Monthly Archives: February 2010

Bitter Orange(Poncirus trifoliata)

Botanical Name : Poncirus trifoliata
Family : Rutaceae
Subfamily: Aurantioideae
Genus: Poncirus
Synonyms: Aegle sepiaria – DC., Citrus trifoliata- L.’Flying Dragon’
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Tribe: Citreae
Species: P. trifoliata

Habitat:- E. Asia – C. and S. China, Korea.  Hedgerows. Woods in mountains and hills in Korea…Woodland Garden; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Hedge;

Description:-
A decidious Shrub growing to 3m by 3m at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from April to May, and the seeds ripen from September to November. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.

You may click to see the pictures

Tree  with  flower

Tree with fruits

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Poncirus is recognisable by the large 3-5 cm spines on the shoots, and its deciduous leaves with three (or rarely, five) leaflets, typically with the middle leaflet 3-5 cm long, and the two side leaflets 2-3 cm long. The flowers are white, with pink stamens, 3-5 cm in diameter, larger than those of true citrus but otherwise closely resembling them, except that the scent is much less pronounced than with true citrus. As with true citrus, the leaves give off a spicy smell when crushed.

The fruits are green, ripening to yellow, and 3-4 cm in diameter, resembling a small orange, but with a finely downy surface. They are very bitter, not edible fresh, but can be made into marmalade; and when dried and powdered, they can be used as a condiment.

The cultivar “Flying Dragon” has highly twisted, contorted stems.


These strange contorted plants are used as Bonsai specimens and also as a dwarfing rootstock for citrus varieties. They are equally hardy as the standard form. Even though they usually come true from seed, they are not considered a separate species.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation :-
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in an ordinary garden soil, preferably well-drained, but prefers a fertile light sandy soil in a sunny position. A plant is growing and fruiting well in light woodland shade at Cambridge Botanical Gardens. Plants dislike soil cultivation close to their roots and so should either be well mulched to prevent weed growth, or hand weeded. Succeeds in poor acid soils. Plants also succeed in chalk-laden soils. Hardy to about -15°c. Plants have survived -30°c of frost without injury according to one report. The bitter orange hybridizes with Citrus species and could possibly be used in breeding programmes to produce hardier forms of oranges, lemons etc. It could also be of value in conferring disease resistance, tolerance of poorer soils and dwarfing characteristics. The flowers are produced on the previous years wood. The whole plant, but especially the flowers, is strongly aromatic. A very ornamental plant, the fruits are freely formed in south-western Britain. A hedge at Wisley in a semi-shaded position fruits heavily in most years. Another report says that warm autumns are required if the plant is to fruit freely. Fertile seed is produced after warm summers. Plants are relatively short-lived, deteriorating after about 25 years.

Propagation:-
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Cold stratify stored seed for 4 weeks and sow early spring in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, June/July in a frame

Edible Uses:-
Edible Parts: Fruit; Leaves.

Edible Uses: Condiment.

Fruit – cooked. A bitter and acrid flavour, but it can be used to make a marmalade. The fruit is also used to make a refreshing drink. The freshly picked fruit yields little juice but if stored for 2 weeks it will yield about 20% juice, which is rich in vitamin C. Yields of up to 14 kilos of fruit per plant have been achieved in America. The fruit is 2 – 3cm wide, though most of this is the skin. The fruit peel can be used as a flavouring[183]. Young leaves – cooked.

Medicinal Actions & Uses
Antiemetic; Antispasmodic; Carminative; Deobstruent; Digestive; Diuretic; Expectorant; Laxative; Odontalgic; Stimulant; Stomachic; Vasoconstrictor.

The thorns are used in the treatment of toothache. The stem bark is used in the treatment of colds. The fruits contain a number of medically active constituents including flavonoids, coumarins, monoterpenes and alkaloids. The fruit, with the endocarp and seeds removed, is carminative, deobstruent and expectorant. It is used in the treatment of dyspepsia, constipation and abdominal distension, stuffy sensation in the chest, prolapse of the uterus, rectum and stomach. It is milder in effect than the immature fruit and is better used for removing stagnancy of food and vital energy in the spleen and stomach. The unripe fruit is antidiarrheic, antiemetic, antispasmodic, deobstruent, digestive, diuretic, laxative, stimulant, stomachic and vasoconstrictor. It is used in the treatment of dyspepsia, constipation and abdominal distension, stuffy sensation in the chest, prolapse of the uterus, rectum and stomach, shock.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein by us 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.

Other Uses: -
Hedge; Rootstock.

Used as a rootstock for Citrus species (oranges, lemons etc). It confers an extra 3°c resistance to the cold[160]. The plant is very thorny and makes an excellent impenetrable barrier or hedge, though this barrier is not very dense. The plants are very tolerant of pruning, they are best clipped in early summer shortly after flowering.

Scented Plants
Flowers: Fresh
The whole plant, especially the flowers, is strongly aromatic.

Resources:

http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Poncirus+trifoliata

http://www.homecitrusgrowers.co.uk/poncirustrifoliata/poncirus.html

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

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Spring Pheasant’s Eye(Adonis vernalis )

Botanical Name :Adonis   vernalis
Family: Ranunculaceae
Other Names:Pheasant’s eye, Spring pheasant’s eye, Yellow pheasant’s eye and False hellebore.(Green false hellebore, sometimes also called simply “false hellebore,” is Veratrum viride, a member of the lily family.)Sweet Vernal
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Genus: Adonis
Species: A. vernalis

Habitat : C. and S. Europe .This flowering plant is found in dry meadows and steppes in Eurasia. Isolated populations are found from Spain in the west across central and southern Europe, reaching southern Sweden in the north, with its main area of distribution being the Pannonian Basin and the West Siberian Plain and  Sunny grassy hills on dry calcareous soils. A rare plant in most of its range, it has legal protection from gathering in most countries.

Description:
It is a herbaceous  Perennial plant growing to 0.3m by 0.3m.
It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower in March, and the seeds ripen from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles. The plant is self-fertile.

The stem is branching, and the leaves many-cleft and sessile. The flowers are large, yellow, and attractive. USE: A toxic principle is present in very small quantities in the plant.
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Sweet Vernal is a very beautiful flower. It blooms in early spring and has a rich, golden, buttercup-like glow. Its leaves are like filigree, and very delicate.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires dry or moist soil.

Cultivation :-
Grows well in any ordinary garden soil that is not too heavy. Prefers a moist well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade. Easily grown in a very well-drained rather dry soil in sun or part shade. Plants flower better when growing in a sunny position. This plant is adored by slugs and is therefore very difficult to grow in the open garden where slugs are common. A very ornamental plant, it is rather rare in the wild so only cultivated plants should be harvested. A greedy plant inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes.

Propagation :-
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe or else it can be slow and erratic to germinate[200, 238]. Sow the seed in partial shade in rich soil in September or March. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the cold frame for their first season. Plant out when dormant in the autumn. Division in early spring or in autumn. The divisions can be difficult to establish[200], so it is probably best to pot them up and keep them in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing away well.


Medicinal Actions & Uses
Cardiotonic; Diuretic; Sedative; Vasoconstrictor.

Pheasant’s eye has a long history of medicinal use and is still retained in the Pharmacopoeias of several European countries. The plant contains cardiac glycosides similar to those found in the foxglove (Digitalis purpurea). These substances improve the heart’s efficiency, increasing its output at the same time as slowing its rate. It also has a sedative action and so is generally prescribed for patients whose hearts are beating too fast or irregularly. The herb is not often prescribed, however, due to irregular absorption. The herb is cardiotonic, diuretic, sedative and vasoconstrictor. It has sometimes been used internally as a cardiotonic with success where the better known foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) has failed – especially where there is also kidney disease. The herb is also used in the treatment of low blood pressure and its strong diuretic action can be used to counter water retention. It is included in many proprietary medicines, especially since its effects are not cumulative. The plants are harvested every third year as they come into flower, they are dried for use in tinctures and liquid extracts. The herb does not store well so stocks should be replaced every year. Use with great caution, see the notes above on toxicity. The plant is used in homeopathy as a treatment for angina.

