Monthly Archives: July 2010

Block-Supported Yoga Pose

Foam blocks are great tools for practicing yoga poses. Use them to develop more flexibility in your hamstrings while eliminating pressure on your lower back.

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Foam blocks are great tools for practicing yoga poses. Use them to develop more flexibility in your hamstrings while eliminating pressure on your lower back. Include this stretch at the end of your workouts when your hamstrings are warmed up.

Place two yoga blocks in front of you and stand upright with your feet in a split stance. Position your right leg forward between the blocks and your left leg approximately 31/2 feet back. For added stability, turn your back foot out slightly. Inhale with your hands on your hips, lift your chest and relax your shoulders down away from your ears.

On an exhale, bend forward at the hips, maintaining a long spine. Rest your hands on top of the yoga blocks. Inhale, lengthen the crown of your head away from your hips. Pull your abdominals in to support your spine. Pause for 10 to 20 seconds, feeling the stretch in the backs of your legs. Return to your upright start position, switch legs and repeat with your left leg forward.

Source : The Losangles Times

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Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)

Botanical Name: Pelargonium graveolens
Family :Geraniaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Geraniales
Genus: Pelargonium
Species: P. graveolens
Common Names :  Geranium

Synonym
Common names include rose geranium, old fashion rose geranium, and rose-scent geranium. Pelargonium graveolens is also known by taxonomic synonyms “Geranium terebinthinaceum Cav.” and Pelargonium terebinthinaceum (Cav.) Desf.” “Rose geranium” is sometimes used to refer to “Pelargonium incrassatum (Andrews) Sims” or its synonym “Pelargonium roseum – the herbal name- (Andrews) DC.” Commercial vendors often list the source of geranium or rose geranium essential oil as Pelargonium graveolens regardless of its herbal botanical name.


Habitat
:Pelargonium genus, is indigenous to various parts of southern Africa, and in particular South Africa.This specific species has great importance in the perfume industry. It is cultivated on a large scale and its foliage is distilled for its scent. P. graveolens cultivars have a wide variety of smells, including rose, citrus, mint, coconut and nutmeg, as well as various fruits. However, the most commercially important varieties are those that have rose scents.

Description
Pelargonium graveolens is an erect, much-branched shrub, that can reach a height of up to 1,3 m and a spread of 1 m. The hairy stems are herbaceous when young, becoming woody with age. The deeply incised leaves are velvety and soft to the touch due to the presence of numerous glandular hairs. The leaves are strongly rose-scented. The showy white to pinkish flowers are borne in an umbel-like inflorescence and are present from late winter to summer (August – January) peaking in spring (September – October).Mint Scented Rose Geranium is one of the best all around Scented Geraniums. It has great variegation, good size, nice pink flowers and a great fragrance.
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Cultivation :
Pelargonium graveolens grows very well in moist, semi-shaded positions in the garden where it can be used as filler. Its velvety leaves add texture to the planting. This species also makes a good container or hanging basket subject, provided it is kept in a semi shade position. Pelargonium graveolens responds well to feeding with liquid organic fertilizers. Use a suitable systemic insecticide if whiteflies are observed feeding on the plants.

This plant can be propagated by means of stem and tip cuttings, or seed. Cuttings root well when dipped into a suitable rooting hormone and then placed in trays filled with coarse river sand. The trays should be kept in coldframes. Optimum rooting time is autumn (March-May) and spring (September-November). Seed can be sown in spring, summer or autumn.

Uses:
Pelargonium distillates and absolutes, commonly known as “geranium oil,” is sold for aromatherapy and massage therapy applications is sometimes used to supplement or adulterate more expensive rose oils. Other applications include

*Natural insect repellent
*Cake ingredient (flowers and leaves)
*Jam and jellies ingredient (flowers and leaves)
*Ice creams and Sorbets ingredient (flowers and leaves)
*Salad ingredient (flowers)
*Sugar flavouring (leaves)

Medicinal  Uses:
Abrasions/Cuts * Burns/SunBurn * Depression * Diarrhea * Facial and Skin care * Fungus Infections * Insect Repellent * Scabies * Stress *
Properties: Astringent* Cisatrisant* Diuretic* Hemostatic* Sedative* Skin tonic* Vulnerary* Analgesic* Anti-inflammatory* Insect repellents* Stimulant* Antifungal*
Parts Used: Leaves

Pelargoniums were used in South African cultures as a traditional medicine for healing wounds, abscesses, cold sores, sore throats and infections, and continue to have a wide array of uses in the garden, kitchen and medicine cabinet.

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.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail26.php

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

http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantnop/pelarggrav.htm

http://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/pelgraveolensmintrose.htm

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An Increase in Leptin Could Promote Colorectal Cancer

While researchers have known that obesity increases the risk for the development of colon cancer, the underlying molecular mechanisms have remained unclear.

Now, for the first time, researchers have found that an increase in leptin, a cytokine that is normally increased in obese or overweight individuals, may promote colorectal neoplasms by activating colorectal cancer stem cells.

Cancer stem cells constitute a small subfraction of tumor cells that are characterized by long lifespan and capacity for self-renewal, and are responsible for tumor development, resistance to treatments and cancer recurrence. In colon cancer, leptin is able to increase the growth, survival, and resistance to certain chemotherapy treatments in this key cell population.

