Vitamins ‘May Shorten Your Life’

Alpha-carotene 2d structureImage via Wikipedia

Research has suggested certain vitamin supplements do not extend life and could even lead to a premature death.

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……..Could they be doing more harm than good?

A review of 67 studies found “no convincing evidence” that antioxidant supplements cut the risk of dying.

Scientists at Copenhagen University said vitamins A and E could interfere with the body’s natural defences.

“Even more, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E seem to increase mortality,” according to the review by the respected Cochrane Collaboration.

The research involved selecting various studies from 817 on beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium which the team felt were the most likely to fairly reflect the impact of the supplements on reducing mortality.

It has been thought that these supplements may be able to prevent damage to the body’s tissues called “oxidative stress” by eliminating the molecules called “free radicals” which are said to cause it.

This damage has been implicated in several major diseases including cancer and heart disease.

‘Just eat well’
The trials involved 233,000 people who were either sick or were healthy and taking supplements for disease prevention.

After various factors were taken into account and a further 20 studies excluded, the researchers linked vitamin A supplements to a 16% increased risk of dying, beta-carotene to a 7% increased risk and vitamin E to a 4% increased risk.

Vitamin C did not appear to have any effect one way or the other, and the team said more work was needed into this supplement – as well as into selenium.

In conclusion, “we found no evidence to support antioxidant supplements for primary or secondary prevention,” they said.

It was unclear exactly why the supplements could have this effect, but the team speculated that they could interfere with how the body works: beta-carotene, for instance, is thought to change the way a body uses fats.

The Department of Health said people should try to get the vitamins they need from their diet, and avoid taking large doses of supplements – a market which is worth over £330m in the UK.

There is a need to exercise caution in the use of high doses of purified supplements of vitamins, including antioxidant vitamins, and minerals,” a spokesperson said.

“Their impact on long-term health may not have been fully established and they cannot be assumed to be without risk.”

A ‘stitch-up’

But the Health Supplements Information Service, which is funded by the association which represents those who sell supplements, said many people were simply not able to get everything they needed from their diet.

For the millions who are not able to do that, vitamins can be a useful supplement and they should not stop taking them,” said spokeswoman Pamela Mason.

Another nutritionist who has formulated supplements described the review as a “stitch-up”, arguing it only looked at studies which examined the effect they had on reducing mortality, rather than other advantages.

“Antioxidants are not meant to be magic bullets and should not be expected to undo a lifetime of unhealthy habits,” said Patrick Holford.

“But when used properly, in combination with eating a healthy diet full of fruit and vegetables, getting plenty of exercise and not smoking, antioxidant supplements can play an important role in maintaining and promoting overall health.”


VITAL VITAMIN FACTS :-

Vitamin A: Found in: Oily fish, eggs and liver; Good for: Thought to boost immune system, and help skin, sight and sperm formation
Vitamin C: Found in: Many fruit and vegetables; Good for: Helps heal wounds and assists the body in absorbing iron, may boost the immune system
Vitamin E: Found in: Vegetable oils, seeds and nuts; Good for: May help boost circulation and keep elderly people active
Beta-carotene: Found in: Vegetables that are reddish-orange in colour; Good for: May boost vision and keep the mind sharp
Selenium:
Found in: Butter, nuts, liver and fish; Good for: May boost the immune system
How many take vitamins? Between 10-20% of people in the West

Sources:BBC NEWS:16th. April.’08

Plastic Recycling Symbols

The Daily Green offers this handy guide on the various types of plastic:

Number 1 Plastics — PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate)

* Found In: Soft drinks, water and beer bottles; mouthwash bottles; peanut butter containers; salad dressing and vegetable oil containers; ovenable food trays.
* Recycling: Pick up through most curbside recycling programs.
* Recycled Into: Polar fleece, fiber, tote bags, furniture, carpet, paneling, straps, (occasionally) new containers

It poses low risk of leaching breakdown products. Recycling rates remain relatively low (around 20 percent), though the material is in high demand by remanufacturers.

Number 2 Plastics

-- HDPE (high density polyethylene)

* Found In: Milk jugs, juice bottles; bleach, detergent and household cleaner bottles; shampoo bottles; some trash and shopping bags; motor oil bottles; butter and yogurt tubs; cereal box liners
* Recycling: Pick up through most curbside recycling programs, although some only allow those containers with necks.
* Recycled Into: Laundry detergent bottles, oil bottles, pens, recycling containers, floor tile, drainage pipe, lumber, benches, doghouses, picnic tables, fencing

HDPE carries low risk of leaching and is readily recyclable into many goods.

Number 3 Plastics -
- V (Vinyl) or PVC

* Found In: Window cleaner and detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, cooking oil bottles, clear food packaging, wire jacketing, medical equipment, siding, windows, piping
* Recycling: Rarely recycled; accepted by some plastic lumber makers.
* Recycled Into: Decks, paneling, mudflaps, roadway gutters, flooring, cables, speed bumps, mats

PVC contains chlorine, so its manufacture can release highly dangerous dioxins. If you must cook with PVC, don’t let the plastic touch food. Never burn PVC, because it releases toxins.

