Monthly Archives: March 2009

The Worst Foods of 2009

Try to avoid these caloric catastrophes this year.

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Can an appetizer with the caloric equivalent of 13 Krispy Kreme doughnuts be justified?

No.

The 2,710-calorie Awesome Blossom has been purged from Chili’s menu—maybe the fat-drenched appetizer couldn’t withstand the scrutiny of being named to the Eat This, Not That! list of the Worst Foods in America last year. No matter the reason, we applaud this waist-expanding starter’s retirement.

The deep-fried onion wasn’t the only thing to withdraw from last year’s race
—more than 10 other items from 2008’s lineup have been removed from menus (or mysteriously had their calorie counts lowered). That’s a step in the right direction, and it’s good news for your waistline if you don’t have time to make your own fat-fighting meals at home.

The bad news?
There are plenty of frightening foods still at large across the country. After another year of menu investigation, we’ve come up with this year’s list of the most calorie-laden, fat-riddled, sodium-swaddled, sugar-spiked dishes in America. Eat at your own risk.

Worst “healthy” sandwich:-

Blimpie Veggie Supreme (12 inches)

*1,106 calories
*56 g fat (33 g saturated fat)
*2,831 mg sodium
*96 g carbohydrates

Sure, a Veggie Supreme sandwich sounds healthy, but this foot-long comes with three different kinds of cheese, and it’s drenched in oil. After Blimpie gets done with this vegetarian nightmare, you’d be better off consuming two Big Macs than sitting down with this sandwich.

Don’t be fooled by “healthy” foods—replace these 14 imposters with delicious alternatives that satisfy without expanding your waistline.

Worst kids’ meal:-

Chili’s Pepper Pals Country-Fried Chicken Crispers with Ranch Dressing and Homestyle Fries

*1,110 calories
*82 g fat (15 g saturated)
*1,980 mg sodium
*56 g carbohydrates

Most kids, if given the choice, would live on chicken fingers for the duration of their adolescent lives. If those chicken fingers happened to come from Chili’s, it might be a shorter one. A moderately active 8-year-old boy should eat around 1,600 calories a day. This single meal plows through 75 percent of that allotment. So unless your kid plans to eat carrots and celery sticks for the rest of the day (and we know that’s not the case), find a healthier chicken alternative.

See our rankings of kids’ restaurants so you can help your children pick the best options every time.
Worst dessert:-

Romano’s Macaroni Grill Dessert Ravioli

*1,630 calories
*74 g fat
*33 g saturated fat
*1,150 mg sodium
*223 g carbohydrates
Would you eat a Quarter Pounder for dessert? How about four? That’s how many it takes to match the calorie-load of this decadent dish. It’s the quickest way to ruin what may have been a sensible dinner. (Then again, if dinner was at Macaroni Grill, chances are it was anything but sensible.)

Worst burger:-

Chili’s Smokehouse Bacon Triple-the-Cheese Big Mouth Burger with Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

*2,040 calories
*150 g fat (53 g saturated)
*110 g protein
*4,900 mg sodium

You know this burger’s in trouble when it takes more than 20 syllables just to identify it. If you think the name’s a mouthful, just wait until the burger hits the table. You’ll be face-to-face with two-and-a-half days’ worth of fat—a full third of which is saturated. To do that much damage with roasted sirloin, you’d have to eat about eight 6-ounce steaks. (It’s nearly three days’ worth of saturated fat.)

Not all burgers are created equal. See if your favorite is a healthy indulgence or a grease slab on a bun.

Worst starter:-

Uno Chicago Grill Pizza Skins (full order)

*2,400 calories
*155 g fat (50 g saturated)
*3,600 mg sodium
This appetizer is like eating a Large Domino’s Hand-Tossed Sausage Pizza! Would you ever think of saying to a waiter: “Why don’t you start me off with a large meat pizza?” If you’re ordering for a party of more than five, it might be okay, but for smaller groups, it’s tilting toward gluttony gone wild. Order the Thai Vegetable Pot Stickers instead—the only item carrying fewer than 800 calories.

If you want to eat a little something before your meal, be sure to avoid the worst appetizers in America.


The worst food of 2009:-

Baskin Robbins Large Chocolate Oreo Shake

*2,600 calories
*135 g fat (59 g saturated fat, 2.5 g trans fats)
*263 g sugars
*1,700 mg sodium

We didn’t think anything could be worse than Baskin Robbins’ 2008 bombshell, the Heath Bar Shake. After all, it had more sugar (266 grams) than 20 bowls of Froot Loops, more calories (2,310) than 11 actual Heath Bars, and more ingredients (73) than you’ll find in most chemistry labs. Rather than coming to their senses and removing it from the menu, they did themselves one worse and introduced this caloric catastrophe. It’s soiled with more than a day’s worth of calories and three days worth of saturated fat, and, worst of all, usually takes less than 10 minutes to sip through a straw.

For the complete list of the 20 Worst Foods in America 2009, check out these rankings and the best options to eat instead of the gut bombs!

You can also check out Eat This, Not That! on MSN Shopping.

Sources:msn.health  

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Sirisha(Albizia lebbek)

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Illustration of acacia senegal
Image via Wikipedia

Botanical Name : Albizia lebbek
Family Name: Mimosaceae
Synonyms:Mimosajebbeck L; M.sinssa Roxb;
Local Names:Siris;acacia amarilla; East Indian Wal nut
Vernacular Names: Sans, Hind: Sirisha;; Eng : East Indian walnut.

Habitat: According to the NAS (1980) this is native to tropical Africa, Asia, and northern Australia, widely planted and naturalized throughout the tropics.

Description
Deciduous tree to 30 m tall, with a dense shade-producing crown. Bark smoothish, light whitish or greenish gray. Leaves alternate, twice compound, with 2–4 pairs of pinnate pinnae, each with 4–10 pairs of leaflets, the ultimate leaflets entire, arcuate, oblong. Flowers white, with greenish stamens, in clusters resembling a white powder puff. Pods flat, reddish brown, several seeds, often rattling in the breeze. In Puerto Rico, flowers April to September, fruiting year-round, the fruits more prominent probably in the dry season.