This is a very special plant because it is a potent heart medicine. The plant contains something called glycoside Adonidin, which is used in remedies for chronic heart problems and as a tranquilizer. It works almost exactly like digitalin, which comes from Foxgloves, but is stronger and doesn’t build up in the body. It is used especially in cases where people are also suffering from kidney disease, as well as heart problems. It does produce vomiting and diarrhea, however and is only used when digitalis fails.

You may click to see how Homeopathic mother tincher is made from Adonis vernalis :

Disclaimer:The information presented herein by us 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.

Known Hazards: The plant is poisonous, containing cardiostimulant compounds, such as adonidin and aconitic acid. In addition, it is often used as a ornamental plant. A toxic principle is present in very small quantities in the plant. It is poorly absorbed so poisoning is unlikely.

Resources:

http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Adonis+vernalis

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

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ADVE&photoID=adve_002_ahp.tif

http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/sweet_vernal.htm

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Music is Good for You at any Age

It may be easier to learn young, but it may be more fun to learn later.
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Let’s face it: Many of us looking to sharpen our intellectual edges have already passed the age when becoming a prodigy is an option. We missed the opportunity to start clarinet lessons at 5. We lacked the discipline to practice for hours on end. We were told we couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.

It’s never too late, say researchers.

Just as second languages are more easily learned young, neuroscientists point to periods of heightened sensitivity — particularly before the age of 8 or 9 — when minds are more readily shaped by musical instruction.

With age, the “plasticity” that allows experience to mold the brain so easily declines. But it doesn’t disappear. At any age, learning a challenging new set of skills such as instrumental music is likely to return cognitive dividends, says Harvard University neurologist Gottfried Schlaug. And for adults, he added, the prospect of making music can be a far more effective motivator to practice than nagging parents are to younger musicians.

“Music is sort of the perfect activity that people can engage in from young to older years. It affects how the brain develops and affects how the brain changes in structure” at any age, Schlaug says.

For the mature brain, even listening to beloved music may have what scientists call a “neuroprotective” effect.

Dr. Antonio Damasio, director of USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute, is an expert on emotion and a committed musicophile. Even if music did little more than lift our spirits, he says, it would be a powerful force in maintaining physical and mental health. The pleasure that results from listening to music we love stimulates the release of neural growth factors that promote the vigor, growth and replacement of brain cells.

In that way, Damasio says, just the simple act of absorbing music may help keep older minds healthy, active and resilient against injury and illness.

Source :Los Angeles Times,March 1, 2010
Click to see the Related Articles:->

Effect of music on cognitive function
Playing along with the Mozart effect
The hope of music’s healing powers

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Celiac Disease

Definition:
Celiac disease, sometimes  called celiac sprue, is a digestive disorder that occurs when an individual’s immune system overreacts to the protein gluten, or other proteins within gluten such as gliadin, found in grains including wheat, rye, barley, and to some degree, oats. When a patient with the disease eats food that contains gluten, the immune system’s response damages the intestinal lining. This causes symptoms of abdominal pain and bloating after consuming gluten.

You may click to see the picture…> Coeliac disease :Classification and external resources

Diagram to show the different stages of Coeliac Disease

It  is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages from middle infancy onward. Symptoms include chronic diarrhoea, failure to thrive (in children), and fatigue, but these may be absent, and symptoms in other organ systems have been described. A growing portion of diagnoses are being made in asymptomatic persons as a result of increased screening. Coeliac disease is caused by a reaction to gliadin, a prolamin (gluten protein) found in wheat, and similar proteins found in the crops of the tribe Triticeae (which includes other cultivars such as barley and rye). Upon exposure to gliadin, and certain other prolamins, the enzyme tissue transglutaminase modifies the protein, and the immune system cross-reacts with the small-bowel tissue, causing an inflammatory reaction. That leads to a truncating of the villi lining the small intestine (called villous atrophy). This interferes with the absorption of nutrients, because the intestinal villi are responsible for absorption. The only known effective treatment is a lifelong gluten-free diet. While the disease is caused by a reaction to wheat proteins, it is not the same as wheat allergy.

This condition has several other names, including: cœliac disease (with œ ligature), c(o)eliac sprue, non-tropical sprue, endemic sprue, gluten enteropathy or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, and gluten intolerance. The term coeliac derives from the Greek  (koiliak?s, “abdominal”), and was introduced in the 19th century in a translation of what is generally regarded as an ancient Greek description of the disease by Aretaeus of Cappadocia.

No treatment can cure celiac disease. However, you can effectively manage celiac disease through changing your diet.


Symptoms :-

Severe coeliac disease leads to the characteristic symptoms of pale, loose and greasy stool (steatorrhoea), weight loss or failure to gain weight (in young children). People with milder coeliac disease may have symptoms that are much more subtle and occur in other organs rather than the bowel itself. Finally, it is possible to have coeliac disease without any symptoms whatsoever. Many adults with subtle disease only have fatigue or anaemia.

There are no typical signs and symptoms of celiac disease. Most people with the disease have general complaints, such as:
*Intermittent diarrhea
*Abdominal pain
*Bloating

Sometimes people with celiac disease may have no gastrointestinal symptoms at all. Celiac disease symptoms can also mimic those of other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, gastric ulcers, Crohn’s disease, parasite infections, anemia, skin disorders or a nervous condition.

Celiac disease may also present itself in less obvious ways, including:

*Irritability or depression
*Anemia
*Stomach upset
*Joint pain
*Muscle cramps
*Skin rash
*Mouth sores
*Dental and bone disorders (such as osteoporosis)
*Tingling in the legs and feet (neuropathy)

Some indications of malabsorption that may result from celiac disease include:

*Weight loss
*Diarrhea
*Abdominal cramps, gas and bloating
*General weakness and fatigue
*Foul-smelling or grayish stools that may be fatty or oily
*Stunted growth (in children)
*Osteoporosis
*Anemia

Another gluten-related condition :-
Dermatitis herpetiformis is an itchy, blistering skin disease that also stems from gluten intolerance. The rash usually occurs on the elbows, knees and buttocks. Dermatitis herpetiformis can cause significant intestinal damage identical to that of celiac disease. However, it may not produce noticeable digestive symptoms. This disease is treated with a gluten-free diet, in addition to medication to control the rash.

When to see a doctor :-
If you notice or experience any of the signs or symptoms common to celiac disease, see your doctor. If someone in your family is known to have celiac disease, you may need to be tested.

Seek medical attention for a child who is pale, irritable, fails to grow, and who has a potbelly, flat buttocks and malodorous, bulky stools. Other conditions can cause these same signs and symptoms, so it’s important to talk to your doctor before trying a gluten-free diet.

Causes:-
General: When a celiac patient eats gluten, or other protein components of gluten, such as gliadin, the body’s immune system overreacts. Gluten is present in all types of wheat (including farina, graham flour, semolina, and durum), barley, rye, bulgur, Kamut, kasha, matzo meal, spelt, and triticale. The gluten is mistaken for a harmful invader, such as bacteria, and an attack is launched. Immune system cells flood to the stomach and intestine to destroy the gluten. However, among these immune cells are autoantibodies that attack the lining of the intestine by mistake. As a result, the intestinal lining becomes damaged.