Number 4 Plastics
LDPE (low density polyethylene)

* Found In: Squeezable bottles; bread, frozen food, dry cleaning and shopping bags; tote bags; clothing; furniture; carpet
* Recycling: LDPE is not often recycled through curbside programs, but some communities will accept it. Plastic shopping bags can be returned to many stores for recycling.
* Recycled Into: Trash can liners and cans, compost bins, shipping envelopes, paneling, lumber, landscaping ties, floor tile

Historically, LDPE has not been accepted through most American curbside recycling programs, but more and more communities are starting to accept it.

Number 5 Plastics -
- PP (polypropylene)

* Found In: Some yogurt containers, syrup bottles, ketchup bottles, caps, straws, medicine bottles
* Recycling: Number 5 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs.
* Recycled Into: Signal lights, battery cables, brooms, brushes, auto battery cases, ice scrapers, landscape borders, bicycle racks, rakes, bins, pallets, trays

Polypropylene has a high melting point, and so is often chosen for containers that must accept hot liquid. It is gradually becoming more accepted by recyclers.

Number 6 Plastics — PS (polystyrene)

* Found In: Disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons, carry-out containers, aspirin bottles, compact disc cases
* Recycling: Number 6 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs.
* Recycled Into: Insulation, light switch plates, egg cartons, vents, rulers, foam packing, carry-out containers

Polystyrene can be made into rigid or foam products — in the latter case it is popularly known as the trademark Styrofoam. Evidence suggests polystyrene can leach potential toxins into foods. The material was long on environmentalists’ hit lists for dispersing widely across the landscape, and for being notoriously difficult to recycle.

Number 7 Plastics — Miscellaneous

* Found In: Three- and five-gallon water bottles, ‘bullet-proof’ materials, sunglasses, DVDs, iPod and computer cases, signs and displays, certain food containers, nylon
* Recycling: Number 7 plastics have traditionally not been recycled, though some curbside programs now take them.
* Recycled Into: Plastic lumber, custom-made products

A wide variety of plastic resins that don’t fit into the previous categories are lumped into number 7. A few are even made from plants (polyactide) and are compostable. Polycarbonate is number 7, and is the hard plastic that has parents worried these days, after studies have shown it can leach potential hormone disruptors.

Sources: The Daily Green March 31, 2008

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Belly Fat ‘Makes More Fat Cells’

CDC's mobile obesity unitImage by applez via Flickr

The fat that some people carry around their middles could be making them even fatter, researchers have said.

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Abdominal fat increases the risk of conditions such as heart disease
The Canadian team found abdominal fat tissue produces a hormone called NPY – which also prompts the development of cells that turn into fat.

It is already known that high levels of the hormone in the brain produce constant feelings of hunger.

A UK expert said better understanding of how the hormone worked might lead to drugs to stop its effects.

It is already known that high levels of the hormone in the brain produce constant feelings of hunger.

A UK expert said better understanding of how the hormone worked might lead to drugs to stop its effects.

Being overweight is bad for health, no matter where the weight lies – but abdominal fat is known to be the most dangerous, increasing the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and some cancers.

‘Vicious cycle’
The researchers, from Lawson Health Research Institute which is linked to the University of Western Ontario, carried out tests on rats which showed abdominal fat, as well as the brain, produces NPY – or Neuropeptide Y.
It is thought the excessive production of NPY in the brain is one of the main reasons why overweight people eat more food.

But the scientists found NPY in abdominal tissues increases fat cell number by stimulating the replication of fat cell precursor cells – which then change into fat cells.

Their findings were published in the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology journal.

Dr Kaiping Yang, who led the research, said: “This may lead to a vicious cycle where NPY produced in the brain causes you to eat more and therefore gain more fat around your middle – and then that fat produces more NYP hormone which leads to even more fat cells.”

The team will now look at whether NPY produced in the abdomen is released into the body’s circulatory system, and therefore affecting hunger messages in the brain.

If it is, it may be possible to develop a simple blood test to detect increased levels of NPY they say.

Dr Yang added: “If you can detect NPY early and identify those at risk for abdominal obesity we can then target therapy to turn off NPY.

“It would be much easier to use drugs to prevent obesity than to treat the diseases caused by obesity.”

Dr David Haslam, clinical director of the National Obesity Forum, said the study provided more information on the “complex mechanisms” which regulate how the body stores and processes fat.

He added: “This is one of those findings that, in the not too distant future, might lead to a way of manipulating this hormone’s feedback loop.

“It’s not science fiction to think you could find some way to block it.” says Dr David Haslam, National Obesity Forum.

Sources: BBC NEWS:17Th. April.’08

Aerobic Exercise

Definition:

Aerobic exercise refers to exercise that involves or improves oxygen consumption by the body. Aerobic means “with oxygen”, and refers to the use of oxygen in the body’s metabolic or energy-generating process. Many types of exercise are aerobic, and by definition are performed at moderate levels of intensity for extended periods of time. To obtain the best results, an aerobic exercise session involves a warming up period, followed by at least 20 minutes of moderate to intense exercise involving large muscle groups, and a cooling down period at the end.

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Aerobic exercise is “any activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously, and is rhythmic in nature.” It is a type of exercise that overloads the heart and lungs and causes them to work harder than at rest. The important idea behind aerobic exercise today, is to get up and get moving!! There are more activities than ever to choose from, whether it is a new activity or an old one. Find something you enjoy doing that keeps your heart rate elevated for a continuous time period and get moving to a healthier life.