Cultivation
Immerse seed in boiling water, cool; soak for 24 hours, sowing in loam in wrapped pots 10 x 15 mm. Move seedlings to partial shade, watering and spraying as needed. Harden off for 2–3 months. Outplant at 3 x 3 or 4 x 4 m when at least 30 cm tall, at beginning of rainy season (Fabian, 1981).

Chemical Constituents: According to Roskoski et al (1980), studying Mexican material, the seeds contain 9.47% humidity, 3.57% ash, 33.60% crude protein, 3.13% crude fat, 13.17% crude fiber, 35.30% carbohydrates with a 78.25% in vitro digestibility. The pods contain 6.99% humidity, 5.47% ash, 17.86% crude protein, 2.6% crude fat, 45.08% crude fiber, and 22.00% carbohydrates with a 76.56% in vitro digestibility. The foliage contains 3.57% humidity, 7.06% ash, 28.87% crtide protein, 5.42% crude fat, 31.75% crude fiber, 23.33% carbohydrates, and 83.55% in vitro digestibility. Prohibitive levels of toxic compounds were not detected in any of the plant parts analyzed.

Uses
A fast growings nitrogen-fixing, heavy shade tree, recommended for reforestation and firewood plantations. Often planted as an avenue tree or as shade for coffee and tea. The wood is hard and strong, resembling walnut, and non siliceous. It produces a sawdust that may cause sneezing. Specific gravity 0.61; Air Dry Weight 39 lb/cu ft (ca 630 kg/cu m). The heartwood calorific value is 5,166 cals. Strong and elastic, the wood is used for cabinet wood, furniture and veneer, and serves well as firewood. The burr wood is prized for veneer. Bark has served for tanning. Foliage can be used as fodder. In the Sudan, goats eat fallen leaves and flowers. Bark containing saponin can be used in making soap, and containing tannin, can be used for tanning; used e.g. in Madras to tan fishing nets. It produces a gum which can be sold deceitfully as gum arabic. Host of the lac insect.

Folk Medicine
According to Hartwell (1967–1971), the tree is used in folk remedies for abdominal tumors, in bolmes, enemas, ghees or powders. Reported to be astringent, pectoral, rejuvenant, and tonic, the siris tree is a folk remedy for boils, cough, eye ailments, flu, and lung ailments. The seed oil is used for leprosy, the powdered seed to scrofulous swellings. Indians use the flowers for spermatorrhea.

As per Ayurveda:
The plant is katu, sheela (sheelaveerya), beneficial in poisoning, derangedvata, scabies, dyscrasia, leprosy, pruritus and other skin diseases. Said to strengthen gums ,applied externally as plaster in leprous ulcers.

Parts used : seeds, leaves, bark

Therapeutic uses: seeds and bark are astringent, tonic, leaves are remedy for night blindness,

The root is used in hemicrania.-
The bark is bitter; cooling, alexiteric, anthelmintic; cures” vata “, diseases of the blood, leucoderma, itching, skin diseases, piles, excessive perspiration, inflammation, erysepelas, bronchitis; good in rat-bite.-

The flowers are given for asthma,

The root is astringent and prescribed for ophthalmia.-

The bark is anthelmintic; relieves toothache, strengthens the gums and the teeth; used in leprosy, deafness, boils, scabies, syphilis, paralysis, weakness.-

The leaves are useful in ophthalmia The leaves are good in night; blindness.-

The flowers are aphrodisiac, emollient, maturant: their smell is useful in hemicrania. The flowers are used as a cooling medicine, and also externally applied in boils, eruptions and swellings

The seeds are aphrodisiac, tonic to the brain; used for gonorrhoea, and tuberculous glands; the oil is applied topically in leucoderma.

The bark and seeds are astringent, given in piles, diarrhoea, etc.

The bark is applied to injuries to the eye..

The seeds form part of an anjan used for ophthalmic diseases.The oil extracted from them is ,considered useful in leprosy.

The powder of root- bark is used to strengthen the gums when they are spongy and ulcerative.

The seeds are considered astringent used in diarrhea, dysentery, piles. The flowers are emollient and applied to boils and carbuncles

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.ayurvedakalamandiram.com/herbs.htm#sariba

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Albizia_lebbek.html

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Sankapushpi(Hemidesmus indicus)

Botanical Name : Hemidesmus indicus
Family Name: Asclepiadaceae
Vernacular Name: Sans-Sariba ,Hind -Anantamula , Eng- Indian sarasaparilla
Parts used –roots, leaves, stem

Habitat :A twining perennial herb, Convolvulus pluricaulis occurs in the plains of Northern Indian and Bihar.

Botanical Description: A prostrate herb, woody in nature.

Branches: 4″-12″ in length and hairy.
Leaves: Linear, lower pairs opposite, 0.5″-1.5″ length
Flower: Light pink or white
Calyx: Hairy

CLICK TO SEE..>.…(01).
The whole plant is one of the most important Medha Rasayana drugs in Ayurveda. Its use impro.ves the balance and vitiation in Kapha-vata-pitta doshas and the herb is astringent and bitter

Constituents:
Chemical studies of whole plant have shown the presence of glycosides, coumarins, flavonoids and alkaloids. Shankha pushpine, (the alkaloid) has been identified as active principle. B. sitosterol glycoside, Hydroxy Cinnamic acid, Octacosanol tetracosane alongwith glucose, sucrose also have been isolated from the plant drugs.
Pharmacological and Clinical Studies
The extract reduced the spontaneous activity of mice, the reduction being more marked in amphetamine treated hyperactive mice. The extract also exhibited potentiation of phenobarbitone hypnosis in mice and morphine analgesia in albino rats. The extract caused reduction on the fighting response of mice and abolished conditioned avoidance response without affecting the escape response. The electrically induced seizures in rats and induced tremors in mice were antagonized by the extract (Sharma et at -1965). Different types of stress including psychological, chemical and traumatic were produced in Rats and Rabbits treated with Shankhapushpi, active principles showed marked reduction in I-131 uptake, Acetylcholine, etc.

