Ingrown Toenail

Definition:

An ingrown toenail is a toenail that has grown into the skin instead of over it. This usually happens to the big toe, but it can also happen to other toes. An ingrown toenail can get infected. It may be painful, red, and swollen, and it may drain pus. See an illustration of an ingrown toenail….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
It occurs when a nail grows into the flesh at the side of the nail. This usually affects the toes, particularly the big toe. People with curved or thick nails are most likely to develop a problem with ingrown nails, although ingrown nails can affect anyone.

Anyone can get an ingrown toenail, but adults get them more than children do. People who have curved or thick nails are more likely to get an ingrown toenail. This is more common in older adults.

Causes:

An ingrown toenail can have a number of different causes. Cutting your toenail too short or rounding the edge of the nail can cause it to grow into the skin. Wearing shoes or socks that don’t fit well can also cause an ingrown toenail. If your shoes are too tight, they might press the nail into the toe and cause it to grow into the skin.

You can get an ingrown toenail if you hurt your toe, such as stubbing it. This can cause the nail to grow inward. Repeating an activity that injuries the nail, such as kicking a soccer ball, can also cause an ingrown nail.

Ingrown toenails result when the nail grows into the flesh of your toe, often the big toe. Common causes include:

  • Wearing shoes that crowd your toenails
  • Cutting your toenails too short or not straight across
  • Injury to your toenail
  • Unusually curved toenails
  • Thickening of your toenails

An ingrown toenail can result from curved toenails, poorly fitting shoes, toenails that are trimmed improperly, or a toe injury. The skin around the toenail may become red and infected. The great toe is usually affected, but any toenail can become ingrown.

The condition may become serious in people with diabetes.

Symptoms:

Signs and symptoms of an ingrown toenail include:

*Pain and tenderness in your toe along one or both sides of the nail
*Redness around your toenail
*Swelling of your toe around the nail
*Infection of the tissue around your toenail

Risk factors:

Anyone can develop an ingrown toenail. But you may be more prone to ingrown toenails if you have toenails that curve down.

Ingrown toenails are also more common in older adults, because nails tend to thicken with age. This thickening or change of the curvature of your nails can cause ingrown toenails.

Complications:

Left untreated or undetected, an ingrown toenail can infect the underlying bone and lead to a serious bone infection.

Complications can be especially severe if you have diabetes because the circulation and nerve supply to your feet can be impaired. Therefore, any relatively minor injury to your foot — cut, scrape, corn, callus or ingrown toenail — can lead to a more serious complication. In rare cases, an ingrown toenail can result in a difficult-to-heal open sore (foot ulcer), which could eventually require surgery. Foot ulcers left untreated may become infected and eventually even gangrenous. Rarely, amputation is the only treatment option.

Exams and Tests:
A doctor’s examination of the foot is sufficient to diagnose an ingrown toenail.

Treatment:

To treat an ingrown nail at home:

  1. Soak the foot in warm water.
  2. Use a nail file to separate the nail from the inflamed skin.
  3. Place a small piece of cotton under the nail. Wet the cotton with water or antiseptic.

Repeat those steps, several times a day if necessary, until the nail begins to grow out and the pain goes away. Also, trim the toenail and apply over-the-counter antibiotics. If this does not work and the ingrown nail gets worse, see a foot specialist (podiatrist) or skin specialist (dermatologist).

If steps you take at home don’t help, your doctor can treat an ingrown toenail by trimming or removing the ingrown portion of your nail to help relieve pain. Before this procedure, your doctor numbs your toe by injecting it with an anesthetic. After the procedure, you may need to rest your foot and soak it in warm water. Your doctor may also recommend using topical or oral antibiotics for ingrown toenail treatment, especially if the toe is infected or at risk of becoming infected.

For a recurrent ingrown toenail, your primary doctor or foot doctor may suggest removing a portion of your toenail along with the underlying tissue (nail bed) to prevent that part of your nail from growing back. This procedure can be done with a chemical, a laser or other methods.

Prognosis:
Treatment will generally control the infection and relieve pain. However, the condition is likely to return if measures to prevent it are not taken. Good foot care is important to prevent recurrence.

