mood stabilizers such as lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid) to relieve symptoms associated with personality disorders.

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Alternative therapies:
Some alternative therapies for PTSD include:

*Spiritual/religious counseling. Because traumatic experiences often affect patients’ spiritual views and beliefs, counseling with a trusted religious or spiritual advisor may be part of a treatment plan. A growing number of pastoral counselors in the major Christian and Jewish bodies have advanced credentials in trauma therapy.

*Yoga and various forms of bodywork are often recommended as ways of releasing physical tension or muscle soreness caused by anxiety or hypervigilance.

*Martial arts training can be helpful in restoring the patient’s sense of personal effectiveness and safety. Some martial arts programs, such as Model Mugging, are designed especially for survivors of rape and other violent crimes.

*Art therapy, journaling, dance therapy, and creative writing groups offer safe outlets for the strong emotions that follow traumatic experiences.

Recent controversial therapies:
Since the mid-1980s, several controversial methods of treatment for PTSD have been introduced. Some have been developed by mainstream medical researchers while others are derived from various forms of alternative medicine.

They include:

*Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. This is a technique in which the patient reimagines the trauma while focusing visually on movements of the therapist’s finger. It is claimed that the movements of the patient’s eyes reprogram the brain and allow emotional healing.


*Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT).TAT was derived from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and its practitioners maintain that a large number of acupuncture meridians enter the brain at certain points on the face, especially around the eyes. Pressure on these points is thought to release traumatic stress.

*Thought Field Therapy. This therapy combines the acupuncture meridians of TCM with analysis of the patient’s voice over the telephone. The therapist then provides an individualized treatment for the patient.

*Traumatic Incident Reduction. This is a technique in which the patient treats the trauma like a videotape and “runs through” it repeatedly with the therapist until all negative emotions have been discharged.

*Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). EFT is similar to TAT in that it uses the body’s acupuncture meridians, but it emphasizes the body’s entire “energy field” rather than just the face.

*Counting Technique. Developed by a physician, this treatment consists of a preparation phase, a counting phase in which the therapist counts from 1 to 100 while the patient reimagines the trauma, and a review phase. Like Traumatic Incident Reduction, it is intended to reduce the patient’s hyperarousal.

Prognosis:
Trauma survivors who receive critical incident stress debriefing as soon as possible after the event have the best prognosis for full recovery. For patients who develop full-blown PTSD, a combination of peer-group meetings and individual psychotherapy are often effective. Treatment may require several years, however, and the patient is likely to experience relapses.

There are no studies of untreated PTSD, but long-term studies of patients with delayed-reaction PTSD or delayed diagnosis of the disorder indicate that treatment of patients in these groups is much more difficult and complicated.

In some patients, PTSD becomes a chronic mental disorder that can persist for decades, or the remainder of the patient’s life. Patients with chronic PTSD often have a cyclical history of symptom remissions and relapses. This group has the poorest prognosis for recovery; some patients do not respond to any of the currently available treatments for PTSD.

Prevention:
Some forms of trauma, such as natural disasters and accidents, can never be completely eliminated from human life. Traumas caused by human intention would require major social changes to reduce their frequency and severity, but given the increasing prevalence of PTSD around the world, these long-term changes are worth the effort. In the short term, educating people—particularly those in the helping professions—about the signs of critical incident stress may prevent some cases of exposure to trauma from developing into full-blown PTSD.

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.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/personality-disorders/DS00562/DSECTION=2

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personality_disorder

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000935.htm

http://www.minddisorders.com/Ob-Ps/Post-traumatic-stress-disorder.html


Concerns Over Raw Fish Side-Effects

As Japanese sushi conquers restaurants and homes around the world, industry experts are fighting the side-effects of the raw fish boom: fake sushi bars, over-confident amateurs, poisoned consumers.

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Once a rare and exotic treat, seaweed rolls and bites of raw tuna on vinegared rice are now familiar to most food fans.

So familiar, in fact, that many hobby cooks in Europe and the US like to make them in their own kitchens.

But chefs and sushi experts at an international restaurant summit in Tokyo warned of a lack of awareness in handling raw fish among amateurs and some restaurateurs who enter the profitable industry without sufficient training.

“Everybody thinks: ‘sushi is so expensive—I can buy cheap fish, fresh fish, I can make it at home.’ It’s not true. Not every fish is suitable to eat raw,” chef and restaurateur Yoshi Tome told Reuters. Tome’s restaurant, Sushi Ran in Sausalito, California, was awarded a Michelin star and he often advises customers on preparing Japanese food.

He sees himself as an educator as well as a chef, and believes that more and better training opportunities are needed to prevent food scandals that could hurt the entire industry.

“I get these questions all the time—people call me: ‘Hey Yoshi, my husband went to fish a big salmon, we’re looking to eat it as sashimi. We opened it and a bunch of worms came out. Can we eat it?”‘ His answer: You cannot eat it as sashimi; but you can throw away the affected parts and cook and eat the rest.

In fact, Tome said salmon, which is prone to parasites, should never be eaten raw but be cooked, marinated, or frozen before being consumed.

He described another case in which an inexperienced restaurateur in the US served raw baby crab. This lead to cases of food poisoning and prompted a recall of that type of crab. Tome serves the crab deep-fried at his restaurant and says it is perfectly safe if prepared the right way.

“Here in Japan, some people eat raw chicken, chicken sashimi. But we know chicken can have salmonella, so in the US nobody eats raw chicken,” he added.

Japan’s bureaucrats drew criticism and ridicule a year ago with a plan to create a global “sushi police” that would assess Japanese restaurants overseas. Since then, there has been a change of tactics, and the emphasis is now on education and advice rather than uninvited checks.

Ryuji Ishii, who runs the Advanced Fresh Concepts Franchise Corp, the largest supplier of fresh sushi to supermarkets in the United States, finds that education is important not just for food safety purposes.

Ishii is rolling out his ready-to-eat sushi range in Wal-Mart supermarkets. But bringing raw fish and seaweed to middle America takes some work.