This suggests that probably the drug affects various glands through neuro-humors particularly acetylcholine (Jour Res. Ind. Med J. 1974). A study on a series of 30 cases of Anxiety status was conducted with the syrup of Shankhapushpi. A significant reduction in symptoms as well as anxiety level was found which established its psychotropic property. A comparative study of barbiturate Hypnosis potentiation effect of Medhya Rasayana drugs Shankhapushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis) and Mandukaparni (Hydrocotyle asiatica) – (Shukla S.P.). Clinical evaluation of Medhya Rasayana in cases on Non-Depressive Anxiety neurosis significant clinical relief and favorable shift of grade of clinical of Anxiety and Depression scale were also found reduced (Kaushik K. E. Singh R. H. Ancient Science of Life, May 1992).

Medicinal Uses:
Shankpushpi is used traditionally to treat nervous debility, insomnia, fatigue, low energy level.
The whole herb is used medicinally in the form of decoction with cumin and milk in fever, nervous debility, loss of memory.

Shankhapushpi is used as a brain tonic. Is used as a tonic, alterative and febrifuge. It is a sovereign remedy in bowel complaints especially dysentery. The plant is reported to be a prominent memory improving drug. It is used as a psychostimulant and tranquilizer. It is reported to reduce mental tension. The ethanolic extract of the plant reduces total serum cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids and nonesterfied fatty-acid.

The roots are bitter, sweet, cooling, aromatic, refrigerant, emollient, depurative, carminative, appetizer, diaphoretic, expectorant.

Useful in vitiated pitta, burning sensation, leucoderma,leprosy, skin diseases, pruritis, asthma, opthalmopathy, hyperdipsia, hemicrania, epileptic fits, dyspepsia, diarrhea, dysentery, haemorrhoids, leucorrhoea, syphilis, abscess, arthralgia, nad general debility.

Leaves are useful in vomiting, wounds, leucoderma  and Latex is good for conjunctivitis.

Stems are bitter, diaphoretic, laxative useful in unflammations, cerebropathy, hepatopathy, nephropathy, syphilis, leucoderma, odontalgia, cough, asthma.

Shankhapushpi or Convolvulus pluricaulis is an indigenous plant commonly mentioned in Ayurveda, an ancient system of Indian medicine, as a rasayana which is mainly advocated for use in mental stimulation and rejuvenation therapy. Little human research has been published in the Western medical literature regarding this plant. One study shows shankhpushpi to have anti-ulcer effects due to augmentation of mucosal defensive factors like mucin secretion and glycoproteins. Another study showed that shankhapushpi may be helpful in improving symptoms of hyperthyroidism by reducing the activity of a liver enzyme

The whole herb is used medicinally in the form of decoction with cumin and milk in fever, nervous debility, loss of memory, also in syphilis, and scrofula. ‘. Shankhapushpi is used as a brain tonic. Is used as a tonic, alterative and febrifuge. It is a sovereign remedy in bowel complaints especially dysentery. The plant is reported to be a prominent memory improving drug. It is used as a psychostimulant and tranquilizer. It is reported to reduce mental tension. The ethanolic extract of the plant reduces total serum cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids and nonesterfied fatty-acid.

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.

Reources:

http://www.rubalherbal.com/shop/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=832

http://www.ayurvedakalamandiram.com/herbs.htm#sankapushpi

http://shankhapushpi.com/aboutsankhapushpi.html

http://www.garrysun.com/shankhapushpi.html

http://www.ayurvedas.com/Prajnaforte.htm

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Abdominal Ultrasound

Alternative Names:- Ultrasound – abdomen; Abdominal sonogram

Definition :-
Abdominal ultrasound is an imaging procedure used to examine the internal organs of the abdomen, including the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, and kidneys. The blood vessels that lead to some of these organs can also be looked at with ultrasound.

.Click to enlarge the pictures->........

It uses reflected sound waves to produce a picture of the organs and other structures in the upper abdomen. Occasionally a specialized ultrasound is ordered for a detailed evaluation of a specific organ, such as a kidney ultrasound.

An abdominal ultrasound can evaluate the:
*Abdominal aorta, which is the large blood vessel (artery) that passes down the back of the chest and abdomen. The aorta supplies blood to the lower part of the body and the legs.

*Liver, which is a large dome-shaped organ that lies under the rib cage on the right side of the abdomen. The liver produces bile (a substance that helps digest fat), stores sugars, and breaks down many of the body’s waste products.

*Gallbladder, which is a saclike organ beneath the liver. The gallbladder stores bile. When food is eaten, the gallbladder contracts, sending bile into the intestines to help in digesting food and absorbing fat-soluble vitamins.

*Spleen, which is the soft, round organ that helps fight infection and filters old red blood cells. The spleen is located to the left of the stomach, just behind the lower left ribs.

*Pancreas, which is the gland located in the upper abdomen that produces enzymes that help digest food. The digestive enzymes are then released into the intestines. The pancreas also releases insulin into the bloodstream; insulin helps the body utilize sugars for energy.
*Kidneys, which are the pair of bean-shaped organs located behind the upper abdominal cavity. The kidneys remove wastes from the blood and produce urine.

A pelvic ultrasound evaluates the structures and organs in the lower abdominal area (pelvis).

Why It Is Required to be Done:-
The specific reason for the test will depend on your symptoms. Abdominal ultrasound is mostly  done to:

*Determine the cause of abdominal pain.

*Detect, measure, or monitor an aneurysm in the aorta. An aneurysm may cause a large, pulsing lump in the abdomen.

*Evaluate the size, shape, and position of the liver. An ultrasound may be done to evaluate jaundice and other problems of the liver, including liver masses, cirrhosis, fat deposits in the liver (called fatty liver), or abnormal liver function tests.

*Detect gallstones, inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis), or blocked bile ducts. See an illustration of a gallstone.

*Detect kidney stones.

*Determine the size of an enlarged spleen and look for damage or disease.

*Detect problems with the pancreas, such as pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer.

