Monthly Archives: May 2008

Top 10 Foods Your Body Needs

What do a guava, cabbage and a weed have in common? They’re all foods you should be eating. Here’s why you should add the following 10 fruits, vegetables and plants to your diet.

FRUITS

1. Guava is a slightly pear-shaped tropical fruit known for its sweet, acidic flavor and yellow or pink color. It contains such cancer-fighting agents as lycopene, known for warding off prostate cancer. And with 688 mg of potassium and 9 grams of fiber, this fruit is a must for anyone’s diet.

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2. Gogi berries resemble raisins, taste sweet and sour, and are red in color. Eating them can help protect the liver, improve sexual function and increase circulation. They also have the highest Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) rating (a method of measuring antioxidant levels in food) of any fruit, according to researchers at Tufts University.

CLICK TO SEE Gogi Berry

3. Dried plums,
also known as prunes, are somewhat infamous for their high fiber content. However, don’t forget that they also include high amounts of neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids which fight the “superoxide anion radical,” known to cause structural damage to cells, one of the primary causes of cancer.

CLICK TO SEE Rich in Antioxidants Dried Plums

4. Pomegranate juice has been consumed for decades in the Middle East as a popular juice beverage; now it’s becoming popular in the United States. Just 4 oz. a day provides 50 percent of your daily vitamin C needs.

CLICK TO SEE Pomegranate Juice as Good as Viagra

VEGETABLES

5. Cabbage is a leafy, green vegetable. Its benefits: a healthy supply of nutrients including sulforaphane, a chemical which increases your body’s production of enzymes that combat cell-damaging free radicals and reduce the risk of cancer.

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6. Beets are a root known
for their dark red coloring and are surprisingly sweet for a vegetable. It is one of the best sources of both folate and betaine, which help to lower your blood levels of homocysteine. That’s good news because homocysteine can damage arteries and increase the risk of heart disease.

CLICK TO SEE Beetroot

7. Swiss chard is a slightly bitter and salty vegetable. It contains huge amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, plant chemicals known as carotenoids that protect the retinas from age-related damage.

CLICK TO SEE Swiss chard

PLANTS


8. Purslane
is a broad-leaved weed. It features the highest amount of heart-healthy omega-3 fats of any edible plant and has 10 to 20 times more melatonin than any other fruit or vegetable.

CLICK TO SEE Purslane

9. Cinnamon is a common spice most of us think of when we make cake or cookies – but don’t overlook a pinch or two on your oatmeal or in your coffee. Cinnamon’s health benefits include controlling your blood sugar and lowering triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Active ingredients include methylhydroxychalcone polymers, which increase your cells’ ability to metabolize up to 20 times.

CLICK TO SEE cinnamon

10. Pumpkin seeds are too-frequently tossed away during the traditional October pumpkin carving. That’s a mistake, because just 1 ounce contains 150 mg of magnesium. Pumpkin seeds are also high in zinc and phytosterols, shown to lower cholesterol and defend against cancer.

CLICK TO SEE  PUMPKIN SEEDS

Medicinal Properties: Catarrh, demulcent, diuretic and anthelmintic.
Uses in Folklore: Pumpkin seeds have been a popular folk remedy for expelling worms and treating urinary complaints. Recent research has shown that pumpkin seeds have anti-tumor properties, in particular, for treating an enlarged prostate. Pumpkin contains the active components resin, fatty oils, proteins, glycoside curcurbitin, vitamins and minerals

Sources: http://www.toyourhealth.com/mpacms/tyh/article.php?id=1030

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Brain’s Role in Autism Probed

A psychology researcher has pinpointed regions of the brain that are linked to “ritualistic repetitive behavior” in autistic children — the insatiable desire to rock back and forth for hours or to tirelessly march in place.

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Keith Shafritz, an assistant professor of psychology at Hofstra University on Long Island, compared brain images of autistic children with those of neurologically normal youngsters. He and collaborators at Duke University and the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill used a form of magnetic resonance imaging to explore sites in the brain.

They reported their findings in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry.

Repetitive behavior is one of autism’s core traits. It has driven parents to extremes as they try to distract a child to engage in other activities.

Mapping the brain constitutes a journey into the inner labyrinths of a three-pound cosmos where countless frontiers have yet to be explored.

In children with autism, Shafritz found deficits in specific regions of the cerebral cortex, the outer layer of gray matter linked to all higher human functions, including repetitive behavior. He also mapped deficits in the basal ganglia, a region deep below the cerebral hemispheres.

“We like to think about the research process as discovering clues why people engage in certain behaviors,” Shafritz said. “We were able to identify a series of brain regions that showed diminished activity when people were asked to alter certain behaviors and were not able to do so.”

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is becoming a major public policy issue. Federal health officials estimate that it afflicts 1 in every 150 children, which affects not only families but communities.

School systems don’t have enough appropriately trained teachers. Social services departments are overwhelmed by parents who need support and respite care.

For clues to the disorder, some scientists are scanning the human genome for suspect DNA.

Others, like Shafritz, are exploring the geography of the brain.

Edward G. Carr, a psychology professor at Stony Brook University in New York, said Shafritz’s discovery was important because it helped demystify repetitive behavior.

“Repetitive behavior is sometimes called self-stimulatory behavior. A very common form of it is body-rocking. A child will do it for hours,” Carr said. “Another child may wave his or her hands back and forth in front of their eyes. This is very common, and it’s called hand-flapping. They extend their arms forward and wave their hands in front of them. It’s like a light show.”

Shafritz said the brain areas associated with repetitious behavior were not associated with another autism problem, self-injury. Some children repeatedly slam their heads against a wall, for instance.

Still, Shafritz found a relationship between the newly identified brain areas and overlapping regions linked to schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Dr. Anil K. Malhotra, director of psychiatric research at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y., said he was not surprised. He too is studying links between autism and schizophrenia, and autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Sources:Los Angles Times

Using a Videogame to Kick the Butt


Smokers are about to get help kicking the tobacco habit: an interactive computer game that aims to “coach” cigarette users away from their addiction.

