Map Pinpoints Disease ‘Hotspots’

A detailed map highlighting the world’s hotspots for emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) has been released.
It uses data spanning 65 years and shows the majority of these new diseases come from wildlife.

Scientists say conservation efforts that reduce conflicts between humans and animals could play a key role in limiting future outbreaks.

Writing in Nature, they said their map revealed that global anti-EID resources had been poorly allocated in the past.

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………….Map of world’s Emerging Infectious Diseases hotspots

Researchers from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), and the US-based University of Georgia and Columbia University’s Earth Institute analysed 335 emerging diseases from 1940 to 2004.

They then used computer models to see if the outbreaks correlated with human population density or changes, latitude, rainfall or wildlife biodiversity.

Finally, the data was plotted on to maps to reveal the “hotspots” around the globe.

Healthy environment

“Our analysis highlights the critical importance of conservation work,” said co-author Dr Kate Jones, a research fellow for ZSL.

“Conserving areas rich in biodiversity from development may be an important means of preventing the emergence of new diseases.”

The researchers found that 60% of EID events were caused by “non-human animal” sources.

They add that 71% of these outbreaks were “caused by pathogens with a wildlife source”.

Among the examples listed by the team was the emergence of Nipah virus in Malaysia and the Sars outbreak in China.

Others included the H5N1 strain of bird flu, Ebola and West Nile virus.

The number of events that originated from wild animals had increased significantly over time, they warned.

“This supports the suggestion that zoonotic EIDs represents an increasing and very significant threat to global health,” the paper’s authors wrote.

They added that it also highlighted the need to understand the factors that lead to increased contact between wildlife and humans.

“We are crowding wildlife into ever smaller areas, and human population is increasing,” explained Dr Marc Levy, a global change expert at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.

“Where those two things meet, that is the recipe for something crossing over.”

He added that the main sources were mammals that were most closely related to humans.

‘Missing the point’

While some pathogens may be picked up while hunting or by accident, others – such as Nipah virus – are transmitted to humans from wild animals via livestock.

Because humans had not evolved resistance to these EIDS, the scientists said that the results could be “extraordinarily lethal”.

The main hotspots were located in low latitude regions, like South Asia and South-East Asia, which were not the financial focus of global funds to prevent the spread of EIDs.

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………….The bats have a wide distribution in Europe and Asia

The world’s public health resources are misallocated,” opined co-author Peter Daszak, executive director of the Consortium for Conservation Medicine at the US-based Wildlife Trust.

“Most are focused on richer countries that can afford surveillance, but most of the hotspots are in developing countries.

“If you look at the high-impact diseases of the future, we’re missing the point.”

However, Dr Dazak said that the maps were the first to offer a prediction of where the next new disease could emerge.

His colleague, Dr John Gittleman from the University of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology, described the data-set as a “seminal moment in how we study emerging diseases”.

“Our study has shown that bringing ecological sciences and public health together can advance the field in a dramatic ways,” he observed.

The researchers said that the priority should be to set up “smart surveillance” measures in the hotspots identified on the map.

Dr Daszak explained that logistically straightforward bio-security measures, such as screening people who come into contact with wild birds and mammals in the hotspot areas, could halt the “next Aids or Sars before it happened”.

“It simply follows the old adage that prevention is better, and cheaper, than finding a cure.

“If we continue to ignore this important preventative measure, then human populations will continue to be at risk from pandemic diseases,” Dr Daszak warned.

Click to see also:->

Bats ‘likely source of Sars’

Nepal ‘apathy’ over elephant TB

Climate linked to plague increase

New diseases threaten humans and wildlife

Malaysia mystery virus unmasked

Sources: BBC News.21st. Feb’08

How to Achieve Deep, Uninterrupted Sleep

Americans now get about 25 percent less sleep than they did a century ago. This isn’t just a matter of fatigue, it causes serious damage to your body.

click to see the pictures

Sleep deprivation can alter your levels of thyroid and stress hormones, which play a part in everything from your memory and immune system to your heart and metabolism. Over time, lack of sleep can lead to:

  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • High blood sugar levels and an increased risk of diabetes
  • Brain damage

Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to get the sleep your body craves. Here are 10 to start with (and the link below has 14 more):

1. Sprinkle just-washed sheets and pillowcases with lavender water, and then iron them before making your bed. The scent is proven to promote relaxation.

2. Hide your clock, so that its glow won’t disturb you and make sure there is no light coming from other sources including your windows as this will seriously impair your body’s ability to produce melatonin.

