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Kalmia angustifolia

Botanical  Name: Kalmia angustifolia
Family: Ericaceae
Genus: Kalmia
Species:K. angustifolia
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms: K. angustifolium, K. intermedia

Common Name: Sheep Laurel

Habitat :Kalmia angustifolia is native to Eastern N. America – Newfoundland to Hudson Bay, south to Georgia and Michigan. Nat in Britain. It grows on acidic bogs and swamps.

Description:
Kalmia angustifolia is an evergreen Shrub. The wild the plant may vary in height from 15–90 cm (6–35 in). The attractive small, deep crimson-pink flowers are produced in early summer. Each has five sepals, with a corolla of five fused petals, and ten stamens fused to the corolla. They are pollinated by bumble bees and solitary bees. Each mature capsule contains about 180 seeds.

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New shoots arise from dormant buds on buried rhizomes. This process is stimulated by fire. The narrow evergreen leaves, pale on the underside, have a tendency to emerge from the stem in groups of three. A peculiarity of the plant is that clusters of leaves usually terminate the woody stem, for the flowers grow in whorls or in clusters below the stem apex.

Numerous cultivars have been selected for garden use, of which K. angustifolia f. rubra has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.
It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
Requires an acid humus-rich soil, succeeding in part shade or in full sun in cooler areas. Prefers almost full sun. Dislikes dry soils, requiring cool, permanently moist conditions at the roots. Succeeds in open woodland or along the woodland edge. Plants are very cold-hardy, tolerating temperatures down to about -30°c. A very ornamental and variable plant, there are many named varieties. The flowers are produced at the end of the previous years growth. Plants spread slowly by means of suckers. Pruning is not normally necessary, though if older plants become bare at the centre they can be cut back hard and will regrow from the base.
Propagation:
Seed – surface sow in late winter in a cool greenhouse in light shade. Prick out the young seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle. The seedlings are rather sensitive to damping off, so water them with care, keep them well-ventilated and perhaps apply a fungicide such as garlic as a preventative. Grow the young plants on in light shade and overwinter them in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer. The seed is dust-like and remains viable for many years. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August in a frame. Very poor results unless the cuttings are taken from very young plants. Layering in August/September. Takes 18 months. The plants can also be dug up and replanted about 30cm deeper in the soil to cover up some of the branches. The plant can then be dug up about 12 months later when the branches will have formed roots and can be separated to make new plants.

Medicinal Uses:
Sheep laurel is a very poisonous narcotic plant the leaves of which were at one time used by some native North American Indian tribes in order to commit suicide. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism. The leaves are usually used externally as a poultice and wash in herbal medicine and are a good remedy for many skin diseases, sprains and inflammation. They can also be applied as a poultice to the head to treat headaches. The singed, crushed leaves can be used as a snuff in the treatment of colds. Used internally, the leaves are analgesic, astringent and sedative and have a splendid effect in the treatment of active haemorrhages, headaches, diarrhoea and flux. This species is said to be the best for medicinal use in the genus. The plant should be used with great caution however, see the notes below on toxicity.

Known Hazards : The foliage is poisonous to animals. The whole plant is highly toxic.

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalmia_angustifolia
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Kalmia+angustifolia
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm

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Cistus creticus

Botanical Name : Cistus creticus
Family: Cistaceae
Genus: Cistus
Species:C. creticus
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malvales

Synonyms : Cistus incanus auct, Cistus polymorphus, Cistus villosus creticus.

