The New Silk Route

Proteins from silkworms can help people suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

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Proteins from the tussar silkworm increase the shelf life of L-Dopa

.Subhas Kundu was always interested in silkworms. When the biotechnologist was a child growing up in a remote village in the West Midnapore district of West Bengal, he used to collect cocoons of tussar silkworms falling off Sal trees and exchange them in a neighbourhood shop for a handful of coloured sugar candies.

He is still collecting silkworms, but not for toffees. For long years, he has been studying the caterpillar — which gives us the finest variety of malmal silk. The head of the biotechnology department at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, has shown that proteins extracted from these worms can play a critical role in bone repair, grafting, delivery of drugs and even in the treatment of diseases such as Parkinson’s.

While mulberry silk, reeled from the domesticated silkworm Bombyx mori, accounts for the lion’s share of silk products globally, there are several wild silk moths such as those that yield prominent silk varieties like tussar, muga and eri.

Silkworm cocoons, be it mulberry or non-mulberry, contain two major proteins — fibroin and sericin. While the fibrous protein fibroin — which constitutes nearly 70 to 80 per cent of the cocoon’s weight — is responsible for silk fibres, sericin acts more like glue and holds the fibres together. Sericin, which is at present thrown away, has potential pharmaceutical, cosmetics and biotech applications.

For instance, Kundu’s team has used these proteins (isolated from the glands of the tussar silkworm or the Antheraea mylitta) in making films, scaffolds, hydrogels and nanoparticles that can be used in medical applications such as wound dressing, skin grafting and even in the delivery of drugs and other bioactive molecules inside the human body. All these new products are in different stages of development, Kundu told KnowHow.

Another important development recently reported by the IIT, Kharagpur, scientists is that the silkworm protein extends the shelf life of a crucial drug, L-Dopa, which is used to treat Parkinson’s disease. L-Dopa seeks to substitute a brain chemical called dopamine that gets lost in the disease. But it’s very difficult to store the drug, for it becomes completely ineffective within a few days if exposed to oxygen and light.

The researchers have now found that if L-Dopa is held together by a matrix made of the silkworm’s fibroin protein, it is effective even after 10 days. “This, I believe, can be an important feat in the management of Parkinson’s,” says Kundu.

Kundu is not alone in this quest for finding novel applications for silk whose properties, such as its smooth texture, shimmering appearance and strength, have made this natural fibre the darling of textile designers all over the world. Researchers in countries like China, Japan and Korea have several silk-based non-textile products such as mulberry tea, nutritive supplements rich in antioxidants and many others.

Sutures made of biocompatible silk fibre have been in use for surgeries for some time now. Scientists elsewhere are even trying to develop blood vessels and heart valves using the fibre.

Kundu thinks that finding high-value application for the Indian silk varieties, which are already suffering from an onslaught from the cheaper mulberry silk from China, can help poor farmers involved in sericulture.

“Going beyond textile applications is the way forward for the silk industry,” says Kanika Trivedi, a researcher at the Central Sericultural Research and Training Institute

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Atibala

Botanical Name : MALVACEAE
Family Name: ABUTILON INDICUM
Family:
Malvaceae
syn.: Sida indica L.
Common Name:Indian Abutilon, Indian Mallow,Abutilon [US] Atibala, Khangi [India] Dong kui zi, Mi lan cao [China] Guimauve [Guadaloupe]

Latin Name: Abutilon indicum

vernacular Name: Sans,;Atibala, Hind; Kanghi Eng; Country mallow
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales
Genus: Abutilon
Species: A. indicum
Similarly used species: Abutilon grandifolium
Parts Used: Seeds, leaves, bark and root.
Habitat: The plant grows throughout India and in Sri Lanka, at about an elevation of 1000-1, 500 metres

Description: The perennial shrub grows 1.25-2 metres in height. The leaves are oblong, opposite, toothed, smooth and covered with fine white hair. The flowers are yellow, 2.5 cm in diameter. The fruits are round and have edges on the circumference like a seal, hence called mudra. There are two varieties of atibala, viz. big and small. The plant flowers in June and bears fruits in November.

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YOU MAY CLICK TO SEE PICTURES OF DIFFERENT SPECIS:

The other, big variety is named as Abutilon hirtum. From the roots non – drying oil consisting of various fatty acids vix. Linoleic, oleic, stearic, palmitic. Lauric, myristic, caprylic, capric and unusual fatty acid having C17 carbon skeleton besides sitosterol, and amyrin from unsaponifiable matter is yielded. This oil showed significant analgestic activity. (Indian Drugs 2984, 22,69) . From the leaves amino acids, glucose, fructose and galactose have been isolated. Gossypetin-8 and 7 glucosides and cynidin – 3 – rutinoside is also isolated (Phytochemistry 1972. 11, 1518) Caryophyllene and its oxide, cineole, pinene, geraniol, gerany acetate, eudesmol, farnesol and borneol are identified in oil.

Properties: Atibala is sweet in taste , sweet in the post digestive effect and has cold potency . It alleviates vata and pitta dosa. It possesses oily , slimy and heavy attributes. It is mainly useful in gout, raktapitta and tuberculosis. (Bhavaprakasa Nighantu)

Medicinal Uses
All the four balas, balacatustaya, have sweet taste, sweet post digestive effect and cold potency. They possess oily and slimy attributes and alleviate all the three dosas. Their chief properties are tonic ond oja vardhaka – augment ojas, the subtle essence of all vital fluids, responsible for health, harmony and spiritual growth. They are beneficial in treating gout, tuberculosis and raktapitta bleeding disorders. (Kaiyadeva Nighantu).

Atibala, is used externally, to alleviate the pain and swelling. Internally, the roots and seeds are used for medicinal purpose. In tuberculosis, with cavitation, atibala is valuable as it nourishes the mamsa dhatu (muscle tissue) and augments the strength. It also augments the seminal fluids and normalizes the sukra ksaya, which many a times is a cause of tuberculosis according to Ayurvedic concept. Atibala is salutary in raktapitta to arrest the bleeding tendencies. It is useful as an adjunct in vata diseases like paralysis, facial palsy, cervical spondylosis etc. The diuretic like property of the plant is useful in urinary disorders like dysuria. It sorks well as a uterine tonic as well as an aphrodisiac.

Classical Ayurvedic Proparations:-
Atibala svarasa (juice)
Atibala taila (oil)

It is tikta, katu, subdues deranged vata, anthelminitic, cures burning sensation,allays thirst, antidotal, antiemetic, anti fatigue’

Atibala is considered balya in Ayurveda, which means that it increases strength, vigor and vitality. It is used in facial paralysis and joint disorders. It is also indicated as a uterine tonic as well as an aphrodisiac.

Therapeutic Uses: This plant is often used as a medicinal plant.

Seeds: in piles; laxative, expectorant; in chronic cystitis,gleet and gonorrhoea;

Leaves: demulcent, locally applied to boils and ulcers and as a fomentation to painful parts of the body; Decoction used in toothache and tender gums; given internally for inflammation ofladder;

Infusion of leaves or root: demulcent and diuretic; prescribed in fever, chest affection, and urethritis; bark: astringent and diuretic.