Prevention :

To prevent an ingrown toenail:

  • Wear shoes that fit properly.
  • Trim toenails straight across the top and not too short.
  • Keep the feet clean and dry.
  • People with diabetes should have routine foot exams and nail care.

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

Resources:

http://www.revolutionhealth.com/articles/ingrown-nail/tp12748

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ingrown-toenails/DS00111/DSECTION=4

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001237.htm

A Step Forward

The Jaipur foot is now even better, thanks to a dedicated group of students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Looking for a project to do in his third undergraduate year, Goutam Reddy was sure he would not do anything “fashionable”. He was studying electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US. “I wanted something that would find application in the developing world, not the next fast car,” he says.

Reddy grew up in Michigan State, but his parents were of Indian origin. During one of his visits to India, he came to know about the Jaipur foot, which was being fitted to patients by the Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti in New Delhi. He visited this organisation, trying to understand and improve the technology as part of his project. But he could not find anything to do immediately.

Anyone who sees the Jaipur foot being fitted to patients will never forget the experience. It was no different for Reddy. The Jaipur foot, developed in the 1970s by the late P.K. Sethi, an orthopaedic surgeon, and artisan Ram Chandra, is the one of the best options in the world if you lose your leg. It is lightweight and strong, made of easily available materials like rubber, and costs only $28. An artificial foot in the US would cost a few thousand dollars at least. It was popular among soldiers in war-ravaged countries like Afghanistan. Soldiers who lost their legs came to Jaipur to be fitted with this low-cost miracle. At least 250,000 of these have been fitted to poor people who have lost their legs.

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The Jaipur foot (above) gave Sudha Chandran(a great dancer) a new lease of life after she lost a leg in a 1981 accident.

Yet the Jaipur foot is far from perfect. Reddy realised that the manufacturing methods needed improvement. Several devices used in the Jaipur foot could be improved as well. This was expected, because they were still using techniques developed 30 years ago. If the knee is also amputated, as often happens, the patient will not be able to bend his or her leg — in this case, the artificial foot. This is a common problem with most low-cost artificial legs. Although he could not develop a project immediately, Reddy realised that he could improve the Jaipur foot sometime in the future. The fitting process, in particular, seemed in need of betterment.

The traditional way of fitting was to use plaster of paris moulds. A year and a half ago, the Centre for International Rehabilitation in Chicago developed a new process. This consisted of making the amputees put their leg inside sand and then applying a vacuum. The vacuum made the sand rock solid, and the resulting impression a perfect mould. The vacuum is created using an air compressor, and this necessitated the use of a generator. Reddy, along with other MIT students, found a way to eliminate this generator. They also gave a new name to the Samiti: the Jaipur Foot Organisation (JFO).

After Reddy finished his master’s degree at MIT, he set up a non-profit organisation called Developing World Prosthetics. Other MIT students also joined him. These students were also studying engineering at MIT, and they chose improving the Jaipur foot as their undergraduate project. Some of them travelled to India — using a grant from MIT’s public Service Centre and a $7,500 prize from a competition — to work on this. Finally, they developed a method using a cycle pump and human power to generate a vacuum in the fitting process. The students returned with a better perspective of the developing world. “I want to work on developing world prosthetic projects,” says Philip Garcia, one of the students.

Meanwhile, Reddy has initiated a course at MIT on wheelchair design in developing countries. He remains deeply interested in robotic prosthetics, and in improving the Jaipur foot farther. Members of the JFO rarely get the time to improve the original invention. “Our primary aim is to make and fit the foot,” says Sanjeev Kumar, manager of the Delhi branch of the JFO. Reddy and his organisation will now attempt this task.

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The dancer enthralls her audience in the hugely popular TV show Jhalak dikhla ja

For example, they are trying to improve the sand-casting system for adoption in rural areas. Another project is to improve the flexibility of the device. If the Jaipur foot is fitted above the knee, the patient has to walk with a straight leg — they can bend the “knee” only when they want to sit. The MIT students and Developing World Prosthetics are now working on this problem. The spring session at MIT has a course on developing world prosthetics, and solving the straight knee problem will be one of their primary tasks.

