Trumpet Creeper (Campsis grandiflora)

Botanical Name : Campsis grandiflora
Family : Bignoniaceae
Genus : Campsis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Species: C. grandiflora

Synonyms : Bignonia chinensis – Lam.,Bignonia grandiflora – Thunb.,Campsis adrepens – Lour.,Campsis chinensis – Voss.,Tecoma grandiflora – (Thunb.)Loisel.
Common Name : Chinese Trumpet Vine
Habitat :   A native of East Asia, China and Japan  . Climbs into trees and grows on rocks.
Woodland Garden; Ground Cover;

Description:
It is a fast growing, deciduous creeper with large, orange, trumpet-shaped flowers in summer. It can grow to a height of 9 meters. It is less hardy than its relative Campsis  radicans.The dark green leaves have serrated edges.Chinese trumpet  creeper is a showcase drop-dead,absolutely gorgeous vine, the perfectplant for that special full sun spot. Positioned so the backdrop is a dark  evergreen, the plant literally erupts  into a carpet of three-inch reddishorange  flowers tinged with yellow and salmon hues. On a post, this bright  petunia-on-a-stick will shock and awe  the most jaded of gardeners. At the  SFA Mast Arboretum, flowering rolls in  on a surge in early summer. The show lasts a month, and then the vine  casually throws a few flowers off and  on for the rest of the year, depending  on plant health.

....

Leaves are decidious, 8-12 in (20-30 cm) long, serrated, green to dark-green, pinnate, with 7-9 lanceolate and oval leaflets.
Flowers appear in summer. They are trumpet shaped, orange or red and grouped in terminal clusters of 6-12 flowers. Each flower is about 4-6 in (10-15 cm) long.
Fruits are flattened pods that contain numerous winged seeds.

Campsis grandiflora prefers well drained sandy soil and a position with full sun and support to climb. The dark green leaves have serrated edges.

It is hardy to zone 7 and is frost tender. It is in leaf from June to October, in flower from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
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 cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Cultivation :
Succeeds in a good well-drained loam and a very sunny position  or light shade. Tolerates moderately alkaline or moderately acid soils.  Dormant plants are hardy to about -10°c, though they require a sunny sheltered wall or hot summers if they are to flower well. The fresh young growth in spring is often damaged by late frosts. Plants can take some years to settle down before they start to flower. They climb by means of aerial roots but need to be supported. Another report says that this species does not produce aerial roots. Plants can be pruned like grapes (Vitis spp.) and any pruning is best done in the spring.  The sub-species C. grandiflora thunbergii tolerates saline winds. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse at 10°c. Two months stratification at 5°c assists germination. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a 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 almost ripe wood, 7 – 10cm long, July/August in a frame. Slow to root but a fair percentage. Root cuttings 5cm long in December. Fair to good percentage. Division of suckers in the dormant season. Layering in winter. Plants often self-layer

Medicinal  Actions & Uses
Blood tonic; Carminative; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Women’s complaints.

The flowers and the whole plant are blood tonic, carminative, depurative diuretic and febrifuge. They are used in the treatment of women’s complaints. A decoction of the flowers is used to correct menstrual disorders, rheumatoid pains, traumatic injuries, difficult urination, pruritis and oozing dermaphytoses.

Other Uses:
Ground cover.

Plants can be allowed to scramble on the ground and will form an effective ground cover, rooting at intervals along the branches. They should be planted about 2.5 metres apart each way.

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.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Campsis+grandiflora
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campsis_grandiflora
http://ag.sfasu.edu/UserFiles/File/PLANTS/Campsis%20grandiflora.pdf
http://coolexotics.com/plant-521-campsis-grandiflora.html
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Campsis_grandiflora

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Stand Tall with Posture-Perfecting Move

Improve your balance with exercise that engages arms, legs.

One of the keys to good posture is core balance. With this simple move, you can improve your muscular balance so you’ll stand taller, with your weight evenly distributed over both legs.

Start on all fours with your hands below your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Pull your ribcage and navel in toward the spine as you use your abdominals to “brace” the spine. Slowly shift your weight onto your right leg as you straighten and lift your left leg behind you. Reach out through your left heel, keeping your shoulders, hips and knee facing the floor. Pause for two breaths.

Keep your gaze steady and your left leg lifted as you slowly shift your weight onto your left arm. Stretch your right arm out in front of you, palm facing inward and your upper arm near the side of your head. Focus on keeping your hips and shoulders parallel to the floor. Work toward getting your extended leg and arm at the same height. Pause for three breaths. Lower your arm and leg, then repeat on the other side.

Source : Los Angeles Times

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Dark Chocolate Guards Against Brain Injury

Researchers have discovered that epicatechin, a compound in dark chocolate, may protect your brain after a stroke by increasing cellular signals that shield nerve cells from damage.

……….

An hour and a half after feeding mice a single dose of epicatechin, animals that had ingested the compound suffered significantly less brain damage following an induced stroke.

