Tag Archives: Chronic fatigue syndrome

Epstein-Barr infection

Description: The Epstein-Barr virus, also called EBV, is an extremely common virus that infects most people at one time or another during their lifetimes. There are several forms of Epstein–Barr virus infection. Infectious mononucleosis, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and Burkitt’s lymphoma can all be caused by the Epstein–Barr virus.

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It is best known as the cause of infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever). It is also associated with particular forms of cancer, such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Burkitt’s lymphoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and conditions associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), such as hairy leukoplakia and central nervous system lymphomas. There is evidence that infection with the virus is associated with a higher risk of certain autoimmune diseases, especially dermatomyositis, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, and multiple sclerosis.

Infection with EBV occurs by the oral transfer of saliva and genital secretions.

Most people become infected with EBV and gain adaptive immunity. In the United States, about half of all five-year-old children and 90 to 95 percent of adults have evidence of previous infection. Infants become susceptible to EBV as soon as maternal antibody protection disappears. Many children become infected with EBV, and these infections usually cause no symptoms or are indistinguishable from the other mild, brief illnesses of childhood. In the United States and other developed countries, many people are not infected with EBV in their childhood years. When infection with EBV occurs during adolescence, it causes infectious mononucleosis 35 to 50 percent of the time.

EBV infects B cells of the immune system and epithelial cells. Once the virus’s initial lytic infection is brought under control, EBV latently persists in the individual’s B cells for the rest of the individual’s life.

Symptoms:
Epstein-Barr virus infection generally causes a minor cold-like or flu-like illness, but, in some cases, there may be no symptoms of infection.Initial symptoms of infectious mononucleosis are fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph glands. Sometimes, a swollen spleen or liver involvement may develop. Heart problems or involvement of the central nervous system occurs only rarely, and infectious mononucleosis is almost never fatal. There are no known associations between active EBV infection and problems during pregnancy, such as miscarriages or birth defects. Although the symptoms of infectious mononucleosis usually resolve in 1 or 2 months, EBV remains dormant or latent in a few cells in the throat and blood for the rest of the person’s life. Periodically, the virus can reactivate and is commonly found in the saliva of infected persons. Reactivated and post-latent virus may pass the placental barrier in (also seropositive) pregnant women via macrophages and therefore can infect the fetus. Also re-infection of prior seropositive individuals may occur. In contrast, reactivation in adults usually occurs without symptoms of illness.

EBV also establishes a lifelong dormant infection in some cells of the body’s immune system. A late event in a very few carriers of this virus is the emergence of Burkitt’s lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma, two rare cancers. EBV appears to play an important role in these malignancies, but is probably not the sole cause of disease.

Most individuals exposed to people with infectious mononucleosis have previously been infected with EBV and are not at risk for infectious mononucleosis. In addition, transmission of EBV requires intimate contact with the saliva (found in the mouth) of an infected person. Transmission of this virus through the air or blood does not normally occur. The incubation period, or the time from infection to appearance of symptoms, ranges from 4 to 6 weeks. Persons with infectious mononucleosis may be able to spread the infection to others for a period of weeks. However, no special precautions or isolation procedures are recommended, since the virus is also found frequently in the saliva of healthy people. In fact, many healthy people can carry and spread the virus intermittently for life. These people are usually the primary reservoir for person-to-person transmission. For this reason, transmission of the virus is almost impossible to prevent.

The clinical diagnosis of infectious mononucleosis is suggested on the basis of the symptoms of fever, sore throat, swollen lymph glands, and the age of the patient. Usually, laboratory tests are needed for confirmation. Serologic results for persons with infectious mononucleosis include an elevated white blood cell count, an increased percentage of certain atypical white blood cells, and a positive reaction to a “mono spot” test.
Causes:
Epstein–Barr can cause infectious mononucleosis, also known as ‘glandular fever’, ‘Mono‘ and ‘Pfeiffer’s disease’. Infectious mononucleosis is caused when a person is first exposed to the virus during or after adolescence. Though once deemed “The Kissing Disease,” recent research has shown that transmission of EBV not only occurs from exchanging saliva, but also from contact with the airborne virus. It is predominantly found in the developing world, and most children in the developing world are found to have already been infected by around 18 months of age. Infection of children can occur when adults mouth feed or pre-chew food before giving it to the child. EBV antibody tests turn up almost universally positive.