Common Names : Pink Rock-Rose, Hoary Rock-Rose, Rock Rose, Cretan rockrose

Habitat :Cistus creticus is native to southern Europe and the area around the eastern Mediterranean, but is naturalized in other areas of the world, such as California. It grows on amongst the scrub and in bushy places on rocks, dry hills etc to 1000 metres.
Description:
Cistus creticus is a compact and bushy, evergreen shrub, growin.g to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in). It is in leaf 12-Jan. It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in August.The colours of the flowers can vary from rose pink to purple. It prefers a well-drained soil and does best in full sun. All cistus do best if pruned after flowering which will retain shape and provide healthy young growth for next years flowers. The seeds were collected at 2000m if that is relevant. This plant is the source of the resin labdanum – used in perfumes as a replacement for ambergris! Few seeds collected.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Cultivation:
Requires a sunny position in a dry or moist well-drained light sandy soil. Withstands drought once it is established. Tolerates maritime exposure. Plants are hardy to about -15°c, but they require protection in severe winters. Plants are somewhat hardier when grown in poor soils. This is usually a short-lived plant in cultivation, it probably exhausts itself by its very free-flowering habit. Plants often self-sow when growing in a suitable position. Dislikes pruning or root disturbance. Plants should be pot grown and then planted out in their final positions whilst still small. Individual flowers only last one day but there is a long succession of them. A polymorphic species, some forms do not yield much gum. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus. The flowers are very attractive to bees. The leaves, which exude a balsamic resin, are especially fragrant on warm sunny days.
Propagation:
Seed – gather when ripe and store dry. Surface sow in late winter in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 4 weeks at 20°c. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle into individual pots. Grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out the in the following spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. The seed stores for at least 3 years. Cuttings of softish to half-ripe wood, 8cm long with a heel or at a node, June/August in a frame. Roots are formed within 3 weeks. High percentage. Cuttings of almost mature wood, 8 – 12cm with a heel or at a node, September/October in a frame. High percentage. Lift and pot up in the spring, plant out when a good root system has formed. Layering in spring.

Edible Uses: Condiment; Tea.

The leaves are used as a tea substitute. The oleo-resin obtained from the leaves and stems is used as a commercial food flavouring in baked goods, ice cream, chewing gum etc.
Medicinal Uses:
This plant is an aromatic, expectorant, stimulant herb that controls bleeding and has antibiotic effects. It is used internally in the treatment of catarrh and diarrhoea and as an emmenagogue. The leaves are harvested in late spring and early summer and can be dried for later use, or the resin extracted from them.

Other Uses :
Resin.

The glandular hairs on the leaves yield the oleo-resin ‘ladanum’, used medicinally and in soaps, perfumery, fumigation etc. This resin is an acceptable substitute for ambergris (which is obtained from the sperm whale) and so is important in perfume manufacture. The resin is collected by dragging a type of rake through the plant, the resin adhering to the teeth of the rake, or by boiling the twigs and skimming off the resin[64, 89]. Most resin is produced at the hottest time of the year.  There is a mauve-flowered variety of this species that is the most prolific producer of the resin

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cistus_creticus
http://www.plant-world-seeds.com/store/view_seed_item/4551
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cistus+creticus

Chionanthus virginica

Botanical Name :Chionanthus virginica
Family: Oleaceae
Genus:     Chionanthus
Species: C. virginicus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Lamiales

Synonyms:  Old Man’s Beard. Fringe Tree Bark. Chionathus. Snowdrop Tree. Poison Ash.

Common Name:  Grancy Gray Beard, ,Fringe Tree, White fringetree, Old Man’s Beard, Fringe Tree.

Habitat: Chionanthus virginica is a tree native to the eastern United States, from New Jersey south to Florida, and west to Oklahoma and Texas.
It grows on rich moist soils by the edges of streams and in damp woods and scrub.

Description:
Chionanthus virginica is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to as much as 10 to 11 metres (33 to 36 ft) tall, though ordinarily less. The bark is scaly, brown tinged with red. The shoots are light green, downy at first, later becoming light brown or orange. The buds are light brown, ovate, acute, 3 millimetres (0.12 in) long. The leaves are opposite, simple, ovate or oblong, 7.5 to 20 centimetres (3.0 to 7.9 in) long and 2.5 to 10 centimetres (0.98 to 3.94 in) broad, with a petiole 2 centimetres (0.79 in) long, and an entire margin; they are hairless above, and finely downy below, particularly along the veins, and turn yellow in fall. The richly-scented[4] flowers have a pure white, deeply four-lobed corolla, the lobes thread-like, 1.5 to 2.5 centimetres (0.59 to 0.98 in) long and 3 millimetres (0.12 in) broad; they are produced in drooping axillary panicles 10 to 25 centimetres (3.9 to 9.8 in) long when the leaves are half grown, in mid- to late May in New York City, earlier in the south.
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It is usually dioecious, though occasional plants bear flowers of both sexes. The fruit is an ovoid dark blue to purple drupe 1.5 to 2 centimetres (0.59 to 0.79 in) long, containing a single seed (rarely two or three), mature in late summer to mid fall.

Cultivation:
Although native in the southeastern United States, it is hardy in the north and is extensively planted in gardens, where specimens are often grown with multiple trunks. The white flowers are best seen from below. Fall color is a fine, clear yellow, a good contrast with viburnums and evergreens. It prefers a moist soil and a sheltered situation. It may be propagated by grafting on Ash (Fraxinus sp.).