*Determine the cause of blocked urine flow in a kidney. A kidney ultrasound may also be done to determine the size of the kidneys, detect kidney masses, detect fluid surrounding the kidneys, investigate causes for recurring urinary tract infections, or evaluate the condition of transplanted kidneys.

*Determine whether a mass in any of the abdominal organs (such as the liver) is a solid tumor or a simple fluid-filled cyst.

*Determine the condition of the abdominal organs after an accident or abdominal injury and look for blood in the abdominal cavity. However, computed tomography (CT) scanning is more commonly used for this purpose because it is more precise than abdominal ultrasound.

*Guide the placement of a needle or other instrument during a biopsy.

*Detect fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity (ascites). An ultrasound also may be done to guide the needle during a procedure to remove fluid from the abdominal cavity (paracentesis).
How the Test is Performed :-
This test is done by a doctor who specializes in performing and interpreting imaging tests (radiologist) or by an ultrasound technologist (sonographer) who is supervised by a radiologist. It is done in an ultrasound room in a hospital or doctor’s office.

You will need to remove any jewelry that might interfere with the ultrasound scan. You will need to take off all or most of your clothes, depending on which area is examined (you may be allowed to keep on your underwear if it does not interfere with the test). You will be given a cloth or paper covering to use during the test.

An ultrasound machine creates images that allow various organs in the body to be examined. The machine sends out high-frequency sound waves, which reflect off body structures to create a picture. A computer receives these reflected waves and uses them to create a picture. Unlike with x-rays or CT scans, there is no ionizing radiation exposure with this test.

You will be lying down for the procedure. A clear, water-based conducting gel is applied to the skin over the abdomen. This helps with the transmission of the sound waves. A handheld probe called a transducer is then moved over the abdomen.

You may be asked to change position so that the health care provider can examine different areas. You may also be asked to hold your breath for short periods of time during the examination.

Abdominal ultrasound usually takes 30 to 60 minutes. You may be asked to wait until the radiologist has reviewed the information. The radiologist may want to do additional ultrasound views of some areas of your abdomen.

How To Prepare For the Test:-
Tell your doctor if you have had a barium enema or a series of upper GI (gastrointestinal) tests within the past 2 days. Barium that remains in the intestines can interfere with the ultrasound test.

Preparation for the procedure depends on the nature of the problem and your age. Usually patients are asked to not eat or drink for several hours before the examination. Your health care provider will advise you about specific preparation.

For ultrasound of the liver, gallbladder, spleen, and pancreas, you may be asked to eat a fat-free meal on the evening before the test and then to avoid eating for 8 to 12 hours before the test.

For ultrasound of the kidneys, you may not need any special preparation. You may be asked to drink 4 to 6 glasses of liquid (usually juice or water) about an hour before the test to fill your bladder. You may be asked to avoid eating for 8 to 12 hours before the test to avoid gas buildup in the intestines. This could interfere with the evaluation of the kidneys, which lay behind the stomach and intestines.

For ultrasound of the aorta, you may need to avoid eating for 8 to 12 hours before the test.

How It Feels:-
There is little discomfort. The conducting gel may feel slightly cold and wet when it is applied to your stomach unless it is first warmed to body temperature. You will feel light pressure from the transducer as it passes over your abdomen. The ultrasound usually is not uncomfortable. However, if the test is being done to assess damage from a recent injury, the slight pressure of the transducer may be somewhat painful. You will not hear or feel the sound waves.

Risks Factors:
There is no documented risk. No ionizing radiation exposure is involved.

Results:-
An abdominal ultrasound uses reflected sound waves to produce a picture of the organs and other structures in the abdomen.

Abdominal ultrasound  Normal:
The size and shape of the abdominal organs appear normal. The liver, spleen, and pancreas appear normal in size and texture. No abnormal growths are seen. No fluid is found in the abdomen.

The diameter of the aorta is normal and no aneurysms are seen.

The thickness of the gallbladder wall is normal. The size of the bile ducts between the gallbladder and the small intestine is normal. No gallstones are seen.

The kidneys appear as sharply outlined bean-shaped organs. No kidney stones are seen. No blockage to the system draining the kidneys is present.

Abdominal ultrasound Abnormal:
An organ may appear abnormal because of inflammation, infection, or other diseases. An organ may be smaller than normal because of an old injury or past inflammation. An organ may be pushed out of its normal location because of an abnormal growth pressing against it. An abnormal growth (such as a tumor) may be seen in an organ. Fluid in the abdominal cavity (ascites) may be seen.

The aorta is enlarged, or an aneurysm is seen.

The liver may appear abnormal, which may indicate liver disease (such as cirrhosis or cancer).

The walls of the gallbladder may be thickened, or fluid may be present around the gallbladder, which may indicate inflammation. The bile ducts may be enlarged because of blockage (from a gallstone or an abnormal growth in the pancreas). Gallstones may be seen inside the gallbladder.

The kidneys may be enlarged because of urine that is not draining properly through the ureters. Kidney stones are seen within the kidneys (not all stones can be seen with ultrasound).

An area of infection (abscess) or a fluid-filled cyst may appear as a round, hollow structure inside an organ. The spleen may be ruptured (if an injury to the abdomen has occurred).

Resources:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003777.htm

http://health.yahoo.com/digestive-diagnosis/abdominal-ultrasound/healthwise–hw1430.html

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“Eczema”- That Irritating Itch!

Eczema is a strange disease. If you have it, the frustrating itching and scratching starts and then just never seems to go away. The number of people with eczema is increasing. One in five now develops it in childhood. Many factors, such as early weaning, chemicals (preservatives and pesticides) in the human diet, perfumes and pollution, have been blamed. The fact is no one really knows the cause of eczema, but we do know that exclusively breast-fed infants are less prone to it.

You may click to see the pictures.

Eczema vaccinatum infant.

Eczema on face

Eczema on back

 

 

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Eczema appears as red, itchy, dry and flaky skin, with or without small pustules. A few months of constant itching may make the skin permanently rough, thick and hyperpigmented.

The classification of eczema is not very clear. It can be due to atopy (tendency to develop allergy), allergic contact, infantile seborrhoea (dandruff-like condition of the head that occurs in infants) or varicose veins.

