Antibiotic-Resistant Disease Killing Humans and Swine

The antibiotic-resistant bacteria Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamase (ESBL) is killing both people and swine in Denmark.

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The bacteria has been implicated in the deaths of a number of cancer and liver disease patients. The number of infected patients jumped 50 percent last year.

Health officials said the bacteria is being transmitted to humans through pigs. The increased use of antibiotics in agriculture may be behind the spread of the resistant strain.

Sources:
WebIndia123 March 9, 2008

Harmonizing with the Universe

The Benefits of Singing
Singing is an act of vibration. It takes music from the realm of the unformed– whether that is in your mind or from that magical space of inspiration–and moves it from within to without. From the first breath singing moves the energy in a circular way inside your body. As the breath fills your lungs, it brushes against the second and third chakras—the centers of creation and honoring self and others. Instead of merely exhaling, pushing the air past the fourth and fifth chakras where heart charka and the center of will and intention reside, singing engages both the heart and mind. Sound vibrations from vocal chords resonate in the sinus cavities, filling the head with motion and sound while the brain lights up with the processing of the mathematics of music. This marriage of activities brings the third eye into play and opens the door for inspiration from the crown chakra before sending the sound out into the world.

Once the vibration begins, it is sustained with each note, moving throughout your body and the space around you. This can help you to harmonize your frequency with the world and with the divine. The use of the voice can bring about catharsis, a cleansing from the expression of emotion, which is why we feel better after singing certain types of songs. All of this occurs even if we are not conscious of what we are singing, but when we really connect with an intention, the power of the voice and music together are powerful tools in creation.

Even if you are not a singer by nature or talent, you are not left out. If you have a voice, it is your birthright to celebrate life with song. It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel you have a nice voice. Chanting or humming, singing solo or with others, your voice is yours to enjoy. Whether you sing along to the radio or use vocalization as part of your meditation time, singing and harmonizing are healing activities that bring your body’s vibrations into alignment with the universe.

Sources: Daily Om

Breast-Feeding Curbs Type 2 Diabetes

Babies who are breast-fed seem to be less likely to develop type 2 diabetes as adolescents, according to University of South Carolina researchers.

4_3breastfeed.jpg….feeding.jpg

Using a subset of data from a larger study, the researchers analyzed 80 people between the ages of 10 and 21 with type 2 diabetes, who were matched with 167 “controls” who did not have diabetes.

The breastfeeding rate was lower among people with type 2 diabetes, compared with the control group. Specifically:

* Among African Americans, only 20 percent of those with type 2 diabetes had been breastfed, compared to 27 percent in the control group.
*Among Hispanics, 50 percent of the diabetes group was breastfed, compared with 84 percent of the control group.
*Among whites, 39 percent of the diabetes group was breastfed, compared with 78 percent of the control group.

The researchers concluded that breastfeeding in itself had a protective effect against type 2 diabetes. It also helped to stave off the disease because it helped to moderate childhood weights.

Encouraging breastfeeding in groups at high risk of type 2 diabetes may be useful, the researchers said.

Click to see also:->

Breast-feeding protects from arthritis

Breastfeeding infants for at least six months is best!

Breast-Feeding Update

Breast Milk is Still The Best

Sources:
Reuters March 13, 2008
Diabetes Care March 2008, 31:470-475

Lady’s Mantle

Botanical Name: Alchemilla vulgaris (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Rosaceae

Synonyms: Lion’s Foot. Bear’s Foot. Nine Hooks. Leontopodium. Stellaria
(French) Pied-de-lion.

The common name, Lady’s Mantle (in its German form, Frauenmantle), was first bestowed on it by the sixteenth-century botanist, Jerome Bock, always known by the Latinized version of his name: Tragus. It appears under this name in his famous History of Plants, published in 1532, and Linnaeus adopted it. In the Middle Ages, this plant had been associated, like so many flowers, with the Virgin Mary (hence it is Lady’s Mantle, not Ladies’ Mantle), the lobes of the leaves being supposed to resemble the scalloped edges of a mantle. In mediaeval Latin we also find it called Leontopodium (lion’s foot), probably from its spreading root-leaves, and this has become in modern French, Pied-de-lion. We occasionally find the same idea expressed in two English local names, ‘Lion’s foot’ and ‘Bear’s foot.’ It has also been called ‘Stellaria,’ from the radiating character of its lower leaves, but this belongs more properly to quite another group of plants, with star-like blossoms of pure white.
(German) Frauenmantle.
Parts Used: Herb, root.

Habitat: The Lady’s Mantle and the Parsley Piert, two small, inconspicuous plants, have considerable reputation as herbal remedies. They both belong to the genus Alchemilla of the great order Rosaceae, most of the members of which are natives of the American Andes, only a few being found in Europe, North America and Northern and Western Asia. In Britain, we have only three species, Alchemilla vulgaris, the Common Lady’s Mantle, A. arvensis, the Field Lady’s Mantle or Parsley Piert, and A. alpina, less frequent and only found in mountainous districts

The Common Lady’s Mantle is generally distributed over Britain, but more especially in the colder districts and on high-lying ground, being found up to an altitude of 3,600 feet in the Scotch Highlands. It is not uncommon in moist, hilly pastures and by streams, except in the south-east of England, and is abundant in Yorkshire, especially in the Dales. It is indeed essentially a plant of the north, freely found beyond the Arctic circle in Europe, Asia and also in Greenland and Labrador, and only on high mountain ranges, such as the Himalayas, if found in southern latitudes.