 

Gliadin is a protein component of gluten, found in wheat and several other cereal grains of the genus Triticum. Patients with celiac disease are sensitive to the  and forms of gliadins. In response to gliadin, anti-gliadin IgA antibodies are produced, which are reportedly found in many patients with celiac disease.

Inherited: Researchers believe that many cases of celiac disease are inherited (passed down through families). Researchers estimate that if someone in a patient’s immediate family (parent or sibling) has celiac disease, the patient has a 5-15% chance of developing the disease as well.

Trauma: It also appears that many cases of celiac disease develop after trauma, such as an infection, stress, physical injury, surgery, or pregnancy.

Other disorders: Celiac disease is associated with autoimmune disorders. Autoimmune disorders occur when the immune system attacks the body by mistake. Autoantibodies in the blood bind to components of an individual’s own cells, triggering other cells to attack the body. The most common autoimmune disorders associated with celiac disease are lupus erythematosus, type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, and microscopic colitis (disorder that causes inflammation of the colon).

Risk factors:-
Although celiac disease can affect anyone, it tends to be more common in people who have:

*Type 1 diabetes
*Autoimmune thyroid disease
*Down syndrome
*Microscopic colitis, particularly collagenous colitis

Additionally, certain genes — HLA-DQ2 and DQ8 — are associated with an increased risk of celiac disease. But, experts also suspect that other, as yet unknown, genes also play a role in the development of celiac disease.

Complications:-
Left untreated, celiac disease can lead to several complications:

*Malnutrition. Untreated celiac disease can lead to malabsorption, which in turn can lead to malnutrition. This occurs in spite of what appears to be an adequate diet. Because vital nutrients are lost in the stool rather than absorbed in the bloodstream, malabsorption can cause a deficiency in vitamins and minerals, such as B-12, D, folate and iron, resulting in anemia and weight loss. Malnutrition can cause stunted growth in children and delay their development.

*Loss of calcium and bone density. With continued loss of fat in the stool, calcium and vitamin D may be lost in excessive amounts. This may result in a bone disorder called osteomalacia, a softening of the bone also known as rickets in children, and loss of bone density (osteoporosis), a condition that leaves your bones fragile and prone to fracture. In addition, lack of calcium absorption can lead to a certain type of kidney stone (oxalate stone).

*Lactose intolerance. Because of damage to your small intestine from gluten, foods that don’t contain gluten also may cause abdominal pain and diarrhea. Some people with celiac disease aren’t able to tolerate milk sugar (lactose) found in dairy products, a condition called lactose intolerance. If this is the case, you need to limit food and beverages containing lactose as well as those containing gluten. Once your intestine has healed, you may be able to tolerate dairy products again. However, some people may continue to experience lactose intolerance despite successful management of celiac disease.

*Cancer. People with celiac disease who don’t maintain a gluten-free diet also have a greater chance of getting one of several forms of cancer, especially intestinal lymphoma and bowel cancer.

*Neurological complications. Celiac disease has also been associated with disorders of the nervous system, including seizures (epilepsy) and nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy).

Diagnosis:-
There are several tests that can be used to assist in diagnosis. The level of symptoms may determine the order of the tests, but all tests lose their usefulness if the patient is already taking a gluten-free diet. Intestinal damage begins to heal within weeks of gluten being removed from the diet, and antibody levels decline over months. For those who have already started on a gluten-free diet, it may be necessary to perform a re-challenge with some gluten-containing food in one meal a day over 2–6 weeks before repeating the investigations.

Combining findings into a prediction rule to guide use of endoscopy reported a sensitivity of 100% (it would identify all the cases) and specificity of 61% (it would be incorrectly positive in 39% of those without the disease, not a false positive rate of 39%). The prediction rule recommends that patients with high-risk symptoms or positive serology should undergo endoscopy. The study defined high-risk symptoms as weight loss, anaemia (haemoglobin less than 120 g/l in females or less than 130 g/l in males), or diarrhoea (more than three loose stools per day).

Blood tests:-
Serological blood tests are the first-line investigation required to make a diagnosis of coeliac disease. Serology for anti-tTG antibodies has superseded older serological tests and has a high sensitivity (99%) and specificity (>90%) for identifying coeliac disease. Modern anti-tTG assays rely on a human recombinant protein as an antigen. An equivocal result on tTG testing should be followed by antibodies to endomysium.

Because of the major implications of a diagnosis of coeliac disease, professional guidelines recommend that a positive blood test is still followed by an endoscopy/gastroscopy and biopsy. A negative serology test may still be followed by a recommendation for endoscopy and duodenal biopsy if clinical suspicion remains high due to the 1 in 100 “false-negative” result. As such, tissue biopsy is still considered the gold standard in the diagnosis of coeliac disease.

Historically three other antibodies were measured: anti-reticulin (ARA), anti-gliadin (AGA) and anti-endomysium (EMA) antibodies. Serology may be unreliable in young children, with anti-gliadin performing somewhat better than other tests in children under five. Serology tests are based on indirect immunofluorescence (reticulin, gliadin and endomysium) or ELISA (gliadin or tissue transglutaminase, tTG).

Guidelines recommend that a total serum IgA level is checked in parallel, as coeliac patients with IgA deficiency may be unable to produce the antibodies on which these tests depend (“false negative”). In those patients, IgG antibodies against transglutaminase (IgG-tTG) may be diagnostic.

Antibody testing and HLA testing have similar accuracies. However, widespread use of HLA typing to rule out coeliac disease is not currently recommended.

Endoscopy:-Click to see the picture
An upper endoscopy with biopsy of the duodenum (beyond the duodenal bulb) or jejunum is performed. It is important for the physician to obtain multiple samples (four to eight) from the duodenum. Not all areas may be equally affected; if biopsies are taken from healthy bowel tissue, the result would be a false negative.

Most patients with coeliac disease have a small bowel that appears normal on endoscopy; however, five concurrent endoscopic findings have been associated with a high specificity for coeliac disease: scalloping of the small bowel folds (pictured), paucity in the folds, a mosaic pattern to the mucosa (described as a “cracked-mud” appearance), prominence of the submucosa blood vessels, and a nodular pattern to the mucosa.

Until the 1970s, biopsies were obtained using metal capsules attached to a suction device. The capsule was swallowed and allowed to pass into the small intestine. After x-ray verification of its position, suction was applied to collect part of the intestinal wall inside the capsule. One often-utilised capsule system is the Watson capsule. This method has now been largely replaced by fibre-optic endoscopy, which carries a higher sensitivity and a lower frequency of errors.


Pathology
:-
The classic pathology changes of coeliac disease in the small bowel are categorised by the “Marsh classification”

*Marsh stage 0: normal mucosa
*Marsh stage 1: increased number of intra-epithelial lymphocytes, usually exceeding 20 per 100 enterocytes
*Marsh stage 2: proliferation of the crypts of Lieberkuhn
*Marsh stage 3: partial or complete villous atrophy
*Marsh stage 4: hypoplasia of the small bowel architecture

Marsh’s classification, introduced in 1992, was subsequently modified in 1999 to six stages, where the previous stage 3 was split in three substages. Further studies demonstrated that this system was not always reliable and that the changes observed in coeliac disease could be described in one of three stages—A, B1 and B2—with A representing lymphocytic infiltration with normal villous appearance and B1 and B2 describing partial and complete villous atrophy.

The changes classically improve or reverse after gluten is removed from the diet. However, most guidelines don’t recommend a repeat biopsy unless there is no improvement in the symptoms on diet. In some cases, a deliberate gluten challenge, followed by biopsy, may be conducted to confirm or refute the diagnosis. A normal biopsy and normal serology after challenge indicates the diagnosis may have been incorrect.

