Monthly Archives: January 2009

Blue Flag

Botanical Name:Iris versicolor
Family:Iridaceae
Common Names:Orris Root, Blue Lily, Iris, Florentine Orris, White Flag Root, Flag Lily, Liver Lily, Poison Flag, Poison Lily, Snake Lily, Water Flag, Wild Iris, Yellow Flag, Yellow Iris, Dragon Flower, Myrtle Flower, Fliggers, Flaggon, Sheggs, Segg, Daggers, Jacob’s Sword, Gladyne, Fleur-de-lis
Parts Used: Rhizome & Root
Habitat:Native to North America, blue flag also grows throughout the British Isles. It prefers damp and marshy areas in the wild, but it is often cultivated as a garden plant.

Description:
A perennial herb, it grows to about three feet with erect stems, sword-shaped leaves, and two to three resplendent blue to violet, iris-like flowers per stem. The flower petals are long with a pleasant aroma. The fruit is a large capsule with a number of sections in which the brown seeds are lined up like a roll of coins. The rhizome is thick and short and unearthed in autumn.

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Stems grow in clusters from the base, usually single or double-branched, and can be from less than a foot tall to over 3 feet. Leaves are sword-like or blade-like. Flowers are on an elongated stem that usually rises above the leaves. Six-petaled iris-like flowers (actually 3 petals and 3 sepals) can be bluish-purple to violet in blue flag to white, yellow, or copper-colored in other iris species. Flowers are fragrant. Irises have shallow roots and can spread from the roots.

Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates. These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species.

History:-
Blue flag was a popular medicinal plant with Native Americans, who used it as an emetic, cathartic, and diuretic, to treat wounds and sores, and for colds, earaches, and cholera. The plant was considered helpful in treating liver problems and used for this purpose by the Hudson Bay Cree and the Delaware.

The plant was listed in the US Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1895.

In the Anglo-American Physiomedicalist tradition, it was used as a glandular and liver remedy.

In times past, the chemicals found in the root were inhaled in liquid form to clear the brain of “phlegmatic humours”.

Constituents: Blue flag contains triterpenoids, salicylic and isophthalic acids, a very small amount of volatile oil, starch, resin, an oleo-resin, and tannins.

Medicinal Uses:It is  bile stimulant, diuretic, detoxifies, mild laxative,mild expectorant, relieves nausea and vomiting.
The alkaloids in the rhizome can stimulate heart activity and seem to have a purifying action in the blood, but the rhizome should not be used by the inexperienced.

Blue flag has also been known as the liver lily, because its dried and powdered rhizomes were traditionally believed to be an excellent remedy for impurities of the blood and diseases of the liver. Its many other uses in folk medicine included the treatment of skin diseases, rheumatism, and even syphilis. No one, however, prized blue flag more than American Indians, some of whom regarded it as a virtual panacea. One of their uses for it, not adopted by the white man, was as a poultice for treating sores and bruises. Certain tribes are said to have planted blue flag near their villages to ensure a convenient supply.

Blue flag is currently used mainly to detoxify the body. Blue flag increases urination and bile production, and has a mild laxative effect. This combination of cleansing action makes it a useful herb for chronic skin diseases such as acne and eczema, especially where gallbladder problems or constipation contribute to the condition. Blue flag is also given for biliousness and indigestion. In small doses, blue flag relieves nausea and vomiting. However, in large doses blue flag will itself cause vomiting. The traditional use of blue flag for gland problems persists. Blue flag is also believed by some to aid weight loss.

Doses:Decoction: put 1/2 – 1 teaspoonful of the dried herb into a cup of water and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.
Tincture: take 2 – 4ml of the tincture three times a day.

Other medical uses:
Homeopathy.

Traditional Uses:
The herb is used mainly for disorders of the respiratory system, but homeopathic uses include the thyroid gland and for digestion and headaches.
It increases urination and bile production, as well as being a mild laxative. This combination makes a good cleansing agent, in combination with other herbs, for such chronic skin diseases as acne or eczema, especially where gallbladder problems or constipation contribute to the condition.

In small doses, it relieves nausea and vomiting but in large doses, blue flag will cause vomiting.

It is believed by some to aid in weight loss.

Topically, an infusion of blue flag leaves can be used to treat skin sores and burns.

Cautions:The rhizomes of blue flag can be dangerously toxic, as is indicated by one of its other names, poison flag.
*Excessive doses can cause vomiting.
*Do not take during pregnancy.
*It may cause contact dermatitis in sensitive individuals.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:

http://www.innvista.com/health/herbs/blueflag.htm

http://aquaplant.tamu.edu/database/emergent_plants/blue_flag.htm

http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_blue_flag.htm#blue_flag_parts

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Liver Transplantation

Cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer may en...
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Introduction:Your liver helps fight infections and cleans your blood. It also helps digest food and stores energy for when you need it. You cannot live without a liver that works.

If your liver fails, your doctor may put you on a waiting list for a liver transplant. Doctors do liver transplants when other treatments cannot keep a damaged liver working.
Liver transplantation or hepatic transplantation is the replacement of a diseased liver with a healthy liver allograft. The most commonly used technique is orthotopic transplantation, in which the native liver is removed and the donor organ is placed in the same anatomic location as the original liver. Liver transplantation nowadays is a well accepted treatment option for end-stage liver disease and acute liver failure.

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During a liver transplantation, the surgeon removes the diseased liver and replaces it with a healthy one. Most transplant livers come from a donor who has died. Sometimes a healthy person donates part of his or her liver for a specific patient. In this case the donor is called a living donor. The most common reason for transplantation in adults is cirrhosis. This is a disease in which healthy liver cells are killed and replaced with scar tissue. The most common reason in children is biliary atresia, a disease of the bile ducts.

People who have transplants must take drugs for the rest of their lives to keep their bodies from rejecting their new livers.

Liver transplantation is usually done when other medical treatment cannot keep a damaged liver functioning.

History:-
The first human liver transplant was performed in 1963 by a surgical team led by Dr. Thomas Starzl of Denver, Colorado, United States. Dr. Starzl performed several additional transplants over the next few years before the first short-term success was achieved in 1967 with the first one-year survival posttransplantation. Despite the development of viable surgical techniques, liver transplantation remained experimental through the 1970s, with one year patient survival in the vicinity of 25%. The introduction of cyclosporine by Sir Roy Calne markedly improved patient outcomes, and the 1980s saw recognition of liver transplantation as a standard clinical treatment for both adult and pediatric patients with appropriate indications. Liver transplantation is now performed at over one hundred centres in the USA, as well as numerous centres in Europe and elsewhere. One year patient survival is 80-85%, and outcomes continue to improve, although liver transplantation remains a formidable procedure with frequent complications. Unfortunately, the supply of liver allografts from non-living donors is far short of the number of potential recipients, a reality that has spurred the development of living donor liver transplantation.

Indications:-
Liver transplantation is potentially applicable to any acute or chronic condition resulting in irreversible liver dysfunction, provided that the recipient does not have other conditions that will preclude a successful transplant. Metastatic cancer outside liver, active drug or alcohol abuse and active septic infections are absolute contraindications. While infection with HIV was once considered an absolute contraindication, this has been changing recently. Advanced age and serious heart, pulmonary or other disease may also prevent transplantation (relative contraindications). Most liver transplants are performed for chronic liver diseases that lead to irreversible scarring of the liver, or cirrhosis of the liver.

Techniques
:-
Before transplantation liver support therapy might be indicated (bridging-to-transplantation). Artificial liver support like liver dialysis or bioartificial liver support concepts are currently under preclinical and clinical evaluation. Virtually all liver transplants are done in an orthotopic fashion, that is the native liver is removed and the new liver is placed in the same anatomic location. The transplant operation can be conceptualized as consisting of the hepatectomy (liver removal) phase, the anhepatic (no liver) phase, and the postimplantation phase. The operation is done through a large incision in the upper abdomen. The hepatectomy involves division of all ligamentous attachments to the liver, as well as the common bile duct, hepatic artery, hepatic vein and portal vein. Usually, the retrohepatic portion of the inferior vena cava is removed along with the liver, although an alternative technique preserves the recipient’s vena cava (“piggyback” technique).

The donor’s blood in the liver will be replaced by an ice-cold organ storage solution, such as UW (Viaspan) or HTK until the allograft liver is implanted. Implantation involves anastomoses (connections) of the inferior vena cava, portal vein, and hepatic artery. After blood flow is restored to the new liver, the biliary (bile duct) anastomosis is constructed, either to the recipient’s own bile duct or to the small intestine. The surgery usually takes between five and six hours, but may be longer or shorter due to the difficulty of the operation and the experience of the surgeon.