Description:
The rootstock is perennialblack, stout and short – and from it rises the slender erect stem. The whole plant is clothed with soft hairs. The lower, radical leaves, large and handsome, 6 to 8 inches in diameter, are borne on slender stalks, 6 to 18 inches long and are somewhat kidneyshaped in general outline, with their margins cut into seven or mostly nine broad, but shallow lobes, finely toothed at the edges, from which it has obtained one of its local names: ‘Nine Hooks.’ The upper leaves are similar and either stalkless, or on quite short footstalks and are all actually notched and toothed. A noticeable feature is the leaflike stipules, also toothed, which embrace the stem.

Click to see the pictures….>….(01).…...(1).....(2)....(3).…...(4)...

The flowers, which are in bloom from June to August, are numerous and small, only about 1/8 inch in diameter, yellow-green in colour, in loose, divided clusters at the end of the freely-branching flower-stems, each on a short stalk, or pedicle. There are no petals, the calyx is four-cleft, with four conspicuous little bracteoles that have the appearance of outer and alternate segments of the calyx. There are four stamens, inserted on the mouth of the calyx, their filaments jointed.

The common English name is accounted for by the leaves resemblance to a cloak worn by English women in medieval times. A preparation of dried leave was used to control diarrhea and to stop bleeding.

Alchemilla has lime green leaves and dainty star shaped flowers, and has been in gardens since before the 16th century and I’m sure in the wild much before then. The entire plant is covered in very fine hairs that cause dew or soft rain to gather in it’s leaves. This liquid was known as “celestial water” and used in alchemy. These tiny jeweled drops inspired poetry and magic over the years.

The herb became known as Our Lady’s Mantle because the scalloped shape of the leaves, were thought to resemble the mantle (cloak) of the Virgin Mary. Later, politics intervened, and the “Our” was taken from the name.

Lady’s Mantle can be planted from seeds or by purchasing plants. The seed will germinate in the garden, but will take up to 2 years to flower. The plants can be divided in the spring or fall and are hardy in Zones 4-8 and possibly Zone 3. It will grow from 6 inches for the alpine variety to about 12-18 inches on the others. Space about 12 inches between plants. Lady’s Mantle needs a fertile soil and some moisture-more than the standard herbs. It can be in full sun in northern climates, but can tolerate some shade and in the warm climates prefers it.

The rootstock is astringent and edible and the leaves are eaten by sheep and cattle.

Medicinal Action and Uses:
The Lady’s Mantle has astringent and styptic properties, on account of the tannin it contains. It is ‘of a very drying and binding character’ as the old herbalists expressed it, and was formerly considered one of the best vulneraries or wound herbs.

Culpepper says of it:
‘Lady’s Mantle is very proper for inflamed wounds and to stay bleeding, vomitings, fluxes of all sorts, bruises by falls and ruptures. It is one of the most singular wound herbs and therefore highly prized and praised, used in all wounds inward and outward, to drink a decoction thereof and wash the wounds therewith, or dip tents therein and put them into the wounds which wonderfully drieth up all humidity of the sores and abateth all inflammations thereof. It quickly healeth green wounds, not suffering any corruption to remain behind and cureth old sores, though fistulous and hollow.’
In modern herbal treatment, it is employed as a cure for excessive menstruation and is taken internally as an infusion 1 OZ. of the dried herb to 1 pint of boiling water) in teacupful doses as required and the same infusion is also employed as an injections.
A strong decoction of the fresh root, by some considered the most valuable part of the plant, has also been recommended as excellent to stop all bleedings, and the root dried and reduced to powder is considered to answer the same purpose and to be good for violent purgings.

In Sweden, a tincture of the leaves has been given in cases of spasmodic or convulsive diseases, and an old authority states that if placed under the pillow at night, the herb will promote quiet sleep.

Fluid extract, dose, 1/2 to 1 drachm.

Horses and sheep like the plant, and it has therefore been suggested as a profitable fodder plant, but the idea has proved unpractical. Grazing animals will not eat the leaves till the moisture in them is dissipated.

Other Species:
Alchemilla alpine, a mountain variety,found on the banks of Scotch rivulets. The leaves are deeply divided into five oblong leaflets and are thickly covered with lustrous silky hairs. A form of this plant in which the leaflets are connate for one-third of their length is known as A. conjuncta.

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://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/l/ladman05.html

http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html

http://www.gardenguides.com/plants/info/herbs/ladys.asp

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Crohn’s Disease

Endoscopy image of colon showing serpiginous u...Image via Wikipedia

Definition:
Crohn’s disease (also known as regional enteritis) is a chronic, episodic, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and is generally classified as an autoimmune disease. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus; as a result, the symptoms of Crohn’s disease vary among afflicted individuals. The disease is characterized by areas of inflammation with areas of normal lining between in a symptom known as skip lesions. The main gastrointestinal symptoms are abdominal pain, diarrhea (which may be bloody, though this may not be visible to the naked eye), constipation, vomiting, weight loss or weight gain. Crohn’s disease can also cause complications outside of the gastrointestinal tract such as skin rashes, arthritis, and inflammation of the eye.