Based on the successful “Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking” method which reportedly has helped more than 10 million smokers to stub out their cigarettes once and for all, the game, designed for Nintendo DS, will be developed by the Quebec bureau of California-headquartered Ubisoft. It is expected to go on sale in November.

Ubisoft is the company that has brought the world games that pit players against an invasion of demonic rabbits or allow them to learn a foreign language using the Nintendo DS, with its interactive touch screen. In the smoking cessation game, players enter a brief personal smoking history and their tobacco habits and choose a personal coach to guide them through the process of quitting, according to a press release issued by Ubisoft.

Fifteen mini-games help to “dispel the illusions about nicotine addiction” and players can track their progress in kicking the habit using the “Path to Freedom” meter.

And even after that last cigarette butt has sullied the ashtray, “you can still play the game and measure the daily benefits you get from your new life without cigarettes,” Ubisoft promises.

Sources: The Times Of India

Passion Fruit Helps Asthma Patients

A passion fruit extract can cut down severe wheezing and coughing among asthma patients and help reduce blood pressure, a new study published in the journal Nutrition Research , has found.

In a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial, only about a fifth of the people receiving purple passion fruit skin extracts had wheeze as a symptom, compared to nearly 80 percent of the placebo group.

In another trial, passion fruit treatment significantly decreased blood pressure.

Earlier, scientists had established the fruit’s bioactive properties.

“There are a lot of dietary supplements and natural products that are sold without much, or any, evidence of efficacy,” said Ronald Watson, who led the study.

“We now have two scientific publications indicating passion fruit has a beneficial effect on two very common but very different human diseases – hypertension and asthma – and that’s very exciting.”

“Many natural products like fruit and vegetables are known to have properties that have been shown to work just as well as pharmaceuticals, and that is appealing to people who don’t like the unpleasant side effects of pharmaceuticals,” said Watson.

Findings of the study have caused quite a stir in the international medical and scientific communities.

You may click to learn more about Passion fruit:->…………….(1)..(2)....(3)

Sources: The Times Of India

Autism

Major brain structures implicated in autism. 

Image via Wikipedia

Defenition:
Autism is a brain development disorder that impairs social interaction and communication, and causes restricted and repetitive behavior, all starting before a child is three years old. This set of signs distinguishes autism from milder autism spectrum disorders (ASD) such as Asperger syndrome.

Most infants and young children are very social creatures who need and want contact with others to thrive and grow. They smile, cuddle, laugh, and respond eagerly to games like “peek-a-boo” or hide-and-seek. Occasionally, however, a child does not interact in this expected manner. Instead, the child seems to exist in his or her own world, a place characterized by repetitive routines, odd and peculiar behaviors, problems in communication, and a lack of social awareness or interest in others. These are characteristics of a developmental disorder called autism.

Autism has a strong genetic basis, although the genetics of autism are complex and it is unclear whether ASD is explained more by multigene interactions or by rare mutations. In rare cases, autism is strongly associated with agents that cause birth defects. Other proposed causes, such as childhood vaccines, are controversial and the vaccine hypotheses lack convincing scientific evidence. Most recent reviews estimate a prevalence of one to two cases per 1,000 people for autism, and about six per 1,000 for ASD, with ASD averaging a 4.3:1 male-to-female ratio. The number of people known to have autism has increased dramatically since the 1980s, at least partly due to changes in diagnostic practice; the question of whether actual prevalence has increased is unresolved.

Autism affects many parts of the brain; how this occurs is poorly understood. Parents usually notice signs in the first two years of their child’s life. Early behavioral or cognitive intervention can help children gain self-care, social, and communication skills. There is no cure. Few children with autism live independently after reaching adulthood, but some become successful, and an autistic culture has developed, with some seeking a cure and others believing that autism is a condition rather than a disorder.

Characteristics
Autism is distinguished by a pattern of symptoms rather than one single symptom. The main characteristics are impairments in social interaction, impairments in communication, restricted interests and repetitive behavior. Other aspects, such as atypical eating, are also common but are not essential for diagnosis. Individual symptoms of autism occur in the general population and appear not to associate highly, without a sharp line separating pathological severity from common traits.

Symptoms:
Autism is usually identified by the time a child is three years of age. It is often discovered when parents become concerned that their child may be deaf, is not yet talking, resists cuddling, and avoids interactions with others.

A preschool age child with “classic” autism is generally withdrawn, aloof, and fails to respond to other people. Many of these children will not even make eye contact. They may also engage in odd or ritualistic behaviors like rocking, hand flapping, or an obsessive need to maintain order.

Many children with autism do not speak at all. Those who do may speak in rhyme, have echolalia (repeating a person’s words like an echo), refer to themselves as “he” or “she”, or use peculiar language.

The severity of autism varies widely, from mild to severe. With proper supports, many of these children are able to perform well in a school setting and may be able to live independently when they grow up. Other children with autism function at a much lower level. Mental retardation is commonly associated with autism. Occasionally, a child with autism may display an extraordinary talent in art, music, or another specific area.

Autistic individuals display many forms of repetitive or restricted behavior, which the Repetitive Behavior Scale-Revised (RBS-R) categorizes as follows.

* Stereotypy is apparently purposeless movement, such as hand flapping, head rolling, or body rocking.
* Compulsive behavior is intended and appears to follow rules, such as arranging objects in a certain way.
* Sameness is resistance to change; for example, insisting that the furniture not be moved or refusing to be interrupted.
* Ritualistic behavior involves the performance of daily activities the same way each time, such as an unvarying menu or dressing ritual. This is closely associated with sameness and an independent validation has suggested combining the two factors.
* Restricted behavior is limited in focus, interest, or activity, such as preoccupation with a single television program.
* Self-injury includes movements that injure or can injure the person, such as biting oneself. Dominick et al. reported that self-injury at some point affected about 30% of children with ASD.

No single repetitive behavior seems to be specific to autism, but only autism appears to have an elevated pattern of occurrence and severity of these behaviors.