“The challenge is, we have never dealt with that market. So far, we’ve been dealing with a very upscale market, high-end supermarkets,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of the two-day summit.

“In order to become really mainstream, we have to overcome the Wal-Mart consumers. We need more time to educate the consumers.”

Sources: The Times Of India

Head Implant that Makes You Taller

Is your wife or girlfriend taller than you? Forget shoe lifts. Instead you can try out a two-inch head implant. A cosmetic surgeon in Spain has developed a new way of adding up to two inches to a person’s height by inserting a silicone head implant, British newspaper the Daily Mail reported on Sunday.

According to Dr Luis de la Cruz of the Clinica La Luz hospital in Madrid, the operation takes 90 minutes during which an incision is made in one side of the head and then the implant is squeezed in between the skull and the scalp. The cost of the entire operation is roughly £4,000 and it is usually performed by applying a local anaesthetic.

Patients are released from the hospital the subsequent day. Dr de la Cruz, who has already carried out the operation on 17 patients, said: “It is a relatively simple procedure that can have a wonderfully positive effect on the patient’s life. Like most good ideas it came to me in a flash.

“I was approached by a young woman who always dreamt of becoming an air stewardess. She was rejected for being half an inch too small and asked if there was any technique to add to her height.

“At the time the only way was through lengthening the leg bones, which is an extreme and traumatic option. It got me thinking. I carry out many chin implant operations and suddenly I thought, ‘Why not an implant between the skull and the scalp?’. She is very happy with the result and is now an air stewardess.”

A woman patient called Eugenia said: “It changed my life. I look a different person.” The Clinica La Luz in Madrid is thought to be the only place in the world where the operation is performed. But people with long, thin heads are advised against the surgery as the result can look odd. Clinical psychologist Javier Hernandez said: “People should think long and hard before having this surgery.”

Sources:
The Times Of India

Broccoli-The Best Health Vegetable

Botanical Name: Brassicaceae (formerly Cruciferae).
Family: Cabbage

Description:Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family, and is closely related to cauliflower. Its cultivation originated in Italy. Broccolo, its Italian name, means “cabbage sprout.” Because of its different components, broccoli provides a range of tastes and textures, from soft and flowery (the floret) to fibrous and crunchy (the stem and stalk). Do not let the smell of the sulfur compounds that are released while cooking keep you away from this highly nutritious vegetable.
It is classified as the Italica Cultivar Group of the species Brassica oleracea. Broccoli possesses abundant fleshy flower heads, usually green in colour, arranged in a tree-like fashion on branches sprouting from a thick, edible stalk. The large mass of flower heads is surrounded by leaves. Broccoli most closely resembles cauliflower, which is a different cultivar group of the same species, but broccoli is green rather than white. In the United States, the term refers exclusively to the form with a single large head. This form is sometimes called “Calabrese” in the United Kingdom, where sprouting (non-heading) types and those with underdeveloped flower buds are also sold as broccoli.

Varieties:
There are three commonly grown types of broccoli. The most familiar is sometimes called Calabrese in Great Britain and simply ‘broccoli’ in North America. It has large (10 – 20 cm) green heads and thick stalks, and is named after Calabria in Italy where it was first cultivated. It is a cool season annual crop.

Sprouting broccoli has a larger number of heads with many thin stalks. It is planted in May to be harvested during the winter or early the following year in temperate climates.

Romanesco broccoli has a distinctive fractal appearance of its heads, and is yellow-green in colour. It is technically in the Botrytis (cauliflower) cultivar group

Purple cauliflower is a type of broccoli sold in southern Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. It has a head shaped like cauliflower, but consisting of tiny flower buds. It sometimes, but not always, has a purple cast to the tips of the flower buds.


PLANT CHARACTERISTICS

Overview. The edible part of the broccoli plant is a tender stem and unopened flower buds. They are a good source of Vitamin A, calcium, and riboflavin or B2. Broccoli and cauliflower are quite similar morphologically, but the broccoli produces a green head with longer and more slender floret stalks than cauliflower. After the main stem has been harvested, the axillary buds that are lower on the main stem are induced to develop into smaller heads, which can also be harvested in home gardens. They are not harvested in commercial production.
Cultivation, preparation and nutritional value:
Broccoli is a cool-weather crop that does poorly in hot summer weather. Other cultivar groups of Brassica oleracea include: cabbage (Capitata Group), cauliflower (Botrytis Group), kale and collard greens (Acephala Group), kohlrabi (Gongylodes Group), and Brussels sprouts (Gemmifera Group). Chinese broccoli (Alboglabra Group) is also a cultivar group of Brassica oleracea. It is usually boiled or steamed, but may be eaten raw and has become popular as a raw vegetable in hors-d’oeuvre trays. It is high in vitamin C and soluble fiber and contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties including diindolylmethane and selenium. The 3,3′-Diindolylmethane found in broccoli is a potent modulator of the innate immune response system with anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer activity. Broccoli also contains the compound glucoraphanin, which can be processed into an anticancer compound sulforaphane, though the benefits of broccoli are reduced if the vegetable is boiled. A high intake of broccoli has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Broccoli leaf is also edible and contains far more betacarotene than the florets

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Ideal for harvest
Root System. The seedling will generally produce a red colored hypocotyl, two notched cotyledons and a tap root with lateral roots. Usually during transplanting the tap root is damaged and therefore many adventitious roots will arise. Most of the roots are 0.5 mm with few reaching 1 cm thick. In the beginning the roots are quite shallow and the lateral roots are growing horizontally. The roots can be found up to 3 feet away from the plant. After a few months of growing some of the roots will mine vertically to a depth of 1.5-2 m. The majority of the roots occur in the top 20-30 cm. The root system that develops is influenced greatly by water and cultivation.
Stem. The stem is waxy, usually unbranched and, from it arise the leaves and flower heads.
Leaves. The leaves are simple, alternate and without stipules. Many times they are pinnately lobed.
Flower. Branched flower clusters form on 2-2 ½ ft tall plants. The flowers are bright yellow. There are four sepals, six stamens, two carpal and four petals. Broccoli flowers have a superior ovary. The buds are dark green and tightly packed on top of the plant. Broccoli exposed to 40°F will initiate flower primordia much quicker than plants grown in higher temperatures. The flowers are pollinated mostly by bees.