Atopic eczema is the commonest form. It usually occurs in childhood as an itchy rash distributed on the head and scalp, neck, inside of elbows, behind the knees and on the buttocks. It has a hereditary component and runs in families.

Infants can develop an eczema variant called cradle cap — with a greasy, itchy flaky scalp. This can extend to the eyebrows, face and the trunk. Although the condition is self limiting and harmless, the physical appearance can be distressing to the family.

Irritant contact eczema can be distinguished from the atopic form by the typical distribution and family history. It occurs as an immediate or delayed reaction to contact with an allergen. It may be nickel in the safety pins used on clothes, fashion jewellery containing unacceptable metals or colouring, plants in the garden or chemicals in the workplace. Makeup or face powder can cause an idiosyncratic reaction. Sometimes the contact eczema may be photosensitive and flare up only when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Eczema caused by a specific chemical or disease process can be cured if the underlying factor is removed.

Bacterial, viral or fungal infection of the skin, or infestations with skin parasites like scabies or body lice can cause secondary itching and eczema. Poor blood circulation to the legs as a result of varicose veins can lead to itching and discolouration, particularly near the ankles. These forms are totally curable and tend to disappear forever when the infection is treated or the blood circulation is improved.

Unfortunately most varieties of eczema do not fall into the curable category. They recur time and again, and sometimes become self perpetuating as scratching and picking the skin becomes a habit.

Dry skin aggravates eczema. Therefore it pays to keep the skin moist and oiled. Coconut oil can be applied to the skin half an hour before a bath. A teaspoon can also be added to the bath water. Mild and non-perfumed soaps should be used. The body should not be scrubbed with a loofah. The skin should be patted dry, and not wiped. After the bath a non-greasy oil or lotion can be applied.

There are several baby oils, aloe vera preparations, ceramide (a natural oil in the skin) and vaseline-based creams available in the market. If it says “non greasy” it means that it is unlikely to stain your clothes.
Traditional oils, like coconut, stain the clothes and that is why they need to be applied before a bath.

Salt water reduces eczema. People who immerse themselves regularly in the sea improve gradually over a period of time.

Detergents are widely used to wash clothes. Most contain chemicals like sodium lauryl sulphate, which remain behind in the clothes in small quantities. They can penetrate the skin when sweating occurs, aggravating eczema. Commercially available “hypoallergic” or “doctor tested and recommended” detergents have unsubstantiated claims and have not been proven safer. Since clothes have to be washed and kept clean, it is preferable to use non-allergic soaps made from neem oil. They are marketed in India by the government run chain of khadi stores.

Eczema disappears when steroid creams are applied. These should be used under medical supervision for a short period, till the symptoms subside. After that antihistamines (to control itching) and moisturisers should be continued. Patients, unfortunately, purchase and apply the ointments themselves. Prolonged use of topical corticosteroids causes side effects like thinning of the skin and secondary bacterial or fungal infection. Small quantities of the more potent steroid creams can become absorbed in the body through the skin. If they are inadvertently applied to the eye, cataracts and glaucoma can result.

Specific pinprick allergy testing can be done to identify allergens. Without this, drastic potentially harmful changes should not be made to the diet (particularly a child’s) presuming that the eczema is precipitated by allergies to milk, fish or certain vegetables.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Vegetables Aren’t as Good for You as They Used to Be

According to new research, produce in the U.S. not only tastes worse than it did in your grandparents’ days, but also contains fewer nutrients. In fact, the average vegetable found in today’s supermarket is anywhere from 5 percent to 40 percent lower in minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium and zinc than those harvested just 50 years ago.
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Today’s vegetables are larger, but do not contain more nutrients. Jumbo-sized produce actually contains more “dry matter” than anything else, which dilutes mineral concentrations.

An additional problem is the “genetic dilution effect,” in which selective breeding to increase crop yield has led to declines in protein, amino acids, and minerals. Breeders select for high yield, effectively selecting mostly for high carbohydrate content.

And finally, as a result of the growing rise of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, modern crops are being harvested faster than ever before, meaning that produce has less time to absorb nutrients either from synthesis or the soil.

Sources:
Time February 17, 2009
The Journal of HortScience February 1, 2009

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Rudraksha(Elaeocarpus sphaericus)

Botanical Name : :. Elaeocarpus sphaericus
Family Name: Elaeocarpaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Oxalidales
Genus: Elaeocarpus
Species: E. ganitrus
vernacular Name: Sans,.Rudraksha; Hind: Rudraki; Eng : Ultrasum-bead tree

Habitat :
The Rudraksha tree grows in the area from the Gangetic Plain in foothills of the Himalayas to South-East Asia, Indonesia, New Guinea to Australia, Guam and even Hawaii. Rudraksha trees are also found in middle areas of Nepal.

Description:
Rudraksha Plant Elaeocarpus is a large genius of evergreen trees. It has nearly 36 sister species, including Rudraksha. All trees bearing white flowers with fringed petals developing into drupaceous fruit resembling olive. The main trunk of rudraksha tree is cylindrical. Its section is circular. Bark is grayish white and rough in texture with small vertical lenticels and narrow horizontal furrows. The branches of Rudraksha spread in all directions is such a way that when growing in natural habitat, the crown takes the shape of a pyramid. The leaves of rudraksha are shining green above and dull coriaceous below. The flowers are ovoid, conical, elongate, nearly 1 to 2 cm in diameter. These appear in April-May. The fruit is globose and drupaceous having a fleshy exterior. The beads inside is hard and tubercled. The fruit starts appearing in June and ripens by august to october.Farming of Rudraksha is a difficult process due to its slow sprouting from the beads which usually takes about 1 to 2 years depending on the humidity of soil. Rudraksha is basically grown in subtropical climatic region with temperature ranges from 25to 30degree centigrade. Once Rudraksha are planted it starts giving fruit after 7 years and thereafter for long time. In the single tree Rudraksha beads comes in all different faces at the same time but higher mukhis or faces are vary rare to find where most of Rudraksha beads are five faces Rudraksha beads come in seasonal pattern every year around mid august to mid october from the tree.The Himalayan Beads simply seem to be larger, heavier and more powerful due to the environment they grow in. So it is a certainty that environment and specifically the location of the Rudraksa Trees plays a key role in their growth.Rudraksha tree are easy to grow and once established,a rudraksha tree will last for years with a little care.