Treatment:
There is no specific treatment for infectious mononucleosis, other than treating the symptoms. No antiviral drugs or vaccines are available. Some physicians have prescribed a 5-day course of steroids to control the swelling of the throat and tonsils. The use of steroids has also been reported to decrease the overall length and severity of illness, but these reports have not been published.

It is important to note that symptoms related to infectious mononucleosis caused by EBV infection seldom last for more than 4 months. When such an illness lasts more than 6 months, it is frequently called chronic EBV infection. However, valid laboratory evidence for continued active EBV infection is seldom found in these patients. The illness should be investigated further to determine if it meets the criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS. This process includes ruling out other causes of chronic illness or fatigue.

Prognosis:
There is currently no specific cure for an Epstein-Barr virus infection. Treatment includes measures to help relieve symptoms and keep the body as strong as possible until the disease runs its course. This includes rest, medications to ease body aches and fever, and drinking plenty of fluids. People who are in good health can generally recover from an Epstein-Barr virus infection at home with supportive care, such as rest, fluids and pain relievers.

Prevention:
Treatment of most viral diseases begins with preventing the spread of the disease with basic hygiene measures. However, controlling the spread of the Epstein-Barr virus is extremely difficult because it is so common and because it is possible to spread the Epstein-Barr virus even when a person does not appear sick. Many healthy people who have had an Epstein-Barr virus infection continue to carry the virus in their saliva, which means they can spread it to others throughout their lifetimes. However, avoiding contact with another person’s saliva by not sharing drinking glasses or toothbrushes is still a good general disease prevention measure.

Regular exercise with healthy food habits and healthy life style is the best way of prevention.

Research:
As a relatively complex virus, EBV is not yet fully understood. Laboratories around the world continue to study the virus and develop new ways to treat the diseases it causes. One popular way of studying EBV in vitro is to use bacterial artificial chromosomes.  Epstein–Barr virus and its sister virus KSHV can be maintained and manipulated in the laboratory in continual latency. Although many viruses are assumed to have this property during infection of their natural host, they do not have an easily managed system for studying this part of the viral lifecycle. Genomic studies of EBV have been able to explore lytic reactivation and regulation of the latent viral episome.

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/Epstein%E2%80%93Barr_virus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epstein–Barr_virus_infection
http://www.healthgrades.com/conditions/epstein-barr-virus

Glandular fever

Definition:
Glandular fever is a viral infection associated with a high fever.It’s also known as infectious mononucleosis or kissing disease (long ago it was realised that the infection was passed on through saliva – for example, by kissing).

It is a viral infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Glandular Fever is often spread through oral acts such as kissing, which is why it is sometimes called “The Kissing Disease“. However, Glandular Fever can also be spread by airborne saliva droplets.

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Infectious Mononucleosis (IM) is an infectious, widespread viral disease caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), one type of herpes virus, to which more than 90% of adults have been exposed. Occasionally, the symptoms can reoccur at a later period. Most people are exposed to the virus as children, when the disease produces no noticeable symptoms or only flu-like symptoms. In developing countries, people are exposed to the virus in early childhood more often than in developed countries. As a result, the disease in its observable form is more common in developed countries. It is most common among adolescents and young adults.

Especially in adolescents and young adults, the disease is characterized by fever, sore throat and fatigue, along with several other possible signs and symptoms. It is primarily diagnosed by observation of symptoms, but suspicion can be confirmed by several diagnostic tests.

The syndrome was described as an infectious process by Nil Filatov in 1887 and independently by Emil Pfeiffer in 1889.
Symptoms:-
The following are mainly the symptoms of Glandular Fever:
*Headache
*Fever
*Sore throat/hard to swallow
*Tiredness, fatigue and malaise
*Enlarged lymph nodes
*Loss of appetite
*Muscle aches
*Tender enlargement of the glands (lymph glands or lymph nodes)
*Skin rash
*Sweating
*Stomach pain and enlarged spleen
*Enlarged liver
*Jaundice
*Depression
*Joint pain
*Swelling around eyes
*Orange urine (or discolored
*High blood pressure

Causes:
Glandular fever is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. This can attack only two types of cell in the body: those in the salivary glands and white blood cells known as B lymphocytes (B-cells).

The most common way of spreading the virus is through the transmission of saliva from one person to another. Coughing, sneezing, and sharing drink bottles, eating utensils and other personal items can also spread the virus. In addition, the virus can also be spread through blood transfusion and organ transplantation.