The disease was independently described in 1904 by Polish surgeon Antoni Lesniowski and in 1932 by American gastroenterologist Burrill Bernard Crohn, for whom the disease was named. Crohn, along with two colleagues, described a series of patients with inflammation of the terminal ileum, the area most commonly affected by the illness. Crohn’s disease affects between 400,000 and 600,000 people in North America. Prevalence estimates for Northern Europe have ranged from 27–48 per 100,000. Crohn’s disease tends to present initially in the teens and twenties, with another peak incidence in the fifties to seventies, although the disease can occur at any age.

Although the cause of Crohn’s disease is not known, it is believed to be an autoimmune disease that is genetically linked. The highest relative risk occurs in siblings, affecting males and females equally. Smokers are three times more likely to get Crohn’s disease.

Unlike the other major types of IBD, there is no known drug based or surgical cure for Crohn’s disease. Treatment options are restricted to controlling symptoms, putting and keeping the disease in remission and preventing relapse.

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The three most common sites of intestinal involvement in Crohn’s disease are ileal, ileocolic and colonic.

Symptoms:
T the symptoms of crohn’s disease vary among individuals. The disorder usually recurs at intervals throughout life. Episodes of the disease may be severe, lasting weeks or several months before settling down to periods with mild or no symptoms. The symptoms include:

· Diarrhea.
· Abdominal pain.
· fever.
· Weight loss.
· General feeling of malaise.

If the colon is affected, symptoms may also include the following:

· Diarrhea, often containing blood.
· Bloody discharge from the anus.

About 1 in 10 people also develops other disorders associated with crohn’s disease. These other conditions may occur even in mold cases of crohn’s disease and include arthritis, eye disorders, kidney disorders, gallstones, and a rash.

Causes:
The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown. However, genetic and environmental factors have been invoked in the pathogenesis of the disease. Research has indicated that Crohn’s disease has a strong genetic link. The disease runs in families and those with a sibling with the disease are 30 times more likely to develop it than the normal population. Ethnic background is also a risk factor. Until very recently, whites and European Jews accounted for the vast majority of the cases in the United States, and in most industrialized countries, this demographic is still true.

Mutations in the CARD15 gene (also known as the NOD2 gene) are associated with Crohn’s disease and with susceptibility to certain phenotypes of disease location and activity. In earlier studies, only two genes were linked to Crohn’s, but scientists now believe there are over eight genes that show genetics play a crucial role in the disease.

A handful of cases of Crohn’s disease cases were reported at the turn of the 20th century, but since then, the disease has continued to increase in prevalence dramatically. Some argue that this increase has been the result of a genetic shift in the population caused by conditions favoring individuals carrying the genes linked with the disease. These conditions could be a lower infant mortality rate or better health care in the nations that have the highest incidence of disease (industrialized nations).

Others argue that Crohn’s disease is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Many environmental factors have also been hypothesized as causes or risk factors for Crohn’s disease. Proven environmental risk factors include living in an industrialized country, smoking, and living in an urban area. Diets high in sweet, fatty or refined foods may also play a role. A retrospective Japanese study found that those diagnosed with Crohn’s disease had higher intakes of sugar, fat, fish and shellfish than controls prior to diagnosis. A similar study in Israel also found higher intakes of fats (especially chemically modified fats) and sucrose, with lower intakes of fructose and fruits, water, potassium, magnesium and vitamin C in the diets of Crohn’s disease sufferers before diagnosis, and cites three large European studies in which sugar intake was significantly increased in people with Crohn’s disease compared with controls. Certain chemicals in the diet, known as microparticles, are also hypothesized as a risk factor for the disease, as well as a poor imbalance of omega-6 to healthy omega-3 fatty acids that emerging research shows helps to improve all types of inflammatory disease. The most common forms of microparticles include titanium dioxide, aluminosilicates, anatase, calcium phosphate, and soil residue. These substances are ubiquitous in processed food and most toothpastes and lip glosses. Soil residue is found on fresh fruits and vegetables unless carefully removed.

Smoking has been shown to increase the risk of the return of active disease, or “flares”. The introduction of hormonal contraception in the United States in the 1960′s is linked with a dramatic increase in the incidence rate of Crohn’s disease. Although a causal linkage has not been effectively shown, there remain fears that these drugs work on the digestive system in similar ways to smoking.

Additionally, many in the scientific community believe that early childhood exposure to illness is necessary to the creation of a proper immune system for those with the genetic susceptibility for Crohn’s Disease. Higher incidences of Crohn’s Disease are associated with cleaner living conditions. Throughout the early and mid-20th century in the United States, the disease was strongly associated with upper-class populations, and today the disease does not yet exist in the many Third World countries, despite the fact that it occurs in all races. CD is also associated with first born and single children (because they would have less exposure to childhood illness from siblings) and in populations that have low incidences of gastric cancer. Gastric cancer is most often caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori that flourishes in cramped and unsanitary conditions.