SourcesL The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Smoke Signals

Facebook has many uses, but scientific research is not usually considered to be one of them. However, this social networking site, immensely popular among young people, helped Canadian researchers track children who were part of a study five years ago. The study was on nicotine dependence among school children. As they followed the habit once again among the teenagers, the scientists gained two valuable insights on smoking and adolescents — first, that smoking does not make girls thin and, second, that it makes boys shorter. Both findings contradicted common perceptions about smoking in North America, and probably in the rest of the world as well.

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Researchers have been looking at smoking in children and adolescents for some time now, because tobacco addiction generally starts somewhere in high school or early university life. By global standards, the problem is not very serious in North America, which has seen a decline in smoking over the years. In fact, the World Health Organization lists India as one of the nations with a high prevalence of smoking among the young, along with Central and Eastern Europe and some Pacific Islands. However, smoking does start early sometimes in North America, as in India and other parts of the world. And misconceptions about smoking are often a strong motivation to start tobacco use.

As a young girl, Jennifer ’ Loughlin had heard about smoking and weight control early in life. “Smoking will make you thin,” she was told by many while she was growing up. Now as an epidemiologist and biostatistician at the University of Montreal, she has been studying the natural history of nicotine dependence. A few years ago, she had found compelling evidence for a genetic role in the development of nicotine dependence among teenagers. Now her study, done with colleagues in other Canadian institutions, debunks a popular myth: that smoking is good for weight control among girls.

As she had known always, girls in North America often cite this as a reason to start smoking. This finding should thus be a strong deterrent, but what the scientists found among boys was even more interesting. Boys who smoked regularly grew up to be an inch shorter. Since growing tall is one of the ambitions of adolescent boys, this finding should be an even stronger deterrent to smoking among boys. Says ’ Loughlin: “Boys now may see smoking as a bad choice if they want to grow tall.”

Smoking among children and adolescents has received considerable attention among scientists of various disciplines. Most of these studies did not provide any conclusive evidence of why adolescents smoked or how smoking affects them. For example, a part of the Global Youth Tobacco Survey in Punjab in 2003 got conflicting results regarding motivations. The participants said that boys or girls who smoke have more friends. But they also said that those who smoke are less attractive.

Three years ago, scientists at the Yale University studied all the research literature on smoking and weight concerns among teenagers. They found that a significant number of teenage girls believed smoking was a way of weight control, but they did not find any relationship in practice. On the other hand, heavier boys reduced their body mass index when they smoked. Girls who smoked more cigarettes were more concerned about gaining weight after they quit, which provided a strong motivation to continue smoking.

’ Loughlin had started studying smoking in children in 1999. She had funding from the Canadian Cancer Society. She followed a cohort of students in high school for five years. “Children in North America generally start smoking at the age of 12,” she says. “Some start even at eight.” She had then found a possible genetic link, a predisposition that makes some pick up the habit when exposed to it.

A few years later, she wanted to follow these students again. There were 1,300 of them, and many of them had gone away from where they originally lived. But the scientists managed to trace every one of them. “We used Facebook heavily to trace the students,” says ’ Loughlin. She had a grant of $650 million, again from the Canadian Cancer Society. The results of the study provided compelling evidence of smoking and height and weight among children aged between 12 and 17. Girls do not shed weight when they smoked. Boys shed height when they did.

While common sense says that smoking should not cause any difference in weight, the decrease in height is more intriguing. The study found that boys who smoked 10 cigarettes a day from the age 12 to 17 would be an inch shorter than a boy who did not smoke. This was not true of girls, probably because boys attain full height a few years later than girls do. Why does this happen? There is no clear answer, but we can hazard a guess. Maybe nicotine deprives the body of oxygen. Maybe it somehow affects the growth hormones. Whatever the reason is, the message is loud and clear.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata,India)

Exercise During Pregnancy Means a Healthier Heart for Both Mom and Baby

Exercise is good not only for mothers-to-be, but also for their developing babies, according to a new study by researchers from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.

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Maternal exercise during pregnancy may have a beneficial effect on fetal cardiac programming by reducing fetal heart rate and increasing heart rate variability. Researchers studied fetal heart rates with magnetocardiography (MCG), a safe, non-invasive method used to record the magnetic field surrounding the electrical currents generated by the fetal heart and nervous system.