Western Actions: Lowers fever, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, increases flow of urine. [China] Aphrodesiac, increases flow of urine, tonic, protects lung and bladder mucous membranes. [India]

Energetic Actions: Clears heat and dampness. Opens the orifices. Invigorates blood.[China]

Different Uses:
1. Deafness, ringing in the ears, earache [China] Eye problems [Africa]
2. Colds, high fever, mumps, hives [China] Fever [India]
3. Pulmonary tuberculosis [China] Cough, bronchitis (decocted) [India]
4. Lack of urination. [China] Difficult/painful urination [India]
5. Diabetes, thirst [India]
6. Painful menses [India]
7. Carbuncle [China]
8. Hemorrhoids [India] Hernia [China]
9. Diarrhea, worms. [India] [China]
10. Infusion, poultice or paste for Boils, ulcers. [India]

Combinations: For deafness with Cassia occidentalis (Wan-jiang-nan-zi, Miki-palaoa, Au-koi, Pi-honohono), 60 gm each (!?) [China]

Caution: Use with caution in pregnancy.

Preparation: Dry under sun. Decoct

Dosage: 15-30 grams

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abutilon_indicum
http://www.medicineatyourfeet.com/abutilonindicum.html
http://www.herbalcureindia.com/herbs/atibala.htm

http://www.ayurvedkisanjivani.co.uk/ayurveda-herbs.php?herb=Atibala
http://www.impgc.com/plantinfo_A.php?id=98&bc=

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Jaundice-A Royal Disease

Jaundice, icterus, hepatitis.” These three terms are interchanged by people to describe what they believe is a single common affliction, a disease that causes the skin and eyes to turn yellow. The word “jaundice” is actually a corrupted anglicised version of the French jaune coined in the 19th century by French physicians to describe what they thought was a single disease entity. Unaware of cause or cure, the discolouration was also called the morbus regius (the regal disease), with the belief that only the touch of a king could cure it.

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Times have now changed and medicine has become evidence based. Tests can be done if a person becomes “jaundiced” to evaluate the “when, where and why”. Once the cause is removed, the disease will disappear.

The yellow colour is due to a pigment called bilirubin, normally produced in the spleen and liver when old red blood cells are broken down. The pigment is then metabolised in the liver and excreted. The level of bilirubin is usually 0.3 to 1.9mg/dl (milligrams per decilitre). The human eye can discern the yellow colour imparted by bilirubin when the level is three times or more than the normal 3mg/dl in the blood.

Infectious diseases can interfere with the ability of the liver cells to metabolise bilirubin. The most common infections are viral, commonly caused by the hepatitis group of viruses. There are several of these — some are transmitted through contaminated food or water, others through unprotected sex or unsterile injections.

Jaundice owing to viral hepatitis A is the commonest form of jaundice in young people. It is usually a mild self-limited disease that recovers spontaneously in one or two months. No specific treatment is required. Hepatitis B, C or E can be more severe, relapsing, fatal or chronic.

Out of this group, hepatitis A and B are preventable. Vaccination against hepatitis B is offered in a 3-dose schedule before the age of one year (it can be given later to anyone who missed it). Hepatitis A vaccine is given after the age of two years as a 2-dose schedule. Protection is almost 100 per cent.

Other infections caused by the herpes group of viruses, leptospirosis, cytomegalovirus, malaria or even severe bacterial sepsis can also cause jaundice. These diseases are not preventable by immunisation.

Jaundice is not always due to an infection. If for any reason the number of red blood cells destroyed is greater than normal, the liver is unable to cope with the overload of pigment and the person becomes jaundiced. This occurs in some hereditary blood disorders like thalassaemia, and sickle cell disease, or a hereditary metabolic defect like G6PD deficiency.

Sometimes, the liver cells themselves are defective and unable to cope with even the normal amount of bilirubin produced in the body. This occurs in certain inherited conditions like the Dubin-Johnson or the Gilbert syndrome. Several members of a family are affected, the jaundice is mild and fluctuating and it is not fatal.

Medications can be toxic to the liver and cause jaundice. Common examples are an overdose of paracetamol or even oestrogens. Alcohol is a direct toxin, poisonous to the liver cells. Consumption on a regular basis over many years can damage the liver and can result in jaundice.

Even when the bilirubin is adequately metabolised and produced in normal quantities, jaundice can occur, if the drainage ducts are blocked by stones, strictures and primary or secondary cancer deposits.

Sixty per cent of newborns can develop a “physiological” or normal self-limited jaundice. There is a rapid cell turnover in newborns and they produce bilirubin at a rate of 6 to 8 mg per kg per day, (more than twice the production rate in adults). The immature liver cells are initially unable to cope but the bilirubin production and level typically decline to the adult level within 10 to 14 days. Sometimes the jaundice is due to a mother-baby blood group incompatibility. The mother forms antibodies to the infant’s blood. This too is self limited and treatable.

The sudden appearance of jaundice in any age group should not be self diagnosed, ignored, treated with diet restrictions or herbs without a diagnosis. After consultations with a physician, appropriate blood and urine tests and, if necessary, scans or a laproscopy should be done to arrive at a diagnosis.

Eighty per cent of the jaundice in young adults is due to hepatitis A. As this disease is self-limited, quackery and miracle cures (like the touch of the king, amulets and bracelets) abound and appear successful.

Secondary jaundice recovers once the causative factor is removed. Abstaining from alcohol and discontinuing offending drugs may reverse jaundice. If a correctable obstruction is seen on scanning or a laparoscopy, surgical treatment provides relief.

The tragedy of jaundice is that ignorance and superstition stand in the way. Some treatable and curable forms of jaundice are not diagnosed or tackled till it is too late.

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.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Achyranthes Aspera

Botanical Name : Achyranthes aspera
Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Achyranthes
Species: A. aspera
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Common Name:Apamarga,Latjira,Chirchita or Onga,Apamarga,Kanarica,Kharamanjiri,Merkati, Varisa, Puthkanda, Umblokando,  Prickly chaff-flower,Devil’s Horsewhip
Vernacular Names: Sans: Apamarga; ; Eng: Prickiy-chaffflower.
Parts Used: The whole herb

Habitat: It grows as wasteland herb every where.Open dry places at elevations up to 2000 metres in Nepal. More or less naturalized as a weed in waste ground in southern Europe,E. Asia – Himalayas to Australia.

Description: Achyranthes aspera  is a   perennial or annual herb . Stems erect to ascending . Leaves opposite, petiolate ; blade elliptic , ovate to orbiculate, or broadly rhombate, margins entire . Inflorescences terminal and axillary , pedunculate , elongate , many-flowered, simple spikes or few-branched panicles; flowers crowded together at tips , becoming more widely spaced toward base . Flowers bisexual , often becoming deflexed with age; tepals 4 or 5, basally connate , without ornamentation, coriaceous , becoming indurate in fruit, ± glabrous ; filaments basally connate into short tubes or cups ; anthers 4-locular; pseudostaminodes 5; ovary obovoid or turbinate ; ovule 1; style elongate; stigma 1, capitate. Utricles enclosed by and falling with indurate tepals, elliptic or cylindric , membranous, indehiscent. Seeds 1, inverted , obovoid or ovoid , smooth .

You may click to see the pictures of   Achyranthes Aspera

Species 8-12: c and se United States, Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America, tropical , subtropical , and warm-temperate regions of the Old World.

