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Hypnotherapy ‘can help’ IBS

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Greater use of hypnotherapy to ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome would help sufferers and might save money, says a gastroenterologist.

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Dr Roland Valori, editor of Frontline Gastroenterology, said of the first 100 of his patients treated, symptoms improved significantly for nine in 10.

He said that although previous research has shown hypnotherapy is effective for IBS sufferers, it is not widely used.

This may be because doctors simply do not believe it works.

Widely ignored
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gut problem which can cause abdominal pain, bloating, and sometimes diarrhoea or constipation.

Dr Valori, of Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, said the research evidence which shows that hypnotherapy could help sufferers of IBS was first published in the 1980s.

He thinks it has been widely ignored because many doctors find it hard to believe that it does work, or to comprehend how it could work.

“It is pretty clear to me that it has an amazing effect”

Dr Roland Valori, editor of Frontline Gastroenterology
He began referring IBS patients for hypnotherapy in the early 1990s and has found it to be highly effective.

“To be frank, I have never looked back,” he said.

He audited the first 100 cases he referred for hypnotherapy and found that the symptoms stopped completely in four in ten cases with typical IBS.

He says in a further five in 10 cases patients reported feeling more in control of their symptoms and were therefore much less troubled by them.

“It is pretty clear to me that it has an amazing effect,” he said.

“It seems to work particularly well on younger female patients with typical symptoms, and those who have only had IBS for a relatively short time.”

Powerful effect:-

He believes that it could work partly by helping to relax patients.

“Of the relaxation therapies available, hypnotherapy is the most powerful,” he said.

He also says that IBS patients often face difficult situations in their lives, and hypnotherapy can help them respond to these stresses in a less harmful way.

NHS guidelines allow doctors to refer IBS patients for hypnotherapy or other psychological therapies if medication is unsuccessful and the problem persists.

Dr Valori thinks that if hypnotherapy were used more widely it could possibly save the NHS money while improving patient care.

Dr Charlie Murray, Secretary of the British Gastroenterology Society, said: “There is no doubt that hypnotherapy is helpful for some patients, but it depends on the skill and experience of those practising it.

“But the degree to which it is effective is not well defined.

“I would support using it as one therapy, but it is no panacea.”

You may click & see also:-
Hypnosis has ‘real’ brain effect
Children can ‘imagine away’ pain
Soluble fibre ‘effective for IBS’
Frontline Gastroenterology

Source  : BBC News: 18th. March, 2010

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Getting the Lead Out

There is no question that lead poses a serious health risk to children. Exposure to lead can lower a child’s intelligence and lead to learning disabilities, hyperactivity, and reduced attention span.

Even though doctors and scientists cannot dispute the harmful effects of lead, they cannot seem to agree on just how much lead is dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of a child’s blood as the threshold at which problems begin. About 1.6 % of American children ages one to five have blood lead levels (BLL) above this limit, according to the CDC. However, even levels below the cut-off can cause neu­rological problems, the CDC said in a recent report. Scientific research indicates that there really is no  safe threshold for children’s blood lead levels.

Lead paint is one of the leading sources of lead expo­sure in children, along with contaminated soil, dust, and drinking water. Most homes built before 1960 contain lead paint   that’s about four million homes in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Home remodeling makes up a big part of children’s lead exposure, experts say.

Protecting Your Kids from Lead Exposure:....CLICK & SEE

Regardless of which blood lead level is most dangerous, it’s a good idea to avoid exposing your kids to lead as much as possible. The following checklist, from the book 365 Ways to Keep Kids Safe (Balloon Press), can help you spot potential lead dangers and keep your kids away from this toxic substance.

*Test your children for lead. This is especially important if you live in an older home. A routine lead level test is simple to take an usually costs around $25. Have your children screened for lead once a year until they reach age three, then once every five years.

*Test your home for lead. A home lead test is the only way to determine if you have lead in your home, and if so, how much there is. Don’t try to test yourself, though. Although many companies advertise do-it-yourself tests, these tests are unreliable. You’re better off calling an EPA-certified examiner. To find an examiner, call the National Lead Infor­mation Center (NLIC) at 1-800-424-LEAD.

*Check for lead outside. Contaminated soil is a sig­nificant source of lead, especially when that soil is located close to high-traffic roads or old buildings. Your kids can easily track in lead-tainted dirt when they go outside to play. If you  are concerned about lead near your home, the EPA-certified examiner you call to check the inside of your home can also test the soil outside of it.