The large majority of liver transplants use the entire liver from a non-living donor for the transplant, particularly for adult recipients. A major advance in pediatric liver transplantation was the development of reduced size liver transplantation, in which a portion of an adult liver is used for an infant or small child. Further developments in this area included split liver transplantation, in which one liver is used for transplants for two recipients, and living donor liver transplantation, in which a portion of healthy person’s liver is removed and used as the allograft. Living donor liver transplantation for pediatric recipients involves removal of approximately 20% of the liver (Couinaud segments 2 and 3).

Immunosuppressive management:-
Like all other allografts, a liver transplant will be rejected by the recipient unless immunosuppressive drugs are used. The immunosuppressive regimens for all solid organ transplants are fairly similar, and a variety of agents are now available. Most liver transplant recipients receive corticosteroids plus a calcinuerin inhibitor such as tacrolimus or Cyclosporin plus a antimetabolite such as Mycophenolate Mofetil.

Liver transplantation is unique in that the risk of chronic rejection also decreases over time, although recipients need to take immunosuppresive medication for the rest of their lives. It is theorized that the liver may play a yet-unknown role in the maturation of certain cells pertaining to the immune system. There is at least one study by Dr. Starzl’s team at the University of Pittsburgh which consisted of bone marrow biopsies taken from such patients which demonstrate genotypic chimerism in the bone marrow of liver transplant recipients.

Results:-
About 80 to 90 percent of people survive liver transplantation. Survival rates have improved over the past several years because of drugs like cyclosporine and tacrolimus that suppress the immune system and keep it from attacking and damaging the new liver.

Prognosis is quite good. However those with certain illnesses may differ.  There is no exact model to predict survival rates however those with transplant have a 58% chance of surviving 15 years.

Living donor transplantation:-
Living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) has emerged in recent decades as a critical surgical option for patients with end stage liver disease, such as cirrhosis and/or hepatocellular carcinoma often attributable to one or more of the following: long-term alcohol abuse, long-term untreated Hepatitis C infection, long-term untreated Hepatitis B infection. The concept of LDLT is based on (1) the remarkable regenerative capacities of the human liver and (2) the widespread shortage of cadaveric livers for patients awaiting transplant. In LDLT, a piece of healthy liver is surgically removed from a living person and transplanted into a recipient, immediately after the recipient’s diseased liver has been entirely removed.

Historically, LDLT began as a means for parents of children with severe liver disease to donate a portion of their healthy liver to replace their child’s entire damaged liver. The first report of successful LDLT was by Dr. Silvano Raia at the Universidade de São Paulo (USP) Medical School in 1986. Surgeons eventually realized that adult-to-adult LDLT was also possible, and now the practice is common in a few reputable medical institutes. It is considered more technically demanding than even standard, cadaveric donor liver transplantation, and also poses the ethical problems underlying the indication of a major surgical operation (hepatectomy) on a healthy human being. In various case series the risk of complications in the donor is around 10%, and very occasionally a second operation is needed. Common problems are biliary fistula, gastric stasis and infections; they are more common after removal of the right lobe of the liver. Death after LDLT has been reported at 0% (Japan), 0.3% (USA) and <1% (Europe), with risks likely to improve further as surgeons gain more experience in this procedure.

In a typical adult recipient LDLT, 55% of the liver (the right lobe) is removed from a healthy living donor. The donor’s liver will regenerate to 100% function within 4-6 weeks and will reach full volumetric size with recapitulation of the normal structure soon thereafter. It may be possible to remove 70% to 75% of the liver from a healthy living donor without harm in most cases. The transplanted portion will reach full function and the appropriate size in the recipient as well, although it will take longer than for the donor.

For More Information:-

American Liver Foundation
75 Maiden Lane, Suite 603
New York, NY 10038
Phone: 1–800–GO–LIVER (465–4837)
Email: info@liverfoundation.org
Internet: www.liverfoundation.org

Hepatitis Foundation International (HFI)
504 Blick Drive
Silver Spring, MD 20904–2901
Phone: 1–800–891–0707 or 301–622–4200
Fax: 301–622–4702
Email: hepfi@hepfi.org
Internet: www.hepfi.org

United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)
P.O. Box 2484
Richmond, VA 23218
Phone: 1–888–894–6361 or 804–782–4800
Internet: www.unos.org

Additional Information on Liver Transplantation :-

The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse collects resource information on digestive diseases for National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Reference Collection. This database provides titles, abstracts, and availability information for health information and health education resources. The NIDDK Reference Collection is a service of the National Institutes of Health.

To provide you with the most up-to-date resources, information specialists at the clearinghouse created an automatic search of the NIDDK Reference Collection. To obtain this information, you may view the results of the automatic search on Liver Transplantation.

If you wish to perform your own search of the database, you may access and search the NIDDK Reference Collection database online.

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
2 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892–3570
Phone: 1–800–891–5389
TTY: 1–866–569–1162
Fax: 703–738–4929
Email: nddic@info.niddk.nih.gov
Internet: www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov

You may click to see->

Recent Developments in Transplantation Medicine

What I need to know about Liver Transplantation

Liver Transplantation at UCLA: One of the largest liver transplant centers in the world

You may click to see the external links:-
*Official organ sharing network of U.S.
*Official organ procurement center of the U.S.
*American Liver Foundation: Comprehensive information about Hepatitis C, Liver Transplant and other liver diseases, including links to chapters for finding local resources
*Management of HBV Infection in Liver Transplantation Patients
*Management of HCV Infection and Liver Transplantation
*Antiviral therapy of HCV in the cirrhotic and transplant candidate
*Living Donors Online
*Liver Transplantation Guide and Liver Transplant Surgery in India
*History of pediatric liver transplantation
*ABC Salutaris: Living Donor Liver Transplant
*Organ Donation Awareness and former potential donor blog
*All You Need to Know about Adult Living Donor Liver Transplantation
*Children’s Liver Disease Foundation
*A Liver Donor’s Blog

Resources:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/livertransplantation.html

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

http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/livertransplant/

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Pancreas Transplant

Definition  :
A pancreas transplant is surgery to implant a healthy pancreas from a donor into a patient with diabetes. Pancreas transplants give the patient a chance to become independent of insulin injections.

click to see the pictures—> (1)…………..(2)….…..

A pancreas transplant is an organ transplant that involves implanting a healthy pancreas (one that can produce insulin) into a person who usually has diabetes. Because the pancreas is a vital organ, performing functions necessary in the digestion process, the recipient’s native pancreas is left in place, and the donated pancreas is attached in a different location. In the event of rejection of the new pancreas which would quickly cause life-threatening diabetes, the recipient could not survive without the native pancreas still in place. The healthy pancreas comes from a donor who has just died or it may be a partial pancreas from a living donor.  Whole pancreas transplants from living donors are not possible, again because the pancreas is a necessary organ for digestion. At present, pancreas transplants are usually performed in persons with insulin-dependent diabetes, who have severe complications that are usually of a renal nature. Patients with pancreatic cancer are not eligible for valuable pancreatic transplantations, since the condition has a very high mortality rate and the disease, being highly malignant, could and probably would soon return.

Description :
The healthy pancreas is obtained from a donor who has suffered brain-death, but remains on life-support. The donor pancreas must meet numerous criteria to make sure it is suitable.

In addition to insulin, the pancreas produces other secretions, such as digestive enzymes, which drain through the pancreatic duct into the duodenum. Therefore, a portion of the duodenum is removed with the donor pancreas. The healthy pancreas is transported in a cooled solution that preserves the organ for up to 20 hours.

The patient’s diseased pancreas is not removed during the operation. The donor pancreas is usually inserted in the right lower portion of the patient’s abdomen and attachments are made to the patient’s blood vessels. The donor duodenum is attached to the patient’s intestine or bladder to drain pancreatic secretions.

The operation is usually done at the same time as a kidney transplant in diabetic patients with kidney disease.

Types:
There are three main types of pancreas transplantation:

*Simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplant (SPK), when the pancreas and kidney are transplanted simultaneously from the same deceased donor.

*Pancreas-after-kidney transplant (PAK), when a cadaveric, or deceased, donor pancreas transplant is performed after a previous, and different, living or deceased donor kidney transplant.

*Pancreas transplant alone, for the patient with type 1 diabetes who usually has severe, frequent hypoglycemia, but adequate kidney function.

Indications:
In most cases, pancreas transplantation is performed on individuals with type 1 diabetes with end-stage renal disease The majority of pancreas transplantations (>90%) are simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplantions.

Why the Procedure is Performed  :
A pancreas transplant may be recommended for people with pancreatic disease, especially if they have type 1 diabetes and poor kidney function.

Pancreas transplant surgery is not recommended for patients who have:

*Heart or lung disease
*Other life-threatening diseases

Solitary pancreas transplant for diabetes, without simultaneous kidney transplant, remains controversial.

Risks Factor:

The risks for any anesthesia are:

*Heart attack
*Reactions to medications
*Problems breathing

The risks for any surgery are:
*Bleeding
*Infection
*Scar formation

The body’s immune system considers the transplanted organ foreign, and fights it accordingly. Thus, to prevent rejection, organ transplant patients must take drugs (such as cyclosporine and corticosteroids) that suppress the immune response of the body. The disadvantage of these drugs is that they weaken the body’s natural defense against various infections.