Other symptoms
Communication:

* Lack of pointing to direct others’ attention to objects (occurs in the first 14 months of life)
* Does not adjust gaze to look at objects that others are looking at
* Cannot start or sustain a social conversation
* Develops language slowly or not at all
* Repeats words or memorized passages, such as commercials
* Does not refer to self correctly (for example, says “you want water” when the child means “I want water”)
* Uses nonsense rhyming
* Communicates with gestures instead of words

Social interaction:

* Shows a lack of empathy
* Does not make friends
* Is withdrawn
* Prefers to spend time alone, rather than with others
* May not respond to eye contact or smiles
* May actually avoid eye contact
* May treat others as if they are objects
* Does not play interactive games

Response to sensory information:

* Has heightened or low senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, or taste
* Seems to have a heightened or low response to pain
* May withdraw from physical contact because it is overstimulating or overwhelming
* Does not startle at loud noises
* May find normal noises painful and hold hands over ears
* Rubs surfaces, mouths or licks objects

Play:

* Shows little pretend or imaginative play
* Doesn’t imitate the actions of others
* Prefers solitary or ritualistic play

Behaviors:

* Has a short attention span
* Uses repetitive body movements
* Shows a strong need for sameness
* “Acts up” with intense tantrums
* Has very narrow interests
* Demonstrates perseveration (gets stuck on a single topic or task)
* Shows aggression to others or self
* Is overactive or very passive

Causes:
The cause of autism remains unknown, although current theories indicate a problem with function or structure of the central nervous system. What we do know, however, is that parents or “inadequate parenting” do not cause autism.

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Autism is a physical condition linked to abnormal biology and chemistry in the brain. The exact causes of these abnormalities remain unknown, but this is a very active area of research. There are probably a combination of factors that lead to autism.

Genetic factors seem to be important. For example, identical twins are much more likely than fraternal twins or siblings to both have autism. Similarly, language abnormalities are more common in relatives of autistic children. Chromosomal abnormalities and other neurological problems are also more common in families with autism.

A number of other possible causes have been suspected, but not proven. They involve digestive tract changes, diet, mercury poisoning, vaccine sensitivity, and the body’s inefficient use of vitamins and minerals.

The exact number of children with autism is not known. A report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that autism and related disorders are more common than previously thought, although it is unclear if this is due to an increasing rate of the illness or an increased ability to diagnose the illness.

Autism affects boys 3 to 4 times more often than girls. Family income, education, and lifestyle do not seem to affect the risk of autism.

Some parents have heard that the MMR vaccine that children receive may cause autism. This theory was based, in part, on two facts. First, the incidence of autism has increased steadily since around the same time the MMR vaccine was introduced. Second, children with the regressive form of autism (a type of autism that develops after a period of normal development) tend to start to show symptoms around the time the MMR vaccine is given. This is likely a coincidence due to the age of children at the time they receive this vaccine.

Several major studies have found NO connection between the vaccine and autism, however. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention report that there is no proven link between autism and the MMR vaccine.

Some doctors attribute the increased incidence in autism to newer definitions of autism. The term “autism” now includes a wider spectrum of children. For example, a child who is diagnosed with high-functioning autism today may have been thought to simply be odd or strange 30 years ago.

Screening & Diagnosis:

:All children should have routine developmental exams by their pediatrician. Further testing may be needed if there is concern on the part of the clinician or the parents. This is particularly true whenever a child fails to meet any of the following language milestones:

* Babbling by 12 months
* Gesturing (pointing, waving bye-bye) by 12 months
* Single words by 16 months
* Two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months (not just echoing)
* Loss of any language or social skills at any age.

These children might receive a hearing evaluation, a blood lead test, and a screening test for autism (such as the Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (CHAT) or the Autism Screening Questionnaire).

A health care provider experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of autism is usually necessary for the actual diagnosis. Because there is no biological test for autism, the diagnosis will often be based on very specific criteria laid out in a book called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV.

The other pervasive developmental disorders include:

* Asperger syndrome (like autism, but with normal language development)
* Rett syndrome (very different from autism, and only occurs in females)
* Childhood disintegrative disorder (rare condition where a child acquires skills, then loses them by age 10)
* Pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), also called atypical autism.

An evaluation of autism will often include a complete physical and neurologic examination. It may also include a specific diagnostic screening tool, such as:

* Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R)
* Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS)
* Childhood Autism rating Scale (CARS)
* Gilliam Autism Rating Scale
* Pervasive Developmental Disorders Screening Test-Stage 3

Children with known or suspected autism will often have genetic testing (looking for chromosome abnormalities) and perhaps metabolic testing.

Autism encompasses a broad spectrum of symptoms. Therefore, a single, brief evaluation cannot predict a child’s true abilities. Ideally, a team of different specialists will evaluate the child. They might evaluate speech, language, communication, thinking abilities, motor skills, success at school, and other factors.

Underdiagnosis and overdiagnosis are problems in marginal cases, and much of the recent increase in the number of reported ASD cases is likely due to changes in diagnostic practices. The increasing popularity of drug treatment options and the expansion of benefits has given providers incentives to diagnose ASD, resulting in some overdiagnosis of children with uncertain symptoms. Conversely, the cost of screening and diagnosis and the challenge of obtaining payment can inhibit or delay diagnosis. It is particularly hard to diagnose autism among the visually impaired, partly because some of its diagnostic criteria depend on vision, and partly because autistic symptoms overlap with those of common blindness syndromes.

The symptoms of autism and ASD begin early in childhood but are occasionally missed. Adults may seek retrospective diagnoses to help them or their friends and family understand themselves, to help their employers make adjustments, or in some locations to claim disability living allowances or other benefits.

Sometimes people are reluctant to have a child diagnosed because of concerns about labeling the child. However, failure to make a diagnosis can lead to failure to get the treatment and services the child needs.
Treatment

An early, intensive, appropriate treatment program will greatly improve the outlook for most young children with autism. Most programs will build on the interests of the child in a highly structured schedule of constructive activities. Visual aids are often helpful.