Eurekalert reports:
“While most treatments against stroke in humans have to be given within a two- to three-hour time window to be effective, epicatechin appeared to limit further neuronal damage when given to mice 3.5 hours after a stroke. Given six hours after a stroke, however, the compound offered no protection to brain cells.”

Resources:
Eurekalert May 5, 2010
Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism May 5, 2010 [Epub ahead of print]

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Sweet remedy

A protein, a by-product of natural insulin production, reduces heart complications in diabetics.  Reports on the outcome of a new study :-

Doctors have known for a long time that diabetes is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. If uncontrolled sugar levels persist for long, the blood vessels can become leaky. Such a condition allows cholesterol to seep in. And when cholesterol builds up inside the arterial blood vessels, they thicken from inside, reducing and eventually blocking the blood flow, leading to atherosclerosis.

Thanks to sustained campaigning over the years, most people now know that diabetes is also bad for the heart.

However, what many people do not know is that an inadvertent fallout of certain treatment methods can be detrimental to the heart’s functioning. A case in point is insulin therapy. One of the last resorts in diabetes management, the hormone insulin is administered either through a subcutaneous injection or by using a self-controlling pump attached to the body.

But this externally supplied insulin, for reasons not yet known, causes some cells in the blood vessels to grow more than they should, leading to a narrowing of their passageway to the heart.

A consequence of this, as some studies have shown, is that diabetics on insulin who have undergone bypass surgery are likely to have their newly grafted veins blocked earlier than non-diabetic heart patients.

But now a team of vascular biologists at the University of Leeds in the UK has found that a small protein, which was long thought to have been a useless by-product of natural insulin production in the pancreas, can ameliorate this undesirable side effect of insulin treatment.

Led by Karen Porter of the Leeds Institute of Genetics, Health and Therapeutics (Light), the researchers found that C-peptide, a natural by-product of insulin production, has a role to play in nature’s scheme of things and hence is not as “useless” as it is made out to be.

When C-peptide was given along with insulin, as happens in normal people who are not diabetic, the excessive growth and movement of cells was completely stopped, they report in the latest issue of the journal Diabetologia. “We found that administering insulin with C-peptide — which is released naturally in partnership with insulin in healthy people — appears to protect blood vessels from this damage,” says Porter.

Though insulin has been in use as medication since the 1930s, research till very recently failed to ascribe any role to C-peptide, insulin’s natural “partner”.

As a result, it was never incorporated in externally supplied insulin. In the 1970s though, some scientists briefly wondered if diabetics might be suffering from a lack of C-peptide. Subsequent studies, however, didn’t help much as they failed to ascertain any beneficial effect.

For instance, a study in 1993 by Julio Santiago of the Washington University who injected diabetic patients with low levels of the protein — just enough to match normal levels — saw no effect.

“Patients with diabetes are known to have higher cardiovascular risk and some will require coronary artery bypass grafting, using a vein from the leg. Patients donated these veins, left over after their operations, for research and we found that insulin on its own caused the cells lining these veins to go into an overdrive, with increased growth and movement that we know contribute to blockages. We were really surprised as to how powerful C-peptide was — it completely took away this insulin effect,” explains Porter.

“The study shows us a new path, wherein thickening of arteries — which is sometimes induced by insulin itself — could be decreased by giving C-peptide. This has huge relevance for the treatment of heart disease in patients with diabetes,” says Anoop Misra, head of internal medicine at New Delhi’s Fortis Hospital.

However, Nihal Thomas, an endocrinologist at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, says the idea that an additional peptide may augment the action of insulin is not entirely new. Previous studies with peptides such as IGF1 (insulin-like growth factor-1) and GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide- type 1) have shown similar benefits.

Moreover, the mechanism works at a cellular level in laboratory studies. “It needs to be established over a period of time through extensive human clinical trials to assess its clinical viability,” he adds.

But if the trials were to become successful in the next few years, a large number of diabetics all over the world will benefit from it.

It will be especially welcome in India, which is home to more than 40 million Type 2 diabetic patients.

This more common form of diabetes, associated with obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, results in the pancreas overworking and eventually failing. These patients will require insulin therapy over time. For instance, some 5 per cent of Indian diabetics are on insulin. Those suffering from Type 1 diabetes need insulin therapy at a much earlier stage.

“The number of people affected by diabetes each year indicates the problem is here to stay. Patients can generally learn to manage and live with their diabetes but heart disease is a complication that kills,” says Porter.

As has been shown by the Light researchers, a combination of insulin and C-peptide may provide a more effective treatment than insulin alone in controlling some of the cardiovascular complications associated with diabetes.

Source:
The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Indian Paper Birch (Betula utilis)

Botanical Name : Betula utilis
Family         : Betulaceae
Genus
: Betula
Synonyms:        Betula bhojpattra – Wall.