Preservation until implantation:
The donor’s blood in the pancreatic tissue will be replaced by an ice-cold organ storage solution, such as UW (Viaspan) or HTK until the allograft pancreatic tissue is implanted.

Complications:
Complications immediately after surgery include rejection, thrombosis, pancreatitis and infection.

Prognosis:
The prognosis after pancreas transplantation is very good. Over the recent years, long-term success has improved and risks have decreased. One year after transplantation more than 95% of all patients are still alive and 80-85% of all pancreases are still functional. After transplantation patients need lifelong immunosuppression. Immunosuppression increases the risk for a number of different kinds of infection and cancer.

The main problem, as with other transplants, is graft rejection. Immunosuppressive drugs, which weaken your body’s ability to fight infections, must be taken indefinitely. Normal activities can resume as soon as you are strong enough, and after consulting with the doctor. It is possible to have children after a transplant.

The major problems with all organ transplants are:

*Finding a donor
*Preventing rejection
*Long-term immunosuppression

Recovery :
It usually takes about 3 weeks to recover. Move your legs often to reduce the risk of blood clots or deep vein thrombosis. The sutures or clips are removed about two to three weeks after surgery. Resume normal activity as soon as possible, after consulting with the physician. A diet will be prescribed.

Resources:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003007.htm

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

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Gynecomastia

Definition:

Gynecomastia, or gynaecomastiais the development of abnormally large mammary glands in males resulting in breast enlargement, which can sometimes cause secretion of milk. The term comes from the Greek gyne (stem gynaik-) meaning “woman” and masto meaning “breast”. The condition can occur physiologically in neonates (due to female hormones from the mother; this is called witches’ milk), in adolescence, and in the elderly. In adolescent boys the condition is often a source of distress, but for the large majority of boys whose pubertal gynecomastia is not due to obesity, the breast development shrinks or disappears within a couple of years. The causes of common gynecomastia remain uncertain, although it has generally been attributed to animbalance of sex hormones or the tissue responsiveness to them; a root cause is rarely determined for individual cases.

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Breast prominence can result from hypertrophy of breast tissue, chest adipose tissue and skin, and is typically acombination. Breast prominence due solely to excessive adipose is often termed pseudogynecomastia or sometimes lipomastia.

Gynecomastia should be distinguished from work hypertrophy of the pectoralis muscles caused by much exercise, e.g. swimming,bench press.

Description of Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia is fairly common. It is a physiologic phenomenon that occurs during puberty, when at least half of males experience enlargement of one or both breasts. Pubertal hypertrophy is characterized by a tender discoid enlargement of the breast tissue beneath the areola and usually subsides spontaneously within a year.

Gynecomastia also is common among elderly men, particularly when there is associated weight gain.

This condition is usually temporary and benign. It may be caused by hormonal imbalance, medication with estrogens or steroidal compounds, or failure of the liver to inactivate circulating estrogen, as in alcoholic cirrhosis.

It tends to remit spontaneously but, if marked, may be corrected surgically for cosmetic or psychological reasons.

It can be the first sign of a serious disorder such as a testicular tumor. Medical evaluation is always indicated when breast enlargement occurs.

Less commonly, gynecomastia may be caused by a hormone-secreting tumor of the breast, lung, or other organ. Biopsy may be performed to rule out the presence of cancer.

It is more common, however, in patients with Klinefelter’s syndrome.

Pseudogynecomastia is breast enlargement due to fat accumulation.

Pseudogynecomastia can be distinguished by physical examination. The examiner places the thumb and forefinger at opposite margins of the breast. The fingers are then brought slowly together along the nipple line. Enlarged glandular tissue can be recognized as a rubbery to firm disk of tissue concentric to and beneath the areolar area. The tissue often is freely mobile and may be exquisitely tender to palpation during the acute phase of development of gynecomastia.

Causes

Physiologic gynecomastia (also called Turcios Disease) occurs in neonates, at or before puberty and with aging. Many cases of gynecomastia are idiopathic, meaning they have no clear cause. Potential pathologic causes of gynecomastia are: medications including hormones, increased serum estrogen, decreased testosterone production, androgen receptor defects, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, HIV treatment, and other chronic illness. Gynecomastia as a result of spinal cord injury and refeeding after starvation has been reported. In 25% of cases, the cause of the gynecomastia is not known.

Medications cause 10-20% of cases of gynecomastia in post-adolescent adults. These include cimetidine, omeprazole, spironolactone, imatinib mesylate, finasteride and certain antipsychotics. Some act directly on the breast tissue, while others lead to increased secretion of prolactin from the pituitary by blocking the actions of dopamine (prolactin-inhibiting factor/PIF) on the lactotrope cell groups in the anterior pituitary. Androstenedione, used as a performance enhancing food supplement, can lead to breast enlargement by excess estrogen activity. Medications used in the treatment of prostate cancer such as antiandrogens and GnRH analogs can also cause gynecomastia. Marijuana use is also thought by some to be a possible cause; however, published data is contradictory.

Increased estrogen levels can also occur in certain testicular tumors, and in hyperthyroidism. Certain adrenal tumors cause elevated levels of androstenedione which is converted by the enzyme aromatase into estrone, a form of estrogen. Other tumors that secrete hCG can increase estrogen. A decrease in estrogen clearance can occur in liver disease, and this may be the mechanism of gynecomastia in liver cirrhosis. Obesity tends to increase estrogen levels.

Decreased testosterone production can occur in congenital or acquired testicular failure, for example in genetic disorders such as Klinefelter Syndrome. Diseases of the hypothalamus or pituitary can also lead to low testosterone. Abuse of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) has a similar effect. Mutations to androgen receptors, such as those found in Kennedy disease can also cause gynecomastia.

Although stopping these medications can lead to regression of the gynecomastia, surgery is sometimes necessary to eliminate the condition.

Repeated topical application of products containing lavender and tea tree oils among other unidentified ingredients to three prepubescent males coincided with gynecomastia; it has been theorised that this could be due to their estrogenic and antiandrogenic activity. However, other circumstances around the study are not clear, and the sample size was insignificant so serious scientific conclusions cannot be drawn.

Diagnosis

The condition usually can be diagnosed by examination by a physician. Occasionally, imaging by X-rays or ultrasound is needed to confirm the diagnosis. Blood tests are required to see if there is any underlying disease causing the gynecomastia.

Prognosis
Gynecomastia is not physically harmful, but in some cases can be an indicator of other more dangerous underlying conditions.

Growing glandular tissue, typically from some form of hormonal stimulation, is often tender or painful. Furthermore, it can frequently present social and psychological difficulties for the sufferer. Weight loss can alter the condition in cases where it is triggered by obesity, but losing weight will not reduce the glandular component and patients cannot target areas for weight loss. Massive weight loss can result in sagging tissues about the chest, chest ptosis.

Questions To Ask Your Doctor About Gynecomastia
*Is it gynecomastia or pseudogynecomastia?

*What is the cause?

*Is it a hormonal problem?

*Can you rule out a serious disorder such as testicular or breast cancer?

*Is it related to male hypogonadism or hyperthyroidism?

*Is the gynecomastia drug-related?

*Under what circumstances would surgical correction be indicated?

Treatment

Treating the underlying cause of the gynecomastia may lead to improvement in the condition. Patients should talk with their doctor about revising any medications that are found to be causing gynecomastia; often, an alternative medication can be found that avoids gynecomastia side-effects, while still treating the primary condition for which the original medication was found not to be suitable due to causing gynecomastia side-effects (e.g., in place of taking spironolactone the alternativeeplerenone can be used.) Selective estrogen receptor modulator medications, such as tamoxifen and clomiphene, or androgens or aromatase inhibitors such as Letrozole are medical treatment options, although they are not universally approved for the treatment of gynecomastia. Endocrinological attention may help during the first 2-3 years. After that window, however, the breast tissue tends to remain and harden, leaving surgery (either liposuction, gland excision, skin sculpture, reduction mammoplasty, or a combination of these surgical techniques) the only treatment option. Many American insurance companies deny coverage for surgery for gynecomastia treatment on the grounds that it is a cosmetic procedure. Radiation therapy is sometimes used to prevent gynecomastia in patients with prostate cancer prior to estrogen therapy. Compression garments can camouflage chest deformity and stabilize bouncing tissue bringing emotional relief to some. There are also those who choose to live with the condition

Click to see:->Gynecomastia Treatment Alternatives – What Really Works?

Herbal treatment for Gynecomastia….(1) :…(2)…..(3)

Homeopathic Medication for Gynecomastia.…….(1)….(2)

You may click to see->:Just what is it about moobs?