Leptin, a fat tissue-derived pluripotent cytokine regulating appetite and energy balance in the brain, also controls many physiological and pathological processes in peripheral organs, including carcinogenesis.

Colon cancer has increased in developed countries, possibly due to sedentary lifestyles and high caloric diets. Prior research has linked obesity to colorectal cancer risk by .4-1.0 fold in men and up to 2.0 fold in premenopausal women.

“Since targeting cancer stem cells may be a translationally relevant strategy to improve clinical outcomes, interfering with leptin signaling by targeting leptin receptors might become a novel attractive option for colorectal cancer treatment, particularly in obese patients,” says senior author of the study, Eva Surmacz.

“It is important to consider that cancer stem cells have been identified in several human malignancies,” says Monica Bartucci, study co-author. “Understanding how cancer stem cells interact with a tumor environment, including hormones like leptin, is likely to have significant implications for treatment management of different cancer types in human patients. We hope, in collaboration with Dr. Surmacz, not only to test the effects of leptin antagonist compounds on colon cancer stem cells but also to study the results of leptin stimulation on cancer stem cells isolated in other cancer tissues.”

Source: Elements4Health

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Mushrooms Enhance Activity of Critical Cells in Body’s Immune System

Mushrooms are among the many foods thought to play an important role in keeping the immune system healthy. Now scientists have conducted an animal-model and cell-culture study showing that white button mushrooms enhanced the activity of critical cells in the body’s immune system.

In the United States, white button mushrooms represent 90 percent of the total mushrooms consumed.

The results suggest that white button mushrooms may promote immune function by increasing production of antiviral and other proteins that are released by cells while seeking to protect and repair tissue.

The study’s cell-culture phase showed that white button mushrooms enhanced the maturity of immune system cells called “dendritic cells,” from bone marrow.

Dendritic cells can make T cells—important white blood cells that can recognize and eventually deactivate or destroy antigens on invading microbes.

When immune system cells are exposed to disease-causing pathogens, such as bacteria, the body begins to increase the number and function of immune system cells, according to study author Simin Meydani. People need an adequate supply of nutrients to produce an adequate defense against the pathogen. The key is to prevent deficiencies that can compromise the immune system.


Source :
Elements4Health

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Stretch Away Stress at Your Desk

Here’s a great way to reduce tension in the upper back, neck and shoulders. Practice this stretch at your desk after long hours of sitting in front of the computer or talking on the telephone.

Sit upright toward the front edge of a sturdy chair. Place your feet below your knees, hip-width apart. Hook your left elbow over your right elbow and wrap your forearms, pressing the palms of your hands together as much as you can. Inhale and raise your arms as you arch your upper back. Pause for a few breaths.

On an exhale, bring your chin in toward your throat, press your navel to your spine and move your elbows down toward your waist. Pause with your back in this C-curve position. Feel a deep stretch in your entire back and across the back of your shoulders. Inhale, raise your arms to repeat the arch and exhale again to repeat the C-curve. Return to center, then switch your arms and repeat.


Source :
The Losangles Times

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Forsythia Fruit (Forsythiae suspensae)

Botanical Name :Forsythiae suspensae
Family   : OLEACEAE Olive Family

Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Genus: Forsythia
Species: F. suspensa
Synonyms : Syringa suspensa.

Common Names :  Forsythia Fruit , Lian Qiao, yellow bell

Parts Used: Fruit

Habitat : It is Native China.Shanxi, Shaanxi, Henan and throughout northern China. Now it grows in several places in the world.

Description:
A decidious Shrub growing to 5 m (16ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Mar to April. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is not self-fertile.

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Forsythia bushes are a popular ornamental here in the West, and like many other popular ornamental plants, forsythia has a long history of medicinal use in Forsythia fruit is combined with another backyard favorite, honeysuckle, in one of the most widely used cold remedies in China.Forsythia suspensa is a large to very large shrub, can be grown as a weeping shrub on banks, and has paler flowers. Many named garden cultivars can also be found. It belongs to spring flowering shrubs, with yellow flowers. And, it is grown and prized for being tough, reliable garden plants..

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You may click to see good emages of Forsythia Fruit plant, leaf etc. :

Forsythia fruit is the fruit of those lovely bright yellow bushes that are often the first thing to bloom in spring in any northern climate. Native to China, forsythia grows nearly everywhere in the world. In the US it is grown mostly as an ornamental. It is named for 18th century English gardening expert William Forsyth, who was one of the founders of the Royal Horticulture Society. Although native to China, it was brought to the west by botanist Robert Fortune in 1833. The fruit is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat colds and viral infections that present with a fever, as an anti inflammatory, antipyretic, and as part of a cardiovascular tonic. It was generally prescribed for all types of “over-heating” or heat related conditions. It’s most often combined with honeysuckle flowers in honeysuckle forsythia fruit, which is possibly the most widely used cold remedy in mainland China and in Chinese immigrant centers in other countries.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist soil.