Abnormalities in the immune system have often been invoked as being causes of Crohn’s disease. It has been hypothesized that Crohn’s disease involves augmentation of the Th1 of cytokine response in inflammation. The most recent gene to be implicated in Crohn’s disease is ATG16L1, which may reduce the effectiveness of autophagy, and hinder the body’s ability to attack invasive bacteria.

A variety of pathogenic bacteria were initially suspected of being causative agents of Crohn’s disease. However, the current consensus is that a variety of microorganisms are simply taking advantage of their host’s weakened mucosal layer and inability to clear bacteria from the intestinal walls, both symptoms of the disease. Some studies have linked Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis to Crohn’s disease, in part because it causes a very similar disease, Johne’s disease, in cattle. The mannose bearing antigens, mannins, from yeast may also elicit pathogenic anti saccharomyces cerevisiae antibodies. Newer studies have linked specific strains of enteroadherent E. coli to the disease but failed to find evidence of contributions by other species.

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

Endoscopy
A colonoscopy is the best test for making the diagnosis of Crohn’s disease as it allows direct visualization of the colon and the terminal ileum, identifying the pattern of disease involvement.

Radiologic Tests
A small bowel follow-through may suggest the diagnosis of Crohn’s disease and is useful when the disease involves only the small intestine. Because colonoscopy and gastroscopy allow direct visualization of only the terminal ileum and beginning of the duodenum, they cannot be used to evaluate the remainder of the small intestine.

CT and MRI scans are useful for evaluating the small bowel with enteroclysis protocols.They are additionally useful for looking for intra-abdominal complications of Crohn’s disease such as abscesses, small bowel obstruction, or fistulae. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are another option for imaging the small bowel as well as looking for complications, though it is more expensive and less readily available.

Blood Tests
A complete blood count may reveal anemia, which may be caused either by blood loss or vitamin B12 deficiency. The latter may be seen with ileitis because vitamin B12 is absorbed in the ileum. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate, or ESR, and C-reactive protein measurements can also be useful to gauge the degree of inflammation.[48] It is also true in patient with ilectomy done in response to the complication. Another cause of anaemia is anaemia of chronic disease, characterized by its microcytic and hypochromic anaemia. There are reasons in anaemia, including medication in treatment of inflammatory bowel disease like azathioprine can lead to cytopenia and sulfasalazine can also result in folate malabsorption, etc. Testing for anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibodies (ASCA) and anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) has been evaluated to identify inflammatory diseases of the intestine and to differentiate Crohn’s disease from ulcerative colitis.

Treatment:
Crohn’s is a chronic inflammatory disease of the bowel and treatment is focused on reducing inflammation. Treatment options include medications, nutritional supplements and surgery—either alone or in combination. Complementary and alternative treatments are used to help relieve symptoms in conjunction with other therapies. Treating Crohn’s disease effectively is complex – goals of therapy are to alleviate symptoms and to prevent flare-ups. It is important to develop a strong partnership with your gastroenterologist and nutritionist.

Medications: Aminosalicylates (sulfasalazine, mesalamine, balsalazide, and olsalazine) are given orally or rectally to reduce inflammation in the intestine. Corticosteroids (prednisone, methylprednisolone, hydrocortisone) reduce inflammation and are used short-term for acute flareups. Budesonide, one of a new class of nonsystemic steroids, targets the intestine rather than the whole body. Immunomodulators (azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine, cyclosporine A, tacrolimus, methotrexate ), usually associated with organ transplants and used to decrease the risk of rejection. Increasingly, they’re being used to treat autoimmune diseases and used to treat people with Crohn’s disease. Usually prescribed for moderate to severe cases, immunomodulators are also used when fistulas develop or corticosteroids are no longer effective. Crohn’s is not caused by an infection, but antibiotics (metronidazole and ciprofloxacin) may help minimize symptoms and heal fistulas and abscesses. Biologics (infliximab (Remicade), adalimumab (Humira) are genetically engineered drugs that combat inflammation by neutralizing proteins in the immune system like tumor necrosis factor (TNF), which can cause inflammation. The advantage in using biologics is that they act selectively rather than suppressing the entire immune system.

Nutritional Support: Nutritional support for people with Crohn’s is a complex endeavor. Malnutrition is a common complication of the illness. Children need to increase their intake of calories and protein by as much as 150% of the recommended amounts for their age and height. It’s also important to increase fluids, proteins (especially fatty fish like tuna and salmon), complex carbohydrates, and potassium-rich foods like bananas, orange juice, potatoes and avocados. Supplements like fish oils, probiotics and liquid nutritional support (Ensure) may help, so be sure to consult your health professionals for the best plan for you or your child.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies:Many people are interested in nontraditional approaches to healing, especially when standard treatments produce intolerable side effects or aren’t able to provide an improvement. To address this interest, the National Institutes of Health established the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), which provides guidance and research.

Most complementary and alternative therapies don’t simply address a problem with the body. Instead, they focus on the entire person – body, mind and spirit. As a result, they can be especially effective at reducing stress, alleviating the side effects of conventional treatments and improving quality of life.