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/Gynecomastia

http://www.healthscout.com/ency/68/323/main.html

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Kidney Donation is Safe

Kidney location after transplantation.
Image via Wikipedia

People who decide to donate a kidney to their near and dear ones need not fear any long term implications as donation has no negative impact on donor’s general health, say experts. Donors can lead a perfectly normal life and, on the contrary, are benefitted psychologically, having the satisfaction of saving a life, they add. Similar observations have been made by a study done in puerto rico which has been reported in the transplantion proceedings . People with one normal kidney can lead a perfectly nomal life and in fact one in 1,000 people are born with single kidney, Dr. S.   C. Tiwari, professor at the department of nephrology at aiims, said. Hence, mortality for donors is same as for normal people with there being hardly any chance of death because of complications arising out of donation, he said. Tiwari said the institute, where on an average two kidney transplants are performed in a week, did not have a policy of keeping a track of kidney donors.

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However, recipients, who usually come for health follow up regularly, are enquired about the health of donors, generaly related to them. The only difference a donation makes for donors is that their remaining kidney is under more pressure as it has to work for the whole body. thus, donors are asked to live a regulated life and control their diet, blood pressure and physical activity so that work load on kidney does not exceed, Tiwari said. till three months after donation, donors’ single kidney remains hypertrophy, which reflects that it is coping with entire body’s load, and then it adjusts, Tiwari said.

During these three months, the donors are supposed to take special care. One significant outcome of kidney donaiton is that donors have a sense of “eternal satisfaction” for contributing to the life of a relative, he added. The opinion on kidney donation is strengthened by the study, carried out under the puerto rico renal transplant programme, an academic programme based in an affiliated community hospital, in puerto rico.

The study, based on a documentation of the long-term health of live kindney donors, said that in general the health after many years of donation reflects more or less the health of the general population, stressing that kidney donation is a relatively safe procedure with little morbidity and no mortality in the majority of cases. Risk of mortality is estimated to be 0.03 per cent while acute complication rates vary and are relatively low at eight per cent in places with vast experience in living donation, it said. the puerto rico study involved follow up of the health of 20 donors who had donated their kidney 20 years ago or more.

The donors were interviewed and subjected to a complete history and physical examination, including blood pressure and urine analysis, the report said. of the 20 donors, 12 were females and eight males. the donors were in the mean age of 61 years. Significantly all the donors expressed happiness over donation, the report said. in terms of health parameters, the donors had normal urine analyses, excluding one, a 73-year-old woman who had donated kidney to her daughter, who had persence of protein in urine (proteinuria), the report said adding the woman had developed de novo diabetes. Five of the 20 donors developed de novo hypertension at least 10 years after the donation.However, all of them had a strong family history of hypertension, it said. however, donors had elevated levels of creatinin, a product of muscle breakdown, in their serum and lower creatinin clearance by kidneys.

The report said that though it indicated reduced kidney function, the increase in serum creatinin was not significant. Tiwari said that at aiims he had not seen any donor having a creatinin level, which has caused any problem. Dr. D. S. Rana, a nephrologist at the ganga ram hospital, said that creatinin level sometimes increases in marginal donors – donor who are aged (above 65), or have mild hypertension, or have slightly abnormal kidney function. All these are contraindicaitons for kidney donation, but such people are sometimes accepted as donors when no other suitable donor is available, rana said, adding even such donors do not carry any major risk. If raised levels of creatinin are observed, patients are asked to avoid high protein diet, rana said. during the donation surgery also, donors are not at an additional risk. The risks are same as in any other surgery.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Kidney Transplantation

Kidney location after transplantation.
Image via Wikipedia

Alternative Names:Renal transplant; Transplant – kidney

Definition:

A kidney transplant is surgery to place a healthy kidney into a person with kidney failure. Kidney transplantation or renal transplantation is the organ transplant of a kidney in a patient with end-stage renal disease. Kidney transplantation is typically classified as deceased-donor (formerly known as cadaveric) or living-donor transplantation depending on the source of the recipient organ. Living-donor renal transplants are further characterized as genetically related (living-related) or non-related (living-unrelated) transplants, depending on whether a biological relationship exists between the donor and recipient.

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Description :
Kidney transplants are one of the most common transplant operations in the United States.

A donated kidney is needed to perform a kidney transplant.

The donated kidney may be from:

*Living related donor — related to the recipient, such as a parent, sibling, or child
*Living unrelated donor — such as a friend or spouse

Indications:
The indication for kidney transplantation is end-stage renal disease (ESRD), regardless of the primary cause. This is defined as a drop in the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) to 20-25% of normal. Common diseases leading to ESRD include malignant hypertension, infections, diabetes mellitus and glomerulonephritis; genetic causes include polycystic kidney disease as well as a number of inborn errors of metabolism as well as autoimmune conditions including lupus and Goodpasture’s syndrome. Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney transplant, accounting for approximately 25% of those in the US. The majority of renal transplant recipients are on some form of dialysis – hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, or the similar process of hemofiltration – at the time of transplantation. However, individuals with chronic renal failure who have a living donor available often elect to undergo transplantation before dialysis is needed.

Sources of kidneys:
Since medication to prevent rejection is so effective, donors need not be genetically similar to their recipient. Most donated kidneys come from deceased donors, with some coming from living donors. However, the utilization of living donors in the United States is on the rise. In the year 2006, 47% of donated kidneys were actually from living donors (Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, 2007). It is important to note that this varies by country: for example, only 3% of transplanted kidneys during 2006 in Spain came from living donors (Organización Nacional de Transplantes (ONT), 2007).

Living donors:
Potential donors are carefully evaluated on medical and psychological grounds. This ensures that the donor is fit for surgery and has no kidney disease whilst confirming that the donor is purely altruistic. Traditionally, the donor procedure has been through a single, 4-7 inch incision but live donation is being increasingly performed by laparoscopic surgery. This reduces pain and accelerates recovery for the donor. Excellent results have been demonstrated with laparoscopic donor nephrectomy, for both donor and recipient outcomes. Overall, recipients of kidneys from live donors do extremely well, in comparison to deceased donor recipients.

In 2004 the FDA approved the Cedars-Sinai High Dose IVIG therapy which reduces the need for the living donor to be the same blood type (ABO compatible) or even a tissue match. The therapy reduced the incidence of the recipient’s immune system rejecting the donated kidney in highly-sensitized patients

PROCEDURE FOR A LIVING KIDNEY DONOR:-
If you are donating a kidney, you will be placed under general anesthesia before surgery. This means you will be asleep and pain-free. The surgeon makes a cut in the side of your abdomen, removes the proper kidney, and then closes the wound. The procedure used to require a long surgical cut. However, today surgeons can use a short surgical cut (mini-nephrectomy) or laparoscopic techniques.

Deceased donors:-
Deceased donors can be divided in two groups:

Brain-dead (BD) donors
Donation after Cardiac Death (DCD) donors
Although brain-dead (or “heart-beating”) donors are considered dead, the donor’s heart continues to pump and maintain the circulation. This makes it possible for surgeons to start operating while the organs are still being perfused. During the operation, the aorta will be cannulated, after which the donor’s blood will be replaced by an ice-cold storage solution, such as UW (Viaspan), HTK, or Perfadex. [Depending on which organs are transplanted, more than one solution may be used simultaneously.] Due to the temperature of the solution (and since large amounts of cold NaCl-solution are poured over the organs for a rapid cooling of the organs), the heart will stop pumping.

“Donation after Cardiac Death”
donors are patients who do not meet the brain-dead criteria, but due to the small chance of recovery have elected, via a living will or through family, to withdraw support. In this procedure, treatment is discontinued (mechanical ventilation is shut off). Usually, a certain amount of minutes after death has been pronounced, the patient is rushed to the operating theatre, where the organs are recovered, after which the storage solution is flushed through the organs itself. Since the blood is no longer being circulated, coagulation must be prevented with relatively large amounts of anti-coagulation agents, such as heparin. It is important to note that several ethical and procedural guidelines must be followed, chief of which is that the organ recovery team should not participate in the patient’s care in any manner until after death has been declared.

Kidneys from brain-dead donors are generally of a superior quality, since they have not been exposed to warm ischemia (the time between the heart stopping and the kidney being cooled).

Compatibility:
If plasmapheresis or IVIG is not performed, the donor and recipient have to be ABO blood group compatible. Also, they should ideally share as many HLA and “minor antigens” as possible. This decreases the risk of transplant rejection and the need for another transplant. The risk of rejection may be further reduced if the recipient is not already sensitized to potential donor HLA antigens, and if immunosuppressant levels are kept in an appropriate range. In the United States, up to 17% of all deceased donor kidney transplants have no HLA mismatch. However, it is important to note that HLA matching is a relatively minor predictor of transplant outcomes. In fact, living non-related donors are now almost as common as living (genetically)-related donors.