Cultivation :
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in all soil types but prefers a rich soil. Succeeds in limey soils. Grows well in heavy clay soils. It prefers a sunny position but succeeds in semi shade though it is apt to get leggy if grown in the shade of trees. Succeeds against a north-facing wall. Plants are hardy to about -25°c. The flowers are produced quite early in the year and are frost-resistant. Plants are medium to fast growing. Flowers are produced on wood that is more than one year old. Any pruning is best done after the plant has finished flowering. A very ornamental plant, there are several named varieties. This species is notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates within 2 months. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood 10 – 15cm taken at a node, July/August in a frame. Plant out in autumn or spring. A very high percentage, they root within 3 weeks. Cuttings of mature wood in a sheltered outdoor bed. Good percentage. Layering in spring or summer. Plants often self-layer.

Main Chemical Content: forsythin, matairesinoside, betulinic acid, phyillygenin, pinoresinol,phillyrin,arctiin,forsythoside C,forsythoside D,etc.

Medicinal Uses:

Antidote;  Antiphlogistic;  Antitussive;  Cancer;  Diuretic;  Emmenagogue;  Febrifuge;  Laxative;  Tonic;  Vermifuge.

Lian Qiao has been used in Chinese herbalism for over 4,000 years and is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs. A bitter tasting pungent herb with an antiseptic effect, it is chiefly used to treat boils, carbuncles, mumps and infected neck glands. The fruit is a bitter astringent herb that stimulates the heart, nervous system and gall bladder. It contains vitamin P, which is used to strengthen capillaries. The fruit is also antidote, antiphlogistic, antitussive, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, laxative and tonic. It is used internally in the treatment of acute infectious diseases such as mumps, and also for tonsillitis, urinary tract infections allergic rashes etc. The fruit is harvested when fully ripe and is dried for use in decoctions. The plant has a similar action to Lonicera japonica and is usually used in combination with that species to achieve a stronger action. The flowers have a broad-spectrum antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella dysenteriae, haemolytic streptococcus, Pneumococcus, Bacillus typhi, Mycobacterium tuberculi etc. The plant is vermifuge, though the part used is not stated. The leaves are febrifuge and are also poulticed onto ulcerated glands and haemorrhoids. A decoction of the leaves and twigs is used in the treatment of breast cancer. The root is used in the treatment of cancer, colds, fever and jaundice.

Remedies For:
Antibacterial, antiemetic, parasiticide, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory.

Forsythia is commonly used for the common cold or influenza. It is also useful for toxic sores, carbuncles, swollen lymph nodes, Forsythia should be considered when there is high fever with thirst and delirium. Forsythia fruit is commonly used for a variety of inflammatory conditions, including colds, sore throat, fevers, influenza, boils, car- buncles, and furuncles, and for the treatment of cancer (especially lung, throat, and breast cancer).

Properties:Bitter, Slightly Spicy, Cool

Clears Heat Toxins and Disperses Lumps and Nodules
For all sores from heat including abscesses, neck lumps, scrofula, and carbuncles.

Clears Wind-Heat
:   For Wind-Heat common cold. Also effective in treating high fever, thirst, and delirium.

Forsythia fruit has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine, though the first mention of its most common use * in honeysuckle forsythia flower blend * is in a 1789 herbal compendium. There?s been little modern research, though the anecdotal evidence for its effectiveness against fever, cough and chest complaints is well-documented in the annals of traditional medicine. One small study from Korea suggests that constituents found in forsythia flower may be helpful in improving the cholesterol profile by increasing the proportion of ‘good’ cholesterol in the blood and encouraging the excretion of bad cholesterol. In modern Chinese herbal medicine, lian qiao (forsythia fruit) is prescribed when a broad spectrum antibiotic effect is desired. In addition, forsythia fruit seems to have an antimicrobial, anti-emetic and anti-parasitic effect.

Modern applications: Antimicrobial effect, antiparasitic effect, antiemetic effect, for retina hemorrhage, for acute kidney infection, for pus forming in lungs, acute liver infection, and psoriasis.

Safety  Precautions: Forsythia fruit should not be used by those with weak and cold spleen/stomach conditions or for sores that are already open or are caused by yin deficiency.There are no reports of harmful side effects of using forsythia fruit, however its use while pregnant should be avoided.

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.holistic-online.com/herbal-Med/_Herbs/h359.htm

http://www.mdidea.com/products/proper/proper012paper.html#01

http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/learn/forsythiafruit.php

http://woodyplants.nres.uiuc.edu/plant/forsu

http://www.bacara-gardens.ro/plante.html

http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/images/low/Z920-0901020.jpg

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Forsythia+suspensa

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

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Eggs Could Cut Heart Defects

Various studies have revealed that choline, which is present in eggs in abundance, is associated with decreased rate of heart defects during prenatal development.

Researchers examined the offspring of mice that consumed a choline-deficient diet during pregnancy compared to the offspring of mice that consumed a diet containing the recommended amount of choline.

They observed that heart defects were more prevalent among the offspring of mice consuming a choline-deficient diet.

The study also found that low choline intake was associated with increased levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood that, when elevated, is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and declined cognitive function.

“Choline is a complex nutrient that is intricately involved in fetal development, and this research reveals another piece of the puzzle,” said Marie Caudill, of Cornell University.