There were significantly lower heart rates among fetuses that had been exposed to maternal exercise. The heart rates among non-exposed fetuses were higher, regardless of the fetal activity or the gestational age.

The researchers concluded that exercising during pregnancy can benefit a mother’s own heart and her developing baby’s heart as well.
Sources:
Science Daily April 10, 2008
121st annual meeting of the American Physiological Society April 5-9, 2008, San Diego, CA

Arthritis Can Be Managed With Diet and Exercise

exercise, yogaMany people with arthritis automatically reach for pain medication, but it is not always necessary to do so. There are other solutions that work just as well, or even better, for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

For instance, a variety of supplements — including bromelain, essential fatty acids, and glucosamine — can be beneficial for arthritis. But the best supplement of all is proper food. Proper, nutritious food has yielded health effects that surpass any supplement.

Exercises, including activities that engage the full body, are also recommended for individuals with arthritis. This:

  • Helps joint mobility
  • Prevents loss of lean muscle tissue
  • Maintains strength
  • Reduces pain and stiffness
  • Mobilizes stiff or contracted joints

But perhaps most importantly, it helps people with arthritis stay independent.

Mystics and Medicine

Are we being hoodwinked by alternative medicine? ……Two leading scientists examine the evidence. The first of a two-part extract from Trick or Treatment: Alternative Medicine on Trial by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst:
MIRACLE CURE? Alexander Technique,……… aromatherapy and magnet therapy


Which therapies work and which ones are useless? Which therapies are safe and which ones are dangerous? These are questions that doctors have asked themselves for millennia in relation to all forms of medicine.

And yet it is only comparatively recently that they have developed an approach that allows them to separate the effective from the ineffective, and the safe from the dangerous.

This approach, known as evidence-based medicine, has revolutionised medical practice, transforming it from an industry of charlatans and incompetents into a system of healthcare that can deliver such miracles as transplanting kidneys, removing cataracts, combating childhood diseases, eradicating smallpox and saving millions of lives each year.

Evidence-based medicine is about using the current best evidence — gathered through clinical trials and other scientific investigations — to make medical decisions. Alternative medicine claims to be able to treat the same illnesses and diseases that conventional medicine tries to tackle.

We set out to establish the truth of these claims by using the principles of evidence-based medicine.

Some people will be suspicious of this, perceiving evidence-based medicine as a strategy for allowing the medical establishment to defend its own members and treatment, while excluding outsiders who offer alternative treatments.

In fact, the opposite is often true — evidence-based medicine actually allows outsiders to be heard; it endorses any treatment that turns out to be effective, however strange it may seem.

In the 18th century, for instance, lemon juice as a treatment for scurvy was regarded as implausible but the establishment had to accept it because it was backed up by evidence from trials.

We had no axe to grind — indeed Professor Ernst even practised as a homeopath for many years (as well as receiving treatment as a patient) — and we came to our conclusions based on a fair, thorough and scientific assessment of the evidence.

So what did we find? While some therapies do provide some health benefits (e.g. osteopathy), most have nothing to offer.

Many popular therapies are “effective” only because they are good at eliciting a placebo response; making the patient feel better simply because they believe the treatment will help.

You might feel that as placebos help patients, this alone justifies the use of the therapy. But any treatment that relies on the placebo effect is essentially a bogus treatment. And it’s far from cheap.

If alternative practitioners are making unproven, disproven or vastly exaggerated claims, and if their treatments carry risks, then we are being swindled at the expense of our own good health.

Too many alternative therapists remain uninterested in determining the safety and efficacy of their interventions. These practitioners also fail to see the importance of rigorous clinical trials in establishing proper evidence for or against their treatments — where evidence already exists that treatments are ineffective or unsafe, alternative therapists carry on regardless.

Despite this disturbing situation, the market for alternative treatments is booming, and the public is being misled over and over again, often by misguided therapists; sometimes by exploitative charlatans.

It is time for the tricks to stop, and for the real treatments to take priority. The same scientific standards, evaluation and regulation should be applied to all types of medicine.

If this doesn’t happen, then homeopaths, acupuncturists, chiropractors, herbalists and many other alternative therapists will continue to prey on the most vulnerable — raiding their wallets, offering false hope and even endangering their health.

ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE:-

WHAT IS IT?….. A technique for relearning correct posture and body movements. Alexander teachers guide their clients through exercise sessions using a gentle, hands-on approach. As plenty of repetition is needed, 30 to 100 such sessions are usually required to master the technique, demanding a considerable level of commitment from the client, in terms of both time and money.

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DOES IT WORK? ……Very little research so far has been conducted on the technique. Some promising findings have emerged in terms of improvement of respiratory function, reduction of anxiety, reduction of disability in Parkinson’s disease and improvement of chronic back pain.

However, for none of these conditions is the evidence sufficient to claim that the Alexander technique is effective.

AROMATHERAPY:-

WHAT IS IT?
Plant essences (known as “essential oils”) are used to treat or prevent illnesses or enhance wellbeing. Most commonly, the diluted oil is applied to the skin via a gentle massage, but it can also be added to a bath or diffused in the air.

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Aromatherapists believe that different essential oils have different specific effects. Aromatherapy is advocated for chronic conditions such as anxiety, tension headache and musculoskeletal pain.

DOES IT WORK? Some clinical trials confirm the relaxing effects of aromatherapy massage. However, this is usually short-lived and therefore of debatable therapeutic value. Some essential oils do seem to have specific effects. For instance, tea tree has anti-microbial properties. However, these effects are far less reliable than those of conventional antibiotics. There is no evidence that aromatherapy can treat specific diseases.


CHIROPRACTIC THERAPY:-

WHAT IS IT? Chiropractors use spinal manipulation to realign the spine to restore mobility. Spinal manipulation can be a fairly aggressive technique, which pushes the spinal joint slightly beyond what it is ordinarily capable of achieving, using a technique called high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust — exerting a relatively strong force in order to move the joint at speed, but the extent of the motion needs to be limited to prevent damage to the joint and its surrounding structures.

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Some chiropractors claim to treat everything from digestive disorders to ear infections, others will treat only back problems.

DOES IT WORK?
There is no evidence to suggest that spinal manipulation is effective for anything but back pain and even then conventional approaches (such as regular exercise and ibuprofen) are just as likely to be effective and are cheaper. Neck manipulation has been linked to neurological complications such as strokes — in 1998, a 20-year-old Canadian woman died after neck manipulation caused a blood clot which led to stroke. We would strongly recommend physiotherapy exercises and osteopathy ahead of chiropractic therapy because they are at least effective and much safer. The dangers of chiropractic therapy to children are particularly worrying because a chiropractor would be manipulating an immature spine.


HYPNOTHERAPY:-

WHAT IS IT? The use of hypnosis, a trance-like state, for therapeutic purposes. Hypnotherapists treat a range of chronic conditions, including pain, anxiety, addictions and phobias.

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DOES IT WORK?
Dozens of clinical trials show that hypnotherapy is effective in reducing pain, anxiety and the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. However, the evidence is that it’s not effective to help you stop smoking, even though it is frequently promoted in this context.


MAGNET THERAPY:-

WHAT IS IT? The use of magnetic fields from static magnets, which are usually worn on the body, to treat various conditions, most frequently pain. These days rapidly fluctuating magnetic fields are used in conventional medicine in high-tech imaging machines (such as MRI scanners) and for promoting the healing of bone fractures. However, alternative medicine tends to use static magnets, which create a permanent magnetic field, to treat many conditions, mostly to alleviate chronic pain.

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DOES IT WORK? There is no evidence that static magnets offer any medical benefit for pain relief. As they are usually self-administered, there is a danger of missing serious diagnoses and losing valuable time for early treatment of serious diseases.

OSTEOPATHY:-

WHAT IS IT? A manual therapy which focuses on the musculoskeletal system to treat disease. Osteopaths use a range of techniques to mobilise soft tissues, bones and joints. Osteopathy and chiropractic therapy have much in common, but there are also important differences.

Osteopaths tend to use gentler techniques and often employ massage-like treatments. They also place less emphasis on the spine than chiropractors, and they rarely move the vertebral joints beyond their physical range of motion, unlike chiropractors. Therefore osteopathic interventions are less likely to injure.