3. Choose the right pillow – neck pillows, which resemble a rectangle with a depression in the middle, can enhance the quality of your sleep and reduce neck pain.

4. Paint your bedroom sage green, or another soothing color, which will provide a visual reminder of sleep.

5. Move your bed away from outside walls, which will help cut down on noise.

6. Kick your dog or cat out of your bedroom – studies have shown that they snore!

7. Take a hot bath 90 to 120 minutes before bedtime; it increases your core body temperature, and when it abruptly drops when you get out of the bath, it signals your body that you are ready for sleep.

8. Keep a notepad at your bedside — if you wake in the middle of the night with your mind going, you can transfer your to-do list to the page and return to sleep unworried.

9. Put heavier curtains over your windows -- even the barely noticeable light from streetlights, a full moon, or your neighbor’s house can interfere with the circadian rhythm changes you need to fall asleep.

10. Eat a handful of walnuts before bed – they’re a good source of tryptophan, a sleep-enhancing amino acid.

Sources:

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Congenital Blindness

Vision plays a very important part in the early development of a child. Impaired vision at birth will cause serious delay in development and is likely to lead to learning disabilities, particularly when associated with other problems, such as congenital deafness.

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………………………………………………Jyotindra Mehta
Congenital blindness due to Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) took away Jyotindra Mehta’s power of sight at a very young age. Emigration to the US on scholarship, coupled with a readiness to take up any challenge, resulted in Jyotindra’s quick success there.

………………………………..2005030700230201.jpg ……………………………….………….Heeru Chandnani and Nevy George
Congenital blindness due to Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) took away thir eye sight at very early age.

About 9 in 10 children who are considered blind from birth have some vision, even though it may be only recognition of light and dark or shapes.

Causes:
There are several causes including microphthalmos, cataracts, bilateral pseudogliomatous retinal detachments, and phthisis bulbi. OPPG is usually not suspected until fractures occur, frequently after seemingly minor trauma.

In the developed world, half of all cases of congenital blindness run in families and therefore may be due to a genetic disorder. another important cause is congenital infection such as the protozoal infection toxoplasmosis and the viral infection rubella. These infections are transmitted from the mother to the developing fetus during pregnancy and may lead to impaired vision in the newborn baby. congenital rubella is now rare in the developed world due to routine immunization. The baby’s eyes may also be affected by cataracts, in which the lenses are opaque, or glaucoma, in which the optic nerve is damaged due to increased pressure in the eyes. Congenital blindness may also be caused by damage to the brain as a result of lack of oxygen during birth.

Symptoms:
Parents usually become aware that their have a vision problem within a few weeks. he or she may less responsive than other babies, lying quietly to make the most of his or her hearing. parents may also notice that their baby:

· Is unable to fix his or her eyes on a close object.
· Has random eye movements.
· Does not smile by the age of 6 weeks.
· Has abnormally large, cloudy eyes if glaucoma is present.

Parents may find it difficult to bond with a quiet baby who does not smile.

Diagnosis:
If congenital blindness is not suspected by a baby’s parents, it will probably be picked up during a routine examination in infancy. A child suspected of having an impaired vision will be referred to a specialist for an examination and tests. His or her hearing will also be tested because, if the child is severely visually impaired, he or she will rely more on hearing.

Treatment:
It is possible to improve vision in only a smaller number of babies, such as those with cataracts or glaucoma. Early treatment of these conditions is important. cataracts are usually removed surgically within the first month of life. glaucoma may also be treated surgically to allow fluid to drain from the eye.

If vision cannot be improve, much can be done to help a child make maximum use of other senses or what little vision he or she has. if your child is diagnosed as blind, a team of specialist, including a teacher for the blind, will be able to give you and your child support and care. You will also be given advice on how to stimulate your child, by using your speech, sounds, and touch and how to adapt your home so that your child can explore it safely and develop self-confidence. Some children will require special schooling to learn braille, a system of raised dots that allows blind people to read.

Genetics counseling is available for parents of an affected child who wish to have more children or for prospective parents who are blind.

Click to see :
->

Preventable Causes of Congenital Abnormalities
Enzyme Responsible For Congenital Blindness
Prognosis :
Children treated for cataracts or glaucoma will probably still have impaired vision but often have enough sight to perform most activities unaided. Many blind or visually impaired children with no other disabilities go on to have successful personal and professional lives.

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.charak.com/DiseasePage.asp?thx=1&id=338

http://www.blonnet.com/ew/2005/03/07/stories/2005030700230200.htm

Anger Slows Down Healing Process

The adage that laughter is the best medicine has been backed by an unusual investigation which says that people who seethe with anger take longer to recover from injury.