Treatment is most successful when geared toward the child’s particular needs. An experienced specialist or team should design the individualized program. A variety of effective therapies are available, including applied behavior analysis (ABA), speech-language therapy, medications, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Sensory integration and vision therapy are also common, but there is little research supporting their effectiveness. The best treatment plan may use a combination of techniques.

APPLIED BEHAVIORAL ANALYSIS (ABA)

This program is for younger children with an autism spectrum disorder. It highly effective in many cases. ABA uses a one-on-one teaching approach that relies on reinforced practice of various skills. The goal is to get the child close to typical developmental functioning.

ABA programs are usually conducted within a child’s home, under the supervision of a behavioral psychologist. Unfortunately, these programs can be very expensive and have not been widely adopted by school systems. Parents often must seek funding and staffing from other sources, which can be hard to find in many communities.

TEACCH

Another program is called the Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH). TEACCH, developed as a statewide program in North Carolina, uses picture schedules and other visual cues. These help the child work independently and to organize and structure their environments. Though TEACCH tries to enhance a child’s adaptation and skills, there is also an acceptance of the deficits associated with autism spectrum disorders. In contrast to ABA programs, TEACCH programs do not anticipate that children will achieve typical developmental progress in response to the treatment.

MEDICINE

Medicines are often used to treat behavior or emotional problems that people with autism may have. These include hyperactivity, impulsiveness, attention problems, irritability, mood swings, outbursts, tantrums, aggression, extreme compulsions that the child finds it impossible to suppress, sleep difficulty, and anxiety. Currently, only risperidone is approved for treatment of children ages 5-16 with irritability and aggression associated with autism.

DIET

Some children with autism appear to respond to a gluten-free or a casein-free diet. Gluten is found in foods containing wheat, rye, and barley. Casein is found in milk, cheese, and other dairy products. Not all experts agree that dietary changes will make a difference, and not all reports studying this method have shown positive results.

If considering these or other dietary changes, seek guidance from both a gastroenterologist (doctor who specializes in the digestive system) and a registered dietitian. You want to be sure that the child is still receiving adequate calories, nutrients, and a balanced diet.

OTHER APPROACHES

Beware that there are widely publicized treatments for autism that do not have scientific support, and reports of “miracle cures” that do not live up to expectations. If your child has autism, it may be helpful to talk with other parents of children with autism, talk with autism specialists, and follow the progress of research in this area, which is rapidly developing.

At one time, there was enormous excitement about using secretin infusions. Now, after many studies have been conducted in many laboratories, it’s possible that secretin is not effective after all, but research is ongoing.

Support Groups
For organizations that can provide additional information and help on autism, see autism resources.

Prognosis:
There is no cure. Children recover occasionally, sometimes after intensive treatment and sometimes not; it is not known how often this happens. Most children with autism lack social support, meaningful relationships, future employment opportunities or self-determination. Although core difficulties remain, symptoms often become less severe in later childhood. Few high-quality studies address long-term prognosis. Some adults show modest improvement in communication skills, but a few decline; no study has focused on autism after midlife. Acquiring language before age six, having IQ above 50, and having a marketable skill all predict better outcomes; independent living is unlikely with severe autism. A 2004 British study of 68 adults who were diagnosed before 1980 as autistic children with IQ above 50 found that 12% achieved a high level of independence as adults, 10% had some friends and were generally in work but required some support, 19% had some independence but were generally living at home and needed considerable support and supervision in daily living, 46% needed specialist residential provision from facilities specializing in ASD with a high level of support and very limited autonomy, and 12% needed high-level hospital care. A 2005 Swedish study of 78 adults that did not exclude low IQ found worse prognosis; for example, only 4% achieved independence. A 2008 Canadian study of 48 young adults diagnosed with ASD as preschoolers found outcomes ranging through poor (46%), fair (32%), good (17%), and very good (4%); only 56% had ever been employed, most in volunteer, sheltered or part time work. Changes in diagnostic practice and increased availability of effective early intervention make it unclear whether these findings can be generalized to recently diagnosed children.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism

http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/autism/overview.html

http://www.lipsychiatric.com/common-disorders.asp#aut

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Exercise ‘to Cut Cancer Death Risk’

You can cut your cancer death risk with just 30 minutes of walking daily, for a new study has revealed that physically fit people are less likely to die from the disease.

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Researchers at Karolinska Institute in Sweden have found that people who do at least half-an-hour of exercise everyday have a 34 per cent lower chance of being killed by cancer than those who do not.

“The study shows, for the first time, the effect that very simple and basic daily exercise such as walking or cycling has in reducing cancer death risk in middle-aged and elderly men,” lead researcher Prof Alicja Wolk said.

They monitored the health and exercise levels of over 40,000 men, aged between 45 and 79, for seven years to reach the conclusion, the British Journal of Cancer has reported.

During that time, 3,714 of the participants developed cancer and 1,153 died from their disease. The findings showed that exercise had a significant influence on cancer survival and a smaller impact on incidence.

In fact, men who walked or cycled at least 30 minutes a day were 34 per cent less likely to die from cancer than men who exercised less or not at all. The same activities led to only a five per cent reduction in cancer rates, a result which could be due to chance.

However, a more intensive programme of walking and cycling for between an hour and an hour-and-a-half a day was associated with a 16 per cent lower cancer incidence, the study found.

“This study gives us a clear indication that men who exercise are less likely to die from cancer,” The Daily Telegraph quoted Dr Lesley Walker of Cancer Research UK, which publishes the journal, as saying.

You may click to see:->Green Way

Sources: The Times Of India

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Definition:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD, is one of the most common mental disorders that develop in children. Children with ADHD have impaired functioning in multiple settings, including home, school, and in relationships with peers. If untreated, the disorder can have long-term adverse effects into adolescence and adulthood.