.Click to see picture of  Rudraksha tree.,,,,,....

a rudraksha fruit, from the trees at Kauai's H...

a rudraksha fruit, from the trees at Kauai’s Hindu Monastery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rudraksha Tree starts bearing fruit in three to four years. As the tree matures, the roots buttress rising up narrowly near the trunk and radiating out along the surface of the ground giving a gnarly and prehistoric appearance.Rudraksha seeds are covered by an outer shell of blue color when fully ripe, and for this reason are also known as blueberry beads. The blue colour is derived not from pigment but is structural.

Rudraksha Beads:-

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Rudraksha beads are the material from which sacred garlands (108 beads in number) are made. The term is used both for the berries themselves and as a term for the type of m?l? made from them. In this sense, a rudraksha is a Saivite rosary, used for japa mala. Repetitive prayer (japa) is a common aid to worship in Hinduism, and Rudraksha m?l? are worn by many Hindus. Rudraksha is also used for treatment of various diseases in traditional Indian medicine.

The berries show variation in the number of grooves on their surface, and are classified on the basis of the number of divisions that they have. A common type has five divisions, and these are considered to be symbolic of the five faces of Shiva.

The Rudraksh seeds are brittle in nature and so should be protected from chemicals.

The best way to find the authenticity of a rudraksha is to get it X-rayed and count the number of compartments inside. If they are equal to the number of lines outside the rudraksha is real.

This rudraksha mala is made from fine (not rough), ripe and hard “real” rudraksha seeds that “SINKS IN WATER”.

Rudraksha seeds (beads) are used for spiritual mala or rosary such as in Hindu and Buddhism. Rudraksha trees are grown in the Himalayan villages of Nepal (the native homeland of Rudraksha) which are favored and valued more than other Rudraksha malas.

Religious Use:-
Rudraksha mala has been used by Hindus (as well as Sikhs and Buddhists) as rosary for thousands of years for meditation purposes to sanctify the mind, body and soul. The word Rudraksha is derived from Rudra (Shiva—the Hindu God of all living creatures) and aksha (eyes). So, Rudraksha is related to Shiva’s eyes. One Hindu mythology says that once Lord Shiva became so compassionate after seeing the sufferings of mankind that He could not stop to shed tear from his eye. This single tear from Shiva’s eye grew into the Rudraksha tree. Rudraksha fruit is green in color but turns black when dried. The central hard Rudraksha uniseed may have 1 to 21 faces. The five-faced Rudraksha seeds are the most common. Besides as rosary for meditation, the Rudraksha mala is often used as a fashionable necklace or a bracelet. Thus it serves the dual purpose of fashion and protects the wearer psychologically.

Use as Timber
The wood of Rudraksh tree is light coloured almost whitish in appearance. It has a unique strength-to-weight ratio, making it valued for its timber. The wood of Rudraksha Tree was used to make aeroplane propellers during World War I.

The Mantra of Rudraksha
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Japa mantra for Rudraksha mala: Om Hreem Shivaya

Rudraksha rules the planet: Jupiter

Spiritual Belives that Rudraksha Cures: Depression, stress, diabetes, cancer, heart diseases, blood related diseases etc

Japa method:
Hold the mala from the middle finger. Start meditation from the 1st bead next to the guru bead (109th bead outside the mala ring that is closest to the bunch of threads). Pull the bead one by one towards yourself with the thumb while recalling/reciting/chanting “Om Hreem Shivaya” & crossing and pulling the beads by the tip of the thumb. After completing the japa until the 108th bead (the bead just before the guru bead) turn around the mala by your thumb and start the japa again from the 108th bead and continue up to the 1st bead. Repeat the above process. Do not touch the mala with the index finger, little finger and the fingernails.

Medicinal Uses of Rudraksha:-
Rudraksha bead is a natural tranquilizer and it has been proved that wearing Rudraksha around heart controlled heart beat and keeps blood pressure under control. For this, it is necessary that the Rudrakasha bead should touch the heart. People with the problem of high blood pressure can also take Rudraksha as a medicine. Dip two Beads of Five Mukhi Rudraksh in a glass of water in night and let them immersed in water for whole night. Drink that water in the morning, before any other intake. You can use any metal for the vessel except copper.

» Rudraksha also imposes positive effect on Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Palpitations and Lack of Concentration.
» It cools down the body temperature and brings calm to mind. Those who suffer from anxiety should keep big size Five
Mukhi Rudraksh with themselves and whenever they feel nervous, they should hold them tight in their right palm for ten
minutes. It will help them to regain their confidence and their body would become stable.
» Rudrakasha is an excellent bead for pregnant women. Wearing Garbh Gauri Rudraksha helps women who have problems in
conceiving a child and are prone to abortion. Rudraksha is also useful for women suffering from hysteria and coma.
» Rudraksha also help to cure prolonged cough, the paste of ten-faced Rudrakasha with milk relieves prolonged cough. This
medicine should be taken thrice a day. It can be used as a cure for skin diseases, sores, ringworm, pimples, boils and
burns also.
» Rudraksha is also good for children who suffer from frequent fever. Such children should wear three-faced Rudrakasha.
» To cure smallpox equal quantity of black pepper and Rudrakasha should be powdered and taken with water.
» Rudraksha is also useful in mental diseases. Milk boiled with four faced Rudrakasha seed is good medicine for mental
diseases. This also helps in increasing your memory.
» Rudraksha also possess anti ageing property.

You may click to see :->MEDICINAL & SCIENTIFIC VALUE OF RUDRAKASHA

Acording to Ayurveda:-
It is amla, ushna; pacifies demaged vata and kapha; relieves headache; appetizing and beneficial in mental diseases.

Part Used: Fruits.