The groups of plants referred to as Achyranthes and Alternanthera have been subject to considerable nomenclatural confusion, primarily because P. C. Standley (1915) designated Achyranthes repens Linnaeus as the lectotype species of Achyranthes. As a result, species that had been placed in Achyranthes were transferred to Centrostachys Wallich, and species that had been in Alternanthera were transferred to Achyranthes. A. A. Bullock (1957; see also R. Melville 1958) showed that Standley’s lectotypification was incorrect and that the type species of Achyranthes is Achyranthes aspera Linnaeus. The generic concepts of Achyranthes and Alternanthera then returned to those prior to 1915.

Physical Description:
Species Achyranthes aspera
Plants perennial or annual . Stems 0.4-2 m , pilose or puberulent . Leaf blades elliptic , ovate , or broadly ovate to orbiculate, obovate-orbiculate, or broadly rhombate, 1-20 × 2-6 cm, adpressed-pubescent abaxially and adaxially. Inflorescences to 30 cm; bracts mem-branous; bracteoles long-aristate, spinose ; wings attached at sides and base . Flowers: tepals 4 or 5, length 3-7 mm; pseudostaminodes with margins fimbriate at apex, often with dorsal scale. Utricles ± cylindric , 2-4 mm, apex truncate or depressed .

Achyranthes aspera is a variable, pantropical species divided into six varieties (C. C. Townsend 1974), two of which occur in the flora . The variety with a long perianth and acuminate leaves has long been called var. aspera; the variety with a short perianth and blunt leaves, var. indica. However, A. Cavaco (1962) showed that the type of var. indica must be the type of the species A. aspera, thus var. indica is a homotypic synonym of var. aspera. Townsend made the combination A. aspera var. pubescens for plants previously called var. aspera.

Cultivation:The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.Cultivated as a food crop in China. A very variable species.

Propagation: Seed – sow spring in situ.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed.

Leaves cooked. Used as a spinach substitute. Seed cooked. The seeds are said to be eaten with milk in order to check hunger without loss of body weight. The brown oviod seed is about 2mm long.


Chemical Constituent:
Plant yields achyranthine.

Medicinal Uses:Antispasmodic; Astringent; Diuretic; Odontalgic.
Since time immemorial, it is in use as folk medicine. It holds a reputed position as medicinal herb in different systems of medicine in India.One of the more important mdicinal herbs of Nepal, it is widely used in the treatment of a range of complaints. Ophthalmic. The whole plant is used medicinally, but the roots are generally considered to be more effective. They contain triterpenoid saponins. The root is astringent, diuretic and antispasmodic. It is used in the treatment of dropsy, rheumatism, stomach problems, cholera, skin diseases and rabies. The juice extracted from the root of this plant, mixed with the root of Urena lobata and the bark of Psidium guajava, is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery. The plant is astringent, digestive, diuretic, laxative, purgative and stomachic. The juice of the plant is used in the treatment of boils, diarrhoea, dysentery, haemorrhoids, rheumatic pains, itches and skin eruptions. The ash from the burnt plant, often mixed with mustard oil and a pinch of salt, is used as a tooth powder for cleaning teeth. It is believed to relieve pyorrhea and toothache. The leaf is emetic and a decoction is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery. A paste of the leaves is applied in the treatment of rabies, nervous disorders, hysteria, insect and snake bites.

As per Ayurveda:It is tikta, ushnnveerya .and katu; alleviates deranged function of kapha; useful in the treatment of piles, pruritus, dysentery and dyscrasia; astringent and emetic.

Leaves made into a paste with water are applied to bites of poisonous insects, wasps, bees, etc. Powdered root, mixed with honey, is given internally in haemorrhoids.

Decoction of the root is prescribed in diarrhoea. Root paste is given to stop bleeding after abortion. A pinch of root powder, in combination with pepper powder and honey, is a good remedy for cough; seeds,rubbed with rice-water, are prescribed to patients suffering from bleeding piles.

Decoction of the whole plant is diuretic; it is efficacious in renal dropsies and in combination with that of Kakajanga (Leea aequata) useful in insomnia.

Dry plant is beneficial in gonorrhoea and colic. It also acts as a laxative.

Ashes of the plant with water and jaggery are effective in ascites and anasarca;sesamum oil medicated with ashes of the plant is applied as eardrops.

Traditional Medicinal Uses: According to Ayurveda, it is bitter, pungent, heating, laxative, stomachic, carminative and useful in treatment of vomiting, bronchitis, heart disease, piles, itching abdominal pains, ascites, dyspepsia, dysentery, blood diseases etc.

Ayurvedic Preparation: Apamarga Taila, Agnimukha etc.

The plant is highly esteemed by traditional healers and used in treatment of asthma, bleeding, in facilitating delivery, boils, bronchitis, cold, cough, colic, debility, dropsy, dog bite, dysentery, ear complications, headache, leucoderma, pneumonia, renal complications, scorpion bite, snake bite and skin diseases etc. Traditional healers claim that addition of A. aspera would enhance the efficacy of any drug of plant origin.    Prevents infection and tetanus.  Used to treat circumcision wounds, cuts.  Also used for improving lymphatic circulation, strengthens musculatured, improves blood circulation; Cold with fever, heat stoke with headache, malaria, dysentery; Urinary tract lithiasis, chronic nephritis, edema; Rheumatic arthralgia (joint pain). Used traditionally for infertility in women: Two ml decoction of root and stem is administered orally thrice a day for three months. Younger women respond better to this therapy.

Other Uses
*Useful for reclamation of wastelands.
*Leaf is consumed as potherb.
*Seeds rich in protein, cooked and eaten.
*Used in religious ceremonies in India.

Soap; Teeth.
The ash from the burnt plant, often mixed with mustard oil and a pinch of salt, is used as a tooth powder for cleaning teeth. The dried twigs are used as toothbrushes. The ash of the burnt plant is a rich source of potash. It is used for washing clothes.

Click to see:->Achyranthes aspera elevates thyroid hormone levels and decreases hepatic lipid peroxidation in male rats

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.ayurvedakalamandiram.com/herbs.htm
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/CropFactSheets/onga.html
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Achyranthes+aspera
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Achyranthes+aspera
http://www.hear.org/starr/plants/images/species/?q=achyranthes+aspera+var+aspera
http://zipcodezoo.com/Plants/A/Achyranthes_aspera/

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_DE.htm

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It’s Dreams We Miss, Not Sleep

We need to dream regularly as a vital release for our emotions, a leading psychologist says. Like yoga for the soul.

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It has become one of the most cherished neuroses of Western culture that we exist in a state of acute sleep deprivation, a dearth to which legions of casual complaints and magazine headlines testify. Nevertheless, the psychologist and sleep guru Rubin Naiman is equally disturbed by another deficit: namely, that 21st-century society is undergoing an epidemic of dreamlessness.

In tones of soporific calm, Dr Naiman, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Dr Andrew Weil‘s University of Arizona Centre for Integrative Medicine, explains: “We are at least as dream deprived as we are sleep deprived.”

He says it is vital to dream. “An essential function of dreaming is psychological stretching, a kind of yoga for the soul: gently expanding, releasing, opening, and softening.” Like stretching a muscle, a dream can release emotional pain, tightness from earlier in the day – or even hurt from childhood. Dreaming provides “a poetic cushion” for our sharply literal lives, he says.