Habitat : E. Asia – Himalayas to S.W. China.  Forests at the upper height limit of tree growth, rarely found below 3000 metres[146]. Moist hillsides at elevations of 2000 – 4000 metres in Nepal.Woodland Garden; Canopy; Secondary; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade;

Description:
A decidious Tree growing to 20m at a fast rate.A variable species with normally dark coppery brown peeling bark revealing an attractive grey pink bloom. Makes a medium sized tree of comparatively fast growth.

Fast-growing Birch trees are attractive year-round. Their light green foliage turns yellow in fall. Losing their leaves for winter shows off their colorful, peeling bark, thin graceful branches, and hanging cone-like fruit. Young trees have dark-colored bark until their trunks reach 1 inch around. Plant against a darker background or green lawn to highlight pale trunks. Prone to aphids that drip a sticky substance called honeydew, so plant away from patios or car parks. Most thrive in moist sandy or rocky subsoils. Once established, tolerates some heat and dry spells. Prefers winter chill. Water deeply and often, around shallow roots. Prune in winter only after leaves have formed, to prevent sap bleeding. Transplant when dormant. Birch borers and leaf miners are major pests.

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It is hardy to zone 8. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind.
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. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in a well-drained loamy soil in a sheltered position. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Dislikes wet soils. Shade tolerant. Plants are showing good wind-resistance on our Cornish trial ground. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. A good plant to grow near the compost heap, aiding the fermentation process. Trees are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and place the pot in a sunny position. Spring sown seed should be surface sown in a sunny position in a cold frame. If the germination is poor, raising the temperature by covering the seed with glass can help. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed, it can be sown in an outdoor seedbed, either as soon as it is ripe or in the early spring – do not cover the spring sown seed. Grow the plants on in the seedbed for 2 years before planting them out into their permanent positions in the winter.


Medicinal Actions &  Uses:

Antiseptic; Carminative.

An infusion of the bark is antiseptic and carminative. It has been used in the treatment of hysteria and jaundice. It is applied as drops to the ears to rlieve earache. A paste made from the bark is used as a poultice on cuts, wounds and burns.

Other Uses
Incense; Paper; Waterproofing; Wood.

A paper is made from the inner bark. The outer bark can be carefully peeled off the tree (this does not harm the tree) and used as a paper. The outer bark can also be used as a waterproofing and for roofing houses. The bark is sometimes used as an incense. Wood – tough, even grained, moderately hard, elastic. Used for construction.

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://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Betula_utilis_01-10-2005_12.44.48.JPG
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Betula_utilis_01-10-2005_12.45.20.JPG
http://www.sunnygardens.com/garden_plants/betula/betula_0392.php
http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Betula-utilis-leaves.JPG

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Raynaud’s disease


Definition:-

Raynaud’s disease is a condition that causes some areas of your body — such as your fingers, toes, tip of your nose and your ears — to feel numb and cool in response to cold temperatures or stress. In Raynaud’s disease, smaller arteries that supply blood to your skin narrow, limiting blood circulation to affected areas.

Click to see the pictures of  Raynaud’s  diseas

Raynaud’s disease (also known as “Primary Raynaud’s phenomenon” where the phenomenon is idiopathic, and Raynaud’s syndrome (secondary Raynaud’s), where it is caused by some other instigating factor. Measurement of hand-temperature gradients is one tool used to distinguish between the primary and secondary forms.

It is possible for the primary form to progress to the secondary form.

Symptoms:-
Raynaud’s disease is more than simply having cold hands and cold feet, and it’s not the same as frostbite. Signs and symptoms of Raynaud’s depend on the frequency, duration and severity of the blood vessel spasms that underlie the disorder.

The list of signs and symptoms mentioned in various sources for Raynaud’s phenomenon includes the 51 symptoms listed below:

•Symptoms usually affect fingers, toes, nose, lips or earlobes
•Skin color changes
•Skin whiteness then blueness then redness
•Cold sensitivity
•Pallor (whiteness)
•Cyanosis (blueness)
•Redness (rubor)
•Finger symptoms
*Finger color changes
*Finger pallor
*Finger tingling
*Finger redness
*Finger numbness
*Finger sensitivity
*Finger pain

•Toe symptoms

*Toe color changes
*Toe numbness
*Toe redness
*Toe pallor
*Toe sensitivity
*Toe pain

•Nose symptoms
*Nose color changes
*Nose numbness
*Nose redness
*Nose pallor
*Nose sensitivity
*Nose pain

•Earlobe symptoms
*Earlobe color changes
*Earlobe numbness
*Earlobe redness
*Earlobe pallor
*Earlobe pain
•Lip symptoms

*Lip color changes
*Lip numbness
*Lip redness
*Lip pallor
*Lip sensitivity
*Lip pain

•Episodic attacks – lasting minutes or hours
•Small blood vessel constriction (vasospastic attacks)
•Symmetric symptoms – usually both hands or both feet rather than just one
•Both hands and both feet – primary Raynaud’s affects all 4; secondary Raynaud’s typically affects either hands or feet but not both.