In the 1980s, experimental protocols were developed for ABO-incompatible transplants using increased immunosuppression and plasmapheresis. Through the 1990s these techniques were improved and an important study of long-term outcomes in Japan was published. . Now, a number of programs around the world are routinely performing ABO-incompatible transplants.

In 2004 the FDA approved the Cedars-Sinai High Dose IVIG protocol which eliminates the need for the donor to be the same blood type.

Procedure:
Since in most cases the barely functioning existing kidneys are not removed because this has been shown to increase the rates of surgical morbidities, the kidney is usually placed in a location different from the original kidney (often in the iliac fossa), and as a result it is often necessary to use a different blood supply:

*The renal artery of the kidney, previously branching from the abdominal aorta in the donor, is often connected to the external iliac artery in the recipient.

*The renal vein of the new kidney, previously draining to the inferior vena cava in the donor, is often connected to the external iliac vein in the recipient.

Why the Procedure is Performed :

A kidney transplant may be recommended if you have kidney failure caused by:

*Diabetes
*Glomerulonephritis
*Severe, uncontrollable high blood pressure
*Certain infections

A kidney transplant alone may NOT be recommended if you have:

*Certain infections, such as TB or osteomyelitis
*Difficulty taking medications several times each day for the rest of your life
*Heart, lung, or liver disease
*Other life-threatening diseases

Risks  Factor:

The risks for any anesthesia are:

*Problems breathing
*Reactions to medications

The risks for any surgery are:
*Bleeding
*Infection

Other risks include:
Infection due to medications that suppress the immune response that must be taken to prevent transplant rejections

Post operation:
The transplant surgery lasts about three hours. The donor kidney will be placed in the lower abdomen and its blood vessels connected to arteries and veins in the recipient’s body. When this is complete, blood will be allowed to flow through the kidney again, so the ischemia time is minimized. In most cases, the kidney will soon start producing urine. Since urine is sterile, this has no effect on the operation. The final step is connecting the ureter from the donor kidney to the bladder.

Depending on its quality, the new kidney usually begins functioning immediately. Living donor kidneys normally require 3-5 days to reach normal functioning levels, while cadaveric donations stretch that interval to 7-15 days. Hospital stay is typically for four to seven days. If complications arise, additional medicines may be administered to help the kidney produce urine.

Medicines are used to suppress the immune system from rejecting the donor kidney. These medicines must be taken for the rest of the patient’s life. The most common medication regimen today is : tacrolimus, mycophenolate, and prednisone. Some patients may instead take cyclosporine, rapamycin, or azathioprine. Cyclosporine, considered a breakthrough immunosuppressive when first discovered in the 1980′s, ironically causes nephrotoxicity and can result in iatrogenic damage to the newly transplanted kidney. Blood levels must be monitored closely and if the patient seems to have a declining renal function, a biopsy may be necessary to determine if this is due to rejection or cyclosporine intoxication.

Acute rejection occurs in 10% to 25% of people after transplant during the first sixty days. Rejection does not necessarily mean loss of the organ, but may require additional treatment. [4]

Complications:
Problems after a transplant may include:

*Transplant rejection (hyperacute, acute or chronic)

*Infections and sepsis due to the immunosuppressant drugs that are required to decrease risk of rejection

*Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (a form of lymphoma due to the immune suppressants)

*Imbalances in electrolytes including calcium and phosphate which can lead to bone problems amongst other things

*Other side effects of medications including gastrointestinal inflammation and ulceration of the stomach and esophagus, hirsutism (excessive hair growth in a male-pattern distribution), hair loss, obesity, acne, diabetes mellitus (type 2), hypercholesterolemia, and others.

*The average lifetime for a donor kidney is ten to fifteen years. When a transplant fails a patient may opt for a second transplant, and may have to return to dialysis for some intermediary time.

Prognosis:
Kidney transplantation is a life-extending procedure. The typical patient will live ten to fifteen years longer with a kidney transplant than if kept on dialysis. The years of life gained is greater for younger patients, but even 75 year-old recipients (the oldest group for which there is data) gain an average four more years’ life. People generally have more energy, a less restricted diet, and fewer complications with a kidney transplant than if they stay on conventional dialysis.

Some studies seem to suggest that the longer a patient is on dialysis before the transplant, the less time the kidney will last. It is not clear why this occurs, but it underscores the need for rapid referral to a transplant program. Ideally, a kidney transplant should be pre-emptive, i.e. take place before the patient starts on dialysis.

At least three professional athletes have made a comeback to their sport after receiving a transplant: NBA players Sean Elliott and Alonzo Mourning; and New Zealand rugby union player Jonah Lomu as well as the German-Croatian Soccer Player Ivan Klasni?.

Recovery
The recovery period is 4 – 6 weeks for people who donate a kidney. If you’ve done so, you should avoid heavy activity during this time. Your doctor removes the stitches after a week or so.

If you received a donated kidney, you will need to stay in the hospital for about a week. Afterwards, you will need close follow-up by a doctor and regular blood tests.

Resources:

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

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003005.htm

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Just what is it about moobs?

The number of men having breast reduction operations in the UK is rising dramatically, but is this really the result of the media spotlighting the physical flaws of male celebrities?

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This is an era when glossy magazines and tabloids delight in the most minor flaw of the female celebrity.

The actress with bags under her eyes, the singer with an untrimmed armpit, the model with a sweat patch, all are presented blinking in the paparazzo’s flashbulb as their imperfections are chronicled.

All are highlighted with red circles and magnification. And the same process has been applied to male celebrities in recent years

When both the then Prime Minister Tony Blair and leader of the opposition David Cameron were pictured enjoying the sun in the summer of 2006, newspapers from tabloid to broadsheet passed comment on their “moobs”.

Every man has breast tissue, but some have excessive breasts. This ranges from classical cases of gynaecomastia, prompted by a range of causes, to breasts enlarged entirely by deposits of fat over the pectoral muscles. But whatever the cause British men seem to be increasingly concerned over the state of their chests.

The latest figures from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps) seem to bear out this obsession.

Surgeons carried out 323 male breast reduction procedures in 2008, up a staggering 44% from 2007.

EXCESSIVE MALE BREASTS
*Pubertal gynaecomastia, common in boys, sees breast tissue grow due to hormonal imbalance

*In most boys it disappears by end of puberty

*Breast growth can be side effect of drugs used to suppress prostate cancer

*Can be caused by genetic condition like Klinefelter’s Syndrome

Other causes include:
*Obesity

*Anabolic steroid use

It would be easy to assume that the UK is a nation where men are rapidly becoming more obese, and they are taking a surgical shortcut to get rid of male breasts that are merely deposits of fat on top of their pectoral muscles.

But this is not the full picture says consultant plastic surgeon and Baaps member Dalia Nield.

She concedes that anything up to a third of the men seeking breast reductions are simply obese. But she says the rest of the rising numbers of operations are people who are suffering gynaecomastia – excessive breasts – caused by other factors, such as a hormonal imbalance.

Among these, a common type is pubertal gynaecomastia, where boys develop the excessive breast tissue during adolescence.

Many of those young men if they don’t have a very marked gynaecomastia they don’t necessarily seek help,” says Ms Nield. “But I see many of these pubertal cases later in life when they put on weight and it becomes more obvious.”

Genetic disorders like Klinefelter’s Syndrome – having an extra “X” chromosome – also account for some cases, and there are a rising number of men suffering from excessive breast tissue as a side effect of drugs prescribed for prostate cancer. Treatment of this type of cancer has improved in recent years, says Mrs Nield, leading to more cases.

But how can one explain the dramatic upwards trajectory for male breast reduction procedures? In 2005, only 22 were performed.

‘Tremendous distress’

Mrs Nield suggests that much of the increase may be due to the media publicising the surgery option.

Many of those pieces mocking the imperfections of the middle-aged celebrity also contain a factbox that talks about non-obesity gynaecomastia and explains that surgery is an option.

MOOBS: THE ETYMOLOGY
*Portmanteau word of “man” and “boobs”

*First reference in UK newspaper in June 2004

*Satirical website manboobs.co.uk domain name registered in January 2003

*Term assumed to be of US origin

The effect, Mrs Nield suggests, is that men who might have been suffering in silence for years, realise they are not alone and are spurred on to seek out surgery.

“It is a cause of tremendous distress,” says the surgeon.

And there is no doubting that the last few years have seen an increasing attention to this particular physical flaw.

A search of the LexisNexis newspaper databases suggests the word made its debut in a British newspaper in June 2004. Since then it has been used 161 times. There have been more than 350 references to “man boobs” over the same period. “Moobs” clocks up 281,000 hits on Google.

Kerri McPherson, a chartered health psychologist at Glasgow Caledonian University and a member of the men’s health group, Scotland, is an expert on male body image.

“I would argue that what the media is really discussing is just representing the growing concerns of everyday men. This concern has always been there but they have not been able to articulate it.”

