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Ferula moschata


Botanical Name:
Ferula moschata
Family:
Apiaceae
Subfamily:
Apioideae
Tribes:
Scandiceae
Subtribes:
Ferulinae
Genus:
Ferula
Species:
Ferula moschata

Synonyms : Ferula sumbul.

Common Names: Musk Root, Eurangium sumbul; Sumbulus moschatus, Ferula sumbul.

Vernacular Names:
English: Musk-root; Sumbul.
German: Echte; Persische Sambulwurzel.
Dutch: Muskuswortel.

Habitat :Ferula moschata is native to W. Asia – Turkestan to Tibet. It grows on mountains of Samarkand at heights of 900 to 1300 metres. Gravel slopes in bushes in Tibet.

Description:
Ferula moschata is a perennial herb, growing to 2.5 m (8ft 2in). Stem slender, corymbose-branched, lower branches alternate, upper branches verticillate. Leaf blade broadly elliptic-triangular, ternate-2-pinnatisect; ultimate segments oblong or lanceolate, 20–35 × 10–15 mm, remote, rather thick, adaxially glabrous, abaxially pubescent, sometimes sparsely papillose along veins, distally lobed, lobules entire or toothed. Terminal umbel long-pedunculate, lateral umbels 1–2, solitary or opposite, slightly exceeding terminal; umbels 4–6 cm across; bracts absent; rays 6–12, subequal; bracteoles lanceolate; umbellules 9–12-flowered. Stylopodium low-conic, base dilated, margins undulate. Fruit ellipsoid, ca. 7 mm; vittae 1 in each furrow, 2 on commissure.

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It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in most soils. Requires a deep fertile soil in a sunny position. Plants are hardy to about -5°c. Plants have a long taproot and are intolerant of root disturbance. They should be planted into their final positions as soon as possible.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as the seed is ripe in a greenhouse in autumn. Otherwise sow in April in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. Plant them out into their permanent positions whilst still small because the plants dislike root disturbance. Give the plants a protective mulch for at least their first winter outdoors. Division in autumn. This may be inadvisable due to the plants dislike of root disturbance.

Edible Uses: Gum is edible.

Medicinal Uses:
The root and the rhizome are antispasmodic, nervine, stimulant and tonic. The medicinal action resembles that of valerian (Valeriana officinalis) and the plant is used in the treatment of various hysterical conditions. It is also believed to have a specific action on the pelvic organs and is used in treating dysmenorrhoea and a wide range of other feminine disorders. The root is also a stimulant to mucous membranes and is used in treating chronic dysentery, diarrhoea, bronchitis and even pneumonia.

Other Uses : Gum……..A gum is extracted from the root. Used as a perfume and an incense, it is a musk substitute.

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

Resources:
https://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ferula_moschata
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Ferula+moschata
http://www.qjure.com/remedy/ferula-moschata-0
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=242321996

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Fragaria iinumae

 

Botanical Name : Fragaria iinumae
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Fragaria
Species: F. iinumae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales
Common Name : Strawberry

Habitat : Fragaria iinumae is native to Japan and eastern Russia. It grows in moist sunny situations in alpine and sub-alpine regions of N. and C. Japan

Description:
Fragaria iinumae is a perennial plant growing to 0.3 m (1ft). It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen from Jun to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

In Japan it was first discovered on Mount N?g?haku and the name N?g? Fragaria was given.

All strawberries have a base haploid count of 7 chromosomes. Fragaria iinumae is diploid, having 2 pairs of these chromosomes for a total of 14 chromosomes.

Cultivation & Propagation:
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Seed – sow early spring in a greenhouse. The seed can take 4 weeks or more to germinate. The seedlings are very small and slow-growing at first, but then grow rapidly. Prick them out into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out during the summer. Division of runners, preferably done in July/August in order to allow the plants to become established for the following years crop. They can also be moved in the following spring if required, though should not then be allowed to fruit in their first year. The runners can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Fruit; Leaves.
Edible Uses: …..Fruit eaten raw. Young plants – cooked. Added to soups or used as a potherb.

Medicinal Uses: Not known

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fragaria_iinumae
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Fragaria+iinumae

Yoga Has Greater Positive Effect on Anxiety than Other Forms of Exercise

Yoga has a greater positive effect on a person’s mood and anxiety level than walking and other forms of exercise, which may be due to higher levels of the brain chemical GABA.
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Yoga has been shown to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, a chemical in the brain that helps to regulate nerve activity. GABA activity is reduced in people with mood and anxiety disorders, and drugs that increase GABA activity are commonly prescribed to improve mood and decrease anxiety.