Previous studies have linked ill tempered behaviour, whether brow-beating or road rage, with higher incidence of coronary heart disease, hypertension and stroke, especially among men.

But the new study, published on Wednesday in the British journal Brain, Behaviour, Immunity, is the first controlled experiment that directly measures the impact of ire on the healing process.

Researchers at the University of Ohio inflicted minor burns on the forearms of 98 volunteers who were then monitored over eight days to see how quickly the skin repaired itself.

The subjects had each taken a battery of psychological tests beforehand to assess how easily and often they felt and expressed wrath, and were then ranked on an “anger scale”.

Persons who took certain pharmaceutical drugs, smoked cigarettes or drank excessive quantities of caffeine-laden coffee were excluded, along with individuals who were extremely over- or under-weight.

The results were startlingly clear: individuals who had trouble controlling expressions of anger were four times likelier to need more than four days for their wounds to heal, compared with counterparts who could master their anger.

But the researchers were also surprised to find that anger has its nuances, too.

Subjects described as showing “anger out” (regular outbursts of aggression or hostility) or “anger in” (repressed rage) healed almost as quickly as individuals who ranked low on all anger scales.

Only those who tried but failed to hold in their feelings of upset and distemper took longer to heal.

This same group also showed a higher secretion of the stress hormone cortisol, which could at least partly explain the difference in healing time, the study noted.

Earlier research has shown a clear link between cortisol and anger. Hostile men who yelled at spouses during marital spats secreted more of the endocrine modulator within minutes, as did teachers experiencing high levels of stress in the classroom.

High levels of cortisol appears to decrease the production at the point of injury of two cytokines crucial to the repair process, suggests the study.

Cytokines are proteins released by immune-system cells. They act as signallers to generate a wider immune response. “The ability to regulate the expression of one’s anger has a clinically relevant impact on wound healing,” concludes lead author Jean-Philippe Gouin, a psychologist at the University of Ohio. “Those who has low anger control secreted more cortisol following exposition to this stressor. This individual difference in the response to the blistering was related to longer healing,” Gouin added.

Anger-control therapy could help patients recovering from surgery or injury heal more quickly, the paper says.

Click to see also:->

Laughter, the best medicine

Laugh loudly and get rid of many illness

Sources: The Times Of India

The Sweet Flag

Botanical Name: Acorus calamus L. (Araceae)

Family: Acoraceae

Syn : Acorus griffithii Schott., A. belangeii Schott, A. casia Bertol.

Other Names: It is known by a variety of names, including cinnamon sedge, flagroot, gladdon, myrtle flag, myrtle grass, myrtle sedge, sweet cane, sweet myrtle, sweet root, sweet rush, and sweet sedge

English name: The sweet flag.

Sanskrit name: Vacha.

Vernacular names: Asm, Ben and Hin : Boch; Gui : Godavaj, Vekhand; Kan : Baje, Baje gida; Kon: Waikhand; Mal: Vayambu; Mar: Vekhand; Ori : Bacha; Pun: Bari, Boj, Warch; Tam: Vasamboo; Tel: Vasa.

Trade name: Boch.
Habitat :Throughout India; ascending the Himalaya up to 2000 m; Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh.Acorus calamus is now found across Europe, in southern Russia, northern Asia Minor, southern Siberia, China, Japan, Burma, Sri Lanka, and northern USA.

Description:
Perennial, erect, aromatic herb, common on river banks and marshes, ascending to 3000 m; rhizome cylindrical or slightly compressed, about 2.5 cm in diameter, much-branched, externally light brown or pinkish brown but white and spongy within; leaves distichous, large, 1-2 m in length, base equitant, margin waved; spadix sessile, cylindric, densely flowered, not completely enclosed by spathe, spathe 15-75 cm in length, narrow, leaf-like; flowers small, bisexual; berries few-seeded; seeds oblong, albuminous.
sweet-flag-2.jpg.sweet-flag-1.jpg
sweet-flag-3.jpg
The morphological distinction between the Acorus species is made by the number of prominent leaf veins. Acorus calamus has a single prominent midvein and then on both sides slightly raised secondary veins (with a diameter less than half the midvein) and many, fine tertiary veins. This makes it clearly distinct from Acorus americanus.

The leaves are between 0.7 and 1.7 cm wide, with average of 1 cm. The sympodial leaf of Acorus calamus is somewhat shorter than the vegetative leaves. The margin is curly-edged or undulate. The spadix, at the time of expansion, can reach a length between 4.9 and 8.9 cm (longer than A. americanus). The flowers are longer too, between 3 and 4 mm. Acorus calamus is infertile and shows an abortive ovary with a shriveled appearance.