Studies have found that more than half the people with either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis have used some form of complementary or alternative therapy. The most common complementary therapies tried were herbal and nutritional supplements, probiotics and fish oil. Side effects and ineffectiveness of conventional therapies are primary reasons for seeking alternative care. Only about two-thirds report their alternative or complementary therapy use to their doctors, however.

The majority of these therapies aren’t regulated as medications by the Food and Drug Administration. Manufacturers can claim that their therapies are safe and effective but don’t need to prove it. Because even natural herbs can have side effects and cause dangerous interactions, be sure to let your doctor know before you try any alternative or complementary therapies.

NCCAM’s findings are available on its Web site. You can also talk to information specialists at the center’s clearinghouse by calling 888-644-6226 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern time.

Moderate, regular exercise and stress management techniques like meditation, relaxation practices and cognitive therapy may help reduce the severity of symptoms.

Click to see also:>Alternative strategy better for Crohn’s Disease

Ayurvedic Recommended Therapy: Basti

Homeopathy – Crohn’s Disease And It’s Treatment…………..(1)…….(2)

Crohn’s Disease as related to Cat’s Claw

Lifestyle changes:
Certain lifestyle changes can reduce symptoms, including dietary adjustments, proper hydration and smoking cessation.

Surgery:
Most people with Crohn’s disease eventually need some type of surgery. Half of all children diagnosed with Crohn’s need surgery within 5 years. Surgery is used to remove damaged portions of the digestive tract or scar tissue or repair fistulas. Strictureplasty involves insertion of a ballon to widen narrow segments of intestine without having to remove any portion. Resection of the colon is done to remove damaged intestine. Subtotal colectomy removes part of the colon. Proctocolectomy removes the entire colon. An ileostomy is the creation of a stoma through which feces is passed and collected in a bag which must be emptied several times per day. Emergency surgery is sometimes required for bowel perforations, obstructions, intestinal bleeding, or severe fistulas.

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

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

A single, small, uncontrolled trial of patients with mild Crohn’s on stable medications suggested improvement with low dose naltrexone therapy.

Prognosis:
Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition for which there is currently no cure. It is characterized by periods of improvement followed by episodes when symptoms flare up. With treatment, most people achieve a healthy height and weight, and the mortality rate for the disease is low.

Crohn’s disease is a recurring disorder. Most affected people learn to live reasonably normal lives, but 7 in 10 people eventually need surgery. Complications and repeated surgery can occasionally reduce life expectancy. Crohn’s disease may increase the risk of colorectal cancer, and, for this reason, your doctor may advise you to have regular checkups that include colonoscopy.

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/humiracontent/crohn’s-disease-advanced-treatments

http://www.charak.com/DiseasePage.asp?thx=1&id=108

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crohn’s_disease

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/crohns-disease/DS00104/DSECTION=11

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Daily Caffeine ‘Protects Brain’

Coffee may cut the risk of dementia by blocking the damage cholesterol can inflict on the body, research suggests.

The drink has already been linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, and a study by a US team for the Journal of Neuroinflammation may explain why.

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…………………The easy way to neutralise cholesterol

A vital barrier between the brain and the main blood supply of rabbits fed a fat-rich diet was protected in those given a caffeine supplement.

UK experts said it was the “best evidence yet” of coffee’s benefits.

The “blood brain barrier” is a filter which protects the central nervous system from potentially harmful chemicals carried around in the rest of the bloodstream.

Other studies have shown that high levels of cholesterol in the blood can make this barrier “leaky”.

Alzheimer’s researchers suggest this makes the brain vulnerable to damage which can trigger or contribute to the condition.

The University of North Dakota study used the equivalent to just one daily cup of coffee in their experiments on rabbits.

After 12 weeks of a high-cholesterol diet, the blood brain barrier in those given caffeine was far more intact than in those given no caffeine.

‘Safe drug’

“Caffeine appears to block several of the disruptive effects of cholesterol that make the blood-brain barrier leaky,” said Dr Jonathan Geiger, who led the study.

“High levels of cholesterol are a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps by compromising the protective nature of the blood brain barrier.

“Caffeine is a safe and readily available drug and its ability to stabilise the blood brain barrier means it could have an important part to play in therapies against neurological disorders.”

A spokesman for the Alzheimer’s Disease Society said that the study shed “important light” on why previous research had showed benefits for drinking coffee.

“This is the best evidence yet that caffeine equivalent to one cup of coffee a day can help protect the brain against cholesterol.

“In addition to its effect on the vascular system, elevated cholesterol levels also cause problems with the blood brain barrier.

“This barrier, which protects the brain from toxins and infections, is less efficient prior to brain damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease or strokes.”

She called for more research into whether the same effect could be seen in humans.