Modern lifestyles interfere with healthy dreaming. Overexposure to light at night suppresses melatonin and thus dreaming. Many commonly used medications, including sleeping pills, also restrict our ability to dream, or the REM [rapid eye movement] sleep that yields it. Sleep apnoea, usually associated with snoring, can significantly diminish dreaming too. “And, last, but certainly not least,” Dr Naiman says, “we live in a world where the dream has become devalued. ‘Forget it,’ we say to a loved one who has a nightmare, it’s just a dream’.”

The majority of dreams flit by in episodes of between five and 20 minutes, four or five times a night. Nevertheless, during an average life span, this nightly couple of hours will add up to a good six years enmeshed in fantasy. From the 1940s to 1985 the psychologist Calvin S. Hall collated more than 50,000 dream narratives at Case Western Reserve University, Ohio. He argued that sleepers the world over conjure the same sort of visions. Universal motifs include: education, being chased, an inability to move, tardiness, nudity and humiliation, flying, shedding of teeth, death, falling in love with or having intercourse with random individuals, car accidents and being accused of a crime.

Anxiety is the most common emotion experienced and negative sentiments tend to be more prevalent (or better recalled). America ranks the highest among industrialised nations for aggression in dreams, while sexual themes occur about a tenth of the time.

Theories about the function of dreams differ radically from the notion that they are Nature’s own form of psychotherapy to their being merely the brain’s mode of dejunking. Dr Naiman’s take is a fusion of the practical and the poetic. “Dreaming plays a critical role in learning and the formation of certain kinds of memory. It also helps us to heal from emotional losses.

“Much of the depression explosion we witness today is associated with an actual loss of dreams,” he says. If we cannot sleep on it, so the evidence suggests, the “it” in question may threaten to overwhelm us.

How might such a deficit be rectified? Better sleep as a whole will conjure better dreams. Thus, the dreamless are advised to avail themselves of the potions born of Dr Naiman’s collaboration with Origins, the natural skincare company: products designed to get us back to what he terms “deep-green sleep”, that is, chemical-free repose in a nurturing environment.

Beyond this, it may not be too complicated. “The simple act of directing our attention back towards our dreams will encourage them to come out of hiding,” he says. Once they begin to flow, make a note of them and share them. “The bottom line is about befriending our dreams and remaining open to all they bring.”

Another reason that we turn away from dreams is that so many of them are, in fact, “bad”. One study suggests that about two thirds of the emotional content of our dreams is negative. But they are bad only when viewed from a waking perspective. “We are a wake-centric culture,” he says. “We presume that waking consciousness is it: the gold standard for our experiences, happiness, sanity.”

He says that youngsters should be encouraged to talk about their dreams. “So many learn that dreams are of little consequence in the adult world … so, although they may experience them vividly, they tend to avoid discussing them and lose interest.” Parents, he says, should ask their children about their dreams, as well as share their own.

So what he advocates is an embrace of deep-green dreaming? “Why not? Healthy dreaming and healthy sleep are reciprocal. I dream best in deep-green forests.”

Sweet dreams :-

Limit your exposure to artificial light

This includes television screens, because the blue component restricts melatonin and thus dreaming. Invest in some blue light-eliminating bulbs and glasses (www.lowblue lights.com) or opt for candlelight.

Avoid excess alcohol and dream-suppressing medications
But you must treat conditions such as sleep apnoea that may interfere with dreaming. Melatonin, which requires a prescription in the UK, is a safe way to rekindle dreaming.

Look at dreaming as a form of psychological stretching
Keep a dream journal and discuss your dreams with your family and friends. Encourage children not to feel inhibited about sharing their nocturnal adventures.

Try to foster an awareness that you are dreaming when it’s happening
This is especially important when it comes to nightmares. Yield to the message of a nightmare rather than becoming embroiled in it

CLICK TO SEE:-
>Beating insomnia without popping sleeping pills
>Why can’t I get to sleep?

Sources:TIMES ON LINE  DATED:28TH.FEB ’09

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Caffeine in Sunscreen May Cut Skin Cancer Risk

Adding caffeine to sunscreens could boost protection against the most common form of skin cancer, claim scientists.

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According to the study, conducted by a team from Harvard Medical School and Pfizer, caffeine has an effect on cells which can go on to cause non-melanoma skin cancers and found that the stimulant encourages the harmful cells to die.

The breakthrough study shows at caffeine helps eliminate human cells damaged by UV light, which can develop into cancer, by causing them to commit suicide, reports The Telegraph.

Writing in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology the authors said: “These data suggest topical application of caffeine…perhaps in a sunscreen or after-sun preparation could be investigated as an approach to minimise or reverse the effects of UV damage in human skin.”

Gavin Greenoak, Managing and Scientific Director of the Australian Photobiology Testing Facility (APTF) at the University of Sydney, Australia, said: “This research show the potential to improve protection from non-melanoma skin cancer by adding caffeine to topical sunscreens or through more specific drug synthesis.”

Sources: The Times Of India

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Electrophysiological Testing of the Heart

Definition:
An electrophysiology (EP) study is a test that records the electrical activity and the electrical pathways of your heart. This test is used to help determine the cause of your heart rhythm disturbance and the best treatment for you. During the EP study, your doctor will safely reproduce your abnormal heart rhythm and then may give you different medications to see which one controls it best or to determine the best procedure or device to treat your heart rhythm.
CLICK & SEE.
Sometimes doctors will recommend a treatment called ablation that can be done during EPS testing. Ablation uses electricity to kill the cells in the heart muscle that seem to cause the abnormal rhythm.

You may click to see:->Electrophysiology Study

 

Why Do you Need an Electrophysiology Study?
*To determine the cause of an abnormal heart rhythm.

*To locate the site of origin of an abnormal heart rhythm.

*To decide the best treatment for an abnormal heart rhythm.

Sometimes an EP study is conducted before implantable cardioverter/defibrillator (ICD) placement to determine which device is best and afterwards to monitor treatment success.

How do you prepare for the test?
*You will need to sign a consent form giving your doctor permission to perform this test. Tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to lidocaine or the numbing medicine used at the dentist’s office. Also tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to any heart medicines.

*Talk with your doctor ahead of time if you are taking insulin, or if you take aspirin, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, or other medicines that affect blood clotting. It may be necessary to stop or adjust the dose of these medicines before your test. Most people need to have a blood test done some time before the procedure to make sure they are not at high risk for bleeding complications.

*Your doctor may tell you not to eat anything for 12 or more hours before the test. A few people require an anti-anxiety medicine which occasionally causes nausea, and therefore some doctors prefer to have you come with an empty stomach. You might need to plan to spend the night in the hospital afterwards for recovery.

*Ask your doctor what medications you are allowed to take. Your doctor may ask you to stop certain medications one to five days before your EP study. If you have diabetes, ask your doctor how you should adjust your diabetes medications.

*Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the evening before the EP study. If you must take medications, take them only with a small sip of water.

*When you come to the hospital, wear comfortable clothes. You will change into a hospital gown for the procedure. Leave all jewelry or valuables at home.

*Your doctor will tell you if you can go home or must stay in the hospital after the procedure. If you are able to go home, bring a companion to drive you home.

What happens when the test is performed?
The test is done by a specialist using equipment and cameras in the cardiology department. You wear a hospital gown and lie on your back during the procedure. You have an IV (intravenous) line placed in a vein in case you need medicines or fluid during the procedure. Your heart is monitored during the test.