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Seed. The fruit of broccoli is a glabrous silique. There are between 10-30 seed per silique. About 325 seed will constitute a gram, and approximately 9,000 seeds make up an ounce. It will take about 144,000 broccoli seed to make up a pound. The seed should be planted ½ inches deep. It will take the seed about 10 days to germinate.

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In popular culture
In 1928, when broccoli was still something of a novelty in the United States, a cartoon appeared in the New Yorker magazine. A mother and child are seated at the table, and the mother says, “It’s broccoli, dear.” The child replies, “I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it.”

In Michael Winterbottom’s 2002 film 24 Hour Party People, Tony Wilson explains that James Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli invented broccoli by cross-pollinating cauliflower and “a green thing”, then using the profits to fund the Bond movies.

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Click to see:->

Broccoli Boosts Aging Immune Systems

How Broccoli Fights Cancer

Broccoli May Undo Diabetes Damage

Broccoli ‘May Help Protect Lungs’

BROCCOLI: THE CROWN JEWEL OF NUTRITION

WHFoods: Broccoli

Broccoli is a Super Food.

Details About Broccoli

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broccoli

http://www.uga.edu/vegetable/broccoli.html

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Sleep Disorders

Definition :
Sleep disorders involve any difficulties related to sleeping, including difficulty falling or staying asleep, falling asleep at inappropriate times, excessive total sleep time, or abnormal behaviors associated with sleep.

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Sleep disorders are a group of conditions characterized by disturbance in the amount, quality, or timing of a person’s sleep. They also include emotional and other problems that may be related to sleep. There are about seventy different sleep disorders. Short-term, temporary changes in a person’s sleep pattern are not included in sleep disorders.

Description:

Sleep disorders are divided into two major categories. One category consists of disorders in which a person has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. This category also includes disorders in which a person may fall asleep at inappropriate times. Conditions of these kinds are called dyssomnias. A second category of sleep disorders includes those in which people experience physical events while they are sleeping. Nightmares and sleepwalking are examples of these disorders. Conditions of this type are called parasomnias.

The following are some examples of each type of sleep disorder:

Dyssomnias

  • Insomnia. Insomnia (see insomnia entry) is perhaps the most common of all sleep disorders. About 35 percent of all adults in the United States experience insomnia during any given year. People with insomnia have trouble falling asleep. Often people with this disorder worry or become anxious about not being able to sleep, which can make the problem even worse. Insomnia may begin at any time in a person’s life. It tends to be most common in young adulthood and middle age.
  • Hypersomnia. Hypersomnia is a condition in which a person is excessively sleepy during normal waking hours. The person may often fall asleep for lengthy periods during the day, even if he or she has had a good night’s sleep. In some cases, patients have difficulty waking up in the morning. They may seem confused or angry when they awaken. About 5 to 10 percent of people who seek help for sleep disorders have hypersomnia. The condition is most common in young adults between the ages of fifteen to thirty.
  • Narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is characterized by sleep attacks over which patients have no control. They may fall asleep suddenly with no warning. The sleep attack may last a few minutes or a few hours. The number of attacks patients experience can vary. People with narcolepsy usually feel refreshed after awakening from a sleep attack but they may become sleepy again a few hours later and experience another attack.

Three other conditions are often associated with narcolepsy: cataplexy, hallucinations, and sleep paralysis. Cataplexy is the sudden collapse of a person’s muscles. The person may become completely limp and fall to the ground. A person may also experience hallucinations. Hallucinations are sounds and sights that a person experiences that do not exist in the real world. Sleep paralysis occurs when a person is just falling asleep or just waking up. The person may want to move, but is unable to do so for a few moments.

  • Sleep apnea. Sleep apnea (pronounced AP-nee-uh) is a condition in which a person actually stops breathing for ten seconds or more. The most common symptom of sleep apnea is very loud snoring. Patients with this condition alternate between periods of snoring or gasping and periods of silence.
  • Circadian rhythm sleep disorders. The term circadian (pronounced sir-CAYD-ee-uhn) rhythm refers to the usual cycle of activities, such as waking and sleeping that is common to any form of life. Most people are accustomed to falling asleep after it gets dark out and waking up when it gets light. In certain conditions, this pattern can be disrupted. A person may fall asleep as the sun comes up and wake up as the sun goes down. An example of a circadian sleep disorder is jet lag. People who fly suddenly across many time zones may have their sleep patterns disrupted. It may take a few days before those patterns return to normal.

Sleep Disorders: Words to Know

Apnea:
A temporary pause in one’s breathing pattern. Sleep apnea consists of repeated episodes of temporary pauses in breathing during sleep.
Brainstem:
Portion of the brain that connects the spinal cord to the forebrain and the cerebrum.
Cataplexy:
A sudden loss of muscular control that may cause a person to collapse.
Circadian rhythm:
Any body pattern that follows a twenty-four-hour cycle, such as waking and sleeping.
Insomnia:
Difficulty in falling asleep or in remaining asleep.
Jet lag:
A temporary disruption of the body’s sleep/wake rhythm caused by high-speed air travel through different time zones.
Narcolepsy:
A sleep disorder characterized by sudden sleep attacks during the day and often accompanied by other symptoms, such as cataplexy, temporary paralysis, and hallucinations.
Polysomnograph:
An instrument used to measure a patient’s body processes during sleep.
Restless leg syndrome:
A condition in which a patient experiences aching or other unpleasant sensations in the calves of the legs.
Sedative:
A substance that calms a person. Sedatives can also cause a person to feel drowsy.
Stimulant:
A substance that makes a person feel more energetic or awake. A stimulant may increase organ activity in the body.
Somnambulism:
Also called sleepwalking, it refers to a range of activities a patient performs while sleeping, from walking to carrying on a conversation.