“Women with diets low in choline have two times greater risk of having babies with neural tube defects so it’s essential that nutrition education during pregnancy and breastfeeding highlight the importance of dietary sources of choline,” she added.

Apart from decreasing risk of prenatal development, choline plays an important role throughout lifespan too.

Another study found that higher intakes of choline and betaine were associated with lower blood homocysteine concentrations, especially in subjects with low blood levels of folate and vitamin B12.4 Choline, like folate, is involved in breaking down homocysteine in the blood.

Elevated homocysteine concentrations have been associated with increased risk of stroke, coronary heart disease and cognitive decline.

Researchers also studied the impact of choline intake on DNA damage in 60 Mexican-American men.

They found that individuals with greater intakes of choline, even exceeding current dietary recommendations, exhibited the least amount of DNA damage.

Source: The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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Ankyloglossia or Tongue -tie

Definition:
By definition, complete ankyloglossia is the total adherence of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Partial ankyloglossia is incomplete separation of the tongue from the bottom of the mouth due to a short frenulum, which is a fibrous membrane extending from the bottom of the tongue to an area below the bottom front teeth. Tongue-tie can be evident when the baby is crying or by careful inspection.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES…..>….(01)....(1).…..….(2)..……...(3)..……..…………..

List of images in Gray's Anatomy: XII. Surface...

List of images in Gray’s Anatomy: XII. Surface anatomy and Surface Markings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Symptoms:
There are certain facial features that have been found to be associated with a short frenulum.

*High-arched palate: characterized by a higher than normal arch of the roof of the mouth.
*Retrognathia: very small chin.
*Micrognathia: a recessed or undefined chin.
*Prognathism: a protruding lower jaw.
*Can’t stick the tongue forward
*Difficulty feeding
*Excessive attachment of tongue to bottom of the mouth
*V-shaped notch in tip of tongue

Causes:
Tongue-tie causes a significant portion of of the problems encountered with breastfeeding. It also is thought to pose other short term and long term complications, such as speech impediments, problems with swallowing, and the formation of teeth arrangement. There is some controversy over the defining characteristics of tongue-tie as well as the treatments.

When we hear the term “tongue-tied”, most of us have a mental image of someone who is struggling to speak in public, but is stammering nervously and is at a loss for words. In reality, tongue-tie is a medical condition that affects many people, and has special implications for the breastfed baby.
The medical term for the condition known as tongue-tie is “ankyloglossia”. It results when the frenulum (the band of tissue that connects the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth) is too short and tight, causing the movement of the tongue to be restricted.
Tongue-tie is congenital (present at birth) and hereditary (often more that one family member has the condition). It occurs relatively often: between 0.2% and 2% of babies are born with tight frenulums.

To tell if your baby is tongue-tied, look at him and stick out your tongue. Even tiny babies will imitate you. If he is unable to extend his tongue fully, or if it has a heart shaped appearance on the tip, then you should have him evaluated by his doctor. You can also try putting your finger in his mouth (pad side up) until he starts sucking. See if his tongue extends over his gum line to cup the bottom of your finger. If not, you may want to have him checked.
In most cases, the frenulum recedes on its own during the first year, and causes no problems with feeding or speech development. A lot depends on the degree of the tongue-tie: if the points of attachment are on the very tip of the tongue and the top ridge of the bottom gum, feeding and speech are more likely to be affected than if the frenulum is attached further back.

Severe tongue-tie can cause problems with speech. Certain sounds are difficult to make if the tongue can’t move freely (especially ‘th’, ‘s’, ‘d’, ‘l’, and ‘t’). In addition to forming specific sounds, tongue-tie may also make it hard for a child to lick an ice cream cone, stick out his tongue, play a wind instrument, or French kiss. While these may not seem like important skills to you as a new mother, someday they may be very important to your child! Dental development may also be affected, with severe tongue- tie sometimes causing a gap between the two lower front teeth.
Of more immediate importance is the negative impact that a tight frenulum can have on a baby’s ability to breastfeed effectively. In order to extract milk from the breast, the baby needs to move his tongue forward to cup the nipple and areola, drawing it back in his mouth and pressing the tissue against the roof of his mouth. This compresses the lactiferous sinuses (the pockets behind the areola where the milk is stored) and allows the milk to move into the baby’s mouth. The tongue plays an important role in breastfeeding, and if the baby’s frenulum is so short that his tongue can’t extend over the lower gum, he may end up compressing the breast tissue between his gums while he nurses, which can cause severe damage to the nipples.
Tongue-tie can cause feeding difficulties such as low weight gain and constant fussiness in the baby. Nursing mothers may experience nipple trauma (the pain doesn’t go away no matter what position is used), plugged ducts, and mastitis.