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It is a neurobehavioral developmental disorder affecting about 3-5% of the world’s population under the age of 19. It typically presents itself during childhood, and is characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity, as well as forgetfulness, poor impulse control or impulsivity, and distractibility. ADHD is currently considered to be a persistent and chronic condition for which no medical cure is available, although medication can be prescribed. ADHD is most commonly diagnosed in children and, over the past decade, has been increasingly diagnosed in adults. About 60% of children diagnosed with ADHD retain the condition as adults. It appears to be highly heritable, although one-fifth of all cases are estimated to be caused from trauma or toxic exposure. Methods of treatment usually involve some combination of medications, behavior modifications, life style changes, and counseling.

The scientific consensus in the field, and the consensus of the national health institutes of the world, is that ADHD is a disorder which impairs functioning, and that many adverse life outcomes are associated with ADHD. It has been frequently said by a minority of news sources, social critics, certain religions, and individual medical professionals, to be a controversial disorder. These criticisms fall outside of majority or minority viewpoint and question its causes, its treatment, and even the existence of ADHD.

Classification:
ADHD is a developmental disorder, in that, in the diagnosed population, certain traits such as impulse control significantly lag in development when compared to the general population. Using magnetic resonance imaging, this developmental lag has been estimated to range between 3 years, to 5 years in the prefrontal cortex of those with ADHD patients in comparison to their peers; consequently these delayed attributes are considered an impairment. ADHD has also been classified as a behavior disorder and a neurological disorder or combinations of these classifications such as neurobehavioral or neurodevelopmental disorders.
Three forms of ADHD are thought to exist, ADHD-PI or ADHD Primarily Inattentive (previously known as ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder), ADHD-PH/I or ADHD Primarily Hyperactive/Impulsive, and ADHD-C or combined type. The majority of studies have looked at ADHD-C, with much less work done on ADHD-PI. To determine or rule out ADHD information from several key sources is required.


Symptoms:

The most common symptoms of ADHD are distractibility, difficulty with concentration and focus, short term memory loss, procrastination, problems organizing ideas and belongings, tardiness, impulsivity, and weak planning and execution. Not all people with ADHD have all the symptoms. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders categorises the symptoms of ADHD into two clusters: Inattention symptoms and Hyperactivity/Impulsivity symptoms. Most ordinary people exhibit some of these behaviors but not to the point where they seriously interfere with the person’s work, relationships, or studies or cause anxiety or depression. Children do not often have to deal with deadlines, organization issues, and long term planning so these types of symptoms often become evident only during adolescence or adulthood when life demands become greater.

Symptoms of ADHD will appear over the course of many months, and include:

* Impulsiveness: a child who acts quickly without thinking first
* Hyperactivity: a child who can’t sit still, walks, runs, or climbs around when others are seated, talks when others are talking.
* Inattention: a child who daydreams or seems to be in another world, is sidetracked by what is going on around him or her.

Causes:-
According to a majority of medical research in the United States, as well as other countries, ADHD is today generally regarded as a chronic disorder for which there are some effective treatments, but no true cure. Evidence suggests that hyperactivity has a strong heritable component, and in all probability ADHD is a heterogeneous disorder, meaning that several causes could create very similar symptomology. Candidate genes include dopamine transporter (DAT), dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4), dopamine beta-hydroxylase (DBH), monoamine oxidase A (MAOA), catecholamine-methyl transferase (COMT), serotonin transporter promoter (SLC6A4), 5-hydroxytryptamine 2A receptor (5-HT2A), and 5-hydroxytryptamine 1B receptor (5-HT1B). Researchers believe that a large majority of ADHD arises from a combination of various genes, many of which affect dopamine transporters. Suspect genes include the 10-repeat allele of the DAT1 gene, the 7-repeat allele of the DRD4 gene, and the dopamine beta hydroxylase gene (DBH TaqI).

Genome wide surveys have shown linkage between ADHD and loci on chromosomes 7, 11, 12, 15, 16, and 17. If anything, the broad selection of targets indicates the likelihood that ADHD does not follow the traditional model of a “genetic disease” and is better viewed as a complex interaction among genetic and environmental factors. As the authors of a review of the question have noted, “Although several genome-wide searches have identified chromosomal regions that are predicted to contain genes that contribute to ADHD susceptibility, to date no single gene with a major contribution to ADHD has been identified.”

Studies show that there is a familial transmission of the disorder which does not occur through adoptive relationships.[8] Twin studies indicate that the disorder is highly heritable and that genetics contribute about three quarters of the total ADHD population.[8] While the majority of ADHD is believed to be genetic in nature,[8] roughly one-fifth of all ADHD cases are thought to be acquired after conception due to brain injury caused by either toxins or physical trauma prenatally or postnatally.

Additionally, SPECT scans found people with ADHD to have reduced blood circulation, and a significantly higher concentration of dopamine transporters in the striatum which is in charge of planning ahead. Medications focused on treating A.D.H.D.(such as methylphenidate) work because they force blood to flow in certain areas of the brain, those that control and regulate concentration, which usually don’t receive a normal or sufficient amount blood flow or circulation in the brains of A.D.H.D. en companying individuals. A study by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory in collaboration with Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York suggest that it is not the dopamine transporter levels that indicate ADHD, but the brain’s ability to produce dopamine itself. The study was done by injecting 20 ADHD subjects and 25 control subjects with a radiotracer that attaches itself to dopamine transporters. The study found that it was not the transporter levels that indicated ADHD, but the dopamine itself. ADHD subjects showed lower levels of dopamine across the board. They speculated that since ADHD subjects had lower levels of dopamine to begin with, the number of transporters in the brain was not the telling factor. In support of this notion, plasma homovanillic acid, an index of dopamine levels, was found to be inversely related not only to childhood ADHD symptoms in adult psychiatric patients, but to “childhood learning problems” in healthy subjects as well.

Although there is evidence for dopamine abnormalities in ADHD, it is not clear whether abnormalities of the dopamine system are the molecular abnormality of ADHD or a secondary consequence of a problem elsewhere. Researchers have described a form of ADHD in which the abnormality appears to be sensory overstimulation resulting from a disorder of ion channels in the peripheral nervous system.