This perennial’s natural habitat is shallow water and it’s best grown in a pond, pool, or other damp setting.Sweet flag is propagated by rhizome division. This is best done in the spring and fall. Rhizomes should be lifted in the second or third year. If left longer they may become hollow. Harvest the leaves and hang to dry in the fall. The fragrance intensifies during the drying process.

Phenology: Flowering and Fruiting: July-August; fruiting very rare.

Ecology and cultivation: Probably introduced; found from the coast to 1200 m; often near village wells and along watercourses; confined to marshy areas; gregarious herb from a stout horizontal rhizome; wild and cultivated.

Chemical contents: Dry rhizome :1.5-3.5% of a yellow aromatic volatile oil-calamus oil; the oil contains β-asarone, small quantities of sesquiterpenes and sesquiterpenes alcohols; Rhizome: also contains choline (0.26%), flavone, acoradin, 2,4,5-tri-MeO­benzaldehyde, 2,5-di-MeO-benzoquinone, galangin, calameone, acolamone, isoacolamone, epoxyisoacoragermacrone; Aerial parts: lutcolin-6,8-c-diglucoside; chemical constituents vary in ecotypes and polyploides.Both triploid and tetraploid calamus contain asarone, but diploid does not contain any.

Medicinal Uses:
Traditional use: SANTAL: use the plant in the following ways: (i) they mix and grind black pepper, cloves, root of Carissa carandus lo along with little of the rootstock of A. calamus lo, then stir the same in pure mustard oil-the emulsion, thus prepared is anointed daily over the whole body of the patient suffering form epilepsy with foaming and groaning, as soon as the fit comes on; a few drops of this emulsion should be poured into the nose of the patient; (ii) for the treatment of indigestion, they take pills made by grinding 100 black peppers, little amount of ginger and the root of A. calamus together; (iii) also use in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, cold and cough, dry cough, epilepsy, haemopty­sis, indigestion, phthisis; BIRHOR : Rhizome in alopecia, Root as massage, in fever, hysteria, pain in neck, teething trouble of children, malaria and cancer.

AGNI PURANA : this plant is of great medicinal value; it recommends the following uses: (i) for treatment of epilepsy, this plant should be boiled with Costus speciosus, shankhapushpi, along with the juice of Bacopa monnieri ; the substance thus obtained should be administered to the patient; (ii) drinking the decoction of this plant, Piper peepuloides, Staphyles emodi Wall., and Cyperus parviflorus Heyne and pippalimula is good for the patient of rheumatic arthritis; (iii) the powder or decoction of this plant helps curing chronic enlargement of spleen; (iv) decoction of the plant is beneficial for the patient of dropsy; A YURVEDA: Rhizome: bitter, healing, emetic, laxative, diuretic, carminative; improves voice and appetite; good for oral diseases, abdominal pain, epilepsy, bronchitis, hysteria, loss of memory, rat bite and worms in ear.

SIDDHA SYSTEM: fresh root for bronchial asthma.

UNANI: an ingredient of the medicine called ‘Waje-Turki’; useful in flatulent colic, chronic dyspepsia, catarrhal, in burn wounds, carminative, anthelmintic and as bitter tonic.

Modern use: Rhizome: aromatic, bitter, carminative, emetic, stimulant, stomachic, useful in dyspepsia, colic, remittent fevers, nerve tonic, in bronchitis, dysentery, epilepsy and other mental ailments, glandular and abdominal tumours and in snake bite.The rhizome is used to alleviate stomach acidity.


Remark: Rhizomes are valued for indigenous medicine.

Culinary Uses:
Leaves can be used as a substitute for vanilla pods. Try leaving a few leaves in a jar of sugar for a few days for vanilla-flavored sugar. They can also be cut up and stored in dry foods to prevent infestation by weevils. Leaves and rhizomes are a nice addition to potpourri.

Click to see :Acorus calamus at Plants for a Future And Your Online Guide To Herbs

Click to Buy Plants Online

Adulterants: The powdered drug has been adulterated with siliceous earth, ground marsh mallow root and cereal flowers.

Regulations:
Calamus and products derived from calamus (such as its oil) were banned in 1968 as food additives and medicines by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:

http://www.bsienvis.org/medi.htm#Acorus%20calamus

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

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

The Truth About Coffee

Pregnant women should not drink coffee,” declared the newspaper article. Coffee consumption was always considered undesirable for children and pregnant women. Now this old wives’ tale has been vindicated and proven, based on scientific facts.