*Know where your water travels. Many homes contain lead pipes, which can leech lead into your drinking water. To clean up your water, the EPA advises that you use a NSF International water filter. To learn more about these filters, visit the NSF website at http://www.nsf.org/consumer/drinking_water/dw_treatment.asp?program=WaterTre. You can also contact your local water authority to find out whether or not they are doing anything to reduce lead in the water supply, and to have your water tested for lead.

*Change your wallpaper. If your home contains wallpaper that was made before 1978, it may contain lead. Consider removing it and painting or re-wallpapering your walls.

*Check your blinds. Several types of mini-blinds, especially those made in the Far East, can contain high levels of lead. Ask your lead examiner to check your blinds. If they do contain lead, have them replaced.

*Be aware of playground lead dangers. Metal equipment on public playgrounds may be covered with lead paint, and if the equipment is not well maintained that paint can chip onto the ground and come into direct contact with children. Call your local department of recreation and ask if the playground contains any lead paint.

Source:kidsgrowth.com

The Wheezing That Could Signal Childhood Asthma

LATE last fall, Carrie R., a public relations executive who lives in Riverdale in the Bronx, noticed that her 2-year-old daughter had been suffering from a nagging cough for far too long. She assumed the toddler had caught a cold or was reacting to the change in weather.

But when the cough hung on for several more weeks, and became so severe that her daughter vomited, Carrie began to worry about something more serious. Still, she was stunned by her pediatricians diagnosis  asthma.

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“I was completely blindsided, said Carrie, who asked that her surname not be used to protect the privacy of her daughter. “I thought asthma would look more like an ˜attack not just coughing. My pediatrician is wonderful, but I ended up taking my daughter to a specialist because this diagnosis was very serious and seemed so out of the blue that I wanted to be sure.

Though asthma is a common disorder, particularly in childhood, it can be difficult to diagnose. Doctors can struggle to figure out whether a child who is having trouble breathing has asthma rather than a virus, nasal allergy or other upper-respiratory problem.

Unlike the tests for some diseases, checking for asthma does not involve using high-technology equipment or techniques. While there are tests — the most common uses a device called a spirometer, which measures airway efficiency — doctors often rely more on family histories and thorough questioning about symptoms and exposure to allergens.

 

There is no definitive test, said Dr. Stuart Stoloff, a family practice physician in Carson City, Nev. “There are no easy markers or a single blood test to tell when it’s asthma and when it’s not. Instead you have to carefully look at the whole picture.”

Dr. Stoloff is on an expert panel that is rewriting the federal guidelines for diagnosing and managing asthma. By early summer, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program will introduce these new recommendations, which place added emphasis on analyzing symptoms, looking for allergens, gathering histories and confirming the diagnosis with spirometry.

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects 20 million Americans, including 9 million children, or 6.5 percent of the under-18 population. It is characterized by attacks of inflammation and narrowing of the small airways of the lungs, generally sparked by a viral infection (like those that cause colds), exercise or exposure to pet hair, pollen or other allergens. But because attacks can vary in intensity and show up as shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, chest pain, rapid breathing or a combination of these symptoms, asthma can often be confused with other illnesses.

The growing incidence of obesity in children has made diagnosing asthma even trickier. “Investigators are reporting that more and more children, particularly adolescents, are coming in with a diagnosis of asthma and they are also obese,” said Dr. Alkis G. Togias, the section chief, asthma and inflammation, division of allergy, immunology and transplantation at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. “But it is not clear that they have asthma. It might be that the obesity is causing shortness of breath.”

Experts worry that asthma is often not diagnosed, particularly in young children. “Younger children, under 7 or 8, sometimes can’t express themselves well,” said Dr. Norman H. Edelman, the chief medical officer for the American Lung Association and professor of preventive medicine at Stony Brook University Medical Center, in Stony Brook, N.Y.

A spirometer test can help confirm an asthma diagnosis. This device measures the amount of air blown out of the lungs over time. But if the test is done when the patient is not having symptoms, it may not show any abnormality. Furthermore, not every doctor’s office has such equipment, and some patients whose airway function seems normal might still have asthma. In addition, children under 4 generally cannot perform the test.

Dr. Sandra Braganza, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx, estimated that about a fourth of all the patients she sees suffer from the disease. “The rates of asthma in our community are so high that when a child comes in with wheezing, coughing or shortness, we immediately suspect asthma,” she said. “Parents, too, need to know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of asthma,” she added. “There’s nothing worse than seeing a child who can’t breathe. But being empowered with education makes it a lot less scary.”

Source: The New York Times