“Caffeine is a safe and readily available drug and its ability to stabilise the blood brain barrier means it could have an important part to play in therapies against neurological disorders”. says Dr Jonathan Geiger of University of North Dakota

Click to see:->The Caffeine Advantage

Sources: BBC NEWS:2nd. April.’08

Hypertention

Definition:

Blood pressure above 140/90 constitutes hypertension. Increase in diastolic pressure is more important in the definition of hypertension. As part of our increasing engagement in improving blood pressure measurement we are now undertaking active validation of new blood pressure devices for the measurement of blood pressure. Intracardiac left-to-right shunts (such as a ventricular or atrial septal defect, a hole in the wall between the two ventricles or atria) can cause too much blood flow through the lungs. Hypertension occurs when blood is forced through the arteries at an increased pressure.In patients with diabetes mellitus or kidney disease studies have shown that blood pressure over 130/80 mmHg should be considered a risk factor and warrants treatment. Accordingly, the diagnosis of high blood pressure in an individual is important so that efforts can be made to normalize the blood pressure and, thereby, prevent the complications.Whereas it was previously thought that diastolic blood pressure elevations were a more important risk factor than systolic elevations, it is now known that for individuals older than 50 years of age systolic hypertension represents a greater risk.

Hypertension , commonly referred to as “high blood pressure”, is a medical condition where the blood pressure is chronically elevated.The arteries are the vessels that carry blood from the pumping heart to all of the tissues and organs of the body.High blood pressure does not mean excessive emotional tension, although emotional tension and stress can temporarily increase the blood pressure. Because the risk to an individual patient may correlate with the severity of hypertension, a classification system is essential for making decisions about aggressiveness of treatment or therapeutic interventions. Generally, the higher the blood pressure, the greater the risk. Untreated hypertension affects all organ systems and can shorten one’s life expectancy by 10 to 20 years.An elevation of the systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure increases the risk of developing heart (cardiac) disease, kidney (renal) disease, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis), eye damage, and stroke (brain damage).This can cause an artery to rupture or the heart to fail under the strain – in the worst case stopping altogether.If the pressure is high enough, eventually the heart can’t keep up, and less blood can circulate through the lungs to pick up oxygen.

Blood pressure is a continuously distributed variable and the risk of associated cardiovascular disease likewise rises continuously. Therefore, determinants of blood pressure include factors that affect both cardiac output and arteriolar vascular physiology. The diastolic pressure, which is the bottom number, represents the pressure in the arteries as the heart relaxes after the contraction. Blood is pumped from the heart through the arteries out to our muscles and organs. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, congestive heart failure, stroke, impaired vision, and kidney disease. The British Hypertension Society has a track record of producing internationally renowned guidelines for the management of hypertension which are widely adopted in primary care in the UK and elsewhere. Furthermore, changes in vascular wall thickness affect the amplification of peripheral vascular resistance in hypertensive patients and result in reflection of waves back to the aorta, increasing systolic blood pressure.

Kidneys play a key role in keeping blood pressure in a healthy range, and blood pressure, in turn, can affect the health of kidneys. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can damage the kidneys
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Hypertension can result from too much fluid in normal blood vessels or from normal fluid in narrow blood vessels.

Blood pressure measures the force of blood against the walls of your blood vessels. Blood pressure that remains high over time is called hypertension. Extra fluid in your body increases the amount of fluid in your blood vessels and makes your blood pressure higher. Narrow or clogged blood vessels also raise your blood pressure.

Causes of Hypertention:
The common Causes of Hypertention :

*Renal parenchymal disease
*Polycystic kidney disease
*Vasculitis
*Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism
*There does not appear to be a direct relationship between caffeine and chronic hypertension, even though caffeine intake can *cause an acute (rapid but brief) increase in blood pressure.
*chronic alcohol abuse
*Dangerous expansion of the main artery either in the chest or the abdomen, which becomes weakened and may rupture.
*Erythropoietin
*Smoking
*Lack of Exercise

Secondary causes include certain types of kidney disease, abnormal functioning of certain glands (adrenal glands, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands), chronic intake of certain substances and medications (e.g., alcohol, steroids), and the presence of a rare tumor (e.g., pheochromocytoma, which secretes adrenaline-like substances).

Symptoms of Hypertention

Most people with high blood pressure have no symptoms. The only way to know whether your blood pressure is high is to have a health professional measure it with a blood pressure cuff. The result is expressed as two numbers. The top number, which is called the systolic pressure, represents the pressure when your heart is beating. The bottom number, which is called the diastolic pressure, shows the pressure when your heart is resting between beats. Your blood pressure is considered normal if it stays below 120/80 (expressed as “120 over 80″). People with a systolic blood pressure of 120 to 139 or a diastolic blood pressure of 80 to 89 are considered prehypertensive and should adopt health-promoting lifestyle changes to prevent diseases of the heart and blood vessels. If your systolic blood pressure is consistently 140 or higher or your diastolic pressure is 90 or higher, you have high blood pressure and should talk with your doctor about the best ways to lower it.

Some are common Symptoms of Hypertention :

  • Confusion
  • Vision changes
  • Cyanosis, a condition in which the baby’s skin has a bluish tint, even while they are receiving extra oxygen to breathe
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Swelling in the ankles or legs (edema)
  • Bluish lips and skin (cyanosis)
  • Angina-like chest pain (crushing chest pain )
  • Ear noise or buzzing
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Respiratory distress, including signs such as flaring nostrils and grunting

Hypertention or High Blood Pressure ultimately damages the Kisny:
High blood pressure makes your heart work harder and, over time, can damage blood vessels throughout your body. If the blood vessels in your kidneys are damaged, they may stop removing wastes and extra fluid from your body. The extra fluid in your blood vessels may then raise blood pressure even more. It’s a dangerous cycle.