Parasomnias

  • Nightmare disorder. Nightmare disorder is a condition in which a person is awakened from sleep by frightening dreams. Upon awakening, the person is usually fully awake. About 10 to 50 percent of children between the ages of three and five have nightmares. The condition is most likely to occur in children and adults who are under severe stress.
  • Sleep terror disorder. Sleep terror disorder occurs when a patient awakens suddenly crying or screaming. The patient may display other symptoms, such as sweating and shaking. Upon awakening, the patient may be confused or disoriented for several minutes. He or she may not remember the dream that caused the event. Sleep may return in a matter of minutes. Sleep terror disorder is common in children four to twelve years of age. The condition tends to disappear as one grows older. Less than one percent of adults have the disorder.
  • Sleepwalking disorder. Sleepwalking disorder is also called somnambulism (pronounced suhm-NAHM-byoo-LIHZ-uhm). The condition is characterized by a variety of behaviors, of which walking is only one. Sleepwalkers may also eat, use the bathroom, unlock doors, and carry on conversations. If awakened, sleepwalkers may be disoriented. They may have no memory of their sleepwalking experience. About 10 to 30 percent of children have at least one sleepwalking experience. The occurrence among adults is much lower, amounting to about 1 to 5 percent of all adults.

A few sleep disorders are related to some physical or mental disorder. The three conditions that fall into his category include:

  • Sleep disorders related to mental disorders. Many types of mental illness can cause sleep disorders. People who have severe mental illness, for example, may develop chronic (long-lasting) insomnia.
  • Sleep disorders due to physical conditions. Physical illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease (see Parkinson’s disease entry), encephalitis (see encephalitis entry), brain disease, and hyperthyroidism may cause sleep disorders.
  • Substance-induced sleep disorders. The use of certain types of drugs can lead to sleep disorders. The most common of these drugs are alcohol and caffeine. Certain types of medications can also cause sleep disorders. Antihistamines, steroids, and medicines used to treat asthma are examples.

Causes:

More than 100 different disorders of sleeping and waking have been identified. They can be grouped in four main categories:

  • Problems with falling and staying asleep
  • Problems with staying awake
  • Problems with adhering to a regular sleep schedule
  • Sleep-disruptive behaviors

In many cases, the cause of a sleep disorder is not known. In other cases, researchers know at least part of the reason the disorder occurs. Some examples include:

  • Insomnia. Insomnia may be caused by emotional experiences or concerns such as marital problems, problems at work, feelings of guilt, or concerns about health. A person may become so distraught that sleep is impossible. Insomnia often becomes worse when patients worry about the condition. In such cases, the worry itself becomes another cause for the disorder.
  • Hypersomnia. One possible cause of hypersomnia is restless legs syndrome. Restless legs syndrome is the name given to cramps and twitches a person may experience in the calves of the legs during sleep. These sensations may keep a person awake and lead to sleep episodes during the day.
  • Narcolepsy. The cause of narcolepsy is currently not known.
  • Sleep apnea. The most common cause of sleep apnea is blockage of the airways. The condition occurs most commonly in people who are over-weight. The snoring and gasping that are typical of apnea are caused by the person’s trying to catch his or her breath. Less commonly, sleep apnea is caused by damage to the brainstem.
  • Circadian rhythm sleep disorders. Circadian rhythm sleep disorders are caused when people are forced to adjust to new dark/light patterns. An example is a worker whose assignment is changed from the day shift to the night shift. The worker must learn how to sleep when it’s light out and to work when it’s dark out.

The causes of most parasomnias are not well understood. In some cases, severe stress may be responsible for the condition. In other cases, it is not clear what the cause for the disorder is.

Symptoms:

The symptoms of most sleep disorders are obvious from the descriptions above. A person with insomnia, for example, tends to be very tired during the day. A person with nightmare disorder displays the disturbed behavior typical of a person who has been awakened from sleep by a bad dream.

  • Awakening in the night
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Excessive daytime drowsiness
  • Loud snoring
  • Episodes of stopped breathing
  • Sleep attacks during the day
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Depressed mood
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Apathy
  • Irritability
  • Loss of memory (or complaints of decreased memory)
  • Lower leg movements during sleep

The symptoms may vary with the particular disorder.
Diagnosis:
A beginning point in diagnosing sleep disorders is an interview with the patient and his or her family. From this interview may come a list of symptoms that suggests one or another form of sleep disorder. For example, very loud snoring may be an indication that the patient has sleep apnea. Sleepwalking is, itself, enough of a symptom to permit diagnosis of the condition.

Doctors use a number of other tools to diagnose the exact type of sleep disorder a patient has experienced. Some of these tools include:

*Sleep logs. Patients are asked to record everything about their sleep experiences they can remember. The log might include symptoms, time of appearance, severity, and frequency. Events in the person’s life may also be recorded as possible clues to the cause of the disorder.

*Psychological testing. Some sleep disorders are caused by emotional problems in a person’s life. Those problems may be identified by means of certain tests. Examples of these tests are the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Zung Depression Scale.

*Laboratory tests. Techniques have now been developed to observe and record a patient’s behavior during sleep. The most common device used is called a polysomnograph. this device measures a person’s breathing, heart rate, brain waves, and other physical functions during sleep. Various types of sleep disorder can be identified based on these measurements.
Exams and Tests :

*Polysomnography (recording brain activity, muscle activity and breathing during sleep)

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The most common device to use to test for sleeping disorders is called a polysomnograph. This device measures a person’s breathing, heart rate, brain waves, and other physical functions during sleep. (Photograph by Russell D. Curtis. Reproduced by permission of the National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers, Inc.)

*Multiple sleep latency test — a daytime test that uses polysomnography during multiple brief nap periods

Treatment:
The choice of treatment for a sleep disorder depends on the cause of the disorder, if it is known. For example, some people develop insomnia because they have become depressed. The solution to this problem is not to treat the insomnia, but to treat the depression (see depression entry). The patient may be given antidepressants or counseling to improve his or her emotional outlook. If this treatment is successful, the insomnia usually disappears on its own.