Other diagnostic tests:-
At the time of diagnosis, further investigations may be performed to identify complications, such as iron deficiency (by full blood count and iron studies), folic acid and vitamin B12 deficiency and hypocalcaemia (low calcium levels, often due to decreased vitamin D levels). Thyroid function tests may be requested during blood tests to identify hypothyroidism, which is more common in people with coeliac disease.

Osteopenia and osteoporosis, mildly and severely reduced bone mineral density, are often present in people with coeliac disease, and investigations to measure bone density may be performed at diagnosis, such as dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanning, to identify risk of fracture and need for bone protection medication.

Screening:-
Due to its high sensitivity, serology has been proposed as a screening measure, because the presence of antibodies would detect previously undiagnosed cases of coeliac disease and prevent its complications in those patients. There is significant debate as to the benefits of screening. Some studies suggest that early detection would decrease the risk of osteoporosis and anaemia. In contrast, a cohort study in Cambridge suggested that people with undetected coeliac disease had a beneficial risk profile for cardiovascular disease (less overweight, lower cholesterol levels). There is limited evidence that screen-detected cases benefit from a diagnosis in terms of morbidity and mortality; hence, population-level screening is not presently thought to be beneficial.

In the United Kingdom, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends screening for coeliac disease in patients with newly diagnosed chronic fatigue syndrome[59] and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as in type 1 diabetics, especially those with insufficient weight gain or unexplained weight loss. It is also recommended in autoimmune thyroid disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, and in the first-degree relatives of those with confirmed coeliac disease.

There is a large number of scenarios where testing for coeliac disease may be offered given previously described associations, such as the conditions mentioned above in “miscelaneous”.

Treatment:-
General: Although there is currently no cure for celiac disease, the condition can be managed with diet. Symptoms will subside within several weeks and patients will be able to absorb food normally once they avoid eating gluten. However, it may take several months in children and two to three years in elderly patients for the intestine to fully recover.

Support: Healthcare providers may recommend a dietitian or nutritionist who can help a patient plan an appropriate gluten-free diet. These professionals can also help patients determine whether or not supplementation with vitamins and minerals is necessary.

Diet:
Gluten-free diet
At present, the only effective treatment is a life-long gluten-free diet. No medication exists that will prevent damage or prevent the body from attacking the gut when gluten is present. Strict adherence to the diet allows the intestines to heal, leading to resolution of all symptoms in most cases and, depending on how soon the diet is begun, can also eliminate the heightened risk of osteoporosis and intestinal cancer. Dietician input is generally requested to ensure the patient is aware which foods contain gluten, which foods are safe, and how to have a balanced diet despite the limitations. In many countries, gluten-free products are available on prescription and may be reimbursed by health insurance plans.

The diet can be cumbersome; failure to comply with the diet may cause relapse. The term gluten-free is generally used to indicate a supposed harmless level of gluten rather than a complete absence. The exact level at which gluten is harmless is uncertain and controversial. A recent systematic review tentatively concluded that consumption of less than 10 mg of gluten per day is unlikely to cause histological abnormalities, although it noted that few reliable studies had been done. Regulation of the label gluten-free varies widely by country. For example, in the United States, the term gluten-free is not yet regulated. The current international Codex Alimentarius standard, established in 1981, allows for 50 mg N/100 g on dry matter, although a proposal for a revised standard of 20 ppm in naturally gluten-free products and 200 ppm in products rendered gluten-free has been accepted. Gluten-free products are usually more expensive and harder to find than common gluten-containing foods. Since ready-made products often contain traces of gluten, some coeliacs may find it necessary to cook from scratch.

Even while on a diet, health-related quality of life (HRQOL) may be lower in people with coeliac disease. Studies in the United States have found that quality of life becomes comparable to the general population after staying on the diet, while studies in Europe have found that quality of life remains lower, although the surveys are not quite the same. Men tend to report more improvement than women. Some have persisting digestive symptoms or dermatitis herpetiformis, mouth ulcers, osteoporosis and resultant fractures. Symptoms suggestive of irritable bowel syndrome may be present, and there is an increased rate of anxiety, fatigue, dyspepsia and musculoskeletal pain.

Everyone is different, but many people with coeliac disease also have one or more additional food allergies or food intolerances, which may include milk protein (casein), corn (maize), soy, amines, or salicylates.

What if you eat gluten?
If you accidentally eat a product that contains gluten, you may experience abdominal pain and diarrhea. Some people experience no signs or symptoms after eating gluten, but this doesn’t mean it’s not hurting them. Even trace amounts of gluten in your diet can be damaging, whether or not they cause signs or symptoms.

Most people with celiac disease who follow a gluten-free diet have a complete recovery. Rarely, people with severely damaged small intestines don’t improve with a gluten-free diet. When diet isn’t effective, treatment often includes medications to help control intestinal inflammation and other conditions resulting from malabsorption.

Because celiac disease can lead to many complications, people who don’t respond to dietary changes need frequent monitoring for other health conditions.

Lifestyle and home remedies:-

Following a gluten-free diet may leave you angry and frustrated, understandably so. But with time, patience and a little creativity, you’ll find there are many foods that you can still eat and enjoy. Following are some tips to help you on your way to a safe and healthy diet.

Read food labels
Food labels are your lifeline to better health. Always read the food label before you purchase any product. Some foods that may appear acceptable, such as rice or corn cereals, may contain gluten. What’s more, a manufacturer may change a product’s ingredients at any time. A food that was once gluten-free no longer may be. Unless you read the label every time you shop, you won’t know this.

Call the manufacturer
If you can’t tell by the label if a food contains gluten, don’t eat it until you check with the product’s manufacturer. Some support groups produce a gluten-free shopper’s guide that can save you time at the market, although it may not be as current as that obtained from the manufacturer.

Don’t be afraid to eat out

Though preparing your own meals is the easiest way to monitor your diet, this doesn’t mean you can’t eat out. For an enjoyable dining experience, remember the following advice:

*Select places that specialize in the kinds of foods you can eat. You may want to call the restaurant in advance and discuss the menu options and your dietary needs.
*Be a repeat customer. Visit the same restaurants so that you become familiar with their menus and the personnel get to know your needs.
*Seek and share ideas. Ask members of your support group for suggestions on restaurants that serve gluten-free food. If there are enough gluten-sensitive people in your community, it’s likely that restaurant owners will try to satisfy your needs. Continue to share with the support group the names of any restaurants that add gluten-free foods to their menus.
*Follow the same practices you do at home. Select simply prepared or fresh foods and avoid all breaded or batter-coated foods, gravies and other foods with obvious or questionable ingredients.

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/Coeliac_disease

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/celiac-disease/DS00319

http://www.righthealth.com/topic/Celiac_Disease_Symptoms/overview/NaturalStandard20?fdid=NaturalStandard_5ba0efa8e0040c39deb1cd99a1446453&section=Full_Article

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Saturated Fat is NOT the Cause of Heart Disease

The saturated fat found mainly in meat and dairy products has been regularly vilified by physicians and the media, but a new analysis of published studies finds no clear link between people’s intake of saturated fat and their risk of developing heart disease.


In the new analysis, which combined the results of 21 previous studies, researchers found no clear evidence that higher saturated fat intakes led to higher risks of heart disease or stroke.

A number of studies have linked the so-called Western diet to greater heart disease risks; that diet pattern is defined as one high in red meats and saturated fats — but it is also high in sweets and other refined carbohydrates like white bread.