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….Self medication can be harmful, consult a doctor when your child is sick

The problem with coffee is that it contains caffeine, a xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant. But it is not just coffee that contains caffeine. The compound is also found in tea, carbonated beverages and chocolate.

Coffee contains 40 to 120 milligrams of caffeine per 120 ml, tea 15-30mgm/120ml, chocolate 3mg/30gm and cola drinks 20 to 50mgm/240ml. There can be an acute overdose of caffeine if more than three or four cups of brewed coffee, tea or cola drinks (providing 400 milligrams) are consumed in a short time. This causes caffeine intoxication with restlessness, nervousness, agitation, excitement, insomnia, flushing, urination, muscle twitching, rambling thought processes and speech, irritability and palpitations.

Caffeine ingestion can be fatal if more than 150 to 200 mgm per kilogram (80 to 100 cups of coffee for an average adult) is consumed within a short while. Overdose fatalities can occur in addicted people who snort pure caffeine powder. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system. It makes the person alert with faster and clearer thought processes, improved focus, coordination, endurance and peak performance, especially in sports.

If large amounts are consumed over a prolonged period, caffeinism, addiction or dependency can occur. The person exhibits nervousness, irritability, anxiety, tremulousness, muscle twitching, insomnia, headaches, palpitations, peptic ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Tolerance develops quickly, especially among heavy coffee and cola drink consumers. Withdrawal is associated with symptoms such as headache, irritability and an inability to concentrate, which may last for days.

About 10 per cent of heavy coffee or tea drinkers develop symptoms that mimic organic mental disorders with anxiety, agitation and panic attacks. They may be misdiagnosed and unnecessarily medicated. Withholding caffeine would have actually cured them in a few days. Children should not be given tea or coffee, because caffeine stimulates their nervous system. They cannot tolerate more than 45 mgm of caffeine a day. Children who consume more than this become nervous, jittery, hyperactive, have difficulty concentrating and sleeping and have a rapid heart rate.

Parents sometimes do give their children cola drinks. Some of the orange or lime and lemony flavoured drinks also contain caffeine. The ingredients should be carefully checked on the beverage label before it is given to the child.

During the hot summer months, drinking caffeine-containing beverages to overcome thirst is actually counterproductive. Caffeine acts a mild diuretic (it increases urine production). Thirst is not assuaged and dehydration may be aggravated.

However, coffee and tea drinking is not entirely bad. Caffeine increases alertness and reduces drowsiness, two qualities essential for those on night shift work or driving a vehicle for a prolonged period of time.

Also, coffee enhances the action of many painkillers. The onset of action is faster as absorption is rapid and eventual relief is 40 per cent better. Many over-the-counter (OTC) headache, cold and flu drugs contain caffeine.

Coffee and tea drinking is also associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, gallstone disease, rheumatoid arthritis, alcoholic cirrhosis and Parkinson’s disease. Adults can safely consume two to three cups of coffee daily as it has no detrimental long-term health consequences and may even confer some health benefits.

Menopausal women are more sensitive to caffeine than their menstruating counterparts. It may produce jitteriness and interfere with sleep at lower levels. The traditional tea time consumption may need to be curtailed to ensure a good night’s rest.

Women have to be careful about their caffeine intake from all sources (not just tea and coffee) if they are pregnant or are planning to have a baby. The best time to stop is around a month before the pregnancy is planned. This abstinence should ideally be continued throughout the pregnancy. The caffeine is harmful because it stimulates the baby’s immature metabolism and stresses it. It is also suspected to decrease blood flow to the placenta. This in turn increases the risk of miscarriage and may eventually result in a small, underweight baby.

If you want to enjoy your cup of tea or coffee:-

• Start after you are an adult

• Restrict yourself to three or four cups a day

• Avoid additional caffeine in carbonated beverages

• Have your last cup at least six hours before your bedtime

• Avoid both tea and coffee during pregnancy.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Definition:-
Multiple sclerosis(MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).Multiple sclerosis (abbreviated MS, formerly known as disseminated sclerosis or encephalomyelitis disseminata) is a chronic, inflammatory, demyelinating disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS)]. Disease onset usually occurs in young adults, is more common in women, and has a prevalence that ranges between 2 and 150 per 100,000 depending on the country or specific population.MS was first described in 1868 by Jean-Martin Charcot.