Tying all of these observations together, the study by Chris Streeter and colleagues demonstrates that increased GABA levels measured after a session of yoga postures are associated with improved mood and decreased anxiety. Their findings establish a new link between yoga, higher levels of GABA in the thalamus, and improvements in mood and anxiety based on psychological assessments. The authors suggest that the practice of yoga stimulates specific brain areas, thereby giving rise to changes in endogenous antidepressant neurotransmitters such as GABA.

“This is important work that establishes some objective bases for the effects that highly trained practitioners of yoga therapy throughout the world see on a daily basis. What is important now is that these findings are further investigated in long-term studies to establish just how sustainable such changes can be in the search for safe non-drug treatments for depression,” says Kim A. Jobst, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Source: Elements4Health

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Passionflower

Botanical Name :Passiflora caerulea
Family: Passifloraceae
Genus: Passiflora
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malpighiales

Other Names: Apricot Vine, Corona de Cristo, Granadilla, Maypop, Passiflora, Passiflora incarnata, Passion Vine, Water Lemon

Bengali Name :Jhumko Lata
Parts Used: The above-ground parts (flowers, leaves, and stems) of the passionflower are used for medicinal purposes. (Plant – dried, collected after some of the berries have natured
Flower – dried)

Habitat:
The plant is indigenous to an area from the southeast U.S. to Argentina and Brazil.Southeast Asia…India, Bangladesh & Burma.

Description:Passion flower (Passiflora; syn. Disemma Labill.) is a genus of about 500 species of flowering plants in the family Passifloraceae. They are mostly vines, with some being shrubs, and a few species being herbaceous. For information about the fruit of the passiflora plant, see passionfruit.

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

It has a long vine which grows for 30 feet in length and bears alternate, serrate leaves with finely toothed lobes. The flowers are white with purple centers developing in the leaf axils, blooming from May to July. The fruit is a smooth, yellow, ovate berry containing numerous seeds.

CHEMICAL COMPOSITION
Alkaloids……..Apigenin………Carbohydrates
Coumarins……..Flavonoids……………Fructose
Glucose……….Gum……………………..Harmaline
Harmalol……..Harman………………….Harmine
Maltol……….Plant alcohols…………..Orientin
Raffinose……Saponaretin………………Saponarin
Scopoletin…..Stigmasterol……………Sitosterol
Sterols……..Sucrose……………………..Umbelliferone
Vitexin

Medical and entheogenic uses
Passiflora incarnata leaves and roots have a long history of use among Native Americans in North America. Passiflora edulis and a few other species are used in Central and South America. The fresh or dried leaves are used to make an infusion, a tea that is used to treat insomnia, hysteria, and epilepsy, and is also valued for its painkilling properties. It has been found to contain beta-carboline harmala alkaloids which are MAOIs with anti-depressant properties. The flower has only traces of these chemicals, but the leaves and the roots of some species contain more and have been used to enhance the effects of mind-altering drugs. Once dried, the leaves can also be smoked.

Anti-anxiety:
Passion flower has a tranquilizing effect, including mild sedative and anti-anxiety effects. In studies conducted since the 1930’s, its mode of action has been found to be different than that of most sedative drugs (sleeping pills), thus making it a non-addictive herb to promote relaxation.

Insomnia:
The sedative effect of Passion flower has made it popular for treating a variety of ailments, including nervousness and insomnia. Research had indicated that passion flower has a complex activity on the central nervous system (CNS), which is responsible for its overall tranquilizing effects. Also, it apparently has an antispasmodic effect on smooth muscles within the body, including the digestive system, promoting digestion.

Oral passion flower products are most frequently used for their effects on the central nervous system (CNS). While not all of their effects are understood, certain chemicals in passion flower may act like a class of prescription drugs known as benzodiazepines. Drugs such as benzodiazepines and herbals such as passion flower increase levels of a neurotransmitter known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Neurotransmitters are chemicals that carry messages from nerve cells to other cells. In general, GABA decreases the activity of nerve cells in the brain, causing relaxation, possibly relieving anxiety, and potentially treating insomnia.

In addition, passion flower contains chemicals known as harmala alkaloids, which are thought to block an enzyme involved in depression. This enzyme, monoamine oxidase, breaks down other neurotransmitters–especially dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin–which affect mood stability. Blocking monoamine oxidase may increase the amounts of other neurotransmitters, which may improve mood. No large human studies have been performed to prove the effectiveness of passion flower for any CNS uses, however.