And it could be argued that media mockery reinforces the negative body image of the excessive male breast sufferer, it also might free some from isolation and paranoia that they could have been burdened with a decade ago.

The presentation of “moobs” as something suffered by a slew of male celebrities might make life easier for the ordinary bloke sitting in a pub discussing his problem with his mates.

“More and more people are being given a language to talk about concerns about their body,” says Dr McPherson.

“Particularly with what is a very feminine [characteristic] if a man was talking about [having] breasts [decades ago] they would have been a source of ridicule.”
Paula Singleton, a researcher in the health faculty at Leeds Metropolitan University, is doing a PhD on the attitudes shown by men planning to have breast reduction surgery, entitled “Bruises heal but moobs last forever – men’s account of cosmetic surgery for gynaecomastia.”

“It seems like you can hardly turn on the telly and open a newspaper without it being mentioned,” she says.

“[Those planning surgery] described feelings of shame, anxiety and embarrassment. They had suffered everything from being shouted at from a bus to teasing from work colleagues… doctors smirking and laughing at them and saying ‘get down the gym’.”

Of course, it would be wrong to group men with excessive breasts into justifiable “moobs” – ie a hormonal, chemical or genetic cause – and unjustifiable “moobs” – those caused primarily by obesity.

Both sets of men may be suffering psychologically at a time when the male body is under increasing scrutiny.

In the academic world, most of the theorising about body image has traditionally been about women, but now researchers are starting to look at changing attitudes among men.

“Men are starting to feel those appearance pressures more and more,” says Ms Singleton.

And this growing body consciousness could lead to more men making their way through the surgeon’s doors.

Sources:BBC News: 28th.Jan.2009

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Astralagus

Botanical Name:Astragalus membranaceus
Family:Leguminosae (pea family)
Common Names:Tragacanth, Gum Dragon, Milk Vetch, Canada Milk Vetch, Membranous Milk Vetch, Slender Milk Vetch, Standing Milk Vetch, Astragali, Huang Qi (Chinese), Beg Kei, Bei Qi, Hwanggi.
Part Used : Root.
Other Names : Milk-vetch root, huang qi

Different Species:A. membranaceus ,A. gummifer ,A. gracilis ,A. adsurgens var. robustior

Habitat:Native to Mongolia and northern and eastern China.

Description:Astralagus is a low-growing, perennial shrub that reaches sixteen inches. It thrives in sandy, well-drained soil, with plenty of sun. It produces hairy stems and leaves divided into twelve to eighteen pairs of leaflets.A. gummifer is now found growing in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, northwest Iraq, and the border area between Iran and Iraq.
.CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES.>…....(1).……..(2)..…………………….

There are now more than 2000 species worldwide, including some 400 in North America. A. australis is an endemic plant of the Olympic Mountains in the US state of Washington. However, the medicinal varieties are found only in central and western Asia, where it has been extensively tested, both chemically and pharmacologically.

The root readily pulls apart and shreds into a million smaller pieces rather like tissue paper. A yellow core in the center of the sweet-tasting black root is the medicinal substance. The roots are harvested in autumn from four-year-old plants in several Chinese provinces and shipped worldwide. The latex is extracted by making an incision in the trunk and branches of trees growing in the wild.

History:-
The plant is one of the oldest used medicinally, dating to about 200 BCE. It was known even then to balance the body systems and especially good for the lungs and spleen.
The yellow colour of the root contributes to the Chinese name, huang qi, meaning “yellow leader”. It has been used in China for thousands of years to strengthen qi (pronounced “chee”), the body’s life force and protective energy. In Western terminology, this means to strengthen the immune system.

Folk medicine in Europe and Arabia have used the herb for treating tumors of the eyes, liver, and throat.

Tragacanth is the latex that exudes from under the bark and is extracted by making an incision in the trunk and branches. When it dries, it forms flakes that swell in water to form a gelatinous mass used in various treatments, including that of constipation.

European botanists first wrote about its medicinal qualities in the 1700s.

Some of the poisonous species are referred to as Poison Milk Vetch or Loco Weed.

Some of the Native American names came about as a reference to its seeds which rattle in the pods when dried.

A tea of the root was used by the Dakota tribes as a febrifuge for children. The Lakotas pulverized the roots and chewed it for chest and back pains and to relieve coughing. Also, a vapour was inhaled to treat a child’s aching chest. The roots were chewed and applied to cuts before they were bandaged. When combined with the roots of wild licorice, it arrested the spitting of blood. Lakota women who had little or no breast milk, chewed the roots to promote milk production. The Cheyenne used one species for cases of poison ivy or dermatitis. They also ground the leaves and stems and sprinkled the powder on weepy, inflamed, skin conditions.

When the explorer John Bradbury visited the Arikara village along the Missouri River in 1809, he was shown two new species of Astralagus, that were unknown to him, by the local medicine man.

Medicinal Uses: This herb has a variety of benefits as a convalescent and rejuvenating tonic and is also useful in the treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Astragalus have been shown to intensify phagocytosis of reticulo-endothelial systems, stimulate pituitary-adrenal cortical activity and restore depleted red blood cell formation in bone marrow. Astragalus is also one of the herbs known to stimulate the bodies natural production of interferon. Astragalus is an ideal remedy for any one who might be immuno-compromized in any way. This can range from someone who easily catches colds to someone with cancer.

Astragalus help maintain normal functions of the liver. Astragalus strengthens immunity to disease. It has certain inhibiting effects on molecular pathological changes caused by viruses, increases growth of plasma cells, stimulates synthesis of antibodies, and builds up body defense.  It enhances body energy. It promotes metabolism of serum and liver proteins, stimulates growth of antibodies, increases white blood cells, and thus increases resistance to viruses. Studies in the West confirm that astragalus enhances immune function by increasing activity of several kinds of white blood cells and boosting production of antibodies and interferon, the body’s own antiviral agent. It is diuretic, detoxifying and reduces proteinuria and cures kidney disease. It inhibits gastric secretions, reduces gastric acid, and thus helps cure stomach ulcers. It is cardiotonic. It has even more remarkable effects on heart failure due to poisoning or exhaustion. It protects the liver and alleviates liver injury.

Key Components: asparagine ,calcyosin ,formononetin ,astragalosides ,kumatakenin ,sterols

Key medical  Actions:
*adaptogenic
*antiviral
*antioxidant
*cardiovascular toner
*diuretic
*immune stimulant
*laxative
*liver protector
*strengthens gastrointestinal tract
*tonic
*vasodilator

Medicinal Parts used: Root, gum-like exudate

*It contains numerous active compounds which bolster immunity.

*The polysaccharides seem to stimulate white blood cell production and spurs the activity of killer T cells, increasing the number of cells and the aggressiveness of their activity. Increased macrophage activity has been measured as lasting up to seventy-two hours.

*It also increases production of interferon, a natural protein that stimulates production of other proteins that help prevent and fight viral infections.

*It increases the number of stem cells in the marrow and lymph tissues, stimulates their maturation into active immune cells, increases spleen activity, increases the release of antibodies, and boosts the production of hormonal messenger molecules that signal for virus destruction.

*Studies at the University of Texas Medical Center found that astragalus was able to restore completely the function of cancer patients compromised immune cells.

*It protects the liver from a variety of liver toxins, including carbon tetrachloride and the anticancer compound stilbenemide.

*Gamma-aminobutyric acid extracts have been found to kill bacteria and lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels

*Chinese experiments indicated that the herb was able to protect against the absorption of toxic chemicals into the liver.

*Studies have shown that patients given the herb suffered less angina and had a greater improvement in the EKGs and other measurements than patients given such standard heart drugs as nifedipine.

Chinese researchers report that the herb improves funtion of the heart’s left ventricle after a heart attack, which they theorize may derive from the herb’s antioxidant effects. Other Chinese researchers found heart-protective effects in people with Coxsackie B virus which can cause viral myocarditis. Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella spp., and Proteus mirabilis.

Strengthens digestion, raises metabolism, strengthens the immune system, and promotes the healing of wounds and injuries.  It treats chronic weakness of the lungs with shortness of breath, collapse of energy, prolapse of internal organs, spontaneous sweating, chronic lesions, and deficiency edema.  It is very effective in cases of nephritis that do not respond to diuretics.

In China astragalus enjoyed a long history of use in traditional medicine to strengthen the Wei Ch’i or “defensive energy” or as we call it, the immune system. Regarded as a potent tonic for increasing energy levels and stimulating the immune system, astragalus has also been employed effectively as a diuretic, a vasodilator and as a treatment for respiratory infections.

Antibacterial; used with the ginsengs; helpful for young adults for energy production and respiratory endurance; warming energy; helpful for hypoglycemia; used for “outer energy” as ginseng is used for “inner energy”; American Cancer Society publication reports it restored immune functions in 90% of the cancer patients studied; use to bolster the white blood cell count; strengthens the body’s resistance; use for debilitating conditions; helps to promote the effects of other herbs; helps to improve digestion. Astragalus is of the most popular herbs used in the Orient; the Chinese name for astragalus is Huang Ch’i. It is a tonic producing warm energy and specifically tonifying for the lungs, spleen, and triple warmer via meridians.