It damages the myelin sheath, the material that surrounds and protects your nerve cells. This damage slows down or blocks messages between your brain and your body, leading to the different symptoms.

ms-2.jpg..ms-3.jpg..ms-4.jpg…………ms-1.jpg
Multiple sclerosis…MRI of the brain..Nerve supply to the pelvis..Central nervous system

…..ms-5.jpg…Click to enlarge the picyures
Myelin and nerve structure

Causes:-
No one knows what causes MS. It may be an autoimmune disease, which happens when your body attacks itself. Multiple sclerosis affects woman more than men. Usually, the disease is mild, but some people lose the ability to write, speak or walk. There is no cure for MS, but medicines may slow it down and help control symptoms. Physical and occupational therapy may also help.

The disorder most commonly begins between ages 20 and 40, but can be seen at any age.

Though the exact cause is not known, but MS is believed to result from damage to the myelin sheath, the protective material which surrounds nerve cells. It is a progressive disease, meaning the nerve damage (neurodegeneration) gets worse over time.

In addition to nerve damage, another part of MS is inflammation. Inflammation occurs when the body’s own immune cells attack the nervous system. The inflammation destroys the myelin, leaving multiple areas of scar tissue (sclerosis). It also causes nerve impulses to slow down or become blocked, leading to the symptoms of MS. Repeated episodes, or flare ups, of inflammation can occur along any area of the brain and spinal cord.

Symptoms vary because the location and extent of each attack varies. Usually episodes that last days, weeks, or months alternate with times of reduced or no symptoms (remission).

Recurrence (relapse) is common although non-stop progression without periods of remission may also occur.

Researchers are not sure what triggers an attack. Patients with MS typically have a higher number of immune cells than a healthy person, which suggests that an immune response might play a role. The most common theories point to a virus or genetic defect, or a combination of both. There also appears to be a genetic link to the disease.

MS is more likely to occur in northern Europe, the northern United States, southern Australia, and New Zealand than in other areas. Geographic studies indicate there may be an environmental factor involved.

People with a family history of MS and those who live in a geographical area with a higher incidence rate for MS have a higher risk of the disease.

Symptoms:-
*Decreased ability to control small movements
*Decreased attention span
*Decreased coordination
*Decreased judgment
*Decreased memory
*Depression
*Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
*Dizziness
*Double vision
*Eye discomfort
*Facial pain
*Fatigue
*Loss of balance
*Movement problems – slowly progressive; beginning in the legs
*Muscle atrophy
*Muscle spasms (especially in the legs)
*Muscle spasticity (uncontrollable spasm of muscle groups)
*Numbness or abnormal sensation in any area
*Pain in the arms or legs
*Paralysis in one or more arms or legs
*Slurred speech
*Tingling
*Tremor in one or more arms or legs
*Uncontrollable rapid eye movements
*Urinary frequency (frequent need to urinate)
*Urinary hesitancy (difficult to begin urinating)
*Urinary urgency (strong urge to urinate)
*Urine leakage (incontinence)
*Vertigo
*Vision loss — usually affects one eye at a time
*Walking/gait abnormalities
*Weakness in one or more arms or legs

Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease:

*Constipation
*Hearing loss

Note: Symptoms may vary with each attack. They may last days to months, then reduce or disappear, then recur periodically. With each recurrence, the symptoms are different as new areas are affected. Fever can trigger or worsen attacks, as can hot baths, sun exposure, and stress.

Diagnosis:-
Multiple sclerosis is difficult to diagnose in its early stages. In fact, a definite diagnosis cannot be made until other disease processes (differential diagnoses) have been ruled out and, in the case of relapsing-remitting MS, there is evidence of at least two anatomically separate demyelinating events separated by at least thirty days. In the case of primary progressive, a slow progression of signs and symptoms over at least 6 months is required.

Exams and Tests:-

Symptoms of MS may mimic many other neurologic disorders. Diagnosis is made by ruling out other conditions.

A history of at least two attacks separated by a period of reduced or no symptoms may be a sign of relapsing-remitting MS.

If the health care provider can see decreases in any functions of the central nervous system (such as abnormal reflexes), a diagnosis of MS may be suspected.

A neurological exam may show localized decreases in nerve function. This may include decreased or abnormal sensation, decreased ability to move a part of the body, speech or vision changes, or other loss of neurologic functions. The type of neurologic deficit usually indicates the location of the damage to the nerves.

There may be a positive Babinski’s reflex.

Eye examination may show abnormal pupil responses, changes in the visual fields or eye movements, rapid eye movements triggered by movement of the eye, decreased visual acuity, or problems with the internal structures of the eye.