Some tongue-tied babies are able to nurse effectively, depending on the way the frenulum is attached, as well as the individual variations in the mother’s breast. If the mother has small or medium nipples, the baby may be able to manage to extract the milk quite well in spite of being tongue-tied. On the other hand, if the nipples are large and/or flat, then even a slight degree of tongue-tie may cause problems for a nursing baby.
In addition to problems with nipple soreness and weight gain, some other signs that the baby may be having problems nursing effectively include breaking suction often during feedings, and making a clicking sound while nursing. Since these symptoms can also be caused by other problems, it’s a good idea to be evaluated by a knowledgeable health care provider (a lactation consultant if possible) to rule out causes other than tongue-tie. Tongue-tie should definitely be considered a possibility if breastfeeding doesn’t improve even after other measures such as adjustments in positioning have been tried.
If it is determined that tongue-tie is causing breastfeeding difficulties, there is a simple procedure called a “frenetomy” that can quickly correct the problem. In a relatively painless in-office procedure, the doctor simply clips the frenulum to loosen it and allow the tongue full range of motion. It takes less than a second, and because the frenulum contains almost no blood, there is usually only a drop or two of blood. The baby is put on the breast immediately following the procedure, and the bleeding stops almost instantly. Anesthesia and stitches are not necessary. The baby cries more because he is being restrained for a few seconds that he does because of pain. Comparing the procedure to ear piercing is a good analogy. Both involve a second or two of discomfort and a very small risk of infection, but are overall very safe and simple procedures.

Diagnosis
According to Horton et al., diagnosis of ankyloglossia may be difficult; it is not always apparent by looking at the underside of the tongue but is often dependent on the range of movement permitted by the genioglossus muscles. For infants, passively elevating the tongue tip with a tongue depressor may reveal the problem. For older children, making the tongue move to its maximum range will demonstrate the tongue tip restriction. In addition, palpation of genioglossus on the underside of the tongue will aid in confirming the diagnosis.

In most cases, the mother notices an immediate improvement in both her comfort level and the baby’s ability to nurse more efficiently. If the tongue-tie isn’t identified and the frenulum isn’t clipped until the baby is several weeks or months old, then it may take longer for him to learn to suck normally. Sometimes suck training is necessary in order for him to adapt to the new range of motion of his tongue. If tongue-tie is causing severe breastfeeding difficulties, then the sooner the frenulum is clipped, the better. Sometimes children end up having the procedure done when they are much older, because the problem isn’t identified until after they begin developing significant speech problems.

Even though clipping the frenulum is a simple, safe, and uncomplicated procedure, it may be difficult to find a doctor who is willing to perform it. The history of treating tongue-tie is somewhat controversial. Up until the nineteenth century, baby’s frenulums were clipped almost routinely. Because of the potential for feeding and speech problems, midwives were reported to keep one fingernail sharpened so that they could sweep under the tongue and snip the frenulum of just about all newborn babies. Any procedure that involves cutting tissue in the mouth can potentially involve infection or damage to the tongue, especially back in the days before sterile conditions and antibiotics. Because the procedure was overdone and in most cases, wasn’t really necessary, doctors became very reluctant to clip frenulums at all and the procedure was rarely performed.

Part of the reason frenotomies fell out of favor for many years was the fact that doctors discovered that in all but the most severe cases, speech was not affected by tongue-tie. They preferred to take a “wait and see” approach and let nature take it’s course. Most of the time, the frenulum would stretch out on its own with no intervention.

During the same time period that frenotomies were becoming less common, the rate of breastfeeding also declined dramatically. Bottle-feeding doesn’t present the same feeding difficulties for tongue-tied babies that breastfeeding does, because the mechanics are very different and extension of the tongue doesn’t play as big a role in feeding from the bottle. Since the majority of babies were bottle fed, it was easy for doctors to say that they weren’t going to perform an unnecessary procedure that didn’t interfere with feeding, and rarely caused speech problems.
Even today, with most infants in this country starting out breastfeeding, it may be difficult to find a doctor who recognizes the problem that tongue-tie can present for a nursing baby and is willing to perform a frenotomy. The procedure is seldom mentioned in the pediatric literature, and is no longer routinely taught in medical school.

If you feel that your baby’s breastfeeding difficulties may be due to tongue-tie, you may need to work at finding a health care provider who can diagnose the problem and clip the frenulum. Although any pediatrician or general family practitioner can theoretically perform a frenotomy, many prefer to make a referral to an oral surgeon, dentist, or ENT specialist.

Diagnosis of Clinically Significant Tongue-Tie
Based on a combination of anatomical appearance and functional disturbance:

Anatomical Type 1: Frenulum attaches to tip of tongue in front of alveolar ridge in low lip sulcus….

Type 2: Attaches 2-4mm behind tongue tip and attaches on alveolar ridge…..click for picture.

Type 3: Attaches to mid-tongue and middle of floor of the mouth, usually tighter and less elastic. The tip of the tongue may appear “heart-shaped”

Type 4: Attaches against base of tongue, is shiny, and is very inelastic

Effects:-
Ankyloglossia can affect feeding, speech, and oral hygiene[3] as well as have mechanical/social effects.   Ankyloglossia can also prevent the tongue from contacting the anterior palate. This can then promote an infantile swallow and hamper the progression to an adult-like swallow which can result in an open bite deformity.   It can also result in mandibular prognathism; this happens when the tongue contacts the anterior portion of the mandible with exaggerated anterior thrusts.    The authors sent a survey to a total of 1598 otolaryngologists, pediatricians, speech-language pathologists and lactation consultants with questions to ascertain their beliefs on ankyloglossia; 797 of the surveys were fully completed and used in the study. It was found that 69 percent of lactation consultants but only a minority of pediatricians answered that ankyloglossia is frequently associated with feeding difficulties; 60 percent of otolaryngologists and 50 percent of speech pathologists answered that ankyloglossia is sometimes associated with speech difficulties compared to only 23 percent of pediatricians; 67 percent of otolaryngologists compared to 21 percent of pediatricians answered that ankyloglossia is sometimes associated with social and mechanical difficulties. Limitations of this study include a reduced sample size due to unreturned or incomplete surveys.