•Other areas affected – hands and feet most common but others are possible
*Nose symptoms
*Lips symptoms
*Ear lobes symptoms

Causes:-
Doctors don’t completely understand the cause of Raynaud’s attacks, but blood vessels in the hands and feet appear to overreact to cold temperatures or stress:

*Cold temperatures. When your body is exposed to cold temperatures, your extremities lose heat. Your body slows down blood supply to your fingers and toes to preserve your body’s core temperature. Your body specifically reduces blood flow by narrowing the small arteries under the skin of your extremities. In people with Raynaud’s, this normal response is exaggerated.
*Stress. Stress causes a similar reaction to cold in the body, and likewise the body’s response may be exaggerated in people with Raynaud’s.


Blood vessels in spasm
:
With Raynaud’s, arteries to your fingers and toes go into what’s called vasospasm. This narrows your vessels dramatically and temporarily limits blood supply. Over time, these same small arteries may also thicken slightly, further limiting blood flow. The result is that affected skin turns a pale and dusky color due to the lack of blood flow to the area. Once the spasms go away and blood returns to the area, the tissue may turn red before returning to a normal color.

Cold temperatures are most likely to trigger an attack. Exposure to cold can be as simple as putting your hands under a faucet of running cold water, taking something out of the freezer or exposure to cold air. For some people, exposure to cold temperatures isn’t necessary. Emotional stress alone can cause an episode of Raynaud’s.

Raynaud’s may be partly an inherited disorder.

In extreme cases, the secondary form can progress to necrosis or gangrene of the fingertips.

Raynaud’s phenomenon is an exaggeration of vasomotor responses to cold or emotional stress. More specifically, it is a hyperactivation of the sympathetic system causing extreme vasoconstriction of the peripheral blood vessels, leading to tissue hypoxia. Chronic, recurrent cases of Raynaud phenomenon can result in atrophy of the skin, subcutaneous tissues, and muscle. In rare cases it can cause ulceration and ischemic gangrene.

It is important to distinguish Raynaud’s disease from syndrome. In order to diagnose these two forms of Raynaud’s, a doctor may look for signs of arthritis or vasculitis, and may conduct a number of laboratory tests.

Primary Raynaud’s (disease):
Raynaud’s disease, or “Primary Raynaud’s”, is diagnosed if the symptoms are idiopathic, that is, they occur by themselves and not in association with other diseases. Some refer to Primary Raynaud’s disease as “being allergic to coldness”. It often develops in young women in their teens and early adulthood. Primary Raynaud’s is thought to be at least partly hereditary, although specific genes have not yet been identified.

Smoking worsens frequency and intensity of attacks, and there is a hormonal component. Caffeine also worsens the attacks. Sufferers are more likely to have migraine and angina than controls.

Secondary Raynaud’s (syndrome)
:
Raynaud’s syndrome, or “Secondary Raynaud’s”, occurs secondary to a wide variety of other conditions. Secondary Raynaud’s has a number of associations:

Connective tissue disorders:
*scleroderma
*systemic lupus erythematosus
*rheumatoid arthritis
*Sjögren’s syndrome
*dermatomyositis
*polymyositis
*mixed connective tissue disease

*cold agglutinin disease

*Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Eating disorders
*anorexia nervosa

Obstructive disorders :
*atherosclerosis
*Buerger’s disease
*Takayasu’s arteritis
*subclavian aneurysms
*thoracic outlet syndrome


Drugs
:
*Beta-blockers
*cytotoxic drugs – particularly chemotherapeutics and most especially *bleomycin
*ciclosporin
*ergotamine
*sulfasalazine
*anthrax vaccines whose primary ingredient is the Anthrax Protective Antigen


Occupation
:
*jobs involving vibration, particularly drilling
*exposure to vinyl chloride, mercury
*exposure to the cold (e.g. by working packing frozen food)


Others
:
*hypothyroidism
*cryoglobulinemia
*malignancy
*reflex sympathetic dystrophy
*carpal tunnel syndrome
*Magnesium Deficiency
*Erythromelalgia, (the opposite of Raynaud’s, with hot and warm extremities) often co-exists in patients with Raynaud’s)
It is important to realize that Raynaud’s can herald these diseases by periods of more than 20 years in some cases, making it effectively their first presenting symptom. This can be the case in the CREST syndrome, of which Raynaud’s is a part.

Patients with Secondary Raynaud’s can also have symptoms related to their underlying diseases. Raynaud’s phenomenon is the initial symptom that presents for 70% of patients with scleroderma, a skin and joint disease.

Raynaud’s phenomenon which is limited to one hand (or to one foot) is referred to as Unilateral Raynaud’s. This is an uncommon form, and it is always secondary to local or regional vascular disease. It commonly progresses within several years to affect other limbs as the vascular disease progresses.

Risk factors:-
Risk factors for primary Raynaud’s include:

*Your gender.
Primary Raynaud’s affects women more than men.
*Your age. Although anyone can develop the condition, primary Raynaud’s often begins between the ages of 15 and 30.
*Where you live. The disorder is also more common in people who live in colder climates.
*Your family history. Additionally, a family history appears to increase your risk of primary Raynaud’s. About one-third of people with primary Raynaud’s have a first-degree relative — a parent, sibling or child — with the disorder.