Infection begins in the salivary glands, which release large amounts of the virus into the saliva. The infection spreads to the B lymphocytes, causing them to multiply, and causing the lymph glands to swell and become painful.

Once infected, the virus remains dormant in the body’s cells for the rest of a person’s life.

Diagnosis:
The diagnosis of glandular fever or infectious mononucleosis is based on your physical symptoms, and will include a blood test and a throat swab. Your doctor will perform a blood test to determine abnormalities in the white blood cells. A throat swab will help determine if you have glandular fever.

The most commonly used diagnostic criterion is the presence of 50% lymphocytes with at least 10% atypical lymphocytes (large, irregular nuclei), while the person also has fever, pharyngitis and adenopathy. Furthermore, it should be confirmed by a serological test.  The atypical lymphocytes resembled monocytes when they were first discovered, thus the moniker “mononucleosis” was coined. Diagnostic tests are used to confirm infectious mononucleosis but the disease should be suspected from symptoms prior to the results from hematology. These criteria are specific; however, they are not particularly sensitive and are more useful for research than for clinical use. Only half the patients presenting with the symptoms held by mononucleosis and a positive heterophile antibody test (monospot test) meet the entire criteria. One key procedure is to differentiate between infectious mononucleosis and mononucleosis-like symptoms.

There have been few studies on infectious mononucleosis in a primary care environment, the best of which studied 700 patients, of which 15 were found to have mononucleosis upon a heterophile antibody test. More useful in a diagnostic sense are the signs and symptoms themselves. The presence of splenomegaly, posterior cervical adenopathy, axillary adenopathy, and inguinal adenopathy are the most useful to suspect a diagnosis of infectious mononucleosis. On the other hand, the absence of cervical adenopathy and fatigue are the most useful to dismiss the idea of infectious mononucleosis as the correct diagnosis. The insensitivity of the physical examination in detecting splenomegaly means that it should not be used as evidence against infectious mononucleosis.

In the past the most common test for diagnosing infectious mononucleosis was the heterophile antibody test which involves testing heterophile antibodies by agglutination of guinea pig, sheep and horse red blood cells. As with the aforementioned criteria, this test is specific but not particularly sensitive (with a false-negative rate of as high as 25% in the first week, 5–10% in the second and 5% in the third). 90% of patients have heterophile antibodies by week 3, disappearing in under a year. The antibodies involved in the test do not interact with the Epstein-Barr virus or any of its antigens. More recently, tests that are more sensitive have been developed such as the Immunoglobulin G (IgG) and Immunoglobulin M (IgM) tests. IgG, when positive, reflects a past infection, whereas IgM reflects a current infection. When negative, these tests are more accurate in ruling out infectious mononucleosis. However, when positive, they feature similar sensitivities to the heterophile antibody test. Therefore, these tests are useful for diagnosing infectious mononucleosis in people with highly suggestive symptoms and a negative heterophile antibody test. Another test searches for the Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen, while it is not normally recognizable until several weeks into the disease, and is useful for distinguishing between a recent-onset of infectious mononucleosis and symptoms caused by a previous infection. Elevated hepatic transaminase levels is highly suggestive of infectious mononucleosis, occurring in up to 50% of patients.

A fibrin ring granuloma may be present.

Diagnosis of acute infectious mononucleosis should also take into consideration acute cytomegalovirus infection and Toxoplasma gondii infections. These diseases are clinically very similar by their signs and symptoms. Because their management is much the same it is not always helpful, or possible, to distinguish between EBV mononucleosis and cytomegalovirus infection. However, in pregnant women, differentiation of mononucleosis from toxoplasmosis is associated with significant consequences for the fetus.

Acute HIV infection can mimic signs similar to those of infectious mononucleosis and tests should be performed for pregnant women for the same reason as toxoplasmosis.

Other conditions from which to distinguish infectious mononucleosis include leukemia, tonsillitis, diphtheria, common cold and influenza

Treatment:
Self care:
Infectious mononucleosis is generally self-limiting and only symptomatic and/or supportive treatments are used.  Rest is recommended during the acute phase of the infection, but activity should be resumed once acute symptoms have resolved. Nevertheless heavy physical activity and contact sports should be avoided to mitigate the risk of splenic rupture, for at least one month following initial infection or splenomegaly has resolved, as determined by a treating physician.