Feeding
Messner et al. studied ankyloglossia and infant feeding. Thirty-six infants with ankyloglossia were compared to a control group without ankyloglossia. The two groups were followed for six months to assess possible breastfeeding difficulties, defined as nipple pain lasting more than six weeks, or infant difficulty latching onto or staying onto the mother’s breast. Twenty-five percent of mothers of infants with ankyloglossia reported breast feeding difficulty compared with only 3 percent of the mothers in the control group. The study concluded that ankyloglossia can adversely affect breastfeeding in certain infants. Infants with ankyologlossia do not, however, have such big difficulties when feeding from a bottle.  Limitations of this study include the small sample size and the fact that the quality of the mother’s breast feeding was not assessed.

Wallace and Clark also studied breastfeeding difficulties in infants with ankyloglossia.[8] They followed 10 infants with ankyloglossia who underwent surgical tongue tie division. Eight of the ten mothers experienced poor infant latching onto the breast, 6/10 experienced sore nipples and 5/10 experienced continual feeding cycles; 3/10 mothers were exclusively breastfeeding. Following a tongue tie division, 4/10 mothers noted immediate improvements in breastfeedings, 3/10 mothers did not notice any improvements and 6/10 mothers continued breastfeeding for at least four months after the surgery. The study concluded that tongue tie division may be a possible benefit for infants experiencing breastfeeding difficulties due to ankyloglossia and further investigation is warranted. The limitations of this study include that the sample size was small and that there was not a control group. In addition, the conclusions were based on subjective parent report as opposed to objective measures.

Speech
Messner and Lalakea studied speech in children with ankyloglossia. They noted that the phones likely to be affected due to ankyloglossia include sibilants and lingual sounds such as [t d z s ? ð n l]. In addition, the authors also state that it is uncertain as to which patients will have a speech disorder that can be linked to ankyloglossia and that there is no way to predict at a young age which patients will need treatment. The authors studied 30 children from one to 12 years of age with ankyloglossia, all of whom underwent frenuloplasty. Fifteen children underwent speech evaluation before and after surgery. Eleven patients were found to have abnormal articulation before surgery and nine of these patients were found to have improved articulation after surgery. Based on the findings, the authors concluded that it is possible for children with ankyloglossia to have normal speech in spite of decreased tongue mobility. However, according to their study, a large percent of children with ankyloglossia will have articulation deficits that can be linked to tongue tie and these deficits may be improved with surgery. The authors also note that ankyloglossia does not cause a delay in speech or language but, at the most, problems with enunciation. Limitations of the study include a small sample size as well as a lack of blinding of the speech-language pathologists who evaluated the subjects’ speech.

Messner and Lalakea also examined speech and ankyloglossia in another study. They studied 15 patients and speech was grossly normal in all of the subjects. However, half of the subjects reported that they thought that their speech was more effortful than other peoples’ speech.

Horton et al. discussed the relationship between ankyloglossia and speech. The authors believe that tongue tie contributes to difficulty in range and rate of articulation and that compensation is needed. Compensation at its worst, the article states, may involve a Cupid’s bow of the tongue.

While the tongue tie exists, and even years after removal, common speech abnormalities include mispronunciation of words. The most common is pronouncing Ls as Ws; for example the word “lemonade” would come out as “wemonade.”

Mechanical/Social

Ankyloglossia can result in mechanical and social effects. Lalakea and Messner studied 15 people, aged 14 to 68 years. The subjects were given questionnaires in order to assess functional complaints associated with ankyloglossia. Eight subjects noted one or more mechanical limitations which included cuts or discomfort underneath the tongue and difficulties with kissing, licking one’s lips, eating an ice cream cone, keeping one’s tongue clean and performing tongue tricks. In addition, seven subjects noted social effects such as embarrassment and teasing. The authors concluded that this study confirmed anecdotal evidence of mechanical problems associated with ankyloglossia and that it suggests that the kinds of mechanical and social problems noted may be more prevalent than previously thought. Furthermore, the authors note that some patients may be unaware of the extent of the limitations they have due to ankyloglossia since they have never experienced normal tongue range. A limitation of this study is the small sample size that also represented a large age range.

Lalakea and Messner note that mechanical and social effects may occur even without other problems related to ankyloglossia such as speech and feeding difficulties. Also, mechanical and social effects may not arise until later in childhood as younger children may be unable to recognize or report the effects. In addition, some problems may not come about until later in life, such as kissing.

Complications

The complications are rare, but recurrence of tongue tie, tongue swelling, bleeding, infection, and damage to the ducts of the salivary glands may occur.

Treatment:
Surgery is seldom necessary but if it is needed, it involves cutting the abnormally placed tissue. If the child has a mild case of tongue tie, the surgery may be done in the doctor’s office. More severe cases are done in a hospital operating room. A surgical reconstruction procedure called a z-plasty closure may be required to prevent scar tissue formation.