Although applying passion flower to the skin is not as common as taking it by mouth, topical forms may help to relieve minor skin conditions such as burns, cold sores, insect bites, razor burn, scrapes, and sunburn. Passion flower products also have been used to alleviate the itching and burning pain of hemorrhoids. Laboratory studies have shown that it possesses some possible mild anti-infective activity, so it may also help to prevent skin surface infections. Again, however, these uses have yet to be proven in human studies.

FOLKLORE
Passion flower has a mild sedative effect that encourages sleep. This property has been well-substantiated in numerous studies on animals and humans. Nervous symptoms and cramps that inhibit sleep are alleviated by ingestion of the herb, and leading quickly to restful uninterrupted and deep sleep. When Spanish explorers first encountered the Indians of Peru and Brazil, they found this plant used in native folk medicine as a sedative. They took it back to Spain, from whence it gradually spread throughout Europe. It was in Europe that the leaves of the plant first found use as a sedative and sleep-inducing substance. Interestingly, its sedative effect was not noted by American until lately.

Today, more than 400 species of passion flower are found throughout the world. The active constituents of passion flower can be broadly classified as alkaloids and flavonoids, supported in their actions by a variety of other constituents, including amino acids, sugars, coumarins, and alcohols (actually sterols).

A decoction of passion flower has been successfully used in bronchial asthma. It has been used in Europe and America as a topical treatment for burns; compresses of the herb have a marked effect on inflammations.

The leaves of Passiflora edulis are used in South America as a diuretic and for hemorrhoidal inflammations. In Brazil, Passiflora incarnata is used as an antispasmodic and sedative. In North America, passion flower is often used as an analgesic and anticonvulsant, with some success noticed in cases of tetanus. In Italy, a combination of passion flower, belladonna, and lobelia is used to treat asthma. In Poland, a proprietary drug for treating excitability, contains an extract of passion flower.

Numerous homeopathic drugs contain passion flower; it is possible that the main sedative activity of the plant is truly homeopathic in nature, being in that respect a function of the harman alkaloid constituents otherwise stimulant in nature.

Passion flower has been commonly used in the treatment of nervous, high-strung, easily excited children; cardiovascular neuroses; bronchial asthma; coronary illness; circulation weakness; insomnia; problems experienced during menopause; concentration problems in school children; and in geriatrics. There is some experimental support for these applications.

Passion flower appears completely nontoxic, and has been approved for food use by the FDA.

Properties and Uses
Passion flower has related analgesic, sedative, sleep-inducing, and spasmolytic effects.
The major pharmacological effect of passion flower, first observed nearly a hundred years ago and consistently reported ever since, is a sedative property. The analgesic property of this herb was also observed, and doctors had success treating the sleeplessness experienced by neurasthenic and hysteric patients, as well as that caused by nervous exhaustion. Early investigators noticed that the herb worked best when sleeplessness could be traced to an inflammation of the brain; passion flower appeared to act as an analgesic and was free from side effects. Later in this century, investigators discovered that the flavonoid fraction was more effective. However, other tests showed that the most effective sedative activity was obtained from a combination of both the flavonoids and the alkaloids.

Early research indicated that an extract of passion flower was effective against the disturbance of menopause, and as agent against the sleeplessness that occurred during convalescence from the flu. The herb had no side effects, and appeared to induce a normal peaceful sleep. Observations on the day following administration revealed no depression of body or mind, in contrast to the morning-after effects usually experienced with narcotic drugs.

Passion flower is one of the main constituents of a German sleeping pill called Vita-Dor. This product, also containing aprobarbital, valerian root, hops, mellissa, and thiamine, is highly effective in inducing and maintaining sleep throughout the night. A recent Romanian patent was issued for a sedative chewing gum that contains passion flower extract in a base of several vitamins. Many other examples of the widespread application of passion flower in Europe could be cited; however, American recognition of the sedative effects of passion flower has lagged seriously behind.

Some of passion flower’s main constituents are the harmine and harman alkaloids (passiflorine, aribine, loturine, yageine, etc.). In man small doses (about 3-6 mg) stimulate the central nervous system, much like coffee and tea (black). In larger doses (15-35 mg), these alkaloids produce a strong motoric restlessness followed by drowsiness. Still larger doses intensify the motoric activity and cause hallucinations, convulsions, and vomiting. Oral doses of 300-400 mg will produce marked psychotic symptoms, replete with hallucinations, followed by pronounced central nervous system depression. Hence, passion flower is sometimes used as a mild hallucinogen. Since large doses of pure harman alkaloids are needed to produce psychoactive symptoms of any merit, use of the whole plant probably has no such observable effect.