MedicationsIn terms of pharmacotherapies, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen may be used to reduce fever and pain. Prednisone, a corticosteroid, is commonly used as an anti-inflammatory to reduce symptoms of pharyngeal pain, odynophagia, or enlarged tonsils, although its use remains controversial due to the rather limited benefit and the potential of side effects. Intravenous corticosteroids, usually hydrocortisone or dexamethasone, are not recommended for routine use but may be useful if there is a risk of airway obstruction, severe thrombocytopenia, or hemolytic anemia. There is little evidence to support the use of aciclovir, although it may reduce initial viral shedding. However, the antiviral drug valacyclovir has recently been shown to lower or eliminate the presence of the Epstein-Barr virus in subjects afflicted with acute mononucleosis, leading to a significant decrease in the severity of symptoms. Although antivirals are not recommended for patients presenting with simple infectious mononuscleosis, they may be useful (in conjunction with steroids) in the management of patients with severe EBV manifestations, such as EBV meningitis, peripheral neuritis, hepatitis, or hematologic complications. Antibiotics are not used as they are ineffective against viral infections. The antibiotics ampicillin and later the related amoxicillin   are relatively contraindicated in the case of any coinciding bacterial infections during mononucleosis because their use precipitates a non-allergic rash close to 99% of the time.

In a small percentage of cases, mononucleosis infection is complicated by co-infection with streptococcal infection in the throat and tonsils (strep throat). Penicillin or other antibiotics (with the exception of the two mentioned above) should be administered to treat the strep throat. Opioid analgesics are also relatively contraindicated due to risk of respiratory depression.
Prognosis:
Serious complications are uncommon, occurring in less than 5% of cases:

*CNS: Meningitis, encephalitis, hemiplegia, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and transverse myelitis. EBV infection has also been proposed as a risk factor for the development of multiple sclerosis (MS), but this has not been confirmed.

*Hematologic: Hemolytic anemia (direct Coombs test is positive) and various cytopenias; Bleeding (caused by thrombocytopenia).[

*Mild jaundice

*Hepatitis (rare)

*Upper airway obstruction (tonsillar hypertrophy) (rare)

*Fulminant disease course (immunocompromised patients) (rare)

*Splenic rupture (rare)

*Myocarditis and pericarditis (rare)

Once the acute symptoms of an initial infection disappear, they often do not return. But once infected, the patient carries the virus for the rest of his or her life. The virus typically lives dormantly in B lymphocytes. Independent infections of mononucleosis may be contracted multiple times, regardless of whether the patient is already carrying the virus dormantly. Periodically, the virus can reactivate, during which time the patient is again infectious, but usually without any symptoms of illness.  Usually, a patient has few if any further symptoms or problems from the latent B lymphocyte infection. However, in susceptible hosts under the appropriate environmental stressors the virus can reactivate and cause vague physical complaints (or may be subclinical), and during this phase the virus can spread to others. Similar reactivation or chronic subclinical viral activity in susceptible hosts may trigger multiple host autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, and multiple sclerosis. Such chronic immunologic stimulation may also trigger multiple type of cancers, particularly lymphoma—strongest cancer associations with EBV are nasopharyngeal carcinomas, Burkitt’s lymphoma, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. EBV’s potential to trigger such a wide range of autoimmune diseases and cancers probably relates to its primary infection of B lymphocytes (the primary antibody-producing cell of the immune system) and ability to alter both lymphocyte proliferation and lymphocyte antibody production.

Prevention:
A vaccine against the Epstein-Barr virus is under development. The infection is most contagious during the feverish stage, when contact with others should be avoided.

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.nativeremedies.com/ailment/glandular-fever-symptoms-info.html
http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glandular_fever
http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glandular_fever
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/glandularfever2.shtml

http://www.treatfast.com/mononucleosis-xidc18255.html

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Asmatica

 

Botanical Name : Tylophora asmatica
Family : Apocynaceae
Genus : Tylophora
Species: Asmatica
Common names :  Indian lobelia   asmatica,asmitica
Parts Used : Leaves
Habitat :Grows in tropical countries.Native to the Indian subcontinent, asmatica grows wild on the plains of India.

Description:
The Tylophora is a perennial vine, twining climber with lance-shaped leaves and greenish flowers that produce many flat seeds. The leaves are gathered when the plant is in flower.
The leaves and roots of tylophora have been included in the Bengal Pharmacopoeia since 1884. It is said to have laxative, expectorant, diaphoretic (sweating), and purgative (vomiting) properties. It has been used for the treatment of various respiratory problems besides asthma, including allergies, bronchitis and colds, as well as dysentery and oseteoarthritis pain.