Aerobic exercise is continuous rhythmic use of large muscle groups in a weight-bearing manner at sufficient frequency, distance and intensity. Aerobics are the only exercise that changes metabolism and chemistry in enough ways to bring about a wide range of health gains. Examples include: running, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, skating, aerobic walking, swimming, cycling and a few others. Frequency is three to four times a week. Distance, most easily measured in time, is 40 to 50 minutes. As to intensity, the workout must feel like a workout –( low- mod intensity) or 12 to 15 on the Borg scale of perceived exertion. If you are just starting an exercise program, you should begin with a shorter time and lower intensity, gradually working up to target levels

History:
Both the term and the specific exercise method were developed by Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., an exercise physiologist, and Col. Pauline Potts, a physical therapist, both of the Air Force. Dr. Cooper, an avowed exercise enthusiast, was personally and professionally puzzled about why some people with excellent muscular strength were still prone to poor performance at tasks such as long-distance running, swimming, and bicycling. He began measuring systematic human performance using a bicycle ergometer, and began measuring sustained performance in terms of the ability to utilize oxygen.

His groundbreaking book, Aerobics, was published in 1968, and included scientific exercise programs using running, walking, swimming and bicycling. The book came at a fortuitous historical moment, when increasing weakness and inactivity in the general population was causing a perceived need for increased exercise. It became a best seller.

Cooper’s data provided the scientific baseline for almost all modern aerobics programs, most of which are based on oxygen-consumption equivalency.

Aerobic versus anaerobic exercise
Aerobic exercise and fitness can be contrasted with anaerobic exercise, of which strength training and weight training are the most salient examples. The two types of exercise differ by the duration and intensity of muscular contractions involved, as well as by how energy is generated within the muscle. Initially during aerobic exercise, glycogen is broken down to produce glucose, but in its absence, fat metabolism is initiated instead. The latter is a slow process, and is accompanied by a decline in performance level. The switch to fat as fuel is a major cause of what marathon runners call “hitting the wall”. Anaerobic exercise, in contrast, refers to the initial phase of exercise, or any short burst of intense exertion, in which the glycogen or sugar is consumed without oxygen, and is a far less efficient process. Operating anaerobically, an untrained 400 meter sprinter may “hit the wall” short of the full distance.

Aerobic exercise comprises innumerable forms. In general, it is performed at a moderate level of intensity over a relatively long period of time. For example, running a long distance at a moderate pace is an aerobic exercise, but sprinting is not. Playing singles tennis, with near-continuous motion, is generally considered aerobic activity, while golf or doubles tennis, with brief bursts of activity punctuated by more frequent breaks, may not be predominantly aerobic. Some sports are thus inherently “aerobic”, while other aerobic exercises, such as fartlek training or aerobic dance classes, are designed specifically to improve aerobic capacity and fitness.

Among the recognized benefits of doing regular aerobic exercise are:
*Strengthening the muscles involved in respiration, to facilitate the flow of air in and out of the lungs

*Strengthening and enlarging the heart muscle, to improve its pumping efficiency and reduce the resting heart rate.

*Toning muscles throughout the body .

*Improving circulation efficiency and reducing blood pressure Increasing the total number of red blood cells in the body, facilitating transport of oxygen.

*Improved mental health, including reducing stress and lowering the incidence of depression.

As a result, aerobic exercise can reduce the risk of death due to cardiovascular problems. In addition, high-impact aerobic activities (such as jogging or jumping rope) can stimulate bone growth, as well as reducing the risk of osteoporosis for both men and women. In addition to the health benefits of aerobic exercise, there are numerous performance benefits:

*Increased storage of energy molecules such as fats and carbohydrates within the muscles, allowing for increased endurance

*Neovascularization of the muscle sarcomeres to increase blood flow through the muscles

*Increasing speed at which aerobic metabolism is activated within muscles, allowing a greater portion of energy for intense exercise to be generated aerobically

*Improving the ability of muscles to use fats during exercise, preserving intramuscular glycogen

*Enhancing the speed at which muscles recover from high intensity exercise

*Strength the heart, thereby reducing resting heart rate

*Helps lower body fat

*Improves your Cardiovascular Condition

*Lowers Blood pressure

*Lowers your total Cholesterol

*Helps to prevent several chronic diseases

*Raises your metabolism during activity

Aerobics” is a particular form of aerobic exercise. Aerobics classes generally involve rapid stepping patterns, performed to music with cues provided by an instructor. This type of aerobic activity became quite popular in the United States after the 1970 publication of The New Aerobics by Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, and went through a brief period of intense popularity in the 1980s, when many celebrities (such as Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons) produced videos or created television shows promoting this type of aerobic exercise. Group exercise aerobics can be divided into two major types: freestyle aerobics and pre-choreographed aerobics.


How to find Target Heart Rate (THR)

60 to 90% of Maximum Heart Rate
1. 220 – Your Age
2. Minus your Resting Heart Rate
3. Multiply by .6 – .9
4. Add your RHR
This = your THR

Example:
220 – 35= 185
185- 72(RHR)= 113
113 x .6 = 67.8
113 x .9 = 101.7
67.8 + 72(RHR) = 139.8 BPM
101.7 + 72 (RHR) = 173.7 BPM

Other intensity Indicators:
Borg Scale RPE: self assessment of your exercise bout.. 6 – 20 . Your target is 12-15
Talk Test: slightly winded during activity

Duration of an Aerobic Session
20- 60 minutes Any physical activity
Housework (sweeping floors, yard work.)
Keep moving and have Fun

Criticisms:
When overall fitness is an occupational requirement, as for athletes, combat services, and police and fire personnel, aerobic exercise alone may not provide a well balanced exercise program. In particular, muscular strength, especially upper-body muscular strength, may be neglected. Also, the metabolic pathways involved in anaerobic metabolism (glycolysis and lactic acid fermentation) that generate energy during high intensity, low duration tasks such as sprinting, are not exercised at peak rates. Aerobic exercise is, however, an extremely valuable component of a balanced exercise program and is good for cardiovascular health.