Pharmacological investigations in animals indicate that relatively large doses of harman derivatives excite the central nervous system, producing hallucinations and convulsions that appear to be of extrapyramidal origin. These effects do not agree with the properties of the whole plant. Harman alkaloids arrest spasms in smooth muscle, lower the blood pressure, and expand the coronary vessels, effects which have also been observed in whole herb extracts and appear occasionally in the folk literature. A centrally-depressive chemical, a gamma-pyrone derivative called maltol, has been isolated from passion flower and shown to have mild sedative properties in mice; maltol could offset the stimulant properties of harman alkaloids, but it is unlikely that it account for all sedative effects observed in humans.

Presently, the active principle in passion flower remains unknown. It has been verified that the herb’s alkaloid fraction is sedative, the flavonoid fraction (also containing some harman) is active, and a combination of the two is most active.

DRUG INTERACTIONS
Possible Interactions
Passion flower should be used with caution in conjunction with CNS-depressants or stimulants.
Specifically, this herb should not be used at all in conjunction with the potent CNS-depressant analgesic, methotrimeprazine.

Toxicity Levels
No toxicity of passion flower has been noted, although harman alkaloids have demonstrated toxic effects (as discussed in the Method of Action section).

Safety:
There are no reported side effects for passion flower and the suggested dosages. However, it is not recommended for use in pregnant women or children under the age of two. If already taking a sedative or tranquilizer, consult a health care professional before using passion flower.

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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.passionflower.org/
http://www.drugdigest.org/DD/DVH/HerbsWho/0,3923,4101%7CPassion%2BFlower,00.html
http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/passionflower-000267.htm
http://www.springboard4health.com/notebook/herbs_passion_flower.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passiflora

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Dystonia

Definition:
Dystonia is the term used to describe a condition that causes involuntary sustained muscle contractions that lead to abnormal movements and postures.

It is a neurological disorder but does not lead to problems with other functions of the brain such as intellect.It is a neurological movement disorder in which sustained muscle contractions cause twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures. The disorder may be inherited or caused by other factors such as birth-related or other physical trauma, infection, poisoning (eg. lead poisoning) or reaction to drugs.

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Types of Dystonia:

* Generalized
* Segmental
* Intermediate

The Focal Dystonias:

These are the most common dystonias and tend to be classified as follows:

* Cervical dystonia (spasmodic torticollis). This affects the muscles of the neck, causing the head to rotate to one side, to pull down towards the chest, or back, or a combination of these postures.

* Blepharospasm. This affects the muscles around the eyes. The sufferer experiences rapid blinking of the eyes or even their forced closure causing effective blindness.

* Oculogyric crisis. An extreme and sustained (usually) upward deviation of the eyes often with convergence causing diplopia. It is frequently associated with backwards and lateral flexion of the neck and either widely opened mouth or jaw clenching. Frequently a result of antiemetics such as the neuroleptics (e.g. prochlorperazine) or metoclopramide.

* Oromandibular dystonia. This affects the muscles of the jaw and tongue, causing distortions of the mouth and tongue.

* Spasmodic dysphonia/Laryngeal dystonia. This affects the muscles of the larynx, causing the voice to sound broken or reducing it to a whisper.

* Oromandibular dystonia: Dystonia affecting the muscles of the jaw, tongue and mouth

* Laryngeal dystonia: Dystonia affecting the speech muscles

* Writer’s cramp: Dystonia affecting the ability to write and sometimes other hand-based tasks

There are other types of dystonia that affect more than one area, including generalised dystonia that affects most of the body, frequently involving the legs and back (trunk).

Focal hand dystonia (also known as musician’s or writer’s cramp). This affects a single muscle or small group of muscles in the hand. It interferes with activities such as writing or playing a musical instrument by causing involuntary muscular contractions. The condition is “task-specific,” meaning that it is generally only apparent during certain activities. Focal hand dystonia is neurological in origin, and is not due to fatigue.

The combination of blepharospasmodic contractions and oromandibular dystonia is called cranial dystonia or Meige’s syndrome.