An early PET scan study found that global cerebral glucose metabolism was 8.1% lower in medication-naive adults who had been diagnosed as ADHD while children. The image on the left illustrates glucose metabolism in the brain of a ‘normal’ adult while doing an assigned auditory attention task; the image on the right illustrates the areas of activity in the brain of an adult who had been diagnosed with ADHD as a child when given that same task; these are not pictures of individual brains, which would contain substantial overlap, these are images constructed to illustrate group-level differences. Additionally, the regions with the greatest deficit of activity in the ADHD patients (relative to the controls) included the premotor cortex and the superior prefrontal cortex.[24] A second study in adolescents failed to find statistically significant differences in global glucose metabolism between ADHD patients and controls, but did find statistically significant deficits in 6 specific regions of the brains of the ADHD patients (relative to the controls). Most notably, lower metabolic activity in one specific region of the left anterior frontal lobe was significantly inversely correlated with symptom severity.[25] These findings strongly imply that lowered activity in specific regions of the brain, rather than a broad global deficit, is involved in ADHD symptoms. However, these readings are of subjects doing an assigned task. They could be found in ADHD diagnosed patients because they simply were not attending to the task. Hence the parts of the brain used by others doing the task would not show equal activity in the ADHD patients.[citation needed]

The estimated contribution of non genetic factors to the contribution of all cases of ADHD is 20 percent.[26] The environmental factors implicated are common exposures and include alcohol, in utero tobacco smoke and lead exposure. Lead concentration below the Center for Disease Control’s action level account for slightly more cases of ADHD than tobacco smoke (290 000 versus 270 000, in the USA, ages 4 to 15). Complications during pregnancy and birth—including premature birth—might also play a role. It has been observed that women who smoke while pregnant are more likely to have children with ADHD. This could be related to the fact that nicotine is known to cause hypoxia (lack of oxygen) in utero, but it could also be that ADHD women have more probabilities to smoke both in general and during pregnancy, being more likely to have children with ADHD due to genetic factors.

Head injuries can cause a person to present ADHD-like symptoms, possibly because of damage done to the patient’s frontal lobes. Because these types of symptoms can be attributable to brain damage, one earlier designation for ADHD was “Minimal Brain Damage”.

There is no compelling evidence that social factors alone can create ADHD. Many researchers believe that attachments and relationships with caregivers and other features of a child’s environment have profound effects on attentional and self-regulatory capacities. It is noteworthy that a study of foster children found that an inordinate number of them had symptoms closely resembling ADHD. An editorial in a special edition of Clinical Psychology in 2004 stated that “our impression from spending time with young people, their families and indeed colleagues from other disciplines is that a medical diagnosis and medication is not enough. In our clinical experience, without exception, we are finding that the same conduct typically labelled ADHD is shown by children in the context of violence and abuse, impaired parental attachments and other experiences of emotional trauma.” Furthermore, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can result in attention problems that can look like ADHD, as can Sensory Integration Disorders.

It is believed that there are several different causes of ADHD. Roughly 80 percent of ADHD is considered genetic in nature and the estimated contribution of non genetic factors to the contribution of all cases of ADHD is believed to be 20 percent.. Environmental agents also cause ADHD. These agents, such as alcohol, tobacco, and lead, are believed to stress babies prenatally and cause ADHD. Studies have found that malnutrition is also correlated with attention deficits. Diet seems to cause ADHD symptoms or make them worse. Many studies point to synthetic preservatives and artificial coloring agents aggravating ADD & ADHD symptoms in those affected. Older studies were inconclusive quite possibly due to inadequate clinical methods of measuring offending behavior. Parental reports were more accurate indicators of the presence of additives than clinical tests. Several major studies show academic performance increased and disciplinary problems decreased in large non-ADD student populations when artificial ingredients, including artificial colors were eliminated from school food programs.. Professor John Warner stated, “significant changes in children’s hyperactive behaviour could be produced by the removal of artificial colourings and sodium benzoate from their diet.” and “you could halve the number of kids suffering the worst behavioural problems by cutting out additives”.

In 1982, the NIH had determined, based on research available at that time, that roughly 5% of children with ADHD could be helped significantly by removing additives from their diet. The vast majority of these children were believed to have food allergies. More recent studies have shown that approximately 60-70% of children with and without allergies improve when additives are removed from their diet,[40] that up to almost 90% of them react when an appropriate amount of additive is used as a challenge in double blind tests,and that food additives may elicit hyperactive behavior and/or irritability in normal children as well.

Diagnosis:
If ADHD is suspected, the diagnosis should be made by a professional with training in ADHD. After ruling out other possible reasons for the child’s behavior, the specialist checks the child’s school and medical records and talks to teachers and parents who have filled out a behavior rating scale for the child. A diagnosis is made only after all this information has been considered.

Many of the symptoms of ADHD occur from time to time in everyone. In those with ADHD the frequency of these symptoms occurs frequently and impairs regular life functioning typically at school or at work. Not only will they perform poorly in task oriented settings but they will also have difficulty with social functioning with their peers. No objective physical test exists to diagnose ADHD in a patient. As with many other psychiatric and medical disorders, the formal diagnosis is made by a qualified professional in the field based on a set number of criteria. In the USA these critera are laid down by the American Psychiatric Association in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), 4th edition. Based on the DSM-IV criteria listed below, three types of ADHD are classified:

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1. ADHD, Combined Type: if both criteria 1A and 1B are met for the past 6 months
2. ADHD Predominantly Inattentive Type: if criterion 1A is met but criterion 1B is not met for the past six months
3. ADHD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: if Criterion 1B is met but Criterion 1A is not met for the past six months.

The terminology of ADD expired with the revision of the most current version of the DSM. Consequently, ADHD is the current nomenclature used to describe the disorder as one distinct disorder which can manifest itself as being a primary deficit resulting in hyperactivity/impulsivity (ADHD, predominately hyperactive-impulsive type) or inattention (ADHD predominately inattentive type) or both (ADHD combined type).