Tests that indicate or confirm multiple sclerosis include:-

*Head MRI scan
*Spine MRI
*Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
*Cerebrospinal fluid tests, includingCSF oligoclonal banding

Treatment:-

There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis at this time. However, there are promising therapies that may slow the disease. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms and maintain a normal quality of life.

Medications used may include:

*Immune modulators to help control the immune system, including interferons (Avonex, Betaseron, or Rebif), monoclonal

*antibodies (Tysabri), and glatiramer acetate (Copaxone)

*Steroids to decrease the severity of attacks when they occur

*Medicines to reduce muscle spasms such as Lioresal (Baclofen), tizanidine (Zanaflex), or a benzodiazepine

*Cholinergic medications to reduce urinary problems

*Antidepressants for mood or behavior symptoms

*Amantadine for fatigue

Physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and support groups can help improve the person’s outlook, reduce depression, maximize function, and improve coping skills.

A planned exercise program early in the course of the disorder can help maintain muscle tone.

A healthy lifestyle is encouraged, including good general nutrition. Adequate rest and relaxation can help maintain energy levels. Attempts should be made to avoid fatigue, stress, temperature extremes, and illness to reduce factors that may trigger an MS attack.

More Support Groups:
For additional information, Click to see multiple sclerosis resources.

Prognosis:-

The outcome is variable and unpredictable. Although the disorder is chronic and incurable, life expectancy can be normal or nearly so. Most people with MS continue to walk and function at work with minimal disability for 20 or more years.

The factors felt to best predict a relatively benign course are female gender, young age at onset (less than 30 years), infrequent attacks, a relapsing-remitting pattern, and low burden of disease on imaging studies.

The amount of disability and discomfort varies with the severity and frequency of attacks and the part of the central nervous system affected by each attack. Commonly, there is initially a return to normal or near-normal function between attacks. As the disorder progresses, there is progressive loss of function with less improvement between attacks.

Possible Complications :

*Progressive disability

*Urinary tract infections

*Side effects of medications used to treat the disorder.

When to Contact a Medical Professional:-

Call your health care provider if you develop any symptoms of MS, as he or she is the only one who can distinguish multiple sclerosis from other serious disorders such as stroke or infection.

Call your health care provider if symptoms progressively worsen despite treatment.

Call your health care provider if the condition deteriorates to the point where home care is no longer possible.

Click to See:

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Ayurveda

Understanding the Root Causes of Multiple Sclerosis on Ayurvedic view

Ayurvedic Treatment For Multiple Sclerosis

Homeopathic Treatment, Cure & Medicines for Multiple Sclerosis

Does homeopathy really help cure MS.(Multiple Sclerosis )

Esperanza – Treatment Program for Multiple Sclerosis

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.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000737.htm

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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

Club Drugs

Club drugs are being used by young adults at all-night dance parties such as “raves” or “trances,” dance clubs, and bars. MDMA (Ecstasy), GHB, Rohypnol, ketamine, methamphetamine, and LSD are some of the club or party drugs gaining popularity. NIDA-supported research has shown that use of club drugs can cause serious health problems and, in some cases, even death. Used in combination with alcohol, these drugs can be even more dangerous.

No club drug is benign. Chronic abuse of MDMA, for example, appears to produce long-term damage to serotonin-containing neurons in the brain. Given the important role that the neurotransmitter serotonin plays in regulating emotion, memory, sleep, pain, and higher order cognitive processes, it is likely that MDMA use can cause a variety of behavioral and cognitive consequences as well as impair memory.

Because some club drugs are colorless, tasteless, and odorless, they can be added unobtrusively to beverages by individuals who want to intoxicate or sedate others. In recent years, there has been an increase in reports of club drugs used to commit sexual assaults.

Click any of the below links to learn more about that specific drug:

Ecstasy
GHB
Rohypnol®
Ketamine
Methamphetamine
LSD

Information provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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Wolf’s bane (Indian aconite)

Botanical Name: Aconitum ferox Wall. (Ranunculaceae)

Syn: Aconitum virosum Don., A. napellus var. rigidum Hook, f & T.

English names: Wolf’s bane, Indian aconite.

Sanskrit names: Vatsanabha, Visa.

Vernacular names: Hin: Bish, Mahoor; Guj and Mar: Vachang; Kas: Mohra; Tam: Vasnumbi; Tel: Vasnabhi.

Trade name: Bish.

Habitat : Alpine Himalaya including Nepal; endemic.