Risk factors for secondary Raynaud’s include:


*Associated diseases.
These include conditions such as scleroderma and lupus.

*Certain occupations. People in occupations that cause repetitive trauma, such as workers who operate tools that vibrate, also may be more vulnerable to secondary Raynaud’s.

*Exposure to certain substances.
Smoking, medications that affect the blood vessels and exposure to chemicals such as vinyl chloride are associated with an increased risk of Raynaud’s.
Complications:
If Raynaud’s is severe — which is rare — blood circulation to your fingers or toes could permanently diminish, causing deformities of your fingers or toes.

If an artery to an affected area becomes blocked completely, sores (skin ulcers) or dead tissue (gangrene) may develop. Ulcers and gangrene can be difficult to treat.

Diagnosis:-
Examinations & Tests:
To diagnose Raynaud’s, your doctor will ask detailed questions about your symptoms and medical history and conduct a physical examination. Your doctor may also run tests to rule out other medical problems that may cause similar signs and symptoms, such as a pinched nerve.

Your doctor may perform a simple test called a cold-stimulation test during your office visit. This test may involve placing your hands in cool water or exposing you to cold air, to trigger an episode of Raynaud’s.

A careful medical history will often reveal whether the condition is primary or secondary. Once this has been established, an examination is largely to identify or exclude possible secondary causes.

Digital artery pressure: pressures are measured in the arteries of the fingers before and after the hands have been cooled. A decrease of at least 15 mmHg is diagnostic (positive).

Doppler ultrasound: to assess blood flow.

Full blood count: this can reveal a normocytic anaemia suggesting the anaemia of chronic disease or renal failure.

Blood test for urea and electrolytes:
this can reveal renal impairment.
Thyroid function tests: this can reveal hypothyroidism.
An autoantibody screen, tests for rheumatoid factor, Erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein, which may reveal specific causative illnesses or a generalised inflammatory process.
Nail fold vasculature: this can be examined under the microscope

Sorting out primary vs. secondary Raynaud’s
:
To distinguish between primary and secondary Raynaud’s, your doctor may perform an in-office test called nail fold capillaroscopy. During the test, the doctor examines your nail fold — the skin at the base of your fingernail — under a microscope. Tiny blood vessels (capillaries) near the nail fold that are enlarged or deformed may indicate an underlying disease. However, some secondary diseases can’t be detected by this test.

If your doctor suspects that another condition, such as an autoimmune or connective tissue disease, underlies Raynaud’s, he or she may order blood tests, such as:

*Antinuclear antibodies test. A positive test for the presence of these antibodies — produced by your immune system — indicates a stimulated immune system and is common in people who have connective tissue diseases or other autoimmune disorders.

*Erythrocyte sedimentation rate. This blood test determines the rate at which red blood cells settle to the bottom of a tube in the space of an hour. A faster than normal rate may signal an underlying inflammatory or autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases are commonly associated with secondary Raynaud’s.
There’s no single blood test to diagnose Raynaud’s. Your doctor may order other tests, such as those that rule out diseases of the arteries, to help pinpoint a disease or condition that may be associated with Raynaud’s.

Modern Treatments and drugs:-

Treatment options are dependent on the type of Raynaud’s present. Raynaud’s syndrome is treated primarily by addressing the underlying cause, but includes all options for Raynaud’s disease as well. Treatment of primary Raynaud’s focuses on avoiding triggers.

General care:
*Avoid environmental triggers, e.g. cold, vibration, etc. Emotional stress is another recognized trigger; although the various sources of stress can not all be avoided, it is possible to learn healthier, more effective ways of dealing with them, which will reduce stress and its damaging physical effects overall.

*Keep your hands, feet and head warm—especially your fingers, toes, ears and nose—by wearing mittens, insulated footwear, a ski mask; by using hand and foot warmers, etc.

*Quit smoking.

*Avoid caffeine and other stimulants and vasoconstrictors that have not been prescribed to you by your doctor. Read product labels; caffeine is found not only in coffee and tea, stay-awake pills, many soft drinks and candies, but also in some cosmetics, soaps and shampoos(reference needed).

  • Exercise. Your doctor may encourage you to exercise regularly, particularly if you have primary Raynaud’s. Exercise can increase circulation, among other health benefits.
  • Control stress. Because stress may trigger an attack, learning to recognize and avoid stressful situations may help control the number of attacks.

*Make sure all your doctors know about all the medicines you take and about all the OTC remedies you use, especially hormones and drugs that regulate hormones, such as hormonal contraception, so that these professionals can make an assessment of your chemical regimen and make any changes that may be indicated. Contraception which is low in estrogen is preferable, and the progesterone only pill is often prescribed for women with Raynaud’s.

*If you are diabetic, follow your diabetes treatment plan.