Some persons suffer repetitive stress injuries with some forms of aerobics and then must choose less injurious “low-impact” forms or lengthen the gap between bouts of aerobic exercise to allow for greater recovery.

Aerobics notably does not increase the basal metabolic rate as much as some forms of weight-training, and may therefore be less effective at reducing obesity. However, this form of exercise also allows for longer, more frequent activity and consumes more energy when the individual is active. In addition, the metabolic activity of an individual is heightened for several hours following a bout of aerobic activity.

Aerobic activity is also used by individuals with anorexia as a means of suppressing appetite, since aerobic exercise increases glucose and fatty acids in the blood by stimulating tissues to release their energy stores. While there is some support for exercising while hungry as a means of tapping into fat stores, most evidence is equivocal. In addition, performance can be impaired by lack of nutrients, which can impair training effects.
Click to learn a variety of forms and information for practicing Aerobic Exercise

Resources:

http://www.bjwm.org/aerobic.html

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

http://www.claritylimited.com/aerobic.htm

A Big Belly Boosts Your Risk of Dementia


A big belly in your 40’s can boost your risk of Alzheimer’s disease decades later.

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Previous research has already shown that obesity raises your chances of developing dementia, but a new study found a separate risk from storing fat in your abdomen. Even people who weren’t overweight were endangered.

Abdominal fat, sometimes described as making people apple-shaped rather than pear-shaped, has been linked to a higher risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Now dementia can be added to that list.

The study involved over 6,500 people who were monitored for an average of 36 years. Compared to people with normal body weight and a low belly measurement, people with normal body weight and high belly measurements were 89 percent more likely to have dementia. And the risk increased among overweight and obese people with high belly measurements.

It’s not known why abdominal fat may promote dementia, but it may pump out substances that harm your brain, the researchers said.

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Sources: Neurology March 26, 2008

4-20: Did You Know That This Is More Than Just a Date?

Parents are used to hearing their teens speak in code – from the trendy catchphrase of the week to the popular acronyms used for text messaging and online chatting. But one term that might come up more frequently this time of year is “420″ (pronounced “four-twenty”).

Those familiar with popular drug culture might recognize the code as a reference to the annual pot-smoking holiday on April 20 (or 4-20). There are many theories explaining the origin of the term and the date – from the supposed number of active chemicals in marijuana to an alleged police crime code for drug arrests to the time of day a group of California teens congregated to smoke up in the 1960s.

Whatever the actual origins of 420, many teens now know April 20th as the day to smoke marijuana. So parents should be especially mindful of monitoring for drug use on this day in particular.

Learn more about the risks of marijuana.

Marijuana: Then and Now

So you tried pot at some point in your life and think you’ll feel like a hypocrite telling your teen not to use? Get over it. It’s important to talk about your experiences to help your children learn from them. Be honest and emphasize that this discussion is about your child’s future and not about your past. Marijuana today is more potent than it was a generation ago and more kids are using it at a younger age, when their bodies and minds are still developing. Talk to your teens. Kids who learn about marijuana and other drugs from their parents are less likely to use them.

Tell your teens how to say no, even if you didn’t.

How can you monitor for marijuana use? Follow these four easy steps:

1. Look online. Talk to your teen about pro-drug messages they might find on sites like Facebook and YouTube. Many teens form groups and recruit members online who are proponents of certain drugs or risky behaviors .

2. Listen for slang and look out for paraphernalia. If you hear terms like 420, bake, Mary, bud, blunt, etc., or see them in text messages, call your teen on it. Likewise if you see makeshift pipes or bongs disguised to look like harmless trinkets, it’s time for a larger discussion about drug use.

3. Ask who, what, where, and when. You should always know the details about your teen’s whereabouts, but pay special attention on April 20 as many teens plan to meet for the “holiday celebration.”

4. Watch and smell for signs of use. Red and bloodshot eyes are a symptom of marijuana use, so be on the lookout for recently opened eye drops. A distinct odor is another sign – even if your teen was just hanging out with other people who were smoking. If you detect smoke, alcohol, etc., on your teen’s breath or clothes, it’s time to talk about the dangers of such risky behaviors

Sources:ParentingTips@TheAntiDrug.com

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Delusion

Definition:
A delusion is commonly defined as a fixed false belief and is used in everyday language to describe a belief that is either false, fanciful or derived from deception. In psychiatry, the definition is necessarily more precise and implies that the belief is pathological (the result of an illness or illness process). As a pathology it is distinct from a belief based on false or incomplete information or certain effects of perception which would more properly be termed an apperception or illusion.