A catheter (a hollow, sterile tube that resembles spaghetti) is inserted through the skin into a blood vessel-typically in your groin, but possibly in the neck or arm. Before the catheter is placed, medicine through a small needle is used to numb the skin and the tissue underneath the skin in that area. The numbing medicine usually stings for a second. A needle on a syringe is then inserted, and some blood is drawn into the syringe, so that the doctor knows exactly where the blood vessel is located. One end of a wire is threaded into the blood vessel through the needle and the needle is pulled out, leaving the wire temporarily in place. This wire is several feet long, but only a small part of it is inside your blood vessel. The catheter can then be slipped over the outside end of the wire and moved forward along it like a long bead on a string, until it is in place with one end inside the blood vessel. The wire is pulled out of the catheter, leaving the catheter in place. Now the catheter can be moved easily forwards and backwards inside your blood vessel by the doctor, who holds the outside end of the catheter while using special controls to point the tip of the catheter in different directions. The doctor carefully moves the catheter to the large blood vessels in your chest and into the chambers of your heart.

As your physician maneuvers the catheter, he or she watches a live video x-ray to know exactly where the catheter is. Instruments on the tip of the catheter allow it to sense electrical patterns from your heart and also to deliver small electrical shocks to the heart muscle (or a stronger electrical burn if you are having ablation). The electrical shocks, too small for you to feel, are used to “tickle” the heart muscle in different places to see if your abnormal rhythm is triggered by one sensitive area of your heart. If the rhythm changes, your doctor gives you small doses of different medicines through this catheter to see which ones work best to change the rhythm back to normal. In some cases the doctor may need to give your heart some additional mild shocks to get it back into a normal rhythm. Because this catheter is in place inside your heart and can give the shocks directly to the heart muscle, very small amounts of electricity are used.

After the catheter has been pulled out, a pressure bandage (basically a thick lump of gauze) is taped tightly to your groin to reduce bleeding. The test usually requires one to two hours to perform.

Many patients are able to feel palpitations (an irregular or fast heartbeat) from the rhythm changes. A few patients also experience shortness of breath or dizziness when they are not in a normal heart rhythm. Other than the brief sting of the numbing medicine and some soreness in your groin area afterward, you are not likely to feel any pain. For some people, the procedure provokes anxiety. Some patients also have a difficult time lying still for the time it takes to perform this test.
What Can you Expect During the Electrophysiology Study?
*You will lie on a bed and the nurse will start an intravenous (IV) line into your arm or hand. This is so you can receive medications and fluids during the electrophysiology study. You will be given a medication through your IV to relax you and make you drowsy, but it will not put you to sleep.

*The nurse will connect you to several monitors.
Your groin will be shaved and cleansed with an antiseptic solution. Sterile drapes are used to cover you, from your neck to your feet. A soft strap will be placed across your waist and arms to prevent your hands from coming in contact with the sterile field.

An electrophysiologist (a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of abnormal heart rhythms) will numb your groin with medication and then insert several catheters into the vein in your groin. Guided by the fluoroscopy machine, the catheters are threaded to your heart. The catheters sense the electrical activity in your heart and are used to evaluate your heart’s conduction system. The doctor will use a pacemaker to deliver the electrical impulses through one of the catheters to increase your heart rate.

You may feel your heart beating faster or stronger. Your nurses and doctor will want to know about any symptoms you are feeling. If your arrhythmia occurs, your doctor may give you medications through your IV to test their effectiveness in controlling it. If necessary, a small amount of energy may be delivered by the patches on your chest to bring back a normal heart rhythm. Based on the information collected during the study, the doctor may continue with an ablation procedure or device implant (pacemaker or ICD).

The EP study takes about two to four hours to perform. However, it can take longer if additional treatments such as catheter ablation are performed at the same time.

Risk Factors:
There are significant risks from this procedure. Most important, some abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia) can be life-threatening, and your doctors will purposefully cause you to go through a few extra episodes of arrhythmia during the testing. If your doctors recommend electrophysiologic testing, they feel that this is a risk worth taking because it will allow them to take better care of you in the future. Because you are right in the lab and attached to a monitor while you undergo the rhythm changes, it is easy for them to treat you should your arrhythmia occur and cause you symptoms.

Ablation has some additional risks, because it intentionally causes some scarring of a small part of the heart muscle. Complications are rare, but new rhythm changes can occur. A very rare complication occurs if the ablation instrument burns a hole through the heart muscle. This causes bleeding and may require immediate surgery.

There are some more minor risks from the test. Among them is bleeding from the place where the catheter was inserted. If bleeding occurs but the blood collects under the skin, it can form a large painful bruise called a hematoma. A few people are allergic to the medicines used in the procedure, and this can cause a rash or other symptoms.

Must you do anything special after the test is over?
You will need to lie flat for around six hours after this procedure. If you received anti-anxiety medicine through your IV during the procedure, you might feel sleepy at the end of the procedure and you might not remember much of the test. You should not drive or drink alcohol for the rest of the day.

Depending on what happened during your test, you might need to wear a heart monitor in the hospital for a few hours or overnight.

What Happens After the EP Study?
The doctor will remove the catheters from your groin and apply pressure to the site, to prevent bleeding. You will be on bed rest for about one to two hours.

An EP study can be frightening, but this test allows the doctor to decide the best treatment for you. In many cases, EP testing and the therapy following can greatly reduce the likelihood of spontaneous arrhythmia. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask your doctor or nurse.

How long is it before the result of the test is known?
Your doctors can tell you how the testing went as soon as it is over. If you had ablation done, the results will not be certain until you have had some time to see if your arrhythmia seems to be under control after the treatment.

Resources:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/diagnostics/electrophysiological-testing-of-the-heart.shtml
http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/diagnosing-electrophysiology

http://www.londoncardiac.ca/pages/bfs.html

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Electrocardiogram (ECG)

Definition:
An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart. An EKG translates the heart’s electrical activity into line tracings on paper. The spikes and dips in the line tracings are called waves. See a picture of the EKG components and intervals.

The heart is a muscular pump made up of four chambers. The two upper chambers are called atria, and the two lower chambers are called ventricles. A natural electrical system causes the heart muscle to contract and pump blood through the heart to the lungs and the rest of the body. See a picture of the heart and its electrical system.

The coordinated pumping of your heart is controlled by natural electrical currents within the heart. An EKG (sometimes referred to as ECG) measures those currents. An EKG is especially useful for diagnosing heart attacks and rhythm abnormalities, but it can also provide many clues about other conditions.You should have an EKG every one to three years after age 40 if you have heart disease; if you are at risk for developing it because you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes; or if you are about to start a vigorous exercise program.

Why It Is Done
An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is done to:

*Check the heart’s electrical activity.

*Find the cause of unexplained chest pain, which could be caused by a heart attack, inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart (pericarditis), or angina.

*Find the cause of symptoms of heart disease, such as shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, or rapid, irregular heartbeats (palpitations).

*Find out if the walls of the heart chambers are too thick (hypertrophied).

*Check how well medicines are working and whether they are causing side effects that affect the heart.

*Check how well mechanical devices that are implanted in the heart, such as pacemakers, are working to control a normal heartbeat.

*Check the health of the heart when other diseases or conditions are present, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking, diabetes, or a family history of early heart disease.

Click to see the pictures

How To Prepare
Many medicines may change the results of this test. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the nonprescription and prescription medicines you take. If you take heart medicines, your doctor will tell you how to take your medicines before you have this test.