In many cases, however, the sleep disorder itself may be treated directly. The five forms of treatment that can be used are medications, psychotherapy, sleep education, lifestyle changes, and surgery.

Medications:
One might expect that insomnia should be treated with a sedative (a substance that helps a person relax and fall asleep). But sedatives provide only temporary relief from insomnia. They do not cure the underlying cause for the disorder. In addition, some sedatives may be habit-forming or may interact with other drugs to cause serious medical problems.

Stimulants (substances that cause a person to feel more energetic or awake) are often effective in treating narcolepsy. The drug known as clonazepam is used to treat restless legs syndrome. Benzodiazepines are used for children with sleep terror disorder or sleepwalking because they help the child sleep more soundly.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is used when sleep disorders are caused by emotional problems. Patients are helped to understand the nature of their problems and to find ways to solve or to live with those problems. To the extent this treatment is successful, the patient’s sleep disorders may be relieved.

Sleep Education

Researchers now know a great deal about the sleep process. By learning about that process, and changing their behavior patterns, patients may overcome some forms of sleep disorder. Some general guidelines that can help people sleep better include the following:

  • Wait until you are sleepy before going to bed.
  • Avoid using the bedroom for work, reading, or watching television.
  • Get up at the same time every morning, no matter how much or how little you have slept.
  • Get at least some physical exercise every day.
  • Avoid smoking and avoid drinking liquids that contain caffeine.
  • Limit fluid intake after dinner.
  • Learn to meditate or practice relaxation techniques.
  • Do not stay in bed if you can’t fall asleep. Get up and listen to relaxing music or read.

Lifestyle Changes

Some types of sleep disorders can be relieved by changing one’s lifestyle. For example, people with sleep apnea should stop smoking if they smoke, avoid alcohol and drugs, and lose weight to improve the function of their airways. People who experience circadian rhythm sleep disorders should try to adjust their travel or work patterns to allow time to adjust to new day/night patterns. Children with nightmare disorder should not watch frightening movies or television programs.

Surgery

Surgery is the treatment of last resort for sleep apnea, perhaps the only type of sleep disorder that is life-threatening. Combined with other factors, such as obesity, it can cause death. In such cases, surgery may be required to open up the patient’s airways and make breathing easier.

Alternative Treatment

Stress may be responsible for a number of forms of sleep disorder. Alternative treatments that teach people how to reduce stress in their lives can be very helpful. These treatments may include acupuncture, meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, and hypnotherapy. Homeopathic practitioners recommend a variety of substances to treat insomnia caused by various factors. They suggest Nux vomica for insomnia caused by alcohol or drugs, Ignatia for insomnia caused by grief, Arsenicum for insomnia caused by fear or anxiety, and Passiflora for insomnia related to mental stress.

Practitioners of Chinese medicine also have a range of herbs for the treatment of sleep disorder. The substance recommended depends on the particular type of disorder. For example, the magnetic mineral known as magnetite is recommended for insomnia caused by fear or anxiety.

Dietary changes may also help relieve some sleep disorders. Patients should avoid any food that contains caffeine or other stimulants. Such foods include coffee, tea, cola drinks, and chocolate. Some botanical remedies that may help a person relax and get a good night’s sleep include valerian, passionflower, and skullcap.

Prognosis:
Prognosis depends on the specific type of sleep disorder. In most cases, children outgrow sleep disorders such as nightmares and sleep terror disorder. Other conditions tend to be chronic. Narcolepsy, for example, is a life-long condition. Relatively few forms of sleep disorder represent life-threatening medical conditions. Sleep apnea is one of the few examples.

Possible Complications:
A complication is dependence upon sedatives or other medications prescribed for sleep disorders.

Prevention:
Maintaining regular sleep habits and a quiet sleep environment may prevent some sleep disorders.

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.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000800.htm

http://www.faqs.org/health/Sick-V4/Sleep-Disorders.html

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Can Anise Cure What Ails You?

The licorice-flavored herb anise contains high levels of health-boosting compounds called phenylpropanoids.

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A team of researchers isolated 22 compounds in anise essential oils, and found some phenylpropanoid compounds that were unique to anise, and four of the compounds had never before been identified in any plant.

Aside from effectively controlling aphids and the plant fungus Colletotrichum, the compounds also showed promise for human health problems. Specifically, some of the compounds were effective against:

Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria in humans.
Mycobacterium intracellulare, a bacterium that can cause illness in people with compromised immune systems.
Further, some phenylpropanoids had anti-inflammatory and phytoestrogen properties.

The researchers suggested that compounds in anise essential oils may be useful for developing pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals.
Sources:
Science Daily March 12, 2008
Pure and Applied Chemistry 2007, Vol. 79, No. 4, pp. 539-556

How Viruses Become Infectious

Biologists have mapped how a deadly class of viruses including dengue, West Nile, yellow fever and encephalitis become infectious in a pair of studies published in the journal Science .

“This is possibly the most detailed understanding of how any virus matures,” said study author Michael Rossmann of Purdue University in Indiana.

Rossmann and his colleagues detailed critical structural changes that take place as the dengue virus moves from the inner to the outer portions of its host cell.

The findings pertain to all viruses in the family of flaviviruses which are carried by mosquitoes and ticks.

They found that a protein which coats the genome of the virus particle undergoes large changes in its structure so that it becomes capable of fusing with cell membranes.

This structural change, which occurs as the virus is being secreted from its host, allows the protein to infect other cells rather than attaching itself to its host.

“It’s like a bird being pushed out of the nest and suddenly being able to fly,” Rossmann said in a telephonic interview.

This transformation occurs as the virus is exposed to progressively less acidic conditions which change the protein structure in its outer shell.

“This change in acidity was already known, but its impact on the maturation process was not known until these new findings,” Rossmann said.

This discovery could help researchers develop an antiviral treatment for dengue fever, which infects more than 50 million people and kills about 24,000 each year.

“There are a number of places where small drug compounds might interfere with the changes which we describe,” he said.