Delusions typically occur in the context of neurological or mental illness, although they are not tied to any particular disease and have been found to occur in the context of many pathological states (both physical and mental). However, they are of particular diagnostic importance in psychotic disorders and particularly in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

click & see

Psychiatric definition
Although non-specific concepts of madness have been around for several thousand years, the psychiatrist and philosopher Karl Jaspers was the first to define the three main criteria for a belief to be considered delusional in his book General Psychopathology. These criteria are:

*certainty (held with absolute conviction)

*incorrigibility (not changeable by compelling counterargument or proof to the contrary)

*impossibility or falsity of content (implausible, bizarre or patently untrue)

These criteria still continue in modern psychiatric diagnosis. In the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a delusion is defined as:

A false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everybody else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary. The belief is not one ordinarily accepted by other members of the person’s culture or subculture (e.g., it is not an article of religious faith).

Symptoms:
The criteria that define delusional disorder are furnished in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition Text Revision, or DSM-IV-TR, published by the American Psychiatric Association. The criteria for delusional disorder are as follows:

*non-bizarre delusions which have been present for at least one month

*absence of obviously odd or bizarre behavior

*absence of hallucinations, or hallucinations that only occur infrequently in comparison to other psychotic disorders

*no memory loss, medical illness or drug or alcohol-related effects are associated with the development of delusions

Diagnostic issues:
The modern definition and Jaspers’ original criteria have been criticised, as counter-examples can be shown for every defining feature.

Studies on psychiatric patients have shown that delusions can be seen to vary in intensity and conviction over time which suggests that certainty and incorrigibility are not necessary components of a delusional belief.

Delusions do not necessarily have to be false or ‘incorrect inferences about external reality’. Some religious or spiritual beliefs by their nature may not be falsifiable, and hence cannot be described as false or incorrect, no matter whether the person holding these beliefs was diagnosed as delusional or not.

In other situations the delusion may turn out to be true belief. For example, delusional jealousy, where a person believes that their partner is being unfaithful (and may even follow them into the bathroom believing them to be seeing their lover even during the briefest of partings) may result in the faithful partner being driven to infidelity by the constant and unreasonable strain put on them by their delusional spouse. In this case the delusion does not cease to be a delusion because the content later turns out to be true.

In other cases, the delusion may be assumed to be false by a doctor or psychiatrist assessing the belief, because it seems to be unlikely, bizarre or held with excessive conviction. Psychiatrists rarely have the time or resources to check the validity of a person’s claims leading to some true beliefs to be erroneously classified as delusional.This is known as the Martha Mitchell effect, after the wife of the attorney general who alleged that illegal activity was taking place in the White House. At the time her claims were thought to be signs of mental illness, and only after the Watergate scandal broke was she proved right (and hence sane).

Similar factors have led to criticisms of Jaspers’ definition of true delusions as being ultimately ‘un-understandable’. Critics (such as R. D. Laing) have argued that this leads to the diagnosis of delusions being based on the subjective understanding of a particular psychiatrist, who may not have access to all the information which might make a belief otherwise interpretable.

Another difficulty with the diagnosis of delusions is that almost all of these features can be found in “normal” beliefs. Many religious beliefs hold exactly the same features, yet are not universally considered delusional. Similarly, Thomas Kuhn argued in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions that scientists can hold strong beliefs in scientific theories despite considerable apparent discrepancies with experimental evidence.

These factors have led the psychiatrist Anthony David to note that “there is no acceptable (rather than accepted) definition of a delusion.” In practice psychiatrists tend to diagnose a belief as delusional if it is either patently bizarre, causing significant distress, or excessively pre-occupies the patient, especially if the person is subsequently unswayed in belief by counter-evidence or reasonable arguments.

Click for Delusions - Description, Types

Diagnosis:

Client interviews focused on obtaining information about the sufferer’s life situation and past history aid in identification of delusional disorder. With the client’s permission, the clinician obtains details from earlier medical records, and engages in thorough discussion with the client’s immediate family—helpful measures in determining whether delusions are present. The clinician may use a semi-structured interview called a mental status examination to assess the patient’s concentration, memory, understanding the individual’s situation and logical thinking. The mental status examination is intended to reveal peculiar thought processes in the patient. The Peters Delusion Inventory (PDI) is a psychological test that focuses on identifying and understanding delusional thinking; but its use is more common in research than in clinical practice.

Even using the DSM-IV-TRcriteria listed above, classification of delusional disorder is relatively subjective. The criteria “non-bizarre” and “resistant to change” and “not culturally accepted” are all subject to very individual interpretations. They create variability in how professionals diagnose the illness. The utility of diagnosing the syndrome rather than focusing on successful treatment of delusion in any form of illness is debated in the medical community. Some researchers further contend that delusional disorder, currently classified as a psychotic disorder, is actually a variation of depression and might respond better to antidepressants or therapy more similar to that utilized for depression. Also, the meaning and implications of “culturally accepted” can create problems. The cultural relativity of “delusions,”—most evident where the beliefs shown are typical of the person’s subculture or religion yet would be viewed as strange or delusional by the dominant culture—can force complex choices to be made in diagnosis and treatment. An example could be that of a Haitian immigrant to the United States who believed in voodoo. If that person became aggressive toward neighbors issuing curses or hexes, believing that death is imminent at the hands of those neighbors, a question arises. The belief is typical of the individual’s subculture, so the issue is whether it should be diagnosed or treated. If it were to be treated, whether the remedy should come through Western medicine, or be conducted through voodoo shamanistic treatment is the problem to be solved.