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In general they treat mainly musculoskeletal problems, but many also claim to treat other conditions such as asthma, ear infection and colic.

DOES IT WORK? There is reasonably good evidence that the osteopathic approach is as effective as conventional treatments for back pain, but there is no good evidence to support the use of osteopathy in nonmusculoskeletal conditions.

People with severe osteoporosis, bone cancer, infections of the bone or bleeding problems should confirm with the osteopath that they will not receive forceful manual treatments.

LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP:-


*Advice for anyone considering alternative medicine:

*Consult and inform your GP — the treatment might interfere with any ongoing conventional therapies.

*Do not stop your conventional treatment unless your doctor advises that this is sensible.

*Alternative therapies can be expensive, so make sure there is evidence to support the efficacy of a therapy before spending huge sums of money.

*Every treatment carries risks, so make sure the risks are outweighed by the benefits.

Sources: THe Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Bionic Eye ‘Blindness Cure Hope’

A ‘bionic eye‘ may hold the key to returning sight to people left blind by a hereditary disease, experts believe.

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………………………………The treatment is being tested in clinical trials

A team at London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital have carried out the treatment on the UK’s first patients as part of a clinical study into the therapy.

The artificial eye, connected to a camera on a pair of glasses, has been developed by US firm Second Sight.

It said the technique may be able to restore a basic level of vision, but experts warned it was still early days.

The trial aims to help people who have been made blind through retinitis pigmentosa, a group of inherited eye diseases that affects the retina.

The disease progresses over a number of years, normally after people have been diagnosed when they are children.

It is estimated between 20,000 to 25,000 are affected in the UK.

It is not known whether the treatment has helped the two patients to see and any success is only likely to be in the form of light and dark outlines, but doctors are optimistic.

Lyndon da Cruz, the eye surgeon who carried out the operations last week, said the treatment was “exciting”.

“The devices were implanted successfully in both patients and they are recovering well from the operations.”

Other patients across Europe and the US have also been involved in the trial.

Electronic

The bionic eye, known as Argus II, works via the camera which transmits a wireless signal to an ultra-thin electronic receiver and electrode panel that are implanted in the eye and attached to the retina.

The electrodes stimulate the remaining retinal nerves allowing a signal to be passed along the optic nerve to the brain.

David Head, chief executive of the British Retinitis Pigmentosa Society, said: “This treatment is very exciting, but it is still early days.

“There is currently no treatment for patients so this device and research into stem cells therapies offers the best hope.”

“This treatment is very exciting, but it is still early days” …. says David Head, of the British Retinitis Pigmentosa Society

CLICK TO SEE ALSO :->
Sight-saving injection approved

Woman ‘denied sight-save drugs’

NHS criticised on blindness cure

Man in NHS battle ‘to save sight’

Second Sight

British Retinis Pigmentosa Society

Sources:BBC NEWS:21st. April,’08

Acrocyanosis

Definition
Acrocyanosis is a decrease in the amount of oxygen delivered to the extremities. The hands and feet turn blue because of the lack of oxygen. Decreased blood supply to the affected areas is caused by constriction or spasm of small blood vessels.

Description
Acrocyanosis is a painless disorder caused by constriction or narrowing of small blood vessels in the skin of affected patients. The spasm of the blood vessels decreases the amount of blood that passes through them, resulting in less blood being delivered to the hands and feet. The hands may be the main area affected. The affected areas turn blue and become cold and sweaty. Localized swelling may also occur. Emotion and cold temperatures can worsen the symptoms, while warmth can decrease symptoms. The disease is seen mainly in women and the effect of the disorder is mainly cosmetic. People with the disease tend to be uncomfortable, with sweaty, cold, bluish colored hands and feet.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Causes and symptoms
The sympathetic nerves cause constriction or spasms in the peripheral blood vessels that supply blood to the extremities. The spasms are a contraction of the muscles in the walls of the blood vessels. The contraction decreases the internal diameter of the blood vessels, thereby decreasing the amount of blood flow through the affected area. The spasms occur on a persistent basis, resulting in long term reduction of blood supply to the hands and feet. Sufficient blood still passes through the blood vessels so that the tissue in the affected areas does not starve for oxygen or die. Mainly, blood vessels near the surface of the skin are affected.