In studies performed at the Nation Cancer Institute and 5 other leading American Cancer Institutes over the past 10 years, it has been positively shown that astragalus strengthens a cancer patient’s immune system. Researchers believed on the basis of cell studies that astragalus augments those white blood cells that fight disease and removes some to those that make the body more vulnerable to it. There is clinical evidence that cancer patients given astragalus during chemotherapy and radiation, both of which reduce the body’s natural immunity while attacking the cancer, recover significantly faster and live longer. It is evident that astragalus does not directly attack cancers themselves, but instead strengthens the body’s immune system. In these same studies, both in the laboratory and with 572 patients, it also has been found that Astragalus promotes adrenal cortical function, which also is critically diminished in cancer patients.

Astragalus also ameliorates bone marrow pression and gastointestinal toxicity caused by chemotherapy and radiation. Astragalus is presently being looked upon as a possible treatment for people living with AIDS and for its potentials to prolong life.

Scientists have isolated a number of active ingredients contained in astragalus, including bioflavanoids, choline, and a polysaccharide called astragalan B. Animal studies have shown that astragalan B is effective at controlling bacterial infections, stimulating the immune system, and protecting the body against a number of toxins.

Astragalan B seems to work by binding to cholesterol on the outer membranes of viruses, destabilizing their defenses and allowing for the body’s immune system to attack the weakened invader. Astragalus also increases interferon production and enhances NK and T cell function, increasing resistance to viral conditions such as hepatitis, AIDS and cancer. Astragalus shows support for peripheral vascular diseases and peripheral circulation.

Traditional Uses
In China, it has long been used as a classic energy tonic and is considered to be superior to ginseng for young people. It is believed to warm and tone wei qi (a protective energy that circulates just beneath the skin), helping the body to adapt to external influences, especially to the cold. It raises immune resistance, improves physical endurance, and encourages the body systems to function correctly.
By encouraging blood flow to the surface, the herb is effective in controlling night sweats, relieving fluid retention, and reducing thirstiness.

It is used to treat prolapsed organs and is beneficial in uterine bleeding.

In Chinese medicine, the herb has been used alone, or in combination with other herbs, to treat liver fibrosis, acute viral myocarditis and other viral infections, heart failure, and small cell lung cancer, liver and kidney diseases, and amenorrhea.

Taken internally, it is commonly used to strengthen the immune system, especially in such immuno-compromised individuals as those with HIV or during chemotherapy.

Infusions are used to ward off or help treat colds and other infections, to improve heart function especially after a heart attack, to improve memory and learning, to temporarily increase urinary output, and to promote the healing of burns and skin sores.

A decoction of the root in combination with Chinese angelica is used to treat anemia but when combined with cinnamon, it is used to treat cold and numbness.

When the root is dry-fried alone or with honey added, it is used as a stimulating tonic and eaten with meals.

Asragalus boosts the spleen when symptoms indicate that it is not functioning as it should. These symptoms include chronic fatigue, diarrhea, and a loss of appetite.

The herb is also used to treat anorexia, arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, malaria, kidney inflammations, painful urination, prolapsed uterus, uterine bleeding or weakness, edema, water retention, skin ulcers that will not heal, fever, lack of stamina, and generalized weakness.

Tinctures are often used for night sweats.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:

http://www.innvista.com/health/herbs/astralag.htm

http://www.herbs-herbal-remedies.com/list_of_herbs.htm

http://www.neerlandstuin.nl/plantenc/astralagus.html

http://www.godsremedy.com/hepatitis/prodadd.htm

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

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Bronchoscopy

Definition;
Bronchoscopy is a technique of visualizing the inside of the airways for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. An instrument (bronchoscope) is inserted into the airways, usually through the nose or mouth, or occasionally through a tracheostomy. This allows the practitioner to examine the patient’s airways for abnormalities such as foreign bodies, bleeding, tumors, or inflammation. Specimens may be taken from inside the lungs: biopsies, fluid (bronchoalveolar lavage), or endobronchial brushing. The construction of bronchoscopes ranges from rigid metal tubes with attached lighting devices to flexible fibreoptic instruments with realtime video equipment.

A bronchoscope is a long snakelike instrument with a tiny video camera and biopsy instruments on one end. It can be maneuvered through your mouth and directly into the airways of your lungs. Bronchoscopy is usually done to obtain a sample of deep lung mucus or lung tissue to help diagnose cancer, pneumonia, or other lung disease.
Why it is done?
Bronchoscopy is usually done to find the cause of a lung problem. Samples of mucus or tissue may be taken from the patient’s lungs during the procedure to test in a lab.

Bronchoscopy may show a tumor, signs of an infection, excess mucus in the airways, the site of bleeding, or something blocking the airway, like a piece of food.

Sometimes bronchoscopy is used to treat lung problems. It may be done to insert a stent in an airway. An airway stent is a small tube that holds the airway open. It is used when a tumor or other condition blocks an airway.

In children, the procedure is most often used to remove something blocking the airway. In some cases, it is used to find out what’s causing a cough that has lasted for at least a few weeks.
How do you prepare for the test?
You will need to sign a consent form giving your doctor permission to perform this test. Some patients have this test done in a clinic procedure area, while others are admitted to the hospital for it. Generally your doctor will decide whether you need to be in the hospital based on your medical condition. If you are not staying in the hospital afterward, you should arrange for a ride home.

Talk with your doctor ahead of time if you are taking insulin, or if you take aspirin, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, or other medicines that affect blood clotting. It may be necessary to stop or adjust the dose of these medicines before your test. Most people need to have a blood test done some time before the procedure to make sure they are not at high risk for bleeding complications. Also tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to the medicine lidocaine or the numbing medicine used at the dentist’s office.

Usually you will be told not to eat anything after midnight on the night before the test. This is so you will have an empty stomach in case you experience nausea from anti-anxiety medicines (sedatives) or have a choking sensation or nausea when the camera is first lowered past your throat.

What happens when the test is performed?
You wear a hospital gown during the procedure. You have an IV (intravenous) line inserted into a vein in case you need medicines or fluid during the procedure.

Bronchoscopy can be performed in a special room designated for such procedures, operating room, intensive care unit, or other location with resources for the management of airway emergencies. The patient will often be given antianxiety and antisecretory medications (to prevent oral secretions from obstructing the view), generally atropine, and sometimes an analgesic such as morphine. During the procedure, sedatives such as midazolam or propofol may be used. A local anesthetic is often given to anesthetise the mucous membranes of the pharynx, larynx, and trachea. The patient is monitored during the procedure with periodic blood pressure checks, continuous ECG monitoring of the heart, and pulse oximetry.

During the procedure, a thin, flexible tube called a bronchoscope is passed through the patient’s nose (or sometimes the mouth), down the throat, and into the airways. If the patient has a breathing tube, the bronchoscope can be passed through it to the airways.

At the bronchoscope’s tip are a light and a mini-camera, so the doctor can see your windpipe and airways. The patient will be given medicine to make them relaxed and sleepy during the procedure.

In some cases, your doctor decides that this procedure would be safer or easier if you were intubated before the test and for a short time afterward. This means having a plastic tube placed through your mouth into your main airway. If you are intubated, you are able to breathe, but you cannot speak while the tube is in place, as it passes between your vocal cords in your voice box. Intubation is always done with the assistance of an anesthesiologist, who gives you medicines to relax your throat muscles and make you unconscious for a minute or two while the tube is placed. Most patients do not require intubation.

If you are not intubated, your doctor or nurse sprays a numbing medicine onto the back of your throat just before the procedure. This medicine makes it easier for you to have the bronchoscope placed. Most patients are also given some medicine through the IV to relax them.

You lie on a hospital bed for the procedure. Your doctor (usually a pulmonary specialist) moves one end of the bronchoscope through your mouth and throat and into your trachea (windpipe). Some patients cough or gag briefly when this is done. The bronchoscope is much narrower than your trachea, so you are able to breathe easily during the procedure.

The doctor can see into your lungs by watching a TV screen that shows the view from the camera on the end of the bronchoscope. Your doctor can control a miniature vacuum at the end of the scope that allows him or her to take a sample of mucus from inside the lung. It is also possible for the doctor to take a biopsy sample of the lung tissue using a needle that can be moved through the scope. At the end of the test, the bronchoscope is pulled out, and you might cough forcefully a few times, possibly coughing out some phlegm.