Treatments:
Delusional disorder treatment often involves atypical(also callednovelornewer-generation) antipsychotic medications, which can be effective in some patients. Risperidone(Risperdal), quetiapine(Seroquel), and olanzapine(Zyprexa) are all examples of atypical or novel antipsychotic medications. If agitationoccurs, a number of different antipsychotics can be used to conclude the outbreak of acute agitation. Agitation, a state of frantic activity experienced concurrently with anger or exaggerated fearfulness, increases the risk that the client will endanger self or others. To decrease anxiety and slow behavior in emergency situations where agitation is a factor, an injection of haloperidol(Haldol) is often given usually in combination with other medications (often lorazepam, also known as Ativan). Agitation in delusional disorder is a typical response to severe or harsh confrontation when dealing with the existence of the delusions. It can also be a result of blocking the individual from performing inappropriate actions the client views as urgent in light of the delusional reality. A novel antipsychotic is generally given orally on a daily basis for ongoing treatment meant for long-term effect on the symptoms. Response to antipsychotics in delusional disorder seems to follow the “rule of thirds,” in which about one-third of patients respond somewhat positively, one-third show little change, and one-third worsen or are unable to comply.

Cognitive therapy has shown promise as an emerging treatment for delusions. The cognitive therapist tries to capitalize on any doubt the individual has about the delusions; then attempts to develop a joint effort with the sufferer to generate alternative explanations, assisting the client in checking the evidence. This examination proceeds in favor of the various explanations. Much of the work is done by use of empathy, asking hypothetical questions in a form of therapeutic Socratic dialogue—a process that follows a basic question and answer format, figuring out what is known and unknown before reaching a logical conclusion. Combining pharmacotherapy with cognitive therapy integrates both treating the possible underlying biological problems and decreasing the symptoms with psychotherapy.

Prognosis:
Evidence collected to date indicates about 10% of cases will show some improvement of delusional symptoms though irrational beliefs may remain; 33–50% may show complete remission; and, in 30–40% of cases there will be persistent non-improving symptoms. The prognosis for clients with delusional disorder is largely related to the level of conviction regarding the delusions and the openness the person has for allowing information that contradicts the delusion.

Prevention:
Little work has been done thus far regarding prevention of the disorder. Effective means of prevention have not been identified.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delusions

http://www.minddisorders.com/Br-Del/Delusional-disorder.html

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Aquatic Therapy

Water, a soothing component for everyday living, makes us feel better in many ways ­ a warm bath, a refreshing swim, a cool drink. No wonder, so many healthcare professionals are turning to water as an option for treatment. The pool is being proved for its value as the setting for more and more medical procedures, including rehabilitating patients with orthopedic injuries and chronic pain.

click & see the pictures

For many years, physical therapists have seen the benefits of aquatic physical therapy. As well as treating patients with orthopedic injuries and chronic pain, aquatic physical therapy is also an effective treatment for post-surgical patients, neurological patients, post-partum patients and athlete rehabilitation. Rehabilitative aquatics uses the natural physical properties of water to treat patients.

Why Water Works
Water has numerous characteristics that make it conducive to meeting treatment goals. Hydrostatic pressure is the equal pressure on all body parts that are immersed in water; this trait often helps to reduce swelling when exercises are performed below the surface of the water.

When a person enters the water the hydrostatic pressure that is applied to all body surfaces creates an upward force known as buoyancy. Buoyancy decreases the forces on body tissues and allows exercise with decreased pain and improved mobility. It is remarkable to see how quickly patients improve when they begin aquatic physical therapy.

Another characteristic of water that makes it beneficial for treatment is resistance. Water is u to 700 times more resistive than air. This resistance provides weak muscles with needed strength training. The natural properties of water allow patients to improve quicker in water than they would on land.

Benefits of Aquatic Physical Therapy

Overall, water has potential to promote quicker healing for patients. Aquatic physical therapy improves:

*Range of motion
*Muscular strength
*Cardiovascular endurance
*Balance
*Coordination
*General relaxation
*Joint flexibility
*Circulation

Aquatic physical therapy is a safe, non-threatening way to treat patients.

In addition to the other benefits of aquatic physical therapy, professionals are finding that patients involved in aquatic physical therapy actually feel better about themselves. The water environment empowers patients to accomplish goals and see results. The pool atmosphere allows therapists and their patients to relax while working together toward treatment goals.It is encouraging to see many patients decide to incorporate water exercise into their daily routine once treatment is complete. The difference between aquatic physical therapy and water aerobics is that aquatic physical therapy is conducted under the supervision of a physical therapist with the goal of rehabilitation or health maintenance. Water aerobics is an excellent form of water exercise.

Aquatic physical therapy has become a valuable treatment component for many patients. And new benefits of the treatment are emerging all the time.

How Aquatic Therapy is Performed:

Aquatic therapy or pool therapy consists of an exercise program that is performed in the water. It is a beneficial form of therapy that is useful for a variety of medical conditions. Aquatic therapy uses the physical properties of water to assist in patient healing and exercise performance.
One benefit of aquatic therapy is the buoyancy provided by the water. While submerged in water, buoyancy assists in supporting the weight of the patient. This decreases the amount of weight bearing which reduces the force of stress placed on the joints. This aspect of aquatic therapy is especially useful for patients with arthritis, healing fractured bones, or who are overweight. By decreasing the amount of joint stress it is easier and less painful to perform exercises.