High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of kidney failure, also commonly called end-stage renal disease (ESRD). People with kidney failure must either receive a kidney transplant or go on dialysis. Every year, high blood pressure causes more than 25,000 new cases of kidney failure in the United States.

How to know that Kidney Damage

Kidney damage, like hypertension, can be unnoticeable and detected only through medical tests. Blood tests will show whether your kidneys are removing wastes efficiently. Your doctor should order tests to measure your serum creatinine. Having too much creatinine in your blood is a sign that you have kidney damage. The doctor should use the serum creatinine to estimate the main kidney function called glomerular filtration rate, or GFR.

Another sign is proteinuria, or protein in your urine. Proteinuria has also been shown to be associated with heart disease and damaged blood vessels. (For more information, see the fact sheet Proteinuria from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).)

How to Control Hypertension:

NHLBI has found that five lifestyle changes can help control blood pressure:

  • Maintain your weight at a level close to normal. Choose fruits, vegetables, grains, and low-fat dairy foods.
  • Limit your daily sodium (salt) intake to 2,000 milligrams or lower if you already have high blood pressure. Read nutrition labels on packaged foods to learn how much sodium is in one serving. Keep a sodium diary.
  • Get plenty of exercise, which means at least 30 minutes of moderate activity, such as walking, most days of the week.
  • Avoid consuming too much alcohol. Men should limit consumption to two drinks (two 12-ounce servings of beer or two 5-ounce servings of wine or two 1.5-ounce servings of “hard” liquor) a day. Women should have no more than a single serving on a given day because metabolic differences make women more susceptible to the effects of alcohol.
  • Limit caffeine intake.

Treatment:
Many people need medicine to control high blood pressure. Two groups of medications called ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors and ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) lower blood pressure and have an added protective effect on the kidney in people with diabetes. Additional studies have shown that ACE inhibitors and ARBs also reduce proteinuria and slow the progression of kidney damage in people who do not have diabetes. You may need to take a combination of two or more blood pressure medicines to stay below 130/80. Doctor may also prescribe a diuretic in addition to your ACE inhibitor or ARB. Diuretics are also called “water pills” because they help you urinate and get rid of excess fluid in your body.

Here is the list of the methods for treating Hypertention :

  • Medications may include diuretics, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), or alpha blockers.
  • Medications such as hydralazine, minoxidil, diazoxide, or nitroprusside may be required if the blood pressure is very high.
  • Increase the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart, while reducing its workload.
  • 100 percent supplemental oxygen may be given to your baby through a mask or plastic hood.
  • Research has shown that this gas is effective in treating PPHN because it relaxes contracted lung blood vessels and improves blood flow to the lungs.
  • For the compelling indications, other antihypertensive drugs (eg, diuretics, ACE inhibitor, ARB, beta-blocker, calcium channel blocker) may be considered as needed.
  • Maintain weight at 15 percent or less of desirable weight
  • Stop smoking and reduce intake of dietary saturated fat and cholesterol for overall cardiovascular health.
  • This type of ventilation may improve the oxygen level in the blood if other types of ventilation are not effective.

Prevention:
If you have kidney damage, you should keep your blood pressure below 130/80. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recommends that people with kidney disease use whatever therapy is necessary, including lifestyle changes and medicines, to keep their blood pressure below 130/80.

Risk factor for kidney failure related to HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE :

All racial groups have some risk of developing kidney failure from high blood pressure. African Americans, however, are more likely than Caucasions to have high blood pressure and to develop kidney problems from it—even when their blood pressure is only mildly elevated. In fact, African Americans are six times more likely than Caucasions to develop hypertension-related kidney failure.

People with diabetes also have a substantially increased risk for developing kidney failure. People who are at risk both because of their race and because of diabetes should have early management of high blood pressure.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), also part of NIH, sponsored the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK) to find effective ways to prevent high blood pressure and kidney failure in this population. The results, released in 2003, showed that an ACE inhibitor was better at slowing the progression of kidney disease in African Americans than either of two other drugs.

Hope through Research
In recent years, researchers have learned a great deal about kidney disease. NIDDK sponsors several programs aimed at understanding kidney failure and finding treatments to stop its progression.

NIDDK’s Division of Kidney, Urologic, and Hematologic Diseases supports basic research into normal kidney function and the diseases that impair normal function at the cellular and molecular levels, including diabetes, high blood pressure, glomerulonephritis, and polycystic kidney disease.

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://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/highblood/index.htm

http://www.health-disease.org/cardiology-disorders/hypertension.htm

Aging Is Not Inevitable

Every day, 330 American baby boomers turn age 60. Each of them desires to live a long and fulfilling life, full of productivity and vitality, and absent of disease and disability. This quest is why thousands of people just like you are becoming interested in anti-aging medicine.

Simply put, anti-aging medicine is advanced preventive health care based on the early detection, prevention, treatment and reversal of age-related dysfunction, disorders and diseases. The goal of anti-aging medicine is not merely to prolong the total years of an individual’s life, but to ensure that those years are enjoyed in a productive and vital fashion.