Bronchoscopy usually takes 30 minutes to an hour, including setup time. The camera is usually in place for less than 20 minutes.
What risks are there from the test?
Besides the risks associated with the drug used, there are also specific risks of the procedure. Although the rigid bronchoscope can scratch or tear airway or damage the vocal cords, the risk of bronchoscopy is limited. Complications from fiberoptic bronchoscopy remain extremely low. Common complications include excessive bleeding following biopsy. A lung biopsy also may cause leakage of air called pneumothorax. Pneumothorax occurs in less than 1% of cases requiring lung biopsy. Laryngospasm is a rare complication but may sometimes require intubation. Patients with tumors or significant bleeding may experience increased difficulty breathing after a bronchoscopic procedure, sometimes due to swelling of the mucous membranes of the airways.

The risks of bronchoscopy are primarily associated with the needle biopsy procedure that is sometimes done through the bronchoscope. If a biopsy is done, the risks include bleeding in the lung or the formation of an air leak. If a patient vomits during the procedure and stomach contents leak down around the bronchoscope, this can irritate the lung and cause a type of pneumonia called aspiration pneumonia. Some patients have a hoarse voice or a sore throat for a day or two after bronchoscopy. Most people have no side effects from the procedure.

The other risks include:

*A drop in a patient’s oxygen level during the procedure. Oxygen will be administered if this happens.
*A slight risk of minor bleeding and developing a fever or pneumonia.

A rare but more serious side effect is a pneumothorax. A pneumothorax is a condition in which air or gas collects in the space around the lungs. This can cause the lung(s) to collapse.

This condition is easily treated and may go away on its own. If it interferes with breathing, a tube may need to be placed in the space around the lungs to remove the air.

A chest X-ray may be done after bronchoscopy to check for problems

Must you do anything special after the test is over?
You will probably feel sleepy after the procedure for a few hours, due to the anti-anxiety medicines. Generally, patients either spend a few hours in a recovery room or stay overnight in the hospital after bronchoscopy. If you do go home the same day, you should not drive or drink alcohol.

What does bronchoscopy show?
Bronchoscopy may show a tumor, signs of an infection, excess mucus in the airways, the site of bleeding, or something blocking the airway.

The doctor will use the procedure results to decide how to treat any lung problems that were found. Other tests may be needed.
Recovery and recuperation :
Patients will be advised by their doctors about when they can return to their normal activities, such as driving, working, and physical activity. For the first few days, a sore throat, cough, and hoarseness are common. The doctor should be called right away if the patient:

*Develops a fever
*Has chest pain
*Has trouble breathing
*Coughs up more than a few tablespoons of blood

How long is it before the result of the test is known?
Your doctor can tell you what the airways in your lungs look like as soon as the test is over. If a sample of mucus or lung tissue was obtained, analysis will require anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

Resources:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diagnostic-tests/bronchoscopy.htm

http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/B/bronchoscopy.html

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

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Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos)

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Rooibos, Aspalathus linearis (N.L.Burm.) R.Dahlgr.
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Botanical Name:Aspalathus  Linearis
Family : Fabaceae

Synonyms: Aspalathus contaminatus – auct. Borbonia pinifolia – Marloth.
Common names : rooibos tea ( Eng. ), rooibostee, bossietee (Afr.)
Habitat : Aspalathus linearis is naturally distributed in the winter rainfall area from about Vanrhynsdorp in the north to the Cape Peninsula and the Betty’s Bay area in the south. The area experiences cold wet winters and hot dry summers with about 300-350 mm of rain per annum. Rooibos tea is made from selected forms of the species found mainly on the Cederberg Mountains. It is cultivated on sandy soils in the valleys of the Olifants, Breede and Hex Rivers (Dahlgren 1988).

Derivation of name and historical aspects :
The genus name Aspalathus is derived from the Greek aspalathos, which was the name of a scented bush that grew in Greece. The epithet linearis is derived from the Latin word for linear, which in this case refers to the shape of the leaves.

Description
Aspalathus linearis is an erect to spreading, highly variable shrub or shrublet up to 2 m high. Its young branches are often reddish. The leaves are green and needle-like, 15-60 mm long and up to about 1 mm thick. They are without stalks and stipules and may be densely clustered. The yellow flowers, which appear in spring to early summer, are solitary or arranged in dense groups at the tips of branches. The fruit is a small lance-shaped pod usually containing one or two hard seeds.

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Although many of the plants in the genus Aspalanthus are attractive, they have apparently seldom been grown in gardens. This is thought to be due to the difficulty in propagation by seed or root cuttings and in providing the optimal growing conditions for the plants. In order to grow Aspalathus linearis successfully, seeds must first be scarified and then planted in acid, sandy soils.

There are commercial plants of rooibos at the Cape. According to Mr S de Beer of Lambertshoek farm, Clanwillian, seeds which are obtained from the local rooibos tea management board have been treated and germinate easily. They are planted in seedbeds in March to a depth of 5-10cm and are ready for planting out by July. Plants are generally rainfall dependent and the plants prefer not to be too wet. No fertilizing is required and the plants grow quite well in nutrient poor conditions. The most common pest is Loopers or “Landmeter wurmpies” (the larvae of the family Geometridae and of the order Lepidoptera)

Cultivation:Aspalathus  Linearis  grows in sandy hills and on the sides of mountains. Well-drained, sandy but moisture-retaining, non-acidic soils. Generally farmers plant seeds in February and March and then transfer the seedlings to plantations. It takes 12- 18 months before the shrubs are ready to be harvested. The plants are harvested once each year, from December through April. They are harvested up to period of five years and then pulled out and new plants are planted.

Propagation:
Seed – sow late spring in a greenhouse covering the seed with about 10mm of soil. It will probably be beneficial to pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water prior to sowing. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of well-drained sandy soil as soon as they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. It will probably be wise to give the plants protection from the cold and from excessive rain for at least their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe wood in a closed frame in early summer

Hervesting:

The basic method of rooibos harvesting has remained largely the same as the process used centuries ago. An environmentally friendly way of harvesting tea is used that involves cutting only the young branches. Once they are cut, they are neatly bound and transported to the process yards. The older branches are left on the tree and the bushes get slightly taller every year. The tea cuttings are chopped very fine and then bruised to ensure that the important chemical reaction which develops the characteristic colour and flavour of the tea can take place. After watering and airing, the tea is left to “sweat” in heaps and it at this point that the tea acquires its typical reddish brown colour and develops its sweet flavour. After the sweating process has been completed, it is spread out in a large drying yard to dry in the sun.
The rest of the process involves sorting and grading the tea according to length, colour and flavour. The finished Rooibos is finally weighed, bagged, and sold to companies who pack the product in either teabags or in loose leaf form under their own brand names.

Main constituents:Rooibos contains Magnesium, zinc and iron which are all essential to a healthy nervous system. Zinc and iron in particular are important for brain functioning and concentration. It also contains Vitamin C, Alphahydroxy Acid, potassium, copper, calcium, iron, manganese and fluoride.

Uses:
Rooibos tea is a most popular drink for health-conscious people, as it contains no colourants, additives or preservatives and is free of caffeine.Aspalathus linearis is of great economic value. It was first used by the indigenous people of the Cederberg area and is currently a very popular tea.
A tea made from the dried fermented leaves tastes similar to oriental tea made from Camellia sinensis. It is less astringent, however, due to the lower tannin content. It is caffeine-free, but has a higher content of fluoride which might help to protect against tooth decay. Recent research has shown that this tea contains a substance similar to superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant compound that is thought to retard the ageing process. The leaves and stems are harvested in the summer, fermented and sun dried for later use. The leaves are sometimes used as a flavouring in foods and in baking.

Medicinal Uses:
It is considered healthy as it is caffeine-free, low in tannins and rich in anti-oxidants. It is not only enjoyed as a herbal tea, but is also used as an ingredient in cosmetics, in slimming products, as a flavouring agent in baking, cooking and cocktails and even as a treatment for infants who are prone to colic.

it has been used in the treatment of vomiting, diarrhoea and other mild gastric complaints. It has also been shown to be of benefit when used internally and externally in the treatment of a wide range of allergies especially milk allergy, eczema, hay fever and asthma in infants.

Many children with ADHD symptoms also suffer from various allergies and food intolerances. Rooibos is of great benefit in the management of allergies and to build up the immune system. Rooibos improves overall liver functioning, which helps the body to eliminate toxins and improves overall body functioning thereby increasing the efficiency of all organs of the body. Rooibos is endemic to the Cedarberg Mountains of the Cape and is not found anywhere else in the world.
(Treatment for Acne)  (Ingredient in ClearSkin FaceWash)
(Treatment for ADHD)  ( Ingredient in Focus ADHD)
(Treatment for High Cholesterol)  Ingredient in Cholesto-Rite)

Now known worldwide for its anti-oxidant and healing properties, the soothing and healing effect of Rooibos on the skin is remarkable. It is an extremely nutritious herb. Rooibos can help to control blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and enhance immune functioning.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:

http://www.herbs-herbal-remedies.com/list_of_herbs.htm

http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantab/aspallinearis.htm

http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Aspalathus+linearis

 

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