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Descriptions: : Perennial erect herb growing up to 2 m in height; roots look like the navel of children; leaves alternate, simple, rounded or oval, may be palmately 5-lobed; flowers borne on branched racemes, bracts and bracteoles present, large helmet-type, helmet vaulted with short sharp beak, pale dirty blue in colour, zygomorphic, floral parts arranged spirally on an elongated receptacle; follicles erect, usually densely villose-sometimes glabrous.
Phenology: Flowering and Fruiting: July-November.
Ecology and cultivation: Temperate to alpine regions of the Himalaya in the altitude of 3300-5000 m.

Cultivation:-
Thrives in most soils and in the light shade of trees[1]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist soil in sun or semi-shade. Prefers a calcareous soil. Grows well in open woodlands. If the flower stems are removed after flowering the plant will normally flower again later in the season. Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits and deer. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby species, especially legumes. A polymorphic species. The nomenclature is very confused for this species, A. lycoctonum. L. is treated as A. septentrionale by many botanists whilst A. lycoctonum. Auct. is A. vulparia.

Propagation:-
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed can be stratified and sown in spring but will then be slow to germinate. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division – best done in spring but it can also be done in autumn. Another report says that division is best carried out in the autumn or late winter because the plants come into growth very early in the year

Chemical contents: Root: pseudoaconitine (a toxic alkaloid), indactonitine, chasmaconitine, bikhaconitine.
Medicinal Actions &  Uses:

Alterative; Anaesthetic; Antiarthritic; Antitussive; Deobstruent; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Sedative; Stimulant.

The root is alterative, anaesthetic, antiarthritic, antitussive, deobstruent, diaphoretic, diuretic, sedative and stimulant. This is a very poisonous plant and should only be used with extreme caution and under the supervision of a qualified practitioner

Traditional use: AYURVEDA : Root: used in the mrityunjaya rasa (used to treat the fever supposed to be caused by deranged vayu, i.e., wind, sannipatika jvara, i.e., remittent fever, hingulesware-rasa, anandabhairav agnitundi vati, etc.

Vatsanabha has been used in medicine from a very remote period. It is regarded as healing and stimulant. It is used in a great variety of affections, but is specially recommended in fever, cephalagia, affections of throat, dyspepsia and rheumatism. HOMOEOPATHY: remedy for clotting of blood in heart or in lungs, pneumonia, Iymptisis, pleurisy, eye trouble, earache, toothache and urinary trouble.

Modern use: Extremely poisonous; used in leprosy, fever, cholera, nasal catarrah, tonsillitis, sore throat, gastric disorders, debility, etc., also used as a sedative and diaphoretic; applied in the form of paste in cases of neuralgia and rheumatism.

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Adulterants: Indian aconite root is known as ‘bikh’ or ‘bish’, the name which is applied to aconite from more than one species, and different authors have ascribed it to different species.

Remarks: Vulnerable due to excessive collection for medicinal uses. Collection in wild state should be banned and measures for cultivation should be initiated.

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

Sources:http://www.bsienvis.org/medi.htm#Aconitum%20ferox

http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Aconitum+lycoctonum

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Tearing Down To Rebuild

Rethinking Complaining :
We all know someone who has elevated the process of complaining to a high art. Sometimes funny, sometimes exhausting, these people have the ability to find a problem just about anywhere. In its more evolved form, complaining is simply the ability to see what’s not working, in one’s own life or in the external world, and it can be quite useful if followed to its natural conclusion—finding a solution and applying it. However, many of us don’t get that far, and we find that complaining has become an end in itself. In small doses, this is not a big problem, but if complaining has become a huge part of our identities, it may be time to take a good look at how we are spending our energy.

Complaining is a person’s way of acknowledging that they are not happy with the way things are. In a metaphorical way, when we complain or criticize, we are tearing down an undesirable structure in order to make room for something new. But if all we do is tear down, never bothering to summon the creative energy required to create something new, we are not fulfilling the process. In fact, we are at risk for becoming a stagnant and destructive force in our own lives and in the lives of the people we love. Another issue with complaining is that we sometimes tend to focus on other people, whom we can’t change, as a way of deflecting attention from the one person we can change—ourselves. So transforming complaining into something useful is a twofold process that begins with turning our critical eye to look at things we can actually do something about, and then taking positive action.

When we find ourselves complaining, the last thing we need to do is get down on ourselves. Instead, we can begin by noticing that we are in the mode of wanting to make some changes. But rather than lashing out at somebody or an organization, we can look for an appropriate place to channel this energy—not our neighbor’s house, but possibly parts of our own. Finally, we can ask ourselves the positive question of what we would like to create in the place of whatever it is we want to tear down. When we do this, we channel a negative habit into a creative process, thus using our energy to change the world around us in a positive way.

Sources: Daily Om