A vaccine has not yet been developed for dengue fever because multiple exposures can actually increase the risk of developing the more deadly dengue hemorrhagic fever.

Sources: The Times Of India

Survival Of The Most Resistant

Indian farmers do not follow guidelines while cultivating genetically modified crops, exposing them to the danger of pesticide resistance.

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Pesticides and resistance are like summer and winter, one following the other with inevitability. When genetic engineering was invented, it gave the farmer some respite from the perpetual cycle of pesticide use and pesticide resistance in insects. After more than a decade of widespread use, genetically engineered crops seemed to be holding their own against the insects, despite some stray reports to the contrary. Now a US researcher says that resistance is indeed developing in some insects, with important ramifications for Indian cotton farmers.

Bruce Tabashnik, professor at the department of entomology at the University of Arizona, analysed all the field data from the last 10 years in four countries: Australia, Spain, China and the US. He focused on one gene, the so-called Cry1Ac. This gene produces a protein that is toxic to some pests that attack cotton and corn. Tabashnik found that resistance has increased substantially in one pest, but not in others.

“It is the natural process of evolution,” says Tabashnik. The development of resistance in other pests was delayed because of other tactics to control them.

The gene Cry1Ac is derived from a bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis. This bacterium was discovered in the early 20th century. It has several genes that code for proteins that are toxic to insects, and Cry1Ac is only one of them. The bacterium was being used as sprays to kill pests in the 1960s.

By the 1980s, when pesticide resistance became a problem and genetic engineering techniques were developed, agri-biotech companies transferred the toxic genes to crops like cotton, corn and potato. If the larvae of the pests ate this plant, they would die immediately. The first genetically engineered cotton variety was planted in the US in 1996.

Since 1996, Bt cotton and corn have been grown in 162 million hectares around the world. Such large areas over 10 years provide enough opportunity for insects to grow resistant, unless measures are taken to slow its development. Farmers who grow genetically engineered, insect-resistant crops are asked to maintain a refuge: a separate region where they grow crops that are susceptible to insects. In all developed countries, farmers maintain a refuge. However, such a practice is not strictly adhered to in India, thus giving the pests more opportunities to develop resistance.

Laboratory studies have shown that pests indeed develop resistance quickly to Bt genes. However, lab experiments do not prove much beyond the principle of natural selection. “It is very easy for pests to evolve resistance in the lab,” says Tabashnik. Evolution of resistance in the field, while also being inevitable in the long run, is a more serious matter because farmers practise methods that delay the development of resistance.

Tabashnik and his colleagues did not do any field experiment for this study. Instead they analysed data from peer reviewed journals, provided they met some criteria. The most important of these criteria is the inclusion of data about concurrently tested susceptible strains of pests. Data from India were ignored for this reason; it did not include concurrent data about susceptible strains.

Tabashnik analysed the emergence of resistance in six major strains of pests. Of these, he found resistance developing in only one strain, Helicoverpa zea. Resistance to the Cry1Ac gene has developed in this strain of pest in the US, particularly in the states of Arkansas and Mississippi. However, this resistance has not caused any crop losses for two reasons. One, farmers had used some pesticide as well to control pests. Second, the crop had killed 40-60 per cent of the pests even when they were resistant.

What do these results mean for India? “The data for India were ambiguous,” says Tabashnik. This does not mean that resistance to the Bt gene has not developed among cotton pests in India.

“Indian farmers do not strictly adhere to the methods to be employed while cultivating transgenic (with genes from another species) crops,” says K.K. Narayanan, managing director of Metahelix, an agri-biotech company in Bangalore.

US farmers escaped damage from resistant pests because of good pest control practices. Are Indian farmers listening?

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Pesticide Parkinson’s Link Strong

There is strong evidence that exposure to pesticides significantly increases the risk of Parkinson’s disease, experts believe.

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Parkinson’s can lead to difficulty in moving arms and legs

.
It comes as another study, published in the BMC Neurology journal, has made the link to the neurological disease.

The US researchers found those exposed to pesticides had a 1.6 times higher risk after studying 600 people.

Experts said it was now highly likely pesticides played a key role – albeit in combination with other factors.

The disorder, which normally develops later in life and can affect movement and talking, is also influenced by genetic factors.

Several gene defects have been identified, but these are thought to be rare and only account for a small proportion of the 120,000 people affected by the disease in the UK.

The US team, which involved scientists from Duke University, Miami University and the Udall Parkinson’s Disease Research Center of Excellence, quizzed 319 patients about their pesticide use.

The answers were compared to over 200 family members and other controls who did not have the disease.

Related individuals were chosen as they would share many environmental and genetic backgrounds in a bid to isolate the impact of the pesticides.

They found those exposed to pesticides had a 1.6 times greater risk of developing the disease.

Heavy use, classed as over 200 days exposure over a lifetime, carried over double the risk.

And the study also revealed herbicides and insecticides were the pesticides most likely to increase risk.

Key role

Lead researcher Dana Hancock said: “I think there is very strong evidence now linking the two. What we need to find out how – the biological process.

“What we noticed in our research was that recreational pesticide use in the home and garden was more of a source of exposure than occupational use.”

Kieran Breen, director of research at the Parkinson’s Disease Society, said the link had been recognised by earlier studies, but this study “strengthened the fact that pesticides play a key role”.

However, he added: “We still don’t know exactly what causes Parkinson’s. It’s most likely to be a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors.”

He pointed out a survey of 10,000 patients by the charity had revealed only one in 10 had had long-term exposure to pesticides.

“We still don’t know exactly what causes Parkinson’s “says Kieran Breen, of the Parkinson’s Disease Society

Click to see also:->
Pesticide use link to Parkinson’s
Pesticide link to Parkinson’s
Vitamin E cuts Parkinson’s risk
Parkinson’s Disease

Sources: BBC NEWS:28Th. March.’08

Taste Disorders

Definition:
We experience taste when a substance contacts one of four taste receptor cells for sweet, salt, bitter, or sour. The receptor cells are located in taste buds spread over the surface of the tongue and throat. Three different nerves allow us to taste, therefore it is very difficult to lose all sense of taste through a nerve injury. In addition, like the smell nerves, the taste receptor cells are replaceable and if damaged they can grow back. A decrease in ability to taste is called hypogeusia, and a total loss of taste is termed ageusia.