Treatment:
Effective treatments for ADHD are available, and include behavioral therapy and medications.
Singularly, stimulant medication is the most efficient and cost effective method of treating ADHD. Over 200 controlled studies have shown that stimulant medication is an effective way to treat ADHD. Methods of treatment usually involve some combination of medications, behaviour modifications, life style changes, and counseling. Behavioral Parent Training, behavior therapy aimed at parents to help them understand ADHD, has also shown short term benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids, phosphatidylserine, zinc and magnesium may have benefits with regard to ADHD symptoms.

Comorbid disorders or substance abuse can make finding the proper diagnosis and the right overall treatment more costly and time-consuming. Psychosocial therapy is useful in treating some comorbid conditions.

ADHD Medications:

Another part of the treatment program often involves the prescribed use of certain medications. Parents sometimes worry about their children having to rely on medication. But it’s more important to realize that these can help the ADHD child function at his best, and will consequently help him avoid even greater problems.

Parents should expect to receive detailed information about any prescribed medication from their health professional, including the possible side-effects. This information should then be shared with everyone entrusted with the child’s care. Let’s now look at the most common of ADHD medication.

Methylphenidate

The most commonly prescribed ADHD medication is Methylphenidate. This medication is in fact a stimulant, which interestingly in ADHD children often has the reverse effect of calming them down.

Methylphenidate, also known as Ritalin, is commonly taken in pill form. It takes effect quickly, and lasts three to four hours. The child’s prescribed dosage needs to be administered by an informed adult, two or three times a day, depending on the child’s age – usually in the morning before school, and at lunchtime. Methylphenidate is now also available in a single dose, long acting forms. Dextroamphetamine is another medication used to treat ADHD.

Before medication therapy begins, the diagnosis should be well established, and individualized behaviour and educations plans should be in place. In the absence of these other forms of treatment, drug therapy alone is ineffective.

What about “drug holidays”?

In the past, children being treated for ADHD were sometimes given an extended break from taking medication – usually during the summer months when not in school – to minimize potential side effects. But today, most physicians suggest that current ADHD medication therapy can be safely followed year-round, and can continue to be very helpful outside of school as well. The benefits offered by modern ADHD medications as part of a greater treatment plan, usually outweigh the minimized potential for adverse side effects.

What about alternative treatments?

Alternative treatments for the child’s ADHD may be suggested to you, but it’s important to realize there is no significant scientific evidence that any are effective. Some of these controversial treatments include: biofeedback, mega-vitamin and mineral supplements, anti-motion sickness medication, and optometric exercises. Again, none of these approaches have ever been scientifically proven to have any significant effect on ADHD, so they should probably not be relied on.

The need for on-going monitoring

Whatever treatment strategies are undertaken, the child’s condition needs to be regularly monitored by a health professional. It is especially important to check for side-effects; confirm the on-going effectiveness of the program; and if necessary, make adjustments to the treatment plan.

Prognosis:
The diagnosis of ADHD implies an impairment in life functioning. Many adverse life outcomes are associated with ADHD.

During the elementary years, an ADHD student will have more difficulties with work completion, productivity, planning, remembering things needed for school, and meeting deadlines. Oppositional and socially aggressive behavior is seen in 40-70% of children at this age. Even ADHD kids with average to above average intelligence show “chronic and severe under achievement”. Fully 46% of those with ADHD have been suspended and 11% expelled. 37% of those with ADHD do not get a high school diploma even though many of them will receive special education services. The combined outcomes of the expulsion and dropout rates indicate that almost half of all ADHD students never finish highschool.Only 5% of those with ADHD will get a college degree compared to 27% of the general population. (US Census, 2003)

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attention-deficit_hyperactivity_disorder

http://www.lipsychiatric.com/common-disorders.asp#adhd

http://www.drpaul.com/behaviour/adhdmedi.html

Piercing Can Cause Dental Hazards

Body piercing, especially to the lips and tongue, can cause serious dental complications, according to research conducted by the University of Tel Aviv.

You may click to see the pictures

 

In the study of 400 consecutive patients, who were aged 20 years on average, every fourth person with a piercing in the tongue or lips revealed symptoms such as gum bleeding.

Some 13.9 per cent had broken teeth or other dental complications, the study found.

Dental professionals were warned of the increasing number of patients with oral piercing and to provide appropriate guidance to patients regarding the health risks.

Sources:The Times Of India

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Advancing Towards Baby Making

DNA fingerprinting will revolutionise the practice of IVF and eliminate multiple pregnancies.

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Given a choice, Gita Kapoor, a 37-year-old banker in Bangalore, would have preferred just one child. She and her software engineer husband knew that with their busy work schedules raising even one child wouldn’t be an easy job. Two years ago, they opted for in vitro fertilisation (IVF) at a fertility clinic in their city. Today the Kapoors are proud parents of a pair of chubby twins — a boy and a girl.

It isn’t that the Kapoors are not happy to have more than one child. But they have two children not by choice but because of an inherent shortcoming in the assisted reproduction technique they opted for.

“So far there is no technique available to choose a single, viable embryo for implantation,” says Dr Trichnopoly Chelvaraj Anand Kumar, a veteran andrologist in Bangalore.

As a result, fertility doctors normally implant more than one embryo to increase the chances of pregnancy. “With a single embryo, the success rate of IVF is about 30 to 35 per cent. It goes up to 45 per cent with two embryos,” says Dr Indira Hinduja, who is the first Indian doctor to have produced a test tube baby in India in the 1980s.

There are a number of problems associated with multiple pregnancies. Often, babies born in a multiple birth are premature, have low birth weight and are prone to infections. Also, their mortality rate is slightly on the higher side, notes Dr Hinduja.

But thanks to a team of medical researchers in Australia and Greece, doctors may soon be able to find a way of successfully employing genetic screening to identify embryos that can lead to healthy babies.

In a paper reported in the latest issue of the journal Human Reproduction, the researchers say that DNA fingerprinting, a technique more commonly used in forensic applications and in resolving parenthood controversies, can be a useful tool in fertility clinics. The technique can help pinpoint a handful of genes that can help spot a better embryo that would lead to a successful pregnancy, says Gayle Jones, a researcher at Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories, Monash University, Australia.