Resources:
Reuters February 4, 2010
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition January 13, 2010 [Epub ahead of print]
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 91: 502-509; January 20, 2010

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Adonis Amurensis

Botanical Name : Adonis amurensis
Family  : Ranunculaceae
Common Names: Amur Adonis
Genus : Adonis

Habitat : E. Asia – Siberia to China, Japan, Manchuria and Korea.  Found in mountains. Forests and grassy slopes in E Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning provinces, China, Woodland Garden; Dappled Shade; Cultivated Beds;


Description:

Perennials Herbs,growing to 0.3m by 0.3m.
It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower from February to March, and the seeds ripen from April to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles. The plant is self-fertile.

......
Foliage: “The stems are branched, each stem branch bearing triangular, 3-6″ long leaves which are cut into 3 sections to the base. At the base of each petiole are leafy stipules. Each flower has 20-50 petals slightly longer than the sepals and appears just before the leaves fully emerge. The leaves are deep red and unfurled as the flowers begin to open.”

Flowers: Colors: Yellow
Season(s): Spring   “This species flowers as early as February in southern gardens and progressively later further north. The 2″ wide flowers are usually buttercup-yellow but may occasionally be white, rose, or have red stripes. Each flower has 20-50 petals slightly longer than the sepals and appears just before the leaves fully emerge. If the weather remains cool when flowers open, they persist for up to 6 weeks, less if hot weather comes along.”

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Grows well in ordinary garden soil and in the light shade of shrubs. Prefers a sunny position and a humus-rich soil. Prefers a moist well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade. A very ornamental plant. A greedy plant inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes. Plants take about 4 years from seed to flowering.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe or else it can be slow to germinate. Sow the seed in partial shade in rich soil in September or March. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow the plants on for their first winter in a cold frame. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Division in early spring or in autumn. The divisions can be difficult to establish, so it is probably best to pot them up first and keep them in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing away actively.

Medicinal Actions & Uses
Cardiotonic; Diuretic; Sedative.

The root is cardiotonic. The whole plant is an effective diuretic and tranquilliser.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein by us 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.

Known Hazards :  Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this plant, it belongs to a genus that contains a number of poisonous plants so the following remarks are likely to apply to this species – a toxic principle is present in very small quantities in the plant. It is poorly absorbed so poisoning is unlikely.

Resourcs:

http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Adonis+amurensis

http://navigator.gardenpilot.com/Tag.aspx?pl=26274&pr=4

http://iowagarden.blogspot.com/2007/03/hello-sunshine-adonis-amurensis.html

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Summer Pheasant’s Eye (Adonis aestivalis)

Botanical Name : Adonis aestivalis
Family  : Ranunculaceae
Common Name :Summer pheasant’s-eye
Vernacular names:-
Deutsch: Sommer-Adonisröschen
English: Summer pheasant’s eye
Français: Adonis d’été
Lietuvi?: Vasarinis adonis
Nederlands: Zomeradonis
Polski: Mi?ek letni
Svenska: Sommaradonis
Türkçe: Kandamlas?

Genus : Adonis
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Species: A. aestivalis

Habitat : It is native to Europe but has been introduced elsewhere, such as the western and eastern parts of the United States S. Europe, N. Africa.  Cornfields, usually on calcareous soils. Roadsides, fields, sagebrush scrub, and open pine or aspen forests in valleys and foothills; 1200-2400 m; introduced;


Description:
-
Plants annual. Stems 10–20 cm tall, branched or unbranched, basally sparsely pubescent. Leaves long petiolate, clustered apically on stem; leaf blade ca. 3.5 cm, increasing in size upward on stem to 6 cm, glabrous or abaxially sparsely pubescent; upper stem leaves finely 2 or 3 × pinnately divided; ultimate segments linear to lanceolate-linear, 0.4–0.8 mm wide. Sepals 5, narrowly rhombic to narrowly ovate, membranous. Petals orange. Ovary narrowly ovoid with a dorsal ridge, apically narrowed. Achenes ovoid, ca. 3.5 mm, reticulate-veined, with conspicuous dorsal and ventral ridges. Fl. Jun.
......

It is a medicinal and ornamental plant.
It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in July.   The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles. The plant is self-fertile.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:-
Grows well in ordinary garden soil. Prefers a moist well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade. A greedy plant inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes. Very closely related to A. annua.

Propagation:-

Seed – best sown in situ as soon as it is ripe in the autumn, though it can also be sown in situ in the spring.


Medicinal Actions &  Uses

Cardiotonic; Diuretic; Laxative; Lithontripic.
The plant is a cardiotonic, diuretic and stimulant. Some caution is advised in the use of this remedy, see the notes above on toxicity. The flowers are considered to be diuretic, laxative and lithontripic.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein by us 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.

Known Hazards : A toxic principle is present in very small quantities in the plant . It is poorly absorbed so poisoning is unlikely. The plant is poisonous to horses.You may click to see & read:

Resources:

http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Adonis+aestivalis

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

http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Adonis_aestivalis

http://www.eol.org/pages/594858

http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/img_query?rel-taxon=contains&where-taxon=Adonis+aestivalis

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Foods May Contribute to Infertility

Millions of people have celiac disease, but most don’t know they have it, in part because symptoms can be so varied. It is an often overlooked digestive disorder that causes damage to the small intestine when gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, is eaten.
………….

People sensitive to the gluten in bread, pasta and other foods may face fertility problems.

Infertility seems to be more common in women with untreated celiac disease. Other gynecological and obstetrical problems may also be more common, including miscarriages and preterm births.

For men, problems can include abnormal sperm — such as lower sperm numbers, altered shape, and reduced function. Men with untreated celiac disease may also have lower testosterone levels.

The good news is that with proper treatment with a gluten-free diet and correction of nutritional deficiencies, the prognosis for future pregnancies is much improved.

Source: New York Times February 3, 2010

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Adina Rubella

 

.Botanical Name:Adina rubella
Family : Rubiaceae
Common Name: Chinese buttonbush, glossy adina
Genus : Adina

Habitat:Native to China, E. Asia – China.   Edges of streams, ditches and ponds.Woodland Garden; Sunny Edge; Situate Chinese buttonbush in full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil.


Description:

.This 6- to 8-foot-tall, deciduous shrub is grown for its glossy leaves and spiky, round, creamy-white flowers that appear in early to midsummer.The flowers give way to small brown fruit clusters several weeks later. Chinese buttonbush is closely related to the North American buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), but is finer-textured and more compact.

The small lustrous, dark green leaf has reddish margins.  Small ½ inch white, mildly fragrant flowers, appear in June-July and persist into October, giving the plant the appearance of being covered in small white buttons.  Very pleasing.  This plant is very adaptable to most planting sites, except those with consistently wet soils.   Good choice for summer flowering in shady locations. Propagated from rooted stem cuttings.

Click & see the pictures

An annual plant. Radical leaves are 10-14cm long, pinnate, and parted. Lobes are wide, having thin hairs on the edge, shaped in rosette. Cauline leaves have narrower lobes and upper part of them are almost filiform. Fruits are clavate, 5-10cm long, 1.2mm wide, without hair, and fruit stalks are 6-8mm long. Flowers bloom in May-June, raceme on the edge of boughs. Flowers are light yellow, 8mm diameter, cruciate. Flowers have 4 calyxes, 2 of which on the outer part have short horn-shaped projections. Petals are 6-9? long. 4 of the stamens are long and 2 are short. Stem is 20-70cm long, with or without hair.