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Click to learn:-> What is taste Description of the parts of the tongue.

Taste disorders like smell disorders can occur for many different reasons. Total loss of taste often indicates a disorder throughout the body such as due to toxicity, medications, or nutrition disorders. Decreased or abnormal taste can also occur from poor dentition or from cancer of the mouth.

Besides a detailed history and head and neck exam, evaluation by an otolaryngologist for smell and taste disorders may add smell and taste testing. Testing of smell function often includes taking a “scratch and sniff” odor identification test matching a smell with a list of odors. Taste function can be tested by applying four different solutions (sweet, salt, bitter, and sour) to four different regions of the tongue. Additional evaluation may include a CT scan and/or an MRI of the brain and sinuses.

If you experience a taste problem, it is important to remember that you are not alone. More than 200,000 people visit a physician for such a chemosensory problem each year. Many more taste disorders go unreported.

Many people who have taste disorders also notice problems with their sense of smell. If you would like more information about your sense of smell, the fact sheet Smell Disorders may answer some of your questions.

How does our sense of taste work?

Taste belongs to our chemical sensing system, or the chemosenses. The complex process of tasting begins when tiny molecules released by the substances around us stimulate special cells in the nose, mouth, or throat. These special sensory cells transmit messages through nerves to the brain, where specific tastes are identified

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Click to learn more:->Smell and Taste Disorders

Gustatory or taste cells react to food and beverages. These surface cells in the mouth send taste information to their nerve fibers. The taste cells are clustered in the taste buds of the mouth, tongue, and throat. Many of the small bumps that can be seen on the tongue contain taste buds.

Another chemosensory mechanism, called the common chemical sense, contributes to appreciation of food flavor. In this system, thousands of nerve endings–especially on the moist surfaces of the eyes, nose, mouth, and throat–give rise to sensations like the sting of ammonia, the coolness of menthol, and the irritation of chili peppers.

We can commonly identify at least five different taste sensations: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami (the taste elicited by glutamate, which is found in chicken broth, meat extracts, and some cheeses). In the mouth, these tastes, along with texture, temperature, and the sensations from the common chemical sense, combine with odors to produce a perception of flavor. It is flavor that lets us know whether we are eating a pear or an apple. Some people are surprised to learn that flavors are recognized mainly through the sense of smell. If you hold your nose while eating chocolate, for example, you will have trouble identifying the chocolate flavor–even though you can distinguish the food’s sweetness or bitterness. That is because the distinguishing characteristic of chocolate, for example, what differentiates it from caramel, is sensed largely by its odor.

What are the taste disorders?

The most common true taste complaint is phantom taste perceptions. Additionally, testing may demonstrate a reduced ability to taste sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami, which is called hypogeusia. Some people can detect no tastes, called ageusia. True taste loss is rare; perceived loss usually reflects a smell loss, which is often confused with a taste loss.

Click to learn more about :->Test Disorders

In other disorders of the chemical senses, the system may misread and or distort an odor, a taste, or a flavor. Or a person may detect a foul taste from a substance that is normally pleasant tasting.

Symptoms – Taste disorders are often temporary. Alteration in taste varies depending upon the disease, period of suffering, treatment and drugs. For example:

  • In gout – uric acid diathesis/metabolism – salty taste

  • In infection (bacterial) – metallic taste

  • In fever (viral flu) – bitter taste

  • In gastritis/heartburn – sour taste

  • In toxicity – metallic taste

What causes taste disorders?

Some people are born with chemosensory disorders, but most develop them after an injury or illness. Upper respiratory infections are blamed for some chemosensory losses, and injury to the head can also cause taste problems.

Loss of taste can also be caused by exposure to certain chemicals such as insecticides and by some medicines. Taste disorders may result from oral health problems and some surgeries (e.g. third molar extraction and middle ear surgery). Many patients who receive radiation therapy for cancers of the head and neck develop chemosensory disorders.

How are taste disorders diagnosed?

The extent of a chemosensory disorder can be determined by measuring the lowest concentration of a chemical that a person can detect or recognize. A patient may also be asked to compare the tastes of different chemicals or to note how the intensity of a taste grows when a chemical’s concentration is increased.

Scientists have developed taste testing in which the patient responds to different chemical concentrations. This may involve a simple “sip, spit, and rinse” test, or chemicals may be applied directly to specific areas of the tongue.

Click to learn more :->How are taste and smell disorders diagnosed?

Are taste disorders serious?

Yes. A person with a taste disorder is challenged not only by quality-of-life issues, but also deprived of an early warning system that most of us take for granted. Taste helps us detect spoiled food or beverages and, for some, the presence of food to which we’re allergic. Perhaps more serious, loss of the sense of taste can also lead to depression and a reduced desire to eat.

Abnormalities in chemosensory function may accompany and even signal the existence of several diseases or unhealthy conditions, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, malnutrition, and some degenerative diseases of the nervous system such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Korsakoff’s psychosis.

Complication:

  • Disgust for food/life

  • Malnutrition

  • Depression

Can taste disorders be treated?

Yes. If a certain medication is the cause of a taste disorder, stopping or changing the medicine may help eliminate the problem. Some patients, notably those with respiratory infections or allergies, regain their sense of taste when the illness resolves. Often the correction of a general medical problem can also correct the loss of taste. Occasionally, recovery of the chemosenses occurs spontaneously.

General treatment – Treatment usually depends upon the cause and nature of the disease(s). Getting normalcy will be aimed mostly at removing the exciting or maintaining causes, i.e. by

  • Correcting anaemia,allergies dental problems, uric acid diathesis, etc.

  • Treating mouth ulcers, infections (bacterial / viral / fungal), digestive or acid reflux disorders, etc.