The viscosity of water provides an excellent source of resistance that can be easily incorporated into an aquatic therapy exercise program. This resistance allows for muscle strengthening without the need of weights. Using resistance coupled with the water’s buoyancy allows a person to strengthen muscle groups with decreased joint stress that can not be experienced on land.

Aquatic therapy also utilizes hydrostatic pressure to decrease swelling and improve joint position awareness. The hydrostatic pressure produces forces perpendicular to the body’s surface. This pressure provides joint positional awareness to the patient. As a result, patient proprioception is improved. This is important for patients who have experienced joint sprains, as when ligaments are torn, our proprioception becomes decreased. The hydrostatic pressure also assists in decreasing joint and soft tissue swelling that results after injury or with arthritic disorders.

Lastly, the warmth of the water experience during aquatic therapy assists in relaxing muscles and vasodilates vessels, increasing blood flow to injured areas. Patients with muscle spasms, back pain, and fibromyalgia find this aspect of aquatic therapy especially therapeutic.

It is important to know however, that aquatic therapy is not for everyone. People with cardiac disease should not participate in aquatic therapy. Those who have fevers, infections, or bowel/bladder incontinence are also not candidates for aquatic therapy. Always discuss this with your physician before beginning an aquatic therapy program.

Click to see also:->
Balance Exercises
Endurance Exercises
Flexibility Exercises
Post-operative Exercises
Strengthening Exercises
Physical Therapy
Occupational Therapy - Making Life Easier With Occupational Therapy
POLL: Water Exercise and Pool Therapy
How Long Will My Physical Therapy Take?

Sciatic Exercises
Rehabilitation

Resources:

http://www.therapyservicespc.com/aquatic.html

http://physicaltherapy.about.com/od/strengtheningexercises/a/aquatictherapy.htm

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Hypersomnia

Definition
Hypersomnia refers to a set of related disorders that involve excessive daytime sleepiness.It is characterized by reoccuring episodes of excessive daytime sleepiness or prolonged nighttime sleep. Different from feeling tired due to lack of or interrupted sleep at night, persons with hypersomnia are compelled to nap repeatedly during the day, often at inappropriate times such as at work, during a meal, or in conversation. These daytime naps usually provide no relief from symptoms. Patients often have difficulty waking from a long sleep, and may feel disoriented. Other symptoms may include anxiety, increased irritation, decreased energy, restlessness, slow thinking, slow speech, loss of appetite, hallucinations, and memory difficulty. Some patients lose the ability to function in family, social, occupational, or other settings.

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Description:
There are two main categories of hypersomnia: primary hypersomnia (sometimes called idiopathic hypersomnia) and recurrent hypersomnia (sometimes called recurrent primary hypersomnia). Both are characterized by the same signs and symptoms and differ only in the frequency and regularity with which the symptoms occur.

Primary hypersomnia is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness over a long period of time. The symptoms are present all, or nearly all, of the time. Recurring hypersomnia involves periods of excessive daytime sleepiness that can last from one to many days, and recur over the course of a year or more. The primary difference between this and primary hypersomnia is that persons experiencing recurring hypersomnia will have prolonged periods where they do not exhibit any signs of hypersomnia, whereas persons experiencing primary hypersomnia are affected by it nearly all the time. One of the best documented forms of recurrent hypersomnia is Kleine-Levin syndrome, although there are other forms as well.

There are many different causes for daytime sleepiness that are not considered hypersomnia, and there are many diseases and disorders in which excessive daytime sleepiness is a primary or secondary symptom. Feelings of daytime sleepiness are often associated with the use of common substances such as caffeine, alcohol, and many medications. Other common factors that can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness that is not considered hypersomnia include shift work and insomnia. Shift work can disrupt the body’s natural sleep rhythms. Insomnia can cause excessive daytime sleepiness because of lack of nighttime sleep, and is a separate disorder.

Causes and symptoms:Hypersomnia can be caused by genetics (heredity), brain damage, and disorders such as clinical depression, uremia and fibromyalgia. Hypersomnia can also be a symptom of other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome.

People who are overweight may be more likely to suffer from hypersomnia. This can often exacerbate weight problems as excessive sleeping decreases metabolic energy consumption, making weight loss more difficult.

Another possible cause is an infection of mononucleosis, as several instances of hypersomnia have been found to arise immediately after such an infection (Dr. Givan, MD, Riley Hospital).

In some instances, the cause of the hypersomnia cannot be determined; in these cases, it is considered to be idiopathic hypersomnia.

Hypersomnia may also occur as a side effect of taking certain medications (i.e some psychotropics for depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder).
People experiencing hypersomnia do not get abnormal amounts of nighttime sleep. However, they often have problems waking up in the morning and staying awake during the day. People with hypersomnia nap frequently, and upon waking from the nap, do not feel refreshed. Hypersomnia is sometimes misdiagnosed as narcolepsy. In many ways the two are similar. One significant difference is that people with narcolepsy experience a sudden onset of sleepiness, while people with hypersomnia experience increasing sleepiness over time. Also, people with narcolepsy find daytime sleep refreshing, while people with hypersomnia do not.

People with Kleine-Levin syndrome have symptoms that differ from the symptoms of other forms of hypersomnia. These people may sleep for 18 or more hours a day. In addition, they are often irritable, uninhibited, and make indiscriminate sexual advances. People with Kleine-Levin syndrome often eat uncontrollably and rapidly gain weight, unlike people with other forms of hypersomnia. This form of recurrent hypersomnia is very rare.