When a couple attends a fertility clinic for IVF, eggs from the woman are fertilised with sperm from the man and the fertilised eggs are allowed to develop in the laboratory until they reach what doctors call the blastocyst phase, or the early stages of embryo formation. This normally takes about five days.

One of the difficult decisions, even for a better-trained fertility expert, is to decide which fertilised egg is to be chosen. With little help from technology to distinguish a viable blastocyst from a non-viable one, they often resort to implanting more than one to increase the chances. This often leads to multiple pregnancy.

But this need not be the case anymore, say researchers at Monash University and the Centre for Human Reproduction at Genesis Athens Hospital in Greece.

For their study, the scientists removed a few cells each from the outermost layer of the resulting blastocysts of 48 women who attended the clinic for IVF treatment.

Of the 48 women, 25 became pregnant, leading to the delivery of 37 babies. Once the babies were born, blood from the umbilical cords or swabs of cheek cells was collected. Subsequently, the scientists used DNA fingerprinting to see which genes were common to the material collected after delivery as well as the blastocyst biopsy.

“By analysing these genes, we have been able to identify those that are key to the processes involved in embryo implantation,” Jones told KnowHow.

Though it is too early, she thinks that they would be in a position to refine the gene set further to a smaller number of genes that are more highly predictive of a viable blastocyst. “The ability to select a single, most viable embryo from a cohort available for transfer will revolutionise the practice of IVF, not only improving pregnancy rates but also eliminating multiple pregnancies and the attendant complications,” Jones said.

The Monash University researchers hope that the technique would be available for clinical use within a couple of years if they achieve further success.

IVF being the most common and cheapest of all assisted reproductive methods in use, such improvements in its success rate will be a boon to a large number of infertile couples, says Dr Kumar.

Sources:The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Games the Aids Virus Plays

The AIDS virus has changed its path to target cells in Westerners but not in Indians because of a high level of pre-existing infections.

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The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), discovered 25 years ago, has emerged as the most intensely investigated virus in all of human history. Despite this, it remains a biological mystery. One unsolved riddle had been a change in the molecular address —– the gateway –– that HIV uses to enter its target cells in the human body. The change is widely seen in the West, but almost never in India.

Now a team of biologists in New Delhi and Chandigarh has come up with a possible explanation for why this switch in the gateway isn’t observed in Indians: high levels of background infections. Their study has provided fresh insights into the evolutionary tricks that HIV has acquired to continue multiplying in an infected person, while constantly evading destruction.

“This is primarily an exploration of the basic biology of HIV, but it could also have ramifications for future strategies to treat infected people,” said Shahid Jameel, the head of Virology at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi, who led the study. The findings have just been published in the Journal of Clinical Virology.

The virus uses two key protein molecules to enter its target human T-cells — the main CD4 receptor protein, and a receptor called CCR5 (or R5). They are found on the surface of some T-cells and serve as molecular gateways required for the virus to slip inside the cells. The infection starts with HIV being capable of using the R5 protein.

Previous studies in Western populations, most of them conducted in the United States, have shown that as the infection progresses over time in an infected person, the virus multiplies and evolves and loses its ability to exploit R5, but begins to use another surface protein called CXCR4, or X4, to invade T-cells.

About half of HIV in late infection among Western populations are viruses that use X4. The switch appears to coincide with the advance of the infection to the full-blown AIDS, the onset of life-threatening infections that mark the end stage of the illness.

But virtually all viruses from Indians and some African populations display no such gateway switch from R5 to X4.

“This switch takes places to maximise the infectivity of HIV,” said Jameel. After the initial infection, HIV has to multiply and infect more T-cells. But not all T-cells have R5 on their surface.

Infections can activate T-cells, triggering the appearance of R5 on them. Most people in India are constantly exposed to a high burden of infections –— viral, bacterial, parasitic –— and thus have a high load of T-cells with the R5 protein to fight off such infections.

“Since there are plenty of cells with the R5 protein in Indian patients, there is no evolutionary pressure on the virus to make the switch towards X4,” Jameel said. His team at the ICGEB and a collaborator, Ajay Wanchu of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, examined the T-cells from 40 HIV positive people who had not started any drug therapy.

The researchers also found that T-cells in infected Indians show less of the R5 protein than in infected Westerners. Viruses that use R5 tend to reduce levels of R5 protein in infected people, while viruses that use X4 tend to reduce the X4 protein.

“This could be a survival strategy of the virus,” Jameel said.

It might be an adaptation to prevent infection of the same cell with more than one virus which, he said, can be detrimental to the virus.

“Infection by multiple viruses can trigger a death response which no longer supports viral replication,” he explained.

But some researchers believe that results from studies that rely on T-cells from the bloodstream need to be viewed with caution because the infection is actually in the lymphatic system –— such as the lymph nodes. The vast majority of the T-cells are in lymphatic tissues, and not in blood, said Udaykumar Ranga, a virologist at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore.

“The T-cells from blood are not representative of the T-cells in the lymphatic system,” Ranga said. However, most similar studies have used T-cells from blood because it is not ethically possible to get T-cells from the lymphatic system, which would require conducting a biopsy on an infected person’s lymph nodes. “This is a technical limitation of such studies,” Ranga said.

Studies to investigate the switch from the R5 to the X4 receptor are primarily basic research, aimed at exploring how HIV interacts with its human host. But the absence of this switch among Indian patients may have clinical ramifications for future ways of treating HIV infected patients, said Jameel.

A drug that specifically deactivates or blocks the R5 receptor might turn out to be useful in populations where the switch from R5 to X4 does not take place, such as India. “Such a drug could be effectively used in our patients since HIV strains in our population infect exclusively through R5 and not through X4,” Jameel said.

But with HIV, no one is willing to place bets. “It would be interesting to see if the virus switches to X4 or not in patients treated with such a drug,” he said.

Sources:The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)