It is hardy to zone 0. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)

Height : 6 ft. to 10 ft.
Spread : 6 ft. to 10 ft.
Growth Pace :   Moderate Grower
Light  :   Full Sun Only;Full Sun to Part Shade;Part Shade Only
Moisture :  Medium Moisture
Maintenance :  Low
Characteristics:    Showy Flowers; Showy Seed Heads
Bloom Time  :   Summer
Flower Color :   White Flower
Uses  :   Low- Maintenance
Seasonal Interest :   Summer Interest

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Propagation: Root cuttings in summer, protect through winter, and plant out the following spring.

Medicinal Actions & Uses
Astringent, carminative, haemostatic, stimulates the circulation

Resources:

http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Adina+rubella

http://www.finegardening.com/plantguide/adina-rubella-chinese-buttonbush.aspx

http://www.flowerpictures.net/flower_database/a_flowers/adina.html

http://www.smallplants.com/catalog_a-b.htm

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Crohn’s Disease

Definition:-
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea and even malnutrition.

The inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease often spreads deep into the layers of affected bowel tissue. Like ulcerative colitis, another common IBD, Crohn’s disease can be both painful and debilitating and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications.

It  may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from anus to mouth, causing a wide variety of symptoms. It primarily causes abdominal pain, diarrhea (which may be bloody), vomiting, or weight loss, but may also cause complications outside of the gastrointestinal tract such as skin rashes, arthritis and inflammation of the eye.

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Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune disease, in which the body’s immune system attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing inflammation; it is classified as a type of inflammatory bowel disease. There has been evidence of a genetic link to Crohn’s disease, putting individuals with siblings afflicted with the disease at higher risk. It is understood to have a large environmental component as evidenced by the higher number of cases in western industrialized nations. Males and females are equally affected. Smokers are three times more likely to develop Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease affects between 400,000 and 600,000 people in North America. Prevalence estimates for Northern Europe have ranged from 27–48 per 100,000. Crohn’s disease tends to present initially in the teens and twenties, with another peak incidence in the fifties to seventies, although the disease can occur at any age.

While there’s no known medical cure for Crohn’s disease, therapies can greatly reduce the signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease and even bring about long-term remission. With these therapies, many people with Crohn’s disease are able to function well.

Symptoms :-
Many people with Crohn’s disease have symptoms for years prior to the diagnosis. The usual onset is between 15 and 30 years of age but can occur at any age. Because of the ‘patchy’ nature of the gastrointestinal disease and the depth of tissue involvement, initial symptoms can be more vague than with ulcerative colitis. People with Crohn’s disease will go through periods of flare-ups and remission.

Crohn’s disease can range from mild to severe and may develop gradually or come on suddenly, without warning. You may also have periods of time when you have no signs or symptoms (remission). When the disease is active, signs and symptoms may include:

#Diarrhea. The inflammation that occurs in Crohn’s disease causes cells in the affected areas of your intestine to secrete large amounts of water and salt. Because the colon can’t completely absorb this excess fluid, you develop diarrhea. Intensified intestinal cramping also can contribute to loose stools. Diarrhea is the most common problem for people with Crohn’s.

#Abdominal pain and cramping. Inflammation and ulceration may cause the walls of portions of your bowel to swell and eventually thicken with scar tissue. This affects the normal movement of contents through your digestive tract and may lead to pain and cramping. Mild Crohn’s disease usually causes slight to moderate intestinal discomfort, but in more-serious cases, the pain may be severe and include nausea and vomiting.

#Blood in your stool. Food moving through your digestive tract may cause inflamed tissue to bleed, or your bowel may also bleed on its own. You might notice bright red blood in the toilet bowl or darker blood mixed with your stool. You can also have bleeding you don’t see (occult blood).

Endoscopy image of colon showing serpiginous ulcer

#Ulcers. Crohn’s disease can cause small sores on the surface of the intestine that eventually become large ulcers that penetrate deep into — and sometimes through — the intestinal walls. You may also have ulcers in your mouth similar to canker sores.

#Reduced appetite and weight loss. Abdominal pain and cramping and the inflammatory reaction in the wall of your bowel can affect both your appetite and your ability to digest and absorb food.
Erythema nodosum due to CD
Other signs and symptoms :-
People with severe Crohn’s disease may also experience:

#Fever
#Fatigue
#Arthritis
#Eye inflammation
#Skin disorders
#Inflammation of the liver or bile ducts
#Delayed growth or sexual development, in children

When to see a doctor :-
See your doctor if you have persistent changes in your bowel habits or if you have any of the signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease, such as:

#Abdominal pain
#Blood in your stool
#Ongoing bouts of diarrhea that don’t respond to over-the-counter (OTC) medications
#Unexplained fever lasting more than a day or two.

Cause:-
Although the exact cause of Crohn’s disease is still unknown.  Previously, diet and stress were suspect, but now doctors know that although these factors may aggravate existing Crohn’s disease, they don’t cause it. A combination of environmental factors and genetic predisposition seems cause the disease. The genetic risk factors have now more or less been comprehensively elucidated, making Crohn’s disease the first genetically complex disease of which the genetic background has been resolved. The relative risks of contracting the disease when one has a mutation in one of the risk genes, however, are actually very low (approximately 1:200). Broadly speaking, the genetic data indicate that innate immune systems in patients with Crohn’s disease malfunction, and direct assessment of patient immunity confirms this notion. This had led to the notion that Crohn’s disease should be viewed as innate immune deficiency, chronic inflammation being caused by adaptive immunity trying to compensate for the reduced function of the innate immune system.Now, researchers believe that a number of factors, such as heredity and a malfunctioning immune system, play a role in the development of Crohn’s disease.

#Immune system. It’s possible that a virus or bacterium may cause Crohn’s disease. When your immune system tries to fight off the invading microorganism, the digestive tract becomes inflamed. Currently, many investigators believe that some people with the disease develop it because of an abnormal immune response to bacteria that normally live in the intestine.

#Heredity. Mutations in a gene called NOD2 tend to occur frequently in people with Crohn’s disease and seem to be associated with a higher likelihood of needing surgery for the disease. Scientists continue to search for other genetic mutations that might play a role in Crohn’s.

Complications:
Crohn’s disease can lead to several mechanical complications within the intestines, including obstruction, fistulae, and abscesses. Obstruction typically occurs from strictures or adhesions which narrow the lumen, blocking the passage of the intestinal contents. Fistulae can develop between two loops of bowel, between the bowel and bladder, between the bowel and vagina, and between the bowel and skin. Abscesses are walled off collections of infection, which can occur in the abdomen or in the perianal area in Crohn’s disease sufferers.

Crohn’s disease also increases the risk of cancer in the area of inflammation. For example, individuals with Crohn’s disease involving the small bowel are at higher risk for small intestinal cancer. Similarly, people with Crohn’s colitis have a relative risk of 5.6 for developing colon cancer.[26] Screening for colon cancer with colonoscopy is recommended for anyone who has had Crohn’s colitis for at least eight years. Some studies suggest that there is a role for chemoprotection in the prevention of colorectal cancer in Crohn’s involving the colon; two agents have been suggested, folate and mesalamine preparations.

Individuals with Crohn’s disease are at risk of malnutrition for many reasons, including decreased food intake and malabsorption. The risk increases following resection of the small bowel. Such individuals may require oral supplements to increase their caloric intake, or in severe cases, total parenteral nutrition (TPN). Most people with moderate or severe Crohn’s disease are referred to a dietitian for assistance in nutrition.

Crohn’s disease can cause significant complications including bowel obstruction, abscesses, free perforation and hemorrhage.

Crohn’s disease can be problematic during pregnancy, and some medications can cause adverse outcomes for the fetus or mother. Consultation with an obstetrician and gastroenterologist about Crohn’s disease and all medications allows preventative measures to be taken. In some cases, remission can occur during pregnancy. Certain medications can also impact sperm count or may otherwise adversely affect a man’s ability to conceive.