Some of the “secrets” to anti-aging aren’t really secrets at all, and they don’t require drugs or surgery. For example, abundant clinical and research evidence suggests consistent physical activity plays a key role in maintaining health and vitality as we age. Exercise is one of the most valuable forms of anti-aging medicine. Substantial health benefits occur with regular physical activity that is aerobic in nature (such as 30-60 minutes of brisk walking, five or more days a week). Additional health benefits can be gained through greater amounts of physical activity, but even small amounts of activity are healthier than a sedentary lifestyle. A number of recent studies reinforce this basic concept.

Men and women age 60-plus with higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness live longer than unfit adults, and this correlation is independent of levels of body fat. Researchers at the University of South Carolina examined the associations between cardiovascular fitness, clinical measures of body fat, and death in older adults. The researchers studied more than 2,600 adults for a 12-year period, during which there were 450 deaths. The team found that those who died were older, had lower fitness levels, and had more cardiovascular risk factors than survivors. However, there were no significant differences in body fat measures.

Across a wide variance of body-fat levels (excluding the most obese), fit study subjects were found to have lower death rates than unfit subjects. Higher levels of fitness also corresponded to lower incidence of death from all causes. In their published report, the researchers comment: “The results add to the existing evidence that promoting physical activity in older adults provides substantial health benefits, even in the oldest old.”

The size of a man’s waistline and the muscle mass of his biceps provide s snapshot of mortality risk in aging men. S. Goya Wannamethee and colleagues from the Royal Free and University College Medical School (London) studied more than 4,100 men ages 60 to 79, and found that those with a waist circumference of less than 40 inches and above-average muscle mass in their upper arms were up to 36 percent less likely to die over a six-year period compared to those with bigger waists and smaller arm muscles. The researchers also found that the combination of waist size and arm muscle mass provided a far more accurate gauge of death risk compared to body mass index (BMI) measurements, which the team found was linked to mortality only among very thin men.

According to Dr. Shripad Tuljapurkar of Stanford University, “We are on the brink of being able to extend human lifespan significantly, because we’ve got most of the technologies we need to do it.” Dr. Tuljapurkar estimates that between 2010 and 2030, the average age of death will increase 20 years if anti-aging therapies come into widespread use. This would increase the average lifespan in industrialized countries from approximately 80 years to 100 years. Remember to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

Sources: http://www.toyourhealth.com/mpacms/tyh/article.php?id=1017

Extremely Shy? Scientists Tell Why

Anxiety disorder – an extreme case of shyness – starts early in life and can cause depression and substance abuse in adulthood, according to a new study.
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People with the problem avoid meeting others and are subdued in new social settings. Besides blushing, they might have other symptoms like a racing heart, sweating or trembling.

But, the authors point out, while shyness itself is not a pathological condition, debilitating shyness that has a detrimental effect on a person’s everyday functioning “can no longer be regarded as normal”.

While clinicians are concerned with finding better treatment, since 40 percent patients do not respond to first-line therapies, critics argue that the label is unnecessarily “medicalising” a normal personality trait.

Murray B Stein of University of California and Dan J Stein, University of Cape Town in South Africa look at how our understanding of social anxiety disorder has changed over the past decade.

These findings appear in this week’s edition of The Lancet.

They said it has moved from “rudimentary awareness that it is not merely shyness to a much more sophisticated appreciation of its prevalence, its chronic and pernicious nature, and its neurobiological underpinnings”.

The authors discuss possible causes for this disorder. Research shows that a heritable temperamental trait known as behavioural inhibition is commonly an antecedent to the development of social anxiety disorder.

Understanding how social anxiety disorder relates to conditions such as autism might help in determining how we process socially relevant information.

Neuro-imaging studies suggest that activity of the amygdala – which responds to emotional human faces – is heightened in people with social anxiety disorder.

Click to see also:->

Is There a Gene for Shyness?

Program in Child Affective and Anxiety Disorders

Sources: The Times Of India

Food Does Help Build Immunity

Researchers have uncovered fresh evidence to support what mothers everywhere have long been saying: the immune system needs food to function properly.

Working on mice in a lab study, University of Chicago researchers found that restricting their subjects’ diet by 30 percent significantly decreased the amount of available B cells, which produce antibodies and maintain immune memory.

Without these cells, the immune system must re-learn how to fight a threat if it reappears.

Findings of the study have been published in the latest issue of the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology.

“Animals live different lifestyles, so they may use different types of defences against infection depending on the situation. Perhaps this is why immune defences vary seasonally in most species,” said Lynn Martin, a co-author of the study.

Research on the relationship between food and the immune system could have profound implications for humans. Martin and fellow researchers cite previous studies that have found that infections are “more frequent and tend to be chronic in malnourished children”.

Vaccines, for example, must prompt B cells to produce sufficient antibodies for immune memory. Previous studies have found that vaccines for measles have a significantly lower rate of efficacy among the malnourished.

“A 30 percent restriction in food intake doesn’t affect body mass and only minimally reduces activity in deer mice, but it eliminates the long-term immune protection provided by antibodies.”

Although other variables may be at work, the authors propose that for both wild animals and humans, food availability impinges on immunity and future research should determine what specific components of a diet – calories, protein, micronutrients – are responsible.

Sources: The Times Of India