  • Changing or stopping newly added medicines (antibiotics, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, pain-killers, etc.)

Commonly, if there is no serious illness, physicians will simply prescribe vitamin supplements and till taste recovers on its own (i.e., without providing any specific treatment).

Homeopathic approach on taste disorders – In all other system of medicines, the recovery of taste will come in the end i.e., after stopping the treatment process/medicines. Also, sometimes they need to leave the taste to come up on its own. Whereas while getting Homeopathy treatment, patients’ feelings and sensations get improved first. Well being sensations will always be the first improvement with successful treatment of Homeopathy. Homeopathy concentrates on each and every aspect of patient feelings and restores them to normal first (prior to setting right the disease). It works in all ways to raise immunity. For raising immunity/strengthen vitality, it enhances good intake of diet (by making the taste good). Thus here is another example to show Homeopathy is on the right track towards nature.

Some feel the distorted taste without any diseases or sufferings (with unknown or idiopathic causes) and some other suffers with incurable diseases. Here too, Homeopathy can succeed in correcting the taste with its individualisation treatment with characteristic symptoms of patient and disease with tongue indications and taste characters.

To spice up taste, Homeopathy can work amazingly. There are specific medicines for specific feelings of taste in Homeopathy, likewise for cravings and aversions too. They will act at the core of the disease and clear the tongue problems simultaneously.

For example:

  • Diminished taste – Borax, Carboveg, Cyclamen, Puls, Veratrum alb,

  • Complete loss of taste – Stramonium

  • Abnormal taste of foods (or water) – sweetish – Cuprum met, Merc sol, Veratrum Alb, etc.

  • Sweet metallic taste in mouth/tongue – Cocculus, Merc sol, etc.

  • Salty taste in mouth/tongue – Cyclamen, Iodium, Merc sol, Nat mur, etc.

  • Sour taste –Calc carb, China, Lycopodium, Nux vom, Rhus tox, Sulphur, etc.

  • Bitter taste – Borax, Bryonia, Carbo veg, China, Lachesis, Nat mur, Pulsatilla, Rhus tox, Stramonium, Sulphur, etc.

  • Soapy taste – Iodium

  • Bloody taste – Bovista & Kreosote

  • Coppery taste – Medorrhinum

  • Taste remains in tongue for a long time after eating – Hydrastis

  • Taste of rotten eggs – Cuprum met, Merc sol, Pulsatilla

  • Oily/greasy taste in tongue/mouth – Causticum, Rhus tox, Secale cor

  • Feeling numbness/tingling sensation in tongue – Aconite, Causticum, Coninum, Gelsemium, Nux vom, Nat mur, Secale cor, etc.

  • Burning tongue – Apis, Ars alb, Arum triphyllum, Baptisia, Belladonna, Beri Beri vul, Capsicum, Causticum, etc.

  • Sensation of hair in tongue – Kali bich, Alumina, Nat mur, etc.

  • Frothy saliva in mouth – Stramonium

These medicines should be taken under the advice and diagnosis of a Qualified Homeopath.

What research is being done?

The NIDCD supports basic and clinical investigations of chemosensory disorders at institutions across the Nation. Some of these studies are conducted at several chemosensory research centers, where scientists work together to unravel the secrets of taste disorders.

Some of the most recent research on our sense of taste focuses on identifying the key receptors in our taste cells and how they work in order to form a more complete understanding of the gustatory system, particularly how the protein mechanisms in G-protein-coupled receptors work. Advances in this area may have great practical uses, such as the creation of medicines and artificial food products that allow older adults with taste disorders to enjoy food again. Future research may examine how tastes change in both humans and animals. Some of this research will focus on adaptive taste changes over long periods in different animal species, while other research will examine why we accept or have an aversion to different tastes. Beyond this, scientists feel future gustatory research may also investigate how taste affects various processing activities in the brain. Specifically, how taste interacts with memory, influences hormonal feedback systems, and its role in the eating decisions and behavior.

Already, remarkable progress has been made in establishing the nature of changes that occur in taste senses with age. It is now known that age takes a much greater toll on smell than on taste. Also, taste cells (along with smell cells) are the only sensory cells that are regularly replaced throughout a person’s life span–taste cells usually last about 10 days. Scientists are examining these phenomena which may provide ways to replace damaged sensory and nerve cells.

NIDCD’s research program goals for chemosensory sciences include

* Promoting the regeneration of sensory and nerve cells
* Appreciating the effects of the environment (such as gasoline fumes, chemicals, and extremes of relative humidity and temperature) on taste.
* Preventing the effects of aging.
* Preventing infectious agents and toxins from reaching the brain through the olfactory nerve.
* Developing new diagnostic tests.
* Understanding associations between chemosensory disorders and altered food intake in aging as well as in various chronic illnesses.
* Improving treatment methods and rehabilitation strategies.

What can I do to help myself?

Proper diagnosis by a trained professional, such as an otolaryngologist, is important. These physicians specialize in disorders of the head and neck, especially those related to the ear, nose, and throat. Diagnosis may lead to treatment of the underlying cause of the disorder. Many types of taste disorders are curable, and for those that are not, counseling is available to help patients cope.

Where can I find more information?

NIDCD maintains a directory of organizations that can answer questions and provide printed or electronic information on taste disorders. Please see the list of organizations at www.nidcd.nih.gov/directory.

Use the following subject area to help you search for organizations that are relevant to taste disorders:

* Smell and Taste

For more information, additional addresses and phone numbers, or a printed list of organizations, contact:

NIDCD Information Clearinghouse
1 Communication Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20892-3456
Toll-free Voice: (800) 241-1044
Toll-free TTY: (800) 241-1055
Fax: (301) 770-8977
E-mail: nidcdinfo@nidcd.nih.gov

For more information, contact the NIDCD Information Clearinghouse.

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.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:

http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/smelltaste/taste.asp

http://www.meei.harvard.edu/patient/tasteandsmell.php

http://chennaionline.com/health/Homoeopathy/Aug2007/08homeo133.asp