Therapeutic Uses:

Fruits: In the treatment of headache and epileptic fits.the fruits are sour, thermogenic, appetizer, useful in cough, bronchitis, neuralgia ,cephalgia, anorexia, epileptic fitts, manic conditions, brain disorders.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudraksha

http://www.ayurvedakalamandiram.com/herbs.htm#rudraksha

http://www.india-shopping.net/rudraksha/medicinal_propertiesof_rudraksha.htm

http://www.rudraksha-ratna.com/articledt.php?art_id=129

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Amebic Liver Abscess

Alternative Names:Hepatic amebiasis; Extraintestinal amebiasis; Abscess – amebic liver
Definition :
Amebic liver abscess is a collection of pus in the liver caused by an intestinal parasite.Organisms that carry disease can travel through the blood stream into the liver and form an abscess, a collection of infected tissue and pus.

YOU MAY CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES
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Amebic liver abscess is an extraintestinal manifestation caused by a protozoa Entamoeba histolytica. The disease spreads through the ingestion of cysts in fecally-contaminated food or water. The infection is worldwide, most common in tropical areas usually in developing countries where poor sanitation exist.

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This is an Abscess (walled area of infection/pus) in the liver that is caused by the organism Entamoeba histolytica.  It is common in tropical and subtropical areas (southeast Asia, Africa, India, Latin America).  In the U.S., it is most common in young Hispanic adults.  It is also seen in those with recent travels to tropical areas, homosexuals, and among the inhabitants of institutions for the mentally ill.

Causes :-
Travel to endemic areas (as above), where the cysts of the parasite may be ingested by consuming water or food contaminated by fecal matter.
Amebic liver abscess is caused by Entamoeba histolytica, the same organism that causes amebiasis, an intestinal infection. The organism is carried by the blood from the intestines to the liver.

The disease spreads through ingestion of cysts in fecally-contaminated food or water, use of human waste as fertilizer, and person-to-person contact.

The infection occurs worldwide, but is most common in tropical areas where crowded living conditions and poor sanitation exist. Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and India have significant health problems associated with this disease.

Risk Factors :-
*Malnutrition
*Old age
*Pregnancy
*Steroid use
*Cancer
*Immunosuppression
*Alcoholism
*Recent travel to a tropical region
*Homosexuality, particularly in males

Symptoms :-
There may or may not be symptoms of intestinal infection. Symptoms may include:
*Right upper abdominal pain
*Right sided chest pain worse on a deep breath
*Intense, continuous, or stabbing pain
*Chills
*Diarrhea precedes infection in 20% of patients
*Fever
*General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling (malaise)
*Jaundice
*Joint pain
*Loss of appetite
*Sweating
*Weight loss
*malaise

Nature of the disease:-
Most infected people, perhaps 90%, are asymptomatic, but this disease has the potential to make the sufferer dangerously ill. It is estimated by the World Health Organization that about 70,000 people die annually worldwide.

Infections can sometimes last for years. Symptoms take from a few days to a few weeks to develop and manifest themselves, but usually it is about two to four weeks. Symptoms can range from mild diarrhoea to dysentery with blood and mucus. The blood comes from amoebae invading the lining of the intestine. In about 10% of invasive cases the amoebae enter the bloodstream and may travel to other organs in the body. Most commonly this means the liver, as this is where blood from the intestine reaches first, but they can end up almost anywhere.

Onset time is highly variable and the average asymptomatic infection persists for over a year. It is theorised that the absence of symptoms or their intensity may vary with such factors as strain of amoeba, immune response of the host, and perhaps associated bacteria and viruses.

In asymptomatic infections the amoeba lives by eating and digesting bacteria and food particles in the gut, a part of the gastrointestinal tract. It does not usually come in contact with the intestine itself due to the protective layer of mucus that lines the gut. Disease occurs when amoeba comes in contact with the cells lining the intestine. It then secretes the same substances it uses to digest bacteria, which include enzymes that destroy cell membranes and proteins. This process can lead to penetration and digestion of human tissues, resulting first in flask-shaped ulcers in the intestine. Entamoeba histolytica ingests the destroyed cells by phagocytosis and is often seen with red blood cells inside when viewed in stool samples. Especially in Latin America,  a granulomatous mass (known as an amoeboma) may form in the wall of the ascending colon or rectum due to long-lasting immunological cellular response, and is sometimes confused with cancer.

Theoretically, the ingestion of one viable cyst can cause an infection.

Diagnosis:
Exams and Tests
Tests that may be done include:
*Abdominal ultrasound
*Abdominal CT scan or MRI
*Complete blood count
*Liver biopsy - rarely done due to high risk of complications
*Liver scan
*Liver function tests
*Serology for amebiasis

Treatment
A medicine called metronidazole (Flagyl) is the usual treatment for liver abscess. Medications such as paromomycin must also be taken to remove intestinal amebiasis to prevent recurrence of the disease.

In rare cases, the abscess may need to be drained to help relieve some of the abdominal pain.

Prognosis:
Without treatment, the abscess may rupture and spread into other organs, leading to death. Persons who receive treatment have a very high chance of a complete cure or having only minor complications.
Possible Complications :In the majority of cases, amoebas remain in the gastrointestinal tract of the hosts. Severe ulceration of the gastrointestinal mucosal surfaces occurs in less than 16% of cases. In fewer cases, the parasite invades the soft tissues, most commonly the liver. Only rarely are masses formed (amoebomas) that lead to intestinal obstruction.

The abscess may rupture into the abdominal cavity, the lining of the lungs, the lungs, or the sac around the heart. The infection can also spread to the brain.

When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if symptoms develop after travel to an area where the disease is known to occur.

Prevention:
To help prevent the spread of amoebiasis around the home :
*Wash hands thoroughly with soap and hot running water for at least 10 seconds after using the toilet or changing a baby’s diaper, and before handling food.
*Clean bathrooms and toilets often; pay particular attention to toilet seats and taps.
*Avoid sharing towels or face washers.