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History:
Asmatica has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to induce vomiting and expectoration as well as for treating dysentery and rheumatic conditions.

Extensive laboratory research and clinical study has taken place in India and established that asmatica is an effective remedy for asthma. In the 1970s, a number of clinical trials showed that a majority of asthmatics taking the herb for just six days, gained relief for an additional twelve weeks.

It should be noted that the spelling of this plant, asmatica, differs from the asthmatic plant (Euphorbia hirta syn.E. pilulifera) and should not be confused with it although it does have a history of similar usage.

Cultivation
Propagule  Various Pollination method .

Chemical Constituents: Alkaloids (including tylophorine) ,flavonoids ,sterols ,tannins

Medicinal properties: antiasthmatic

Medicinal Uses:
Tylophora asmatica has been traditionally used as an antiasthmatic. Asmatica (sometimes called Indian lobelia) is only to be administered with proper professional knowledge. Herbal remedies are only prepared from the leaves.

Considered a specific remedy for asthma, asmatica may relieve symptoms for up to 3 months.  It is also beneficial in cases of hay fever, and is prescribed for acute allergic problems such as eczema and nettle rash.  The plant holds potential as a treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome and other immune system disorders.  Asmatica may relieve rheumatoid arthritis and may also be of value in the treatment of cancer.  Extensive laboratory and clinical research in India has established that asmatica is an effective remedy for asthma.  In the 1970s, a number of clinical trials showed that a majority of asthmatic patients taking the herb for just 6 days gained relief from asthma for up to a further 12 weeks.  However, the leaves do produce side effects  The plant’s alternative name, Indian lobelia, alludes not only to its value in treating asthma but also to its irritating effect on the digestive tract.
It is also beneficial in cases of hay fever as well as such acute allergic problems as eczema and nettle rash.

The plant holds promise as a treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome and other immune system disorders. It may also relieve rheumatoid arthritis and be of value in the treatment of cancer.

Other Traditional uses :
Parts used  Traditional uses for  Fragrance  intensity. Dye parts  Dye color
Cautions:
*Take only under professional guidance.
*Like its lobelia relatives, the leaves of asmatica do produce side effects and can have an irritating effect on the digestive tract.

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.crescentbloom.com/Plants/Specimen/TU/Tylophora%20asmatica.htm
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

http://www.innvista.com/health/herbs/asmatica.htm

Dupuytren’s contracture

Definition:
Dupuytren’s contracture is a painless thickening and contracture of tissue beneath the skin on the palm of the hand and fingers.
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It is  a disease of the palmar fascia (thin but tough layer of fibrous tissue between the skin of the palm and the underlying flexor tendons of the fingers) resulting in progressive thickening and contracture of fibrous bands on the palmar surface of the hand and fingers.  Fasciitis implies inflammation of the fascia, and contracture implies thickening and tightening of the diseased fascia.  Basically, the tissue on the palm side of the hand thickens (can become as thick as 0.5cm) and essentially “shrinks” and produces a tightness in the area of the hand which the diseased tissue overlies.  It occurs most often in the fourth and fifth digits (ring and small fingers).  It is a very common problem and often arises in the hands of middle aged persons;  however, it can be seen as early as the twenties.  This entity does run in families in some cases.  It is seven times more common in men than women.  It has been associated with diabetes and can be seen in alcoholics with cirrhosis of the liver.  It has also been associated with epilepsy but may be a result of the use of anticonvulsant drugs rather than the presence of epilepsy itself.  The underlying cause is unknown.

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Dupuytren contracture varies in its rate of progression from minor skin puckering for many years to rapid contracture (fixed flexed position) of fingers.

People of northern European descent are more often affected and it can run in families. Men are affected more often than women and the condition is most likely to occur over the age of 40.

Causes:
The cause is unknown, but minor injury and your genes may make you more likely to develop this condition. It can run in families. It’s not caused by a person’s type of job or work environment, manual work or vibrating tools.

One or both hands may be affected. The ring finger is affected most often, followed by the little, middle, and index fingers.

A small, painless nodule develops in the connective tissue on the palm side of the hand and eventually develops into a cord-like band. In severe cases, it’s difficult or even impossible to extend the fingers.

The condition becomes more common after the age of 40. Men are affected more often than women. Risk factors are alcoholism, epilepsy, pulmonary tuberculosis, diabetes, and liver disease.