Remove all jewelry from your neck, arms, and wrists. Men are usually bare-chested during the test. Women may often wear a bra, T-shirt, or gown. If you are wearing stockings, you should take them off. You will be given a cloth or paper covering to use during the test.

Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will indicate. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form (What is a PDF document?) .

If you have a hairy chest, a nurse might have to shave several patches so that the stickers or suction cups used in the test can hold to your skin.

…….…Click to see the picture

The electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG) is used extensively in the diagnosis of heart disease, from congenital heart disease in infants to heart attack (myocardial infarction) and myocarditis (heart inflammation) in adults.
.How It Is Done
An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is usually done by a health professional, and the resulting EKG is interpreted by a doctor, such as an internist, family medicine doctor, electrophysiologist, cardiologist, anesthesiologist, or surgeon.

You may receive an EKG as part of a physical examination at your health professional’s office or during a series of tests at a hospital or clinic. EKG equipment is often portable, so the test can be done almost anywhere. If you are in the hospital, your heart may be continuously monitored by an EKG system; this process is called telemetry.

.
How do you feel During an EKG:
*You will lie on a bed or table. Areas on your arms, legs, and chest where small metal discs (electrodes) will be placed are cleaned and may be shaved to provide a clean, smooth surface to attach the electrode discs. A special EKG paste or small pads soaked in alcohol may be placed between the electrodes and your skin to improve conduction of the electrical impulses, but in many cases disposable electrodes are used that do not require paste or alcohol.

*Several electrodes are attached to the skin on each arm and leg and on your chest. These are hooked to a machine that traces your heart activity onto a paper. If an older machine is used, the electrodes may be moved at different times during the test to measure your heart’s electrical activity from different locations on your chest. After the procedure, the electrode paste is wiped off.

*You will be asked to lie very still and breathe normally during the test. Sometimes you may be asked to hold your breath. You should not talk during the test.

*The electrodes may feel cool when they are put on your chest.

Risk Factors:
There is no chance of problems while having an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). An EKG is a completely safe test.The machine is measuring natural electrical activity in your body; it is not sending electricity into you. In most cases, there is no reason why you should not be able to get an EKG.

The electrodes are used to transfer an image of the electrical activity of your heart to tracing on paper. No electricity passes through your body from the machine, and there is no danger of getting an electrical shock.
Must you do anything special after the test is over?
Nothing.

Results:
An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart. An EKG translates the heart’s electrical activity into line tracings on paper. The spikes and dips in the line tracings are called waves.

The test usually takes 5 to 10 minutes to complete.

Your doctor will look at the pattern of spikes and dips on your electrocardiogram to check the electrical activity in different parts of your heart. The spikes and dips are grouped into different sections that show how your heart is working. See a picture that explains the EKG components and intervals.
How long is it before the result of the test is known?
The EKG must be reviewed by a trained professional. Your doctor can interpret an EKG right away.However, if a technician is taking the EKG and your doctor is not present, it may be one to three days before there is an official interpretation by a cardiologist.
Normal: The heart beats in a regular rhythm, usually between 60 and 100 beats per minute.

The tracing looks normal.

Abnormal: The heart beats too slow (less than 60 beats per minute).

The heart beats too fast (more than 100 beats per minute).

The heart rhythm is not regular.

The tracing does not look normal.

What Affects the Test:
Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

*Not having the electrodes securely attached to your skin.

*Moving or talking during the test.

*Exercising before the test.

*Being anxious or breathing very deeply or rapidly.

What To Think About:-
*Sometimes your EKG may look normal even when you have heart disease. For this reason, the EKG should always be interpreted along with your symptoms, history, physical examination, and, if necessary, other test results.

*An electrocardiogram cannot predict whether you will have a heart attack.

*At first, an EKG done during a heart attack may look normal or unchanged from a previous EKG. Therefore, the EKG may be repeated over several hours and days (called serial EKGs) to look for changes.

*There are several other types of electrocardiograms, including telemetry, ambulatory monitoring (using a Holter monitor or event monitor), and exercise EKG testing. For more information, see the medical tests Ambulatory Electrocardiogram and
*Exercise Electrocardiogram.

*Sometimes EKG abnormalities can be seen only during exercise or while symptoms are present. To check for these changes in the heartbeat, an ambulatory EKG or stress EKG may be done.

*An ambulatory EKG is a type of portable, continuous EKG monitor. For more information, see the medical test Ambulatory Electrocardiogram.

*A stress EKG is a type of EKG done during exercise. A resting EKG is always done before an exercise EKG test, and results of the resting EKG are compared to the results of the exercise EKG. A resting EKG may also show a heart problem that would make an exercise EKG unsafe. For more information, see the medical test Exercise Electrocardiogram.

*Some doctors think that people older than age 35 need a baseline EKG before problems develop. This baseline EKG may be compared to later EKGs to see if changes have occurred. But a baseline EKG is expensive and may not be covered by insurance.
*Baseline EKGs may be most useful in people who have other conditions or diseases that increase their chances of having heart disease.

You may click to learn more in detail about electrocardiogram
Resources:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/diagnostics/electrocardiogram.shtml
http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/electrocardiogram
http://adam.about.com/reports/ECG.htm

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Graphology

DEFINITION:-
Graphology is the study and analysis of handwriting especially in relation to human psychology. In the medical field, it can be used to refer to the study of handwriting as an aid in diagnosis and tracking of diseases of the brain and nervous system. The term is sometimes incorrectly used to refer to forensic document examination.

Click to see the   Letter from John Cox, 1784

click to see…>…..(01)...(1)……..(2).……...(3).……….(4).………..(5)..……….(6)...

Graphology: graphos (from the Greek  writing) / logos (from the Greek science). It is a generic, as for instance: Anthropology, Psychology, Biology, Geology. With the lexeme Grapho (from the Greek: ) there are many words generic: Graphopatology, Graphomaniac, Graphistic, Graphopsychology, psycho Graphology, Graphometric, Graphometry, Graphoanalysis, Graphotechnology.

Graphology has been controversial for more than a century. Although supporters point to the anecdotal evidence of thousands of positive testimonials as a reason to use it for personality evaluation, most empirical studies fail to show the validity claimed by its supporters. Graphology is now generally considered a pseudoscience.

BASIC TENENTS:-
Graphology is based upon the following basic assertions:

*When we write, the ego is active but it is not always active to the same degree. Its activity waxes and wanes; being at its highest level when an effort has to be made by the writer and at its lowest level when the motion of the writing organ has gained momentum and is driven by it.

*When the action of writing is comparatively difficult, the writer uses those forms of letters which are simpler or more familiar.

*The muscular movements involved in writing are controlled by the central nervous system. The form of the resultant writing movement is modified further by the flexibly assembled coordinative structures in the hand, arm, and shoulder; which follow the principles of dynamical systems. The specific writing organ (mouth, foot, hand, crook of elbow) is irrelevant if it functions normally and is sufficiently adapted to its function.

*The neurophysiological mechanisms which contribute to the written movement are related to conditions within the central nervous system and vary in accordance with them. The written strokes, therefore, reflect both transitory and long term changes in the central nervous system such as Parkinson’s disease, or alcohol usage.

*The movements and corresponding levels of muscular tension in writing are mostly outside of conscious control and subject to the ideomotor effect. Emotion, mental state, and biomechanical factors such as muscle stiffness and elasticity are reflected in a person’s handwriting.