To help prevent infection:
*Avoid raw vegetables when in endemic areas, as they may have been fertilized using human feces.
*Boil water or treat with iodine tablets.
*When traveling in tropical countries where poor sanitation exists, drink purified water and do not eat uncooked vegetables or unpeeled fruit.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000211.htm

http://www.ecureme.com/emyhealth/data/Amebic_Liver_Abscess.asp

http://organizedwisdom.com/Amebic_Liver_Abscess

http://organizedwisdom.com/helpbar/index.html?return=http://organizedwisdom.com/Amebic_Liver_Abscess&url=en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amoebiasis#Diagnosis_of_human_illness

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7 Ways to Deal with Annoying People and Still Get Things Done

You can’t get along with everyone. But throughout your life, you’ll be in situations where you simply have to communicate with some of those people you just can’t stand. This may be an annoying boss, an ingratiating fan, a spineless co-worker, a difficult client, an abrasive in-law, and any number of people with any number of faults.

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You don’t always have to be nice — professional and to-the-point will often get the job done just as well — but you do need to make yourself understood clearly or risk letting your dislike translate into inefficient communication that hinders or even entirely undermines whatever projects you’re working on.

1. Listen
A lot of conflicts are based in misunderstandings, so always make sure you’re getting everything. Use careful questioning to focus the other person on the topic at hand so they give you what you need and avoid straying too far.

2. Repeat Everything
Your feelings about another person can color your perception of what they’re saying. To avoid this, repeat back any instructions, questions, or other problems they pose to you to make sure you absolutely understand.

3. Keep Your Cool
It’s tempting to want to argue with people who rub you the wrong way. Don’t do that! Unless they’re wrong  about something  that directly and materially affects you, don’t bother. Save the debates for when you’re with friends whose opinions matter to you.

4. Be Clear About Boundaries
You don’t have to be friends with everyone. Which means you don’t have to do favors for everyone who asks.

5. Fight Fire With Ice
The  worst thing you can do with angry or irrational people is engage them. As hard as it might seem to do, the best thing is to sit quietly and let them spend themselves ranting and raving, and then ask if they’d like to schedule a time to discuss the matter more calmly and return to whatever you were doing. If this sets off another round of yelling, simply wait it out and repeat.

6. Close the Door
Remember that your time is your own — don’t let other people, especially ones you’d rather not interact with, take control of your time. Communication outside of the narrow band needed to fulfill both of your objectives should be minimized.

7. You’re Valuable — Remember That
If you’ve found yourself in a position where you are obligated for some reason to spend time with someone you dislike, remember that most likely, they are in the same position with regard to you. But you wouldn’t be in that situation if you didn’t provide something of value, whether that’s a work skill or talent, specialized knowledge, even things as abstract as emotional support or solidarity.

People that are annoying, difficult, selfish, boring, or otherwise a chore to deal with are that way for reasons that have nothing to do with you — it’s not your job to fix, engage with, or indulge those tendencies. Don’t worry abut figuring them out or correcting them; worry instead about how you’re going to manage their  annoyances without letting it hinder your ability to achieve your own goals.

Sources:

Lifehack January 28, 2009

Related Links:
*Low Self-Esteem Sabotages Relationships
*Profound Thoughts About Relationships And Patience
*12 Ways to Improve Your Relationships and Your Life!

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If Tea is Hot, Wait Four Minutes

Drinking very hot tea appears to increase the risk of oesophageal cancer, a new study has shown, prompting suggestions for a four-minute wait before swallows of freshly boiled tea.
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The study from northern Iran, the largest so far to explore tea-drinking habits and oesophageal cancer, has corroborated earlier research from India, Singapore and South America that linked this cancer to hot beverages.

Researchers from the Tehran University of Medical Sciences studied tea-drinking habits and patterns of oesophageal cancer in Golestan province where black tea is popular. They found that people who consumed very hot tea (defined as 70°C or higher) had an eight-fold higher risk of oesophageal cancer than people who drank tepid tea (65°C or lower).

They found that drinking tea at temperatures between 65°C and 69°C — defined as simply hot — was associated with twice the risk of cancer of the oesophagus. Their research will appear in the British Medical Journal on Friday.

“It’s clear hot beverages are contributing to high levels of oesophageal cancer in this population, Paul Brennan, a research team member from the International Agency for Research in Cancer in Lyons, France, told The Telegraph.

“But other factors may be associated with oesophageal cancer in other populations,” said Brennan, head of genetic epidemiology unit at the IARC. “We need to investigate different factors in different regions or populations.”

The Iranian study also showed that waiting for tea to cool lowered the risk of the cancer. People who typically drank their tea within two minutes after it was poured had a five-fold higher risk than those who waited for four minutes or longer.

Although previous studies have pointed to the potential danger of hot beverages, Iranian digestive disorder specialist Reza Malekzadeh and his colleagues are among the first to investigate the link through rigorous temperature measurements.

Malekzadeh said the significance of the new research was in the use of statistical techniques to eliminate the effects of other risk factors that could also contribute to oesophageal cancer.

But doctors assert that there is no cause for alarm. “The public health message here is that people should wait four minutes before they begin sipping from a cup of hot tea,” Malekzadeh told The Telegraph.

Eight years ago, Rup Kumar Phukan and his colleagues at the Regional Medical Research Centre, Dibrugarh, Assam, had examined dietary habits in parts of northeastern India and shown that hot beverages and spicy food were linked to oesophageal cancer.

They had suggested that the long-term consumption of exceptionally hot food or beverages could cause chronic irritation and harm the lining of the oesophagus. “But chewing tobacco and smoking are also likely to be among the contributing factors in this region,” said a scientist at the Dibrugarh centre.

The Iranian study measured tea temperatures consumed by more than 48,500 people and studied tea-drinking habits of 300 patients with oesophageal cancer and 571 healthy people, emerging as the largest study on the topic.

Speculating on mechanisms to explain the link, the researchers have pointed out that chronic inflammation by high temperatures may stimulate the release of nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species — potentially harmful biomolecules.

Doctors caution that cancer is almost always a multi-factorial disease. The risk may be lowered or increased by several factors. Low consumption of fruits and vegetables, for instance, may increase the risk of cancer.

You may click to see:->Steaming hot tea linked to cancer

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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