Diagnosis
Diagnosis is made by observation of the main clinical symptoms, including persistently blue and sweaty hands and/or feet and a lack of pain. Cooling the hands increases the blueness, while warming the hands decreases the blue color. The acrocyanosis patient’s pulse is normal, which rules out obstructive diseases. Raynaud’s disease differs from acrocyanosis in that it causes white and red skin coloration phases, not just bluish discoloration.

Treatment

There is no standard medical or surgical treatment for acrocyanosis, and treatment, other than reassurance and avoidance of cold, is usually unnecessary. The patient is reassured that no serious illness is present. A sympathectomy would alleviate the cyanosis by disrupting the fibers of the sympathetic nervous system to the area.owever, such an extreme procedure would rarely be appropriate. The same effect could be accomplished with a-adrenergic blocking agents or caclium channel blockers

Acrocyanosis usually isn’t treated. Drugs that block the uptake of calcium (calcium channel blockers) and alpha-one antagonists reduce the symptoms in most cases. Drugs that dilate blood vessels are only effective some of the time. Sweating from the affected areas can be profuse and require treatment. Surgery to cut the sympathetic nerves is performed rarely.

Incidence, Prevalence, and Epidemiology
Although there is no definitive reporting on its incidence, acrocyanosis shows prevalence in children and young adults than in patients thirty years of age or older. Epidemiological data suggests that cold climate, outdoor occupation, and low body mass index are significant risk factors for developing acrocyanosis. As expected, acrocyanosis would be more prevalent in women than in men due to differences in BMI. However, the incidence rate of acrocyanosis often decreases with increasing age, regardless of regional climate. Case reports have found acrocyanosis to be more prevalent in patients with autistic disorders such as Asperger’s Syndrome.

Prognosis
Acrocyanosis is a benign and persistent disease. The main concern of patients is cosmetic. Left untreated, the disease does not worsen.

Newborn Considerations
Acrocyanosis is common initially after delivery in the preterm and full term newborn Intervention normally is not required, although hospitals opt to provide supplemental oxygen for precautionary measures.

 

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

Resources:

http://www.healthline.com/galecontent/acrocyanosis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrocyanosis_%28benign%29

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These Germs Eat Antibiotics for Breakfast


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Harvard researchers have discovered hundreds of germs in soil that literally devour antibiotics, and thrive with the drugs as their sole source of nutrition.

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That bacteria can survive on strange “foods” is no surprise; some bacteria can break down oil spills, for instance. And it’s already known that soil bacteria can withstand some antibiotics.

However, what surprised researchers was that so many bacteria were able to not only survive, but flourish, when fed 18 different, common, antibiotics, some at levels 50 to 100 times higher than would be given to a human patient.

Now scientists are racing to figure out just how the bacteria devour antibiotics, since more dangerous germs that sicken people could potentially develop the same ability, and increase the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bugs.

One silver lining to the discovery, however, is that the germs help to prevent big antibiotic buildups in the soil, despite the widespread use of the drugs for livestock and humans.
Sources:
ABC News April 3, 2008
Science April 4, 2008

The Miracle Berry

Imagine an extract from a berry that would make sour things taste sweet and help you lose weight. Then imagine not being allowed to take it.

The berry makes sour things taste sweet

The world is getting fatter. One billion people are overweight, and 300 million of those are clinically obese.

The search is always on for replacements for those things that, eaten in excess, make us obese – fatty and sugary foods. There is no miracle pill that can replace either. Nearly four decades ago one man came close to providing a tablet that could reduce our love of sugar. In the 1960s, Robert Harvey, a biomedical postgraduate student, encountered the miracle berry, an African fruit which turns sour tastes to sweet.

“You can eat a berry and then bite into a lemon,” says Harvey. “It becomes not only sweeter, but it will be the best lemon you’ve tasted in your life.”

FIND OUT MORE…
The Miracle Berry, presented by Tom Mangold, is on Radio 4 at 2100 BST on 28 April
Or listen again on the BBC iPlayer

More importantly, this “miracle” can be used to manufacture sweet tasting foods without sugar or sweeteners, which have always been plagued by an after-taste.