Risk factors:-
Risk factors for Crohn’s disease may include:

#Age. Crohn’s disease can occur at any age, but you’re likely to develop the condition when you’re young. Most people are diagnosed with Crohn’s between the ages of 20 and 30.

#Ethnicity. Although whites have the highest risk of the disease, it can affect any ethnic group. If you’re of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, your risk is even higher.

#Family history. You’re at higher risk if you have a close relative, such as a parent, sibling or child, with the disease. As many as 1 in 5 people with Crohn’s disease has a family member with the disease.

#Cigarette smoking. Cigarette smoking is the most important controllable risk factor for developing Crohn’s disease. Smoking also leads to more severe disease and a greater risk of surgery. If you smoke, stop. Discuss this with your doctor and get help. There are many smoking-cessation programs available if you are unable to quit on your own.

#Where you live. If you live in an urban area or in an industrialized country, you’re more likely to develop Crohn’s disease. Because Crohn’s disease occurs more often among people living in cities and industrial nations, it may be that environmental factors, including a diet high in fat or refined foods, play a role in Crohn’s disease. People living in northern climates also seem to have a greater risk of the disease.

#Isotretinoin (Accutane) use. Isotretinoin (Accutane) is a powerful medication sometimes used to treat scarring cystic acne or acne that doesn’t respond to other treatments. Although cause and effect hasn’t been proved, studies have reported the development of inflammatory bowel disease with isotretinoin use.

#Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Although these medications — ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Aleve), diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), piroxicam (Feldene), and others — haven’t been shown to cause Crohn’s disease, they can cause similar signs and symptoms. Additionally, theses medications can make existing Crohn’s disease worse.

Diagnosis:-
The diagnosis of Crohn’s disease can sometimes be challenging, and a number of tests are often required to assist the physician in making the diagnosis. Even with a full battery of tests it may not be possible to diagnose Crohn’s with complete certainty; a colonoscopy is approximately 70% effective in diagnosing the disease with further tests being less effective. Disease in the small bowel is particularly difficult to diagnose as a traditional colonoscopy only allows access to the colon and lower portions of the small intestines; introduction of the capsule endoscopy aids in endoscopic .

Your doctor will likely diagnose Crohn’s disease only after ruling out other possible causes for your signs and symptoms, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulitis and colon cancer. To help confirm a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease, you may have one or more of the following tests and procedures:

#Blood tests. Your doctor may suggest blood tests to check for anemia — a condition in which there aren’t enough red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your tissues — or to check for signs of infection. Two tests that look for the presence of certain antibodies can sometimes help diagnose which type of inflammatory bowel disease you have, but not everyone with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis has these antibodies. While your doctor may order these tests, a positive finding doesn’t mean you have Crohn’s disease and a negative finding doesn’t mean that you’re free of the disease.

#Fecal occult blood test (FOBT). You may need to provide a stool sample so that your doctor can test for blood in your stool.

#Colonoscopy. This test allows your doctor to view your entire colon using a thin, flexible, lighted tube with an attached camera. During the procedure, your doctor can also take small samples of tissue (biopsy) for laboratory analysis, which may help confirm a diagnosis. Some people have clusters of inflammatory cells called granulomas, which help confirm the diagnosis of Crohn’s disease because granulomas don’t occur with ulcerative colitis. In the majority of people with Crohn’s, granulomas aren’t present and diagnosis is made through biopsy and the location of the disease. Risks of colonoscopy include perforation of the colon wall and bleeding.

#Flexible sigmoidoscopy. In this procedure, your doctor uses a slender, flexible, lighted tube to examine the sigmoid, the last section of your colon.

#Barium enema. This diagnostic test allows your doctor to evaluate your large intestine with an X-ray. Before the test, your receive an enema with a contrast dye containing barium. Sometimes, air also is added. The barium dye coats the lining of the bowel, creating a silhouette of your rectum, colon and a portion of your small intestine that’s visible on an X-ray.

#Small bowel imaging. This test looks at the part of the small bowel that can’t be seen by colonoscopy. After you drink a solution containing barium, X-ray, CT or MRI images are taken of your small intestine. The test can help locate areas of narrowing or inflammation in the small bowel that are seen in Crohn’s disease. The test can also help your doctor determine which type of inflammatory bowel disease you have.

#Computerized tomography (CT). Sometimes you may have a CT scan, a special X-ray technique that provides more detail than a standard X-ray does. This test looks at the entire bowel as well as at tissues outside the bowel that can’t be seen with other tests. Your doctor may order this scan to better understand the location and extent of your disease or to check for complications such as a partial blockages, abscesses or fistulas. Although not invasive, a CT scan exposes you to more radiation than a conventional X-ray does.

#Capsule endoscopy.
If you have signs and symptoms that suggest Crohn’s disease but other diagnostic tests are negative, your doctor may perform capsule endoscopy. For this test you swallow a capsule that has a camera in it. The camera takes pictures, which are transmitted to a computer that you wear on your belt. The images are then downloaded, displayed on a monitor and checked for signs of Crohn’s disease. Once it’s made the trip through your digestive system, the camera exits your body painlessly in your stool. Capsule endoscopy is generally very safe, but if you have a partial blockage in the bowel, there’s a slight chance the capsule may become lodged in your intestine.

Treatments:-

Modern Treatment:-
The goal of medical treatment is to reduce the inflammation that triggers your signs and symptoms. In the best cases, this may lead not only to symptom relief but also to long-term remission. Treatment for Crohn’s disease usually involves drug therapy or, in certain cases, surgery.

Doctors use several categories of drugs that control inflammation in different ways. But drugs that work well for some people may not work for others, so it may take time to find a medication that helps you. In addition, because some drugs have serious side effects, you’ll need to weigh the benefits and risks of any treatment.

Medication:-
Acute treatment uses medications to treat any infection (normally antibiotics) and to reduce inflammation (normally aminosalicylate anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids). When symptoms are in remission, treatment enters maintenance with a goal of avoiding the recurrence of symptoms. Prolonged use of corticosteroids has significant side-effects; as a result they are generally not used for long-term treatment. Alternatives include aminosalicylates alone, though only a minority are able to maintain the treatment, and many require immunosuppressive drugs.[81]

Medications used to treat the symptoms of Crohn’s disease include 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) formulations, prednisone, immunomodulators such as azathioprine, mercaptopurine, methotrexate, infliximab, adalimumab[15], certolizumab  and natalizumab.[88][89] Hydrocortisone should be used in severe attacks of Crohn’s disease.[90]

Low doses of the opiate receptor antagonist Naltrexone (also Low dose naltrexone) have been found to be effective in inducing remission in 67% of patients with Crohn’s disease in a small study conducted at Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Jill Smith, Professor of Gastroenterology at Pennsylvania State University’s College of Medicine concluded that “LDN therapy appears effective and safe in subjects with active Crohn’s disease.”[91] Smith and her colleagues have since received a NIH grant and are proceeding with a definitive Phase II placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Lifestyle changes:-
Certain lifestyle changes can reduce symptoms, including dietary adjustments, proper hydration and smoking cessation. Eating small meals frequently instead of big meals may also help with a low appetite. To manage symptoms have a balanced diet with proper portion control. Fatigue can be helped with regular exercise, a healthy diet and enough sleep. A food diary may help with identifying foods that trigger symptoms. Some patients should follow a low dietary fiber diet to control symptoms especially if fiberous foods cause symptoms.[86]