*One must examine the handwriting or drawing movements by considering them as movements organized by the central nervous system and produced under biomechanical and dynamical constraints. Given these considerations, graphologists proceed to evaluate the pattern, form, movement, rhythm, quality, and consistency of the graphic stroke in terms of psychological interpretations. Such interpretations vary according to the graphological theory applied by the analyst.

*Most schools of thought in graphology concur that a single graphological element can be a component of many different clusters, with each cluster having a different psychological interpretation. The significance of the cluster can be assessed accurately by tracing each component of the cluster back to their origins and adapting the meaning of the latter to the conditions of the milieu in which the form appears.

APPROACH TO GRAPHOLOGY :-
There are three approaches to graphology: the integrative approach, the holistic approach, and the symbolic analysis.

Integrative graphology
This approach holds that specific stroke structures relate to personality traits. Most systems within this approach use a cluster of stroke formations, to score a specific personality trait. Systems that fall under this umbrella are: fixed signs, trait stroke, French System and Graphoanalysis. It has been described as starting from the inside, and working to the outside.

Holistic graphology
This is commonly, but incorrectly referred to as Gestalt Graphology. Gestalt graphology was a system of handwriting analysis developed circa 1915 in Germany and was related theoretically to Gestalt psychology. In this approach (Holistic Graphology) a profile is constructed on the basis of form, movement and space. It has been described as starting from the outside, and working to the inside. In this approach, individual traits, such as legibility, are not assigned specific meanings, but can take on different meanings depending on the overall context.

Symbolic analysis
In this approach, one looks for symbols seen in the handwriting. This can be either Major symbolism, or Minor Symbolism.

*Major symbolism is the meaning ascribed to the stroke, as it related to the page.

*Minor symbolism ascribes a meaning to the stroke, depending upon the picture that the stroke draws. For example, John Wayne’s signature shows a blackened out portion, that represents his lung cancer.

This approach provides the theory that underlies both Holistic Graphology, and Integrative Graphology. Max Pulver is the best known exponent of this system.

SYSTEMS OF HANDWRITING ANALYSIS:-
Each approach to handwriting analysis has spawned several different systems.

Integrative Graphology
Graphoanalysis was the most influential system in the United States, between 1929 and 2000.
Sistema de Xandró.

Holistic Graphology
*The psychogram is the only system to have been taught as part of an academic degree, at an accredited institution in the United States .

*The Personal Worth Chart was developed by Handwriting Consultants of San Diego during the early eighties.

*The psychograph  was developed by Leslie King during the seventies.

*Wittlich Character Diagram.

*Muller – Enskat Protokol

*Szondi

*Girolamo Moretti

*Augusto Vels

TRAINING:-
The only academic institutions in the world that currently offer an accredited degree in handwriting analysis are:

*The University of Urbino, Italy: MA (Graphology)

*The LUMSA University in Rome, Italy: BA (Graphology)

*Emerson University College, Buenos Aires, Argentina: BA (Graphology)

*Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona: Spain: MA (Graphology)

TRANING IN THE UNITED STATES :-
Between 1940 and 1995, New School for Social Research, in New York City, offered a diploma in Graphology. At its peak, the diploma course took 8 semesters, and also included Forensic Document Analysis. This diploma did not have academic accreditation.

From 1970 to 2000, one could obtain a Graphology track Associate Arts Degree from Felician College, in Lodi, NJ. This was the only academic institution in the United States to have offered graphology for an accredited academic degree.

Training in the United States is currently available through correspondence courses. The quality of instructions varies considerably. Look for instructors that have a successful track record in teaching handwriting analysis.

WRITING SYSTEMS:-
The majority of material in the field is oriented towards the Latin Writing system. Courses offered in the subject reflect that bias.

Before taking any course, or certification, ensure that it is usable for the local writing system.
CERTIFICATION:-
There is no certification that is generally recognized, either within or without the field. Certifications are invariably linked to the organization one belongs to, and are no longer recognized when one resigns from the organization.

VOCABULARY:-
Every system of handwriting analysis has its own vocabulary. Even though two or more systems may share the same words, the meanings of those words may be different. The technical meaning of a word used by a handwriting analyst, and the common meaning is not congruent. Resentment, for example, in common usage, means to feel or exhibit annoyance. In Graphoanalysis, the term indicates a fear of imposition.
VALIDITY :-
Although graphology had some early support in the scientific community such as Fluckinger, Tripp & Weinberg(1961)  , Lockowandte (1976)  and Nevo(1986) , the results of most of the recent surveys on the ability for graphology to assess personality and job performance have been negative . Graphology is primarily used as a recruiting tool to screen candidates during the evaluation process. Many studies have been conducted to assess its effectiveness to predict personality and job performance. Recent studies testing the validity of using handwriting for predicting personality traits have been consistently negative , the results of most of the recent surveys on the ability for graphology to access personality and job performance have been negative as well . Here are some of the specific results for the personality tests:

*Graphologists were unable to predict scores on the Eysenck personality questionnaire using writing samples from the same people

*Graphologists were unable to predict scores on the Myers-Briggs test using writing samples from the same people
Using meta-analysis drawn from over 200 studies, graphologists were generally unable to predict any kind of personality trait on any personality test

Graphologists didn’t do better to assess job performance:

*Professional graphologists using handwriting analysis were just as ineffective as lay people at predicting performance

*A broad literature screen done by King and Koehler confirmed dozens of studies showing the mechanical aspects of graphology (slant, slope, etc.) are essentially worthless predictors of job performance.

The best way to summarize the appeal that graphology has despite the complete lack of empirical evidence has been put up by Dr Rowan Bayne, a British psychologist who wrote several studies on graphology: “It’s very seductive because at a very crude level someone who is neat and well behaved tends to have neat handwriting” and then added that the practice was “useless… absolutely hopeless”. It is also worth noting that the British Psychological Society for example ranks graphology alongside astrology – giving them both “zero validity”.

Overall, despite a few studies that support handwriting analysis, such as Crumbaugh & Stockholm , the large majority of studies such as Ben-Shakar, Bar-Hillel, Blum, Ben-Abba, & Flug [59] and many others indicate overwhelming evidence against its predictive validity.

ADDITIONAL SPECIFIC OBJECTIONS :-
*The Barnum effect and the Dr Fox effect . These phenomena make it difficult to validate methods of personality testing. These describe the observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. See, for example, Tallent(1958). Non-individualized graphological reports give credence to this criticism.

*Effect Size: Dean’s(1992) primary argument against the use of graphology is that the effect size is too small. Regardless of the validity of handwriting analysis, the research results imply that it is not applicable for any specific individual, but may be applicable to a group.

*Vagueness: One of the key points of attack for critics is the ease with which a graphologist can alter the “rules.” Formniveau, for example, interprets a sign positively if the individual is high status, and negatively if the individual has low status

LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS :-

Privacy
Graphologists often claim that handwriting analysis in the workplace is legal[64], citing one or more of the following cases:

*Gilbert v California :388 US 263-267 (1967)

*US v Dionisio :410 US 1 (1973) 1973, Lawyers Edition, Second Series 35, 67; 93 SC 774

*US v Mara aka Marasovich :410 US 19 (1973)

*US v Rosinsky :547 F 2nd 249 ( CA 4th 1977 )

*United States v Wade  :388 US 218, 221-223 (1967)

All of these cases are about Fifth Amendment rights in a criminal investigation. These cases do not address issues relating to psychological analysis of an individual. Neither do they address third party issues.