Emergency measures:
*If white finger (Raynaud’s) occurs unexpectedly and a source of warm water is available, allow tepid to slightly warm water to run over the affected digits while you gently massage the area. Continue this process until the white area returns to its normal, healthy color.

*If triggered by exposure in a cold environment, and no warm water is available, place the affected digits in a warm body cavity – arm pit, crotch, or even in the mouth. Keep the affected area warm at least until the whiteness returns to its normal, healthy color. Get out of the cold as soon as possible.

Drug therapy
:
*Treatment for Raynaud’s phenomenon may include prescription medicines that dilate blood vessels, such as calcium channel blockers (nifedipine) or diltiazem.  It has the usual common side effects of headache, flushing, and ankle edema; but these are not typically of sufficient severity to require cessation of treatment.

*There is some evidence that Angiotensin II receptor antagonists (often Losartan) reduce frequency and severity of attacks,and possibly better than nifedipine.

*Alpha-1 adrenergic blockers such as prazosin can be used to control Raynaud’s vasospasms under supervision of a health care provider.

*In a study published in the November 8, 2005 issue of Circulation, sildenafil (Viagra) improved both microcirculation and symptoms in patients with secondary Raynaud’s phenomenon resistant to vasodilatory therapy. The authors, led by Dr Roland Fries (Gotthard-Schettler-Klinik, Bad Schönborn, Germany), report: “In the present study, capillary blood flow was severely impaired and sometimes hardly detectable in patients with Raynaud’s phenomenon. Sildenafil led to a more than 400% increase of flow velocity.”

*Fluoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, and other antidepressant medications may reduce the frequency and severity of episodes if caused mainly by psychological stress.

Surgical Intervention
:
*In severe cases, a sympathectomy   procedure can be performed. Here, the nerves that signal the blood vessels of the fingertips to constrict are surgically cut. Microvascular surgery of the affected areas is another possible therapy. Infusions of prostaglandins, e.g. prostacyclin, may be tried, with amputation in exceptionally severe cases.

*A more recent treatment for severe Raynaud’s is the use of Botox. The 2009 article studied 19 patients ranging in age from 15 to 72 years with severe Raynaud’s phenomenon of which 16 patients (84%) reported pain reduction at rest. 13 patients reported immediate pain relief, 3 more had gradual pain reduction over 1-2 months. All 13 patients with chronic finger ulcers healed within 60 days. Only 21% of the patients required repeated injections. A 2007 article describes similar improvement in a series of 11 patients. All patients had significant relief of pain.

Sometimes in cases of severe Raynaud’s, approaches other than medications may be a treatment option:

*Nerve surgery
. Nerves called sympathetic nerves in your hands and feet control the opening and narrowing of blood vessels in your skin. Sometimes it’s necessary in cases of severe Raynaud’s to cut these nerves to interrupt their exaggerated response. Through small incisions in the affected hands or feet, a doctor strips away these tiny nerves around the blood vessels. The surgery, called sympathectomy, may reduce the frequency and duration of attacks, but it’s not always successful.
*Chemical injection. Doctors can inject chemicals to block sympathetic nerves in affected hands or feet. You may need to have the procedure repeated if symptoms return or persist.
*Amputation. Sometimes, doctors need to remove tissue damaged from a lack of blood supply. This may include amputating a finger or toe affected by Raynaud’s in which the blood supply has been completely blocked and the tissue has developed gangrene. But this is rare.


Alternative and Experimental (Research) Approaches
:-
Lifestyle changes and supplements that encourage better circulation may be effective alternatives for managing Raynaud’s. If  one is interested, may talk to the doctor about:

*Biofeedback. Biofeedback — using your mind to control body temperature — may help decrease the severity and frequency of attacks. Biofeedback includes guided imagery to increase the temperature of hands and feet, deep breathing and other relaxation exercises. Your doctor may be able to suggest a therapist who can help you learn biofeedback techniques. Books and tapes also are available on the subject.

*Niacin. Niacin, also known as vitamin B-3, causes blood vessels to dilate, increasing blood flow to skin. Niacin supplements may be useful in treating Raynaud’s, although niacin supplements may have side effects.
*The extract of the Ginkgo biloba leaves (Egb 761, 80 mg) may reduce frequency of attacks.

*Two separate gels combined on the fingertip (somewhat like two-part epoxy, they cannot be combined before use because they will react) increased blood flow in the fingertips by about three times. One gel contained 5% sodium nitrite and the other contained 5% ascorbic acid. The milliliter of combined gel covered an area of ~3 cm². The gel was wiped off after a few seconds.

*Piracetam, a nootropic drug, can be useful as a long-term treatment for vasospastic disorders.

*Arginine, which increase nitrous oxide acts as a vasodilator

*Milder cases of Raynaud’s can often be addressed by biofeedback[23] or other techniques to help control involuntary body functions like skin temperature.