Symptoms:
Dupuytren contracture initially may cause only a minor painless lump in the palm of the hand near the base of the finger(s). Dupuytren contracture most commonly affects the ring (fourth) finger, but it can affect any and all fingers.Pain and the position of the fingers may make it difficult to perform everyday activities with the hand.The appearance of the deformity can cause distress.Dupuytren contracture can also affect one or both hands.

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Dupuytren contracture is seldom associated with much, if any, pain unless the affected fingers are inadvertently forcefully hyperextended.

The ring finger is affected most often, although any finger can be involved. In 50 per cent of cases both hands are affected. It can affect the toes and soles of the feet, but this is rare.

Diagnosis:
Dupuytren’s contracture is diagnosed by the doctor during the physical examination of the affected hand.

A physical examination of the palm by touch (palpation) confirms the presence of thickened scar tissue (fibrosis) and contracture. Restriction of motion is common.

Previous burns or hand injury can lead to scar formation in the palm of the hand which can mimic true Dupuytren contracture.

Treatment:
Often, treatment isn’t needed if the symptoms are mild. Exercises, warm water baths, or splints may be helpful.

If normal hand function is affected, surgery is usually recommended to release the contracture and improve the hand’s function.

There are three main surgical options:
•Open fasciotomy – opening the skin and cutting the thickened tissue
•Needle fasciotomy – pushing a needle through the skin to cut the thickened tissue
•Open fasciectomy – cutting open the skin and removing the thickened tissue

Prognosis: The disorder progresses at an unpredictable rate. Surgical treatment can usually restore normal movement to the fingers. The disease can recur following surgery in some cases.

Prevention:
Since the precise cause of Dupuytren’s contracture is unknown, it’s difficult to prevent.
Awareness of risk factors may allow early detection and treatment.
Avoiding excessive intake of alcohol may help to reduce the risk of it developing in susceptible individuals.

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.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/dupuytrens1.shtml
http://www.med.und.edu/users/jwhiting/dupdef.html
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001233.htm
http://www.medicinenet.com/dupuytren_contracture/article.htm

http://www.prlog.org/10501551-who-first-described-dupuytrens-contracture.html

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Astralagus membranaceus

Botanical Name:Astragalus membranaceus
Family:Leguminosae (pea family)
Common Names:Tragacanth, Gum Dragon, Milk Vetch, Canada Milk Vetch, Membranous Milk Vetch, Slender Milk Vetch, Standing Milk Vetch, Astragali, Huang Qi (Chinese), Beg Kei, Bei Qi, Hwanggi.
Part Used : Root.
Other Names : Milk-vetch root, huang qi

Different Species:A. membranaceus ,A. gummifer ,A. gracilis ,A. adsurgens var. robustior

Habitat:Native to Mongolia and northern and eastern China.

Description:Astralagus is a low-growing, perennial shrub that reaches sixteen inches. It thrives in sandy, well-drained soil, with plenty of sun. It produces hairy stems and leaves divided into twelve to eighteen pairs of leaflets.A. gummifer is now found growing in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, northwest Iraq, and the border area between Iran and Iraq.
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There are now more than 2000 species worldwide, including some 400 in North America. A. australis is an endemic plant of the Olympic Mountains in the US state of Washington. However, the medicinal varieties are found only in central and western Asia, where it has been extensively tested, both chemically and pharmacologically.

The root readily pulls apart and shreds into a million smaller pieces rather like tissue paper. A yellow core in the center of the sweet-tasting black root is the medicinal substance. The roots are harvested in autumn from four-year-old plants in several Chinese provinces and shipped worldwide. The latex is extracted by making an incision in the trunk and branches of trees growing in the wild.

History:-
The plant is one of the oldest used medicinally, dating to about 200 BCE. It was known even then to balance the body systems and especially good for the lungs and spleen.
The yellow colour of the root contributes to the Chinese name, huang qi, meaning “yellow leader”. It has been used in China for thousands of years to strengthen qi (pronounced “chee”), the body’s life force and protective energy. In Western terminology, this means to strengthen the immune system.

Folk medicine in Europe and Arabia have used the herb for treating tumors of the eyes, liver, and throat.

Tragacanth is the latex that exudes from under the bark and is extracted by making an incision in the trunk and branches. When it dries, it forms flakes that swell in water to form a gelatinous mass used in various treatments, including that of constipation.

European botanists first wrote about its medicinal qualities in the 1700s.