Prognosis:
Surgery, if performed, is usually successful.

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://tonguetie.ballardscore.com/

http://www.breastfeeding-basics.com/html/tonguetie.shtml

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

http://www.righthealth.com/topic/Tongue_Tie_Treatment/overview/adam20?fdid=Adamv2_001640&section=Full_Article

http://www.blueskydentaloffice.com/Children_s_Dentistry.html

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Fo-Ti Root (Polygonum multiflorum)

Botanical Name: Polygonum multiflorum
Plant Family: Polygonaceae
Common name: Black haired Mr He, He Shou Wu (Mandarin),Polygonum multiflorum Thunb., or Fallopia multiflora

Habitat : Native to east Asia, the plant is grown along the banks of streams and in valley shrub thickets in China, Malaysia, etc.

Description:
Fo-Ti Root  a perennial climber, of the family Polygonaceae.The plant grows to about 4.5 m high. It is in flower from September to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects. The plant can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

You may click to see the pictures

Fleece flower is produced in most parts of China. The root tuber is dug in spring and autumn, preferably from plants 3 – 4 years old, washed clean, sliced and dried in the sun, which is known as raw fleece-flower root. That prepared by steaming with the juice of black soybean (till getting brown) and drying (till getting black) in the sun is called prepared fleece-flower root.


Constituents:

*anthraquinones
*phospholipids, such as lecithin
*tetrahydroxystilbene glucoside
*trace elements

Action: astringent [a binding agent that contracts organic tissue, reducing secretions or discharges of mucous and

*fluid from the body
*bitter [applied to bitter tasting drugs which act on the mucous membranes of the mouth and stomach to increase appetite and promote digestion]
*sweet
*warm

Medical Uses:

Medicinal Used: Root which has been processed (Zhi He Shou Wu). Processing reduces toxicity and alters its properties.

The literal English translation of Fo-Ti is “vine to pass through the night.” With a distinctive sweet yet bitter taste, fo-ti was thought to unblock the channels of energy through the body, allowing the escape of the pathogenic influences that cause generalized weakness, soreness, pain, and fatigue. The plant is also used as a wash for itching and skin rashes.

Traditional Chinese Medicine
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, fo-ti is one of the herbs used to nourish the heart and calm the spirit. Do not however go to a Chinese herbalist and ask for fo-ti, for you will get only a curious look. The Chinese know the plant root as he-shou-wu. Over the centuries he-shou-wu’s reputation has bordered on the mythical for its power to produce longevity, increase vigour, and promote fertility.

Side Effects:
Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease is not known. The root is considered to have minimum toxicity, however,excessive use can cause numbness in the hands and feet. The unprocessed root can cause loose stool, diarrhea, with abdominal pain, and nausea.

Preparation Methods :Teas and tinctures. Sometimes found in capsule form.

Polygonum multiflorum is used for:

Blood Conditions
*high blood cholesterol
*tones the vital essence and blood

Brain and Nervous System Conditions
*blurred vision
*dizziness with tinnitus
*epilepsy
*neurasthenia especially with insomnia
*neuritis
*schizophrenia

Muscular and Skeletal Conditions
*knee pain
*lower back pain
*fortifies muscles, tendons and bones
*numbness of limbs

Other
*premature aging
*premature greying
*promotes longevity
*tonic for elderly
*weak connective tissue

Dosage:
Recommended dosage is as follows:
50-100mL per week of 1:2 fluid extract

Western Medicine Fashion:
He shou wu is used for treating lymph node tuberculosis, cancer, and constipation. It is also used orally as a liver and kidney tonic; as a blood and vital essence toner; nourishing muscles, tendons, and bones. He shou wu is also used orally for hyperlipidemia, insomnia, limb numbness, lower back and knee soreness or weakness, premature graying, and dizziness with tinnitus.

Topically,He shou wu is used for sores, carbuncles, skin eruptions, and itching.

Parts Used:The unprocessed root is sometimes used. However, once it has been boiled in a special liquid made from black beans, it is considered a superior and rather different medicine according to traditional Chinese medicine. The unprocessed root is sometimes called “White Fo-Ti”, and the processed root is “Red Fo-Ti”.

Folk Lore:

The Chinese common name for Fo-Ti, he-shou-wu, was the name of a Tang dynasty man whose infertility was supposedly cured by Fo-Ti; in addition, his long life was attributed to the tonic properties of this herb. Since then, traditional Chinese medicine uses Fo-Ti to treat premature aging, weakness, vaginal discharges, numerous infectious diseases, angina pectoris, and impotence.