*Fish oil supplements which contain long-chain omega-3 fatty acids may help to control symptoms of primary Raynaud’s. There are few studies in the medical literature dealing with this subject. However, in one 1989 controlled, double-blinded study of 32 patients, consumption of roughly 6.5 grams of long chain omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil significantly increased the time to onset or entirely prevented symptoms in response to cold in patients with primary Raynaud’s. Lower doses of fish oil such as may be commonly available from commercial vendors have not been studied and may not be as effective.

Coping with the stress and nuisance of Raynaud’s takes patience and effort. Work with your doctor to manage your condition and maintain a positive attitude. The majority of people with Raynaud’s respond to treatment..

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.


Rersources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raynaud’s_phenomenon
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/raynauds-disease/DS00433/DSECTION=lifestyle-and-home-remedies
http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/r/raynauds_phenomenon/symptoms.htm
http://www.myfootshop.com/detail.asp?Condition=Raynauds%20Disease.

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Some Health Quaries & Answers

Popping antibiotics for diarrhoea
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Q: My eight-year-old son has frequent attacks of diarrhoea. The doctor always prescribes antibiotics. Are so many antibiotics needed?

A: Children often develop diarrhoea when they go to school. They may be sharing food with other children. They may run out of water and drink unhygienic water from any source they find. They may have a little money with them and buy eatables from roadside eateries.

The diarrhoea and vomiting may be due to food poisoning or a viral infection. It may not be an infective bacterial diarrhoea that requires and responds to antibiotics.

Before going to the doctor, try some home remedies. Stop all milk, sugar and wheat. Take equal quantities of rice and dal in a pressure cooker and cook it well. Mash it and feed it to your son, two teaspoons at a time every 10 minutes. If the vomiting and diarrhoea persist, or if he has not passed urine for eight hours, please go to the doctor. Otherwise this may be all the treatment he requires.

Too many pills
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Q: Whenever anyone in the family has fever, our doctor prescribes two to three antibiotics. Is this normal?

A: A combination of two antibiotics may be prescribed for a life threatening infection, where a blood culture has grown more than one organism. This may be the case in individuals whose immunity is insufficient — as in cancer patients or those infected with the HIV virus. Most people need only a single appropriate antibiotic in adequate dosage and duration.

If you develop fever, wait for three days. Take paracetamol when the temperature rises above 100.5 degree F. If the fever persists consult your doctor, but ask for a diagnosis before taking any medication. Also, maintain a file with dates, diagnoses and a list of prescribed medications.

Chest pain
—————-
Q: I am 22 years old and have pain on the left side of my chest. It appears with exercise. I am scared I might have a heart attack.

A: At the age of 22, the chest pain you are experiencing is unlikely to be a heart attack, but stranger things have been known to occur. Take a plain X-ray of the chest as well as an ECG, treadmill and echo. The results are likely to be normal, but the tests will help put your mind at ease.

Chest pain can occur in a localised area of the chest wall owing to fibromyalgia or costochondritis. Press your chest and see if you can elicit the pain. If so, the diagnosis may be one of these two conditions.

Physiotherapy will help ease the pain. You can also apply a capsaicin containing gel to the area followed by application of ice.

Yeast for health
———————–
Q: I read that yeast is good for health. Can I eat baker’s yeast?

A: Baker’s yeast is used for fermentation, so that the bread rises and becomes soft before baking. The same yeast is sold as a medical supplement under the name Brewer’s yeast. It is a rich source of B-complex vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine and pantothenic acid. It is one of the few natural foods that contain folic acid and biotin. Brewer’s yeast also has essential minerals like chromium and selenium. It is available as powdered flakes and tablets. The usual dose is two tablespoons of the flakes or one 300mg tablet three times a day. It is a harmless food supplement which may confer some health benefits. But it should be avoided by people on psychiatric medications and those who are suffering from gout.

Red groin

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Q: My baby has developed redness in the groin area. It looks inflamed and pains when I touch it.

A: What you are describing is a type of diaper rash. You need to —

Bathe the baby with a non-irritating mild soap and not a medicated antiseptic one

Make sure the area is wiped dry with a soft towel

Apply a cream containing Clotrimazole as a single ingredient. It should not be combined with steroids

Avoid using talcum powder

Wash the baby’s diapers with a Neem-based washing soap. This is available in Khadi and Village Industries outlets. Avoid soaking the clothes in antiseptic solutions.

If possible, switch to disposable diapers.

Ambient noise
———————-
Q: We live very close to a railway station. The loud sound of passing trains makes the whole house vibrate. We have had a baby recently. Will it affect her?

A: Children become accustomed to the noises they hear in the womb. And those sounds do not disturb their sleep.

Therefore, the trains and the vibration will not affect the baby’s sleep as she is acclimatised to it. But the disadvantage of living with loud ambient noise is that it causes progressive loss of hearing. This will affect you, your wife and eventually your child. It also produces stress in adults.

Source: The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Study Links Birth Weight Gene To Diabetes

Mothers who give birth to babies with low birth weight may want to monitor their child’s health as they grow, as a new study is suggesting that babies that are born at a low weight have a stronger chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

According to a report published in the journal, Nature Genetics, researchers have discovered two genetic regions that influence birth weight, one of which is also associated with the development of type 2 diabetes.