Medicinal Uses:

Part Used:  The dried bark of the root.

Constituents: It is said that both saponin and a glucoside have been found, but neither appears to have been officially confirmed.

Aperient, diuretic. Some authorities regard it as tonic and slightly narcotic. It is used in typhoid, intermittent, or bilious fevers, and externally, as a poultice, for inflammations or wounds. Is useful in liver complaints.

The bark and dried roots have been used in poultices for skin inflammations.  Fringetree bark may be safely used in all liver problems, especially when they have developed into jaundice. Good for the treatment of gall-bladder inflammation and a valuable part of treating gall-stones. It is a remedy that will aid the liver in general and as such it is often used as part of a wider treatment for the whole body. It is also useful as a gentle and effective laxative.  The root bark also appears to strengthen function in the pancreas and spleen.  Anecdotal evidence indicates that it may substantially reduce sugar levels in the urine.  Fringe tree also stimulates the appetite and digestion, and is an excellent remedy for chronic illness, especially where the liver has been affected.  For external use, the crushed bark may be made into a poultice for treating sores and wounds.

Traditional uses:
The dried roots and bark were used by Native Americans to treat skin inflammations. The crushed bark was used in treatment of sores and wounds

Other Uses:
The wood is light brown, sapwood paler brown; heavy, hard, and close-grained.

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/fringe32.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chionanthus_virginicus

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

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Chionanthus+virginicus

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Acalypha arvensis

Field Copperleaf,

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Botanical Name : Acalypha arvensis
Family :Euphorbiaceae – Spurge family
Genus: Acalypha L. – copperleaf
Species: Acalypha arvensis Poepp. – field copperleaf
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom :Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order :Euphorbiales

Common Name : Cancer Bush, Field Copperleaf
Vernacular names:
Creole speaking countries : lanmwaz, zeb akrab, zouti-bata
Guatemala : hierba del cáncer

Habitat :Native to Mexico, Central America, northern South America to Brazil, Bolivia. Herb of open disturbed moist areas.

Description:
Acalypha arvensis  is a forb/herb (a forb/herb is a non-woody plant that is not a grass) of the genus Acalypha. It’s duration is annual which means it grows for one season only. Acalypha Arvensis or Field Copperleaf‘s floral region is North America US

You may click to see the pictures of  Acalypha arvensis       

Annual or perennial plant, up to 50 cm in height, with branches sometimes angling down.  Leaves elongated, ovate, or glandular-punctate, 3 to 7 cm in long.  Flowers, in spikes, 1.5 to 3 cm long, emerging from axillary leaf shoots; capsule 2 mm, pilose.

Medicinal Uses:
The common name hierba del cancer stems not from the ability of the plant to fight cancer but rather because of the local use of the word cancer to mean an open sore.  The plant is used as a remedy in Belize for a variety of serious skin conditions such as fungus, ulcers, ringworm and itching or burning labia in women.  It is used throughout Latin America as a diuretic. The leaves are used in Guatemala not only as a diuretic but also to treat kidney-related problems.  In Haiti  it is used to treat diarrhea, inflammations and dyspepsia.    In a study of plants used in Guatemala as a diuretic and for the treatment of urinary ailments, extracts of the plant were shown to increase urinary output by 52%.  A dried leaf tincture has been shown to be active against Staphylococcus aureus but inactive against some other bacteria.

Excellent remedy to wash skin conditions of the worst kind such as chronic rashes, blisters, peeling skin, deep sores, ulcers, fungus, ringworm, inflammation, itching and burning of labia in women – boil one entire plant in one quart water for 10 minutes; strain and wash area with very hot water 3 times daily.  Leaves may be dried and toasted and passed through a screen to make a powder to sprinkle on sores, skin infections, or boils. For stomach complaints or urinary infections, boil one entire plant in 3 cups water for 5 minutes; drink 3 cups of warm decoction 3 times a day (1 cup before each meal).  The local use of the word “cancer” refers to a type of open sore.  A dried leaf tincture was shown to have in vitro activity against Staphylococcus aureus.

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.tramil.net/fototeca/imageDisplay1.php?id_elem=250&lang=en
http://www.sagebud.com/field-copperleaf-acalypha-arvensis/
http://www.saintlucianplants.com/floweringplants/euphorbiaceae/acalarve/acalarve.html
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ACAR16

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

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.

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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.

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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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