Some of the poisonous species are referred to as Poison Milk Vetch or Loco Weed.

Some of the Native American names came about as a reference to its seeds which rattle in the pods when dried.

A tea of the root was used by the Dakota tribes as a febrifuge for children. The Lakotas pulverized the roots and chewed it for chest and back pains and to relieve coughing. Also, a vapour was inhaled to treat a child’s aching chest. The roots were chewed and applied to cuts before they were bandaged. When combined with the roots of wild licorice, it arrested the spitting of blood. Lakota women who had little or no breast milk, chewed the roots to promote milk production. The Cheyenne used one species for cases of poison ivy or dermatitis. They also ground the leaves and stems and sprinkled the powder on weepy, inflamed, skin conditions.

When the explorer John Bradbury visited the Arikara village along the Missouri River in 1809, he was shown two new species of Astralagus, that were unknown to him, by the local medicine man.

Medicinal Uses: This herb has a variety of benefits as a convalescent and rejuvenating tonic and is also useful in the treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Astragalus have been shown to intensify phagocytosis of reticulo-endothelial systems, stimulate pituitary-adrenal cortical activity and restore depleted red blood cell formation in bone marrow. Astragalus is also one of the herbs known to stimulate the bodies natural production of interferon. Astragalus is an ideal remedy for any one who might be immuno-compromized in any way. This can range from someone who easily catches colds to someone with cancer.

Astragalus help maintain normal functions of the liver. Astragalus strengthens immunity to disease. It has certain inhibiting effects on molecular pathological changes caused by viruses, increases growth of plasma cells, stimulates synthesis of antibodies, and builds up body defense.  It enhances body energy. It promotes metabolism of serum and liver proteins, stimulates growth of antibodies, increases white blood cells, and thus increases resistance to viruses. Studies in the West confirm that astragalus enhances immune function by increasing activity of several kinds of white blood cells and boosting production of antibodies and interferon, the body’s own antiviral agent. It is diuretic, detoxifying and reduces proteinuria and cures kidney disease. It inhibits gastric secretions, reduces gastric acid, and thus helps cure stomach ulcers. It is cardiotonic. It has even more remarkable effects on heart failure due to poisoning or exhaustion. It protects the liver and alleviates liver injury.

Key Components: asparagine ,calcyosin ,formononetin ,astragalosides ,kumatakenin ,sterols

Key medical  Actions:
*adaptogenic
*antiviral
*antioxidant
*cardiovascular toner
*diuretic
*immune stimulant
*laxative
*liver protector
*strengthens gastrointestinal tract
*tonic
*vasodilator

Medicinal Parts used: Root, gum-like exudate

*It contains numerous active compounds which bolster immunity.

*The polysaccharides seem to stimulate white blood cell production and spurs the activity of killer T cells, increasing the number of cells and the aggressiveness of their activity. Increased macrophage activity has been measured as lasting up to seventy-two hours.

*It also increases production of interferon, a natural protein that stimulates production of other proteins that help prevent and fight viral infections.

*It increases the number of stem cells in the marrow and lymph tissues, stimulates their maturation into active immune cells, increases spleen activity, increases the release of antibodies, and boosts the production of hormonal messenger molecules that signal for virus destruction.

*Studies at the University of Texas Medical Center found that astragalus was able to restore completely the function of cancer patients compromised immune cells.

*It protects the liver from a variety of liver toxins, including carbon tetrachloride and the anticancer compound stilbenemide.

*Gamma-aminobutyric acid extracts have been found to kill bacteria and lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels

*Chinese experiments indicated that the herb was able to protect against the absorption of toxic chemicals into the liver.

*Studies have shown that patients given the herb suffered less angina and had a greater improvement in the EKGs and other measurements than patients given such standard heart drugs as nifedipine.

Chinese researchers report that the herb improves funtion of the heart’s left ventricle after a heart attack, which they theorize may derive from the herb’s antioxidant effects. Other Chinese researchers found heart-protective effects in people with Coxsackie B virus which can cause viral myocarditis. Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella spp., and Proteus mirabilis.

Strengthens digestion, raises metabolism, strengthens the immune system, and promotes the healing of wounds and injuries.  It treats chronic weakness of the lungs with shortness of breath, collapse of energy, prolapse of internal organs, spontaneous sweating, chronic lesions, and deficiency edema.  It is very effective in cases of nephritis that do not respond to diuretics.