The causes of hypersomnia remain unclear. There is some speculation that in many cases it can be attributed to problems involving the hypothalamus, but there is little evidence to support that claim.

Demographics:
Hypersomnia is an uncommon disorder. In general, 5% or fewer of adults complain of excessive sleepiness during the daytime. That does not mean all those who complain of excessive sleepiness have hypersomnia. There are many other possible causes of daytime sleepiness. Of all the people who visit sleep clinics because they feel they are too sleepy during the day, only about 5–10% are diagnosed with primary hypersomnia. Kleine-Levin syndrome is present in about three times more males than females, but it is a very rare syndrome.

Hypersomnia generally appears when the patient is between 15 and 30 years old. It does not begin suddenly, but becomes apparent slowly, sometimes over years.

Diagnosis:
Hypersomnia is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, and daytime naps that do not result in a more refreshed or alert feeling. Hypersomnia does not include lack of nighttime sleep. People experiencing problems with nighttime sleep may have insomnia, a separate sleep disorder. In people with insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness may be a side effect.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which presents the guidelines used by the American Psychiatric Association for diagnosis of disorders, states that symptoms must be present for at least a month, and must interfere with a person’s normal activities. Also, the symptoms cannot be attributed to failure to get enough sleep at night or to another sleep disorder. The symptoms cannot be caused by another significant psychological disorder, nor can they be a side effect of a medicinal or illicit drug or a side effect of a general medical condition. For a diagnosis of recurrent hypersomnia, the symptoms must occur for at least three days at a time, and the symptoms have to be present for at least two years.

An adult is considered to have hypersomnia if he or she sleeps more than 10 hours per day on a regular basis for at least two weeks, or if he or she is compelled to nap repeatedly during the day.

One diagnosis tool is the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, which helps determine the extent of EDS in a subject. A self test is available from Stanford University Medical School.

Treatments:Treatment is symptomatic in nature. Stimulants, such as amphetamine, methylphenidate, and modafinil, may be prescribed. Other drugs used to treat hypersomnia include clonidine, levodopa, bromocriptine, antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Changes in behavior (for example avoiding night work and social activities that delay bed time) and diet may offer some relief. Patients should avoid alcohol and caffeine.
No substantial body of evidence supports the effectiveness of these treatments. Stimulants are not generally recommended to treat hypersomnia as they treat the symptoms but not the base problem. Some researchers believe that treatment of the hypothalamus may be a possible treatment for hypersomnia.

Prognosis:
Kleine-Levin syndrome has been reported to resolve occasionally by itself around middle age. Except for that syndrome, hypersomnia is considered both a lifelong disorder and one that can be significantly disabling. There is no body of evidence that concludes there is a way to treat the majority of hypersomnia cases successfully.

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Massage Therapy for Hypersomnia

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.minddisorders.com/Flu-Inv/Hypersomnia.html

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

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Official Health Warning on Risk of Vitamin Supplements

Millions of people taking vitamin supplements will today be urged to exercise caution by the Department of Health over fears that in some cases they may do more harm than good.

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“Most people are able to meet their nutritional needs by eating a balanced, varied diet including plenty of fruit and vegetables, and therefore do not need to take dietary supplements,” a spokesperson said last night.

The advice, following a large review of scientific evidence first published last year and reported in The Times, comes as scientists appeal for greater regulation of vitamin supplements.

“There is a need to exercise caution in the use of high doses of purified supplements of vitamins, including antioxidant vitamins, and minerals, as their impact on long term health may not have been fully established and they cannot be assumed to be without risk,” she said.

“Anyone concerned about their diet should speak to their doctor or dietitian.”

The review of 67 studies involving more than 230,000 people is republished today by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organisation for evidence-based research. The review found no evidence that the nutrition supplements extend life. On the contrary, vitamins A and E and beta carotene appear to slightly increase premature death rates among those taking them. Vitamin C and selenium have no effect.

When the different antioxidants were assessed separately, trials with a low risk of bias were included and selenium excluded, vitamin A was linked to a 16 per cent increased risk of dying prematurely, beta-carotene to a 7 per cent increased risk and vitamin E to a 4 per cent increased risk. However, there was no significant detrimental effect caused by vitamin C.

“We found no evidence to support antioxidant supplements for primary or secondary prevention,” the authors said. “Beta-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E given singly or combined with other antioxidant supplements significantly increase mortality.

“There is no evidence that vitamin C may increase longevity. We lack evidence to refute a potential negative effect of vitamin C on survival. Selenium tended to reduce mortality but only when high-bias risk trials were considered. Accordingly, we need more research on vitamin C and selenium.”

The reviewers now say that they want more regulation of the health supplements industry and make a plea for urgent political action.

Pamela Mason, nutritionist and spokeswoman for the Health Supplements Information Service, which is funded by a grant from the Proprietary Association of Great Britain, said: “Antioxidant vitamins, including these noted in this Cochrane review, are essential for health.

“Trials using antioxidant supplements have shown inconsistent findings and yet another review or meta-analysis is not going to tell us anything at this stage that we don’t already know.”

Related Links:->
Medical backlash over health foods
It’s hard to swallow but vitamins can be dangerous
The vitamin boost that could cause early death

Sources
:TIMESONLINE

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