There are many literature about foti root:He-Show-Wu from ancient China,a story name He-Shou-Wu Legend written by Li Ao of Tang Dynasty spread widely.According to the description,He Shou Wu is a native people of Nan He County of Shun Zhou,his grandfather named Neng Si,his father named Yan Xiu.Original name of Neng Si is Tian Er,weakly from childhood,no sexual desire when grew up,got to mountains for learning Taoism.One day,Neng Si drunk and sleep on stones in day,its nearly night when he woke up,catch sight of a plant with double stems and numerous leaves,the stems and leaves intersected little by little and diparted later,he astonished of this scene.The next day,Neng Si dig out the root from the plant and dig out a root,he hand it to many people and no one named it,an old man said it may be a kind of elixir.Neng Si want to try its effects and have it taken for 7 days, and he suddenly got sexual desire that day.He keep trying it 3 to 4 months and bacame strong,after 1 year taken this root,Neng Si got rid of his old disease and looks fine,hair became black and shining.In the following 10 years,Neng Si had several sons and daughters,so he changed his name from Tian Er to Neng Si.Later he offer this root to his son Yan Xiu, and Yan Xiu offer this root to his son Shou Wu,the grandfather Neng Si and his son,grandson all live to 160 years old.Li Qi An is a neighbour and good friend of Shou Wu,he take this root and live very long,and he make this root public known,many people try this and it functions fine,so they name this root He Shou Wu which could extend life longevity and make hair black

Click to see for more knowledge:

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.globalherbalsupplies.com/herb_information/polygonum_multiflorum.htm#Plant_Constituents

http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail313.php

http://www.mdidea.com/products/new/new04104.html

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Learn Music, Get Smart

Training in music while still young effects changes in the brain that enhance one’s speech and sound abilities.

Practitioners of music therapy, like most members of the listening public, vouch for the healing qualities of music. Music soothes a stressed mind, elevates the soul, and helps cope with illnesses. What if it also improves intelligence? Can we say that learning the violin or piano would make you smarter? We could debate the meaning of “intelligence”, but many neuroscientists and psychologists are now beginning to answer the question in the affirmative.

In a review paper published last week in Nature, Nina Kraus and Bharath Chandrasekaran, both of the School of Communication at Northwestern University near Chicago, claim that training in music changes the brain significantly. And that these changes would help specifically in skills like speech processing, and generally in many areas that involve the processing of sound. Musicians get better at remembering things, have better motor skills, and can also pay attention better in a sea of noise. “Music training improves auditory skills that are not exclusively related to music,” write the authors.

Music is a sophisticated art form that invokes several skills even to listen. From an auditory point of view, it has three aspects: pitch, timing and timbre. Timing is at the heart of rhythm, and timbre is involved in the quality of sound. At a deeper level, it involves a complex organisation of sound. Great musicians and highly sophisticated listeners, particularly of classical music, would often point to deep cultural facets as well.

Learning music would call into play basic skills as well higher cognitive abilities. Musical training is a complex task that involves several brain areas. At a basic level, it requires the ability to identify pitch, the frequency of a note. Even the most basic learner needs to tune the instrument first. This isn’t easy, and many people simply can’t identify the pitch of a note easily, no matter how hard they try. Good musicians need to have a great sense of timing. They also need to distinguish timbre, which actually conveys the richness of sound (while pitch is the basic frequency, timbre is the fine structure of a note). The ability to identify these three basic features needs considerable training.

A long history of training in music shows up in the brain structure. The brains of musicians show more grey matter in areas that are important for playing a specific instrument. In physiological terms, this change results in increased activation of neurons (brain cells) when exposed to sound. For example, the strength of activation when exposed to the sound of an instrument depends on the length of training on that instrument. What this shows, and Kraus and Chandrasekaran argue, is that the changes were acquired through training and are not innate differences in the brain.

Areas in the brain that get developed through musical training are involved in at least three faculties: sound processing, visual processing and motor control. This is why learning to perform music is different from listening, no matter how deep. “Listening to music does not involve motor control,” says Vinod Menon, professor at the department of psychiatry and behavioural sciences, Stanford University. Menon’s lab studies, among other things, show the brain processes music and also the similarities and differences between music and speech processing in the brain.

Language and music seem to be two different subjects, but there are many similarities between them. At a fundamental level, both involve the processing of sound. Some of the finer skills that musicians have are transferred easily to the processing of speech, which also uses attributes like pitch and timbre to convey information. “Musicians would be able to detect easily fine distinctions in speech like irony or sarcasm,” says T.S. Sridhar, professor of molecular medicine at St Johns Medical College, Bangalore. Sridhar has experience of working in auditory physiology.

This skill could translate to being able to identify emotions in speech much better than in the case of non-musicians. Musical training uses a high working memory, an ability that is extremely useful in language. It also involves paying close attention to sound, which also translates to a skill in language: the ability to listen carefully to a stream of sound amidst a sea of noise. Many experiments have shown that neurons in the brains of musicians indeed show a higher response when exposed to the sound of language when compared to non-musicians.

Since the strength of such response is dependent on the length of training, it always helps to start early. Kraus and Chandrasekaran argue that seven years is the best age to start. This in turn raises another question: can one get the benefits of musical training — in terms of translatable skills — when training in later life? Says Kraus, who is Hugh Knowles Professor of communication sciences, neurobiology and physiology and otolaryngology at Northwestern University, “There is evidence that the nervous system, and in particular the auditory system, continues to change throughout the life times of human and non-human animals. An important area for future research is to determine specifically the effects of musical experience — begun later in life — on the nervous system.”

So performers, play on, be it for your brain or your heart. As a commentary on the Nature article argues, music could be taught and learned for its own sake and not merely to improve the brain.

Source The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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