Segmental Dystonias:

Segmental dystonias affect two adjoining parts of the body:

* Hemidystonia. This affects an arm and a leg on one side of the body.

* Multifocal dystonia. This affects many different parts of the body.

* Generalized dystonia. This affects most of the body, frequently involving the legs and back.

Causes:
The cause(s) of dystonia are not yet known or understood; however, they are categorized as follows on a theoretical basis:

Primary dystonia is suspected to be caused by a pathology of the central nervous system, likely originating in those parts of the brain concerned with motor function, such as the basal ganglia, and the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) producing Purkinje neurons. The precise cause of primary dystonia is unknown. In many cases it may involve some genetic predisposition towards the disorder combined with environmental conditions.

Secondary dystonia refers to dystonia brought on by some identified cause, usually involving brain damage, or by some unidentified cause such as chemical imbalance. Some cases of (particularly focal) dystonia are brought on after trauma, are induced by certain drugs (tardive dystonia), or may be the result of diseases of the nervous system such as Wilson’s disease.

It has been suggested that an imbalance of neurotransmitters (such as dopamine) leads to this defect in control of muscles and movement.

In some cases, damage to the basal ganglia can lead to dystonia.

These are referred to as secondary dystonia and can be due to a variety of causes such as stroke or tumour of the basal ganglia, or the result of certain drugs (especially dopamine blocking drugs used to treat psychiatric disorders) and so on.

In the majority of cases, no underlying cause is found apart from possible genetic factors, and these are called primary or idiopathic dystonia.

Who is affected by dystonia?
Dystonia affects men and women of all ages.

If it develops in childhood, it tends to become generalised.

Dystonia which has its onset in adult life usually remains focal and is more common in those over 40 years of age.

The condition can be difficult to diagnose and many patients remain untreated because their symptoms are unrecognised.

Is it inherited?

Dystonia that develops in childhood is often inherited through one or more affected genes.

Most primary segmental or generalised dystonia is inherited in a dominant manner, which means that if a parent has this type of dystonia, there is a 50% chance of passing the dystonia gene to each child.

However, not everyone who inherits the gene develops dystonia, a phenomenon known as reduced penetrance.

Dystonia which develops in adults may also be inherited.

This is often difficult to identify, since other family members may have only a mild form of the illness. They may have never sought medical advice or perhaps their dystonia was misdiagnosed.

Symptoms:
Symptoms vary according to the kind of dystonia involved. In most cases, dystonia tends to lead to abnormal posturing, particularly on movement. Many sufferers have continuous pain, cramping and relentless muscle spasms due to involuntary muscle movements.

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Early symptoms may include loss of precision muscle coordination (sometimes first manifested in declining penmanship, frequent small injuries to the hands, dropped items and a noticeable increase in dropped or chipped dishes), cramping pain with sustained use and trembling. Significant muscle pain and cramping may result from very minor exertions like holding a book and turning pages. It may become difficult to find a comfortable position for arms and legs with even the minor exertions associated with holding arms crossed causing significant pain similar to restless leg syndrome. Affected persons may notice trembling in the diaphragm while breathing, or the need to place hands in pockets, under legs while sitting or under pillows while sleeping to keep them still and to reduce pain. Trembling in the jaw may be felt and heard while lying down, and the constant movement to avoid pain may result in TMJ-like symptoms and the grinding and wearing down of teeth. The voice may crack frequently or become harsh, triggering frequent throat clearing. Swallowing can become difficult and accompanied by painful cramping.

Electrical sensors (EMG) inserted into affected muscle groups, while painful, can provide a definitive diagnosis by showing pulsating nerve signals being transmitted to the muscles even when they are at rest. The brain appears to signal portions of fibers within the affected muscle groups at a firing speed of about 10 Hz causing them to pulsate, tremble and contort. When called upon to perform an intentional activity, the muscles fatigue very quickly and some portions of the muscle groups do not respond (causing weakness) while other portions over-respond or become rigid (causing micro-tears under load). The symptoms worsen significantly with use, especially in the case of focal dystonia, and a “mirror effect” is often observed in other body parts: use of the right hand may cause pain and cramping in that hand as well as in the other hand and legs that were not being used. Stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, sustained use and cold temperatures can worsen symptoms.

Direct symptoms may be accompanied by secondary effects of the continuous muscle and brain activity, including disturbed sleep patterns, exhaustion, mood swings, mental stress, difficulty concentrating, blurred vision, digestive problems and short temper. People with dystonia may also become depressed and find great difficulty adapting their activities and livelihood to a progressing disability. Side effects from treatment and medications can also present challenges in normal activities.