In China astragalus enjoyed a long history of use in traditional medicine to strengthen the Wei Ch’i or “defensive energy” or as we call it, the immune system. Regarded as a potent tonic for increasing energy levels and stimulating the immune system, astragalus has also been employed effectively as a diuretic, a vasodilator and as a treatment for respiratory infections.

Antibacterial; used with the ginsengs; helpful for young adults for energy production and respiratory endurance; warming energy; helpful for hypoglycemia; used for “outer energy” as ginseng is used for “inner energy”; American Cancer Society publication reports it restored immune functions in 90% of the cancer patients studied; use to bolster the white blood cell count; strengthens the body’s resistance; use for debilitating conditions; helps to promote the effects of other herbs; helps to improve digestion. Astragalus is of the most popular herbs used in the Orient; the Chinese name for astragalus is Huang Ch’i. It is a tonic producing warm energy and specifically tonifying for the lungs, spleen, and triple warmer via meridians.

In studies performed at the Nation Cancer Institute and 5 other leading American Cancer Institutes over the past 10 years, it has been positively shown that astragalus strengthens a cancer patient’s immune system. Researchers believed on the basis of cell studies that astragalus augments those white blood cells that fight disease and removes some to those that make the body more vulnerable to it. There is clinical evidence that cancer patients given astragalus during chemotherapy and radiation, both of which reduce the body’s natural immunity while attacking the cancer, recover significantly faster and live longer. It is evident that astragalus does not directly attack cancers themselves, but instead strengthens the body’s immune system. In these same studies, both in the laboratory and with 572 patients, it also has been found that Astragalus promotes adrenal cortical function, which also is critically diminished in cancer patients.

Astragalus also ameliorates bone marrow pression and gastointestinal toxicity caused by chemotherapy and radiation. Astragalus is presently being looked upon as a possible treatment for people living with AIDS and for its potentials to prolong life.

Scientists have isolated a number of active ingredients contained in astragalus, including bioflavanoids, choline, and a polysaccharide called astragalan B. Animal studies have shown that astragalan B is effective at controlling bacterial infections, stimulating the immune system, and protecting the body against a number of toxins.

Astragalan B seems to work by binding to cholesterol on the outer membranes of viruses, destabilizing their defenses and allowing for the body’s immune system to attack the weakened invader. Astragalus also increases interferon production and enhances NK and T cell function, increasing resistance to viral conditions such as hepatitis, AIDS and cancer. Astragalus shows support for peripheral vascular diseases and peripheral circulation.

Traditional Uses
In China, it has long been used as a classic energy tonic and is considered to be superior to ginseng for young people. It is believed to warm and tone wei qi (a protective energy that circulates just beneath the skin), helping the body to adapt to external influences, especially to the cold. It raises immune resistance, improves physical endurance, and encourages the body systems to function correctly.
By encouraging blood flow to the surface, the herb is effective in controlling night sweats, relieving fluid retention, and reducing thirstiness.

It is used to treat prolapsed organs and is beneficial in uterine bleeding.

In Chinese medicine, the herb has been used alone, or in combination with other herbs, to treat liver fibrosis, acute viral myocarditis and other viral infections, heart failure, and small cell lung cancer, liver and kidney diseases, and amenorrhea.

Taken internally, it is commonly used to strengthen the immune system, especially in such immuno-compromised individuals as those with HIV or during chemotherapy.

Infusions are used to ward off or help treat colds and other infections, to improve heart function especially after a heart attack, to improve memory and learning, to temporarily increase urinary output, and to promote the healing of burns and skin sores.

A decoction of the root in combination with Chinese angelica is used to treat anemia but when combined with cinnamon, it is used to treat cold and numbness.

When the root is dry-fried alone or with honey added, it is used as a stimulating tonic and eaten with meals.

Asragalus boosts the spleen when symptoms indicate that it is not functioning as it should. These symptoms include chronic fatigue, diarrhea, and a loss of appetite.

The herb is also used to treat anorexia, arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, malaria, kidney inflammations, painful urination, prolapsed uterus, uterine bleeding or weakness, edema, water retention, skin ulcers that will not heal, fever, lack of stamina, and generalized weakness.

Tinctures are often used for night sweats.

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.innvista.com/health/herbs/astralag.htm
http://www.herbs-herbal-remedies.com/list_of_herbs.htm

http://www.neerlandstuin.nl/plantenc/astralagus.html

http://www.godsremedy.com/hepatitis/prodadd.htm

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