Spotting the potential health benefits, and the healthy profits, that the miracle berry promised, Harvey founded the Miralin Company to grow the berry in Jamaica and Puerto Rico, extract its active ingredient in laboratories in Hudson, Massachusetts, and market it across the United States. At first, Harvey aimed his products at diabetics.

“In market testing, diabetics thought our product, as the name implies, was a miracle.”

But Harvey’s sweet dream of making the world healthier came to an abrupt end. On the eve of the launch in 1974, the US Food and Drugs Administration unexpectedly turned against the product.

Legal advice and contact with the FDA had led Harvey to believe that the extract from the berry would be allowed under the classification “generally recognised as safe”. Having been eaten for centuries in Africa, without anecdotal reports of problems, it could be assumed not to be harmful.

But the FDA decided it would be considered as an additive which required several years more testing. In the poor economic climate of 1974, this could not be funded and the company folded.

“I was in shock,” says Harvey. “We were on very good terms with the FDA and enjoyed their full support. There was no sign of any problem. Without any opportunity to know what the concern was and who raised it, and to respond to it – they just banned the product.”

He remembers a number of strange events leading up to the FDA’s decision, beginning immediately after one particular market research test.

His investors, including Reynolds Metals, Barclays and Prudential, had put up big money. They were looking for big returns.

“From the beginning my interest was in the diabetic market but my backers wanted to put double zeros after the numbers we were projecting.”

So, in the summer of 1974, miracle berry ice lollies, in four different flavours, were compared to similar, sugar-sweetened versions by schoolchildren in Boston. The berry won every time.

Don Emery, then vice president of the Miralin company, recalls the excitement.

“If we had got beyond the diabetic market we could have been a multi-billion dollar company. We’d have displaced maybe millions of tons of sugar and lots of artificial sweeteners as well.”

A few weeks later, things turned sour. A car was spotted driving back and forwards past Miralin’s offices, slowing down as someone took photographs of the building. Then, late one night, Harvey was followed as he drove home.

“I sped up, then he sped up. I pulled into this dirt access road and turned off my lights and the other car went past the end of the road at a very high speed. Clearly I was being monitored.”

Sugar denial

Finally, at the end of that summer, Harvey and Emery arrived back at the office after dinner to find they were being burgled. The burglars escaped and were never found, but the main FDA file was left lying open on the floor.

A few weeks later the FDA, which had previously been very supportive, wrote to Miralin, effectively banning its product. No co-incidence, according to Don Emery.

Obesity is a massive problem in the West

“I honestly believe that we were done in by some industrial interest that did not want to see us survive because we were a threat. Somebody influenced somebody in the FDA to cause the regulatory action that was taken against us.”

The Sugar Association, the trade body representing “Big Sugar” in the US, declined to be interviewed on the subject but flatly denied that the industry had exerted any influence over the FDA.

The Calorie Control Council, which represents artificial sweetener manufacturers in the US, has failed to respond to questions on the issue.

The Food and Drugs Administration also refused to be interviewed and has indicated that a Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation request to look at the relevant FDA files will not be considered for a year. Robert Harvey had requested the same files over 30 years ago.

“We got back the most redacted information I’ve ever seen from FOI. Everything was blacked out. There would have been material in the file that would have embarrassed the FDA, I believe.”

Faced with this silence, it’s virtually impossible to assess what actually happened to prevent the miracle berry’s progress to a sugar-free market.

But one thing is certain, it never got the chance to prove whether it really would have provided a miracle in our ever fattening world. And for Robert Harvey, that’s the biggest shame of all.

“It was a big loss not only for my employees and shareholders but, even more importantly, for diabetics and other people with special dietary needs. It was tragic.”

CLICK TO KNOW MORE ABOUT : MIRACLE BERRY:
*Also known as “miracle fruit” or Synsepalum dulcificum
*Grown in Africa, first documented in 18th Century
*Acts on the sour receptors of the tongue, turning sour tastes sweet
*Effect lasts 30 mins – two hours
*Effect is destroyed in hot foods – eg coffee and baked foods
*Renders an accompanying dry white wine sickly sweet
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Sources: BBC NEWS:28Th. Aptil ’08