A Hungarian Parliamentary Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information report states that handwriting analysis without informed consent is a privacy violation.

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION (EEOC):-
Many graphologists claim that handwriting analysis is non-discriminatory, since it cannot determine Gender, Age, Ethnicity, or other EEOC Protected Classes. However, thus far, there have been no studies demonstrating that the use of handwriting analysis in employment does not have a disparate impact upon EEOC protected classes.

There have been a number of studies on gender and handwriting. Uniformly the research indicates that gender can be determined at a significant level. The published studies on ethnicity, race, age, nationality, gender orientation, weight, and their relationship to handwriting have had mixed results, with a tendency to indicate that they can be determined from handwriting.

DAUBERT :-
Daubert defined several criteria that admissible expert testimony has to meet.

*Be falsifiable, refutable, and testable;

*Be valid and reliable;

*Subject to published peer review;

*Held to standards within the field;

*Be generally accepted in the Scientific Community;

Depending upon the specific system of handwriting analysis that is used, it fails between two and five criteria.

APPLICATION OF GRAPHOLOGY :-

Employment profiling
A company takes a writing sample provided by an applicant, and proceeds to do a personality profile, matching the congruency of the applicant with the ideal psychological profile of employees in the position.

A graphological report is meant to be used in conjunction with other tools, such as comprehensive background checks, practical demonstration or record of work skills. Graphology supporters state that it can complement but not replace traditional hiring tools.

Research in employment suitability has ranged from complete failure [83] to guarded success.[84] The most substantial reason for not using handwriting analysis in the employment process is the absence of evidence of a direct link between handwriting analysis and various measures of job performance[85]

The use of graphology in the hiring process has been criticized on ethical grounds[86] and on legal grounds.


Business compatibility

This is an additional service offered by some handwriting analysts. The focus of these reports can be one, or more of the following:

Company-wide

This is a report the describes how compatible the individual is, with each employee in the company.

The average company employee
For this report, the mean, mode, and median scores of every scored data point , for the entire company are used, to create three hypothetical employees. The individual is then compared to these three employees, with the focus being how good a fit the individual is.

Division wide
This is a report that describes how compatible the individual is, with each employee in the division.

The average division employee
For this report, the mean, mode, and median scores of every scored data point , for the entire division are used, to create three hypothetical employees. The individual is then compared to these three employees, with focus being how well the individual will fit into the existing company psychodynamic profile.

Unit wide
This is a report the describes how compatible the individual is, with each employee in the unit.

The average unit employee
For this report, the mean, mode, and median scores of every scored data point , for the entire unit are used, to create three hypothetical employees. Those are then compared to the applicant, with a focus on how good a fit the individual is.

The unit manager / Co-worker
This explores the differences in personal style between a manager/co-worker and potential employee. The end result is on how each can maximize productivity and minimize personal friction.

Composite reports
This explores the difference in personal style between every employee in a group. The idea is for each member of the group to learn not only their own strengths and weakness, but also those of their co-workers, and how they can more harmoniously work together. The resulting reports not only deal with the individual on a one-to-one level within the group, but also each individual as a part of a group of three, four, five, etc people within the group.
The content of these reports can range from a simple perspectrograph, to a four wheel Wittlich Diagram and accompanying twenty five thousand word analysis.

PSYCHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS:-
These reports can range from a ten item check off list to a 25 page report on the makeup of an individual from the perspective of Freudian Psychoanalysis, Transactional Analysis, or another personality theory.

A major value of a graphological analysis lies in the increased understanding of people and the ability consequently to enjoy improved relationships both personally and professionally.

MARITAL COMPATIBILITY :-
In its simplest form only sexual expression and sexual response are examined. At its most complex, every aspect of an individual is examined for how it affects the other individual(s). The basic theory is that after knowing and understanding how each other is different, any commitment that is made will be more enduring. Typically done for couples, it is not unknown for a polyamorous group to obtain a report prior to the commitment ceremony of a new individual.

In cultures where arranged marriages are common, graphology can be used as an additional checkpoint on the compatibility of the couple prior to the elders giving their consent for the marriage to take place.
MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS :-
Medical graphology  is probably the most controversial aspect of handwriting analysis. Strictly speaking, such research is not graphology as described throughout this article but an examination of factors pertaining to motor control. Research studies have been conducted in which a detailed examination of handwriting factors, particularly timing, fluidity, pressure, and consistency of size, form, speed, and pressure are considered in the process of evaluating patients and their response to pharmacological therapeutic agents. The study of these phenomena is a by-product of researchers investigating motor control processes and the interaction of nervous, anatomical, and biomechanical systems of the body.

The Vanguard Code of Ethical Practice, amongst others, prohibits medical diagnosis unless one is also licensed to do diagnosis in the state in which they practice.

JURY SCREENING :-
A graphologist is given handwriting samples of a prospective jury and determines who should be struck, based upon their alleged personality profile. After the trial has begun, the graphologist advises counsel on how to slant their case, for the most favorable response from the jury.

GRAPHOTHERAPY :-….graphotherapy exercises
This is the practice of changing a person’s handwriting with the goal of changing features of his or her personality. It was pioneered in France during the nineteen-thirties, spreading to the United states in the late fifties.

The therapy consists of a series of exercises which are similar to those taught in basic calligraphy courses, sometimes in conjunction with music or positive self-talk. There have been anecdotal reports of these exercises curing everything from drug addiction to anorexia nervosa, and back to borderline personality disorder.

FORENSIC DOCUMENT EXAMINATION:-
This discipline is better known as questioned document examination within the judicial system. This is used to determine whether or not a document was written by the person who is thought to have written it. As such, this is not an aspect of graphology.

Goodtitle Drevett v Braham 100 Eng Rep 1139 (1792) is reportedly the first case at which the testimony of a questioned document examiner was accepted.

DIVINATION:-
Some individuals believe that one can tell the future from handwriting analysis. Others believe that a handwriting analyst can provide spiritual guidance on situations that they face. These beliefs are claimed to be false for reasons ranging from the complete lack of either scientific or anecdotal evidence, to the application of Aristotelian logic to any of the numerous (and mutually incompatible) theories of handwriting analysis. Most graphologists reject supernatural insights from their assessment of handwriting.

The code of ethics for the International Graphoanalysis Society, British Association of Graphology, and Association Déontologique Européenne de Graphologie prohibits the practice of anything related to the occult.

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Sources:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphology

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Bacteria Offers Insight Into Health

Bacteria found in people’s spit does not vary much around the world, a surprising finding that could provide insights into how cultural  factors affect health, researchers said on Thursday. Because the human body harbors 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells, scientists are trying to understand more about the bacteria we carry.
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“We are interested in this because by studying the bacteria we can get more insights into human populations than we would get from just studying human DNA,” Mark Stoneking of the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, who led the study, said.

The team observed considerable diversity of bacterial life in the overall saliva microbiome, both within and between individuals. But when comparing samples from different geographic areas they found not much variation, suggesting that bacteria within the mouth of a person’s neighbor is likely to be just as different as someone on the other side of the world. The findings could help better understand human migrations and populations.

Sources: The Times Of India

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