Surgery:
Crohn’s cannot be cured by surgery, though it is used when partial or a full blockage of the intestine occurs. Surgery may also be required for complications such as obstructions, fistulas and/or abscesses, or if the disease does not respond to drugs. After the first surgery, Crohn’s usually shows up at the site of the resection though it can appear in other locations. After a resection, scar tissue builds up which can cause strictures. A stricture is when the intestines become too small to allow excrement to pass through easily which can lead to a blockage. After the first resection, another resection may be necessary within five years.[92] For patients with an obstruction due to a stricture, two options for treatment are strictureplasty and resection of that portion of bowel. There is no statistical significance between strictureplasty alone versus strictureplasty and resection in cases of duodenal involvement. In these cases, re-operation rates were 31% and 27%, respectively, indicating that strictureplasty is a safe and effective treatment for selected patients with duodenal involvement

Short bowel syndrome (SBS, also short gut syndrome or simply short gut) can be caused by the surgical removal of the small intestines. It usually develops if a person has had half or more of their small intestines removed.[94] Diarrhea is the main symptom of short bowel syndrome though other symptoms may include cramping, bloating and heartburn. Short bowel syndrome is treated with changes in diet, intravenous feeding, vitamin and mineral supplements and treatment with medications. Another complication following surgery for Crohn’s disease where the terminal ileum has been removed is the development of excessive watery diarrhea. This is due to an inability to reabsorb bile acids after resection of the terminal ileum.[citation needed]

In some cases of SBS, intestinal transplant surgery may be considered; though the number of transplant centres offering this procedure is quite small and it comes with a high risk due to the chance of infection and rejection of the transplanted intestine

Prospective treatments:
Researchers at University College London have questioned the wisdom of suppressing the immune system in Crohn’s, as the problem may be an under-active rather than an over-active immune system: their study found that Crohn’s patients showed an abnormally low response to an introduced infection, marked by a poor flow of blood to the wound, and the response improved when the patients were given sildenafil citrate.[34]

Recent studies using helminthic therapy or hookworms to treat Crohn’s Disease and other (non-viral) auto-immune diseases seem to yield promising results.

Complementary and alternative medicine:-
More than half of Crohn’s disease sufferers have tried complementary or alternative therapy.[97] These include diets, probiotics, fish oil and other herbal and nutritional supplements. The benefit of these medications is uncertain.

#Acupuncture is used to treat inflammatory bowel disease in China, and is being used more frequently in Western society. However, there is no evidence that acupuncture has benefits beyond the placebo effect.

#Methotrexate is a folate anti-metabolite drug which is also used for chemotherapy. It is useful in maintenance of remission for those no longer taking corticosteroids.

#Metronidazole and ciprofloxacin are antibiotics which are used to treat Crohn’s that have colonic or perianal involvement, although, in the United States, this use has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. They are also used for treatment of complications, including abscesses and other infections accompanying Crohn’s disease.

#Thalidomide has shown response in reversing endoscopic evidence of disease.

#Cannabis-derived drugs may be used to treat Crohn’s Disease with its anti-inflammatory properties. Cannabis-derived drugs may also help to heal the gut lining.

#Soluble Fiber has been used by some to treat symptoms.^ a b c Tungland BC, Meyer D, Nondigestible oligo- and polysaccharides (dietary fiber): their physiology and role in human health and food, Comp Rev Food Sci Food Safety, 3:73-92, 2002 (Table 3)

#Probiotics include Sacchromyces boulardii   and E. coli Nissle 1917.

#Boswellia is an ayurvedic (Indian traditional medicine) herb, used as a natural alternative to drugs. One study has found that the effectiveness of H-15 extract is not inferior to mesalazinesimilar, and suggests it that its safety makes it superior in benefit-risk evaluations.

Lifestyle and home remedies:-
Sometimes you may feel helpless when facing Crohn’s disease. But changes in your diet and lifestyle may help control your symptoms and lengthen the time between flare-ups.

Diet
There’s no firm evidence that what you eat actually causes inflammatory bowel disease. But certain foods and beverages can aggravate your signs and symptoms, especially during a flare-up in your condition. If you think there are foods that make your condition worse, try keeping a food diary to keep track of what you’re eating as well as how you feel. If you discover certain foods are causing your symptoms to flare, it’s a good idea to try eliminating those foods. Here are some suggestions that may help:

#Limit dairy products. Like many people with inflammatory bowel disease, you may find that problems, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain and gas, improve when you limit or eliminate dairy products. You may be lactose intolerant — that is, your body can’t digest the milk sugar (lactose) in dairy foods. If so, limiting dairy or using an enzyme product, such as Lactaid, will help break down lactose.

#Try low-fat foods. If you have Crohn’s disease of the small intestine, you may not be able to digest or absorb fat normally. Instead, fat passes through your intestine, making your diarrhea worse. Foods that may be especially troublesome include butter, margarine, cream sauces and fried foods.

#Experiment with fiber. For most people, high-fiber foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, are the foundation of a healthy diet. But if you have inflammatory bowel disease, fiber may make diarrhea, pain and gas worse. If raw fruits and vegetables bother you, try steaming, baking or stewing them. You may also find that you can tolerate some fruits and vegetables, but not others. In general, you may have more problems with foods in the cabbage family, such as broccoli and cauliflower, and nuts, seeds, corn and popcorn. Consult your doctor prior to starting a high-fiber diet.

#Avoid problem foods. Eliminate any other foods that seem to make your signs and symptoms worse. These may include “gassy” foods such as beans, cabbage and broccoli, raw fruit juices and fruits — especially citrus fruits, spicy food, popcorn, alcohol, and foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as chocolate and soda.

#Eat small meals. You may find you feel better eating five or six small meals a day rather than two or three larger ones.

#Drink plenty of liquids. Try to drink plenty of fluids daily. Water is best. Alcohol and beverages that contain caffeine stimulate your intestines and can make diarrhea worse, while carbonated drinks frequently produce gas.

#Consider multivitamins. Because Crohn’s disease can interfere with your ability to absorb nutrients and because your diet may be limited, multivitamin and mineral supplements are often helpful. Check with your doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements.

#Talk to a dietitian. If you begin to lose weight or your diet has become very limited, talk to a registered dietitian.
Stress :-
Although stress doesn’t cause Crohn’s disease, it can make your signs and symptoms much worse and may trigger flare-ups. Stressful events can range from minor annoyances to a move, job loss or the death of a loved one.

When you’re stressed, your normal digestive process changes. Your stomach empties more slowly and secretes more acid. Stress can also speed or slow the passage of intestinal contents. It may also cause changes in intestinal tissue itself.

Although it’s not always possible to avoid stress, you can learn ways to help manage it. Some of these include:

#Exercise. Even mild exercise can help reduce stress, relieve depression and normalize bowel function. Talk to your doctor about an exercise plan that’s right for you.

#Biofeedback. This stress-reduction technique may help you reduce muscle tension and slow your heart rate with the help of a feedback machine. You’re then taught how to produce these changes without feedback from the machine. The goal is to help you enter a relaxed state so that you can cope more easily with stress. Biofeedback is usually taught in hospitals and medical centers.

#Regular relaxation and breathing exercises. One way to cope with stress is to regularly relax. You can take classes in yoga and meditation or use books, CDs or DVDs at home.

You may click to see this article :-Banana Plantain and Broccoli Fibers for Crohn’s Disease Treatment

Prognosis:-
Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition for which there is currently no cure. It is characterised by periods of improvement followed by episodes when symptoms flare up. With treatment, most people achieve a healthy height and weight, and the mortality rate for the disease is relatively low. However, Crohn’s disease is associated with an increased risk of small bowel and colorectal carcinoma, including bowel cancer.

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/Crohn’s_disease

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/crohns-disease/DS00104

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