Researchers analyzed more than 38,000 patients from 19 different studies and found that the gene ADCY5, a factor in causing low birth weight, is also associated with type 2 diabetes. It was found that individuals who had this gene variant had a 25 percent higher risk of developing the condition later in their lifetime.

“It was a surprise to see such strong genetic effects for a characteristic, such as birth weight, which is subject to powerful influences from so many environmental factors,” said researcher Mark McCarthy. “These discoveries provide important clues to the mechanisms responsible for the control of growth in early life and may lead us to a better understanding of how to manage growth problems during pregnancy.”

Individuals who suffer from the condition can take diabetes natural remedies to treat their symptoms without worrying about the side effects that comes with some prescription medication.

Source:
Better Health Research; 8th April.2010

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Future Disease Prevention by Turning Genes On And Off

The Future Of Disease Prevention May Not Depend On Your Genes But Upon Ways To Turn Them On And Off

……

The new field of epigenetics has shown that the choice of which of your genes are “expressed,” or activated, is strongly affected by environmental influences.

This means that expression of your genes can change, and they are influenced by external factors.

One implication of this is that many health problems — ranging from cancer to cardiovascular disease to neurological disorders — can be caused at least in part by altered “histone modifications,” which affect DNA.

According to Eurekalert:
“The good news … is that ‘HDAC inhibitors’ can stop this degenerative process, and some of them have already been identified in common foods. Examples include sulforaphane in broccoli, indole-3-carbinol in cruciferous vegetables, and organosulfur compounds in vegetables like garlic and onions.”


Resources:

Eurekalert April 28, 2010
Experimental Biology 2010, Anaheim, California April 24-28, 2010

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Chrysothamnus Viscidiflorus

Botanical Name :Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Chrysothamnus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Tribe: Astereae
Synonyms: Bigelovia douglasii – A.Gray.
Common names : yellow rabbitbrush and green rabbitbrush.Green, Sticky-leaved, Douglas.
Habitat :  Western N. America – southern British Columbia to California. Dry open places in lowlands and up to moderate elevations.Woodland Garden; Sunny Edge;

Description:
Evergreen to deciduous shrub, from 1-4 ft [0.3-1.2 m] tall, rounded, much branching near the base, brittle.  Young twigs green, later ash-gray or grayish-yellow.  Leaves alternate, simple, linear, 1-5 cm long, 1 mm wide, grass-like, light green, smooth or slightly pubescent, sticky, lacks a petiole (sessile).  Flowers bloom in late summer, yellow, small, in rounded clusters, sticky.  Fruit 5-ribbed achenes which are plumed aiding dispersal by wind.
....

It grows easily in alkaline and saline soils, and thrives on soils that are rich in calcium. It rapidly establishes in disturbed habitat, including burns, flooded washes, and rockslides, so it is a valuable shrub for revegetating damaged land such as overgrazed rangeland and abandoned mining areas. This shrub grows up to about 1.5 meters in height with spreading brittle pale-colored stem branches. The leaves are up to a few centimeters long and may be thin and thready or up to a centimeter wide and oblong in shape. They are glandular, resinous, and sticky. The inflorescence is a bushy cluster of flower heads, each head one half to one centimeter long. The flower head is lined with sticky yellow-green phyllaries and contains several yellowish protruding flowers. The fruit is a hairy achene a few millimeters long with a wispy pappus at the tip.

It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower from July to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) 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 alkaline soil. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation:
Requires a sunny position and prefers a well-drained sandy soil. Plants do not require a rich soil. They tolerate alkaline soils. A very hardy plant but it prefers a drier climate than it finds in Britain though it succeeds in this country if given the protection of a dry sunny wall. A very variable and ornamental species[60]. The leaves and stems are pleasantly aromatic.

Propagation
Seed – we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in spring in a greenhouse and only just covering the seed. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a 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, July/August in sand in a frame.

Edible Uses
Edible Uses: Condiment; Gum.

A latex obtained from the root is used as a chewing gum. The plant has been used as a spice.

Medicinal Actions &  Uses
Antirheumatic; Odontalgic; Poultice.
A poultice made from the chewed plant tips has been applied to boils and rheumatic joints. An infusion of the leaves has been used to treat colds . The finely mashed leaves have been inserted in tooth cavities to treat toothache.

Other Uses
Dye; Latex.

The latex obtained from the roots could be used in making rubber. Unfortunately it is not produced in sufficient quantity to make commercial extraction worthwhile. A green dye is obtained from the bark. A yellow-gold dye is obtained from the flowers. It is orange when alum is used as a mordant.

Scented Plants
Leaves: Crushed
The leaves and stems are pleasantly aromatic when crushed.

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.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Chrysothamnus+viscidiflorus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysothamnus_viscidiflorus
http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ldplants/chvis.htm

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