In some cases, symptoms may progress and then plateau for years, or stop progressing entirely. The progression may be delayed by treatment or adaptive lifestyle changes, while forced continued use may make symptoms progress more rapidly. In others, the symptoms may progress to total disability, making some of the more risky forms of treatment worth considering.

An accurate diagnosis may be difficult because of the way the disorder manifests itself. Sufferers may be diagnosed as having similar and perhaps related disorders including Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor (ET), carpal tunnel syndrome, TMJ, Tourette’s syndrome, or other neuromuscular movement disorders.

Treatment:
Treatment has been limited to minimizing the symptoms of the disorder as there is yet no successful treatment for its cause. Reducing the types of movements that trigger or worsen dystonic symptoms provides some relief, as does reducing stress, getting plenty of rest, moderate exercise, and relaxation techniques. Various treatments focus on sedating brain functions or blocking nerve communications with the muscles via drugs, neuro-suppression or denervation. All current treatments have negative side effects and risks.

Physicians may prescribe a series of different medications on a trial basis in an effort to find a combination that is effective for a specific patient. Not all patients will respond well to the same medications. Drugs that have had positive results in some patients include anti-Parkinsons agents (Trihexyphenidyl), muscle relaxers (Valium), keppra, and beta-blockers including “off-label” uses for some blood pressure medications.

Drugs such as anticholinergics, which act as inhibitors of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, may provide some relief. Clonazepam, an anti-seizure medicine, is also sometimes prescribed. However, for most sufferers their effects are limited and side effects like mental confusion, sedation, mood swings and short-term memory loss occur.

Botulinum toxin injections into affected muscles have proved quite successful in providing some relief for around 3-6 months, depending on the kind of dystonia. Botox injections have the advantage of ready availability (the same form is used for cosmetic surgery) and the effects are not permanent. There is a risk of temporary paralysis of the muscles being injected or the leaking of the toxin into adjacent muscle groups causing weakness or paralysis in them. The injections have to be repeated as the effects wear off and around 15% of recipients will develop immunity to the toxin. There is a Type A and Type B toxin approved for treatment of dystonia; often those that develop resistance to Type A may be able to use Type B.

Surgery, such as the denervation of selected muscles, may also provide some relief; however, the destruction of nerves in the limbs or brain is not reversible and should only be considered in the most extreme cases. Recently, the procedure of deep brain stimulation (DBS) has proved successful in a number of cases of severe generalised dystonia.

One type of dystonia, dopa-responsive dystonia, can be completely treated with regular doses of L-dopa in a form such as Sinemet (carbidopa/levodopa). Although this doesn’t remove the condition, it does alleviate the symptoms most of the time.

A baclofen pump has been used to treat patients of all ages exhibiting muscle spasticity along with dystonia. The pump delivers baclofen via a catheter to the thecal space surrounding the spinal cord. The pump itself is placed in the abdomen. It can be refilled periodically by access through the skin.

Physical therapy can sometimes help with focal dystonia. A structured set of exercises is tailored to help the affected area.

Prognosis:Unfortunately, there is not yet a cure for most forms of dystonia. Nowadays, however, many dystonic conditions can be very successfully managed. In many cases, if dystonia develops in childhood, particularly if it starts in the legs, it may spread to other parts of the body and can become generalised.

However, when it develops in adults, it usually confines itself to one part of the body (focal dystonia). The progress of dystonia is unpredictable.
The severity of symptoms can vary from day to day, and while there often is an element of overall progression, it is difficult to estimate how long this will last.Typically, a focal dystonia will progress very gradually over a five-year period, and then progress no further. Symptoms in all dystonic conditions can vary.
For some people, their dystonia may sometimes improve or disappear altogether for no apparent reason.


Living with Dystonia:

As with the onset of any long-term medical condition, some people who develop dystonia may go through an initial period of depression, embarrassment and outrage – or relief that there is an explanation for their symptoms.

Most people do manage to develop effective strategies for coping with the challenges that their condition brings.

Successful treatments to lessen their symptoms, effective pain control and the acquisition of sensory ‘tricks’ all help to ameliorate social situations.

Development:In the last few years, awareness of dystonia has increased and the outlook for people with dystonia is improving.

The Dystonia Society, a registered charity, works hard to speed up the processes of both research and recognition.

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/Dystonia
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/medical_notes/6237440.stm