News on Health & Science

Go Easy on Paracetamol, it Could Hurt Liver

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Go easy while popping pain-killer drug Paracetamol. The medicine is safe as long as used within the prescribed dose, but an accidental   overdose may be dangerous and cause potential liver damage. Problems about the safety of the drug, also called acetaminophen, have been highlighted by a US Food and Drug Administration committee which is also in favour of stricter ‘‘black box’’ warnings on labels of paracetamol combinations.


The panel has said that consumers should restrict use of the drug, and asked for lowering the maximum recommended dose from the existing 4 gm in a day.

Doctors here say that the medicine if taken in the prescribed dose is the safest analgesic and fever-lowering medication, but in the West ‘paracetamol poisoning’ is happening with the drug being abused, sometimes even intentionally. The drug has been under review as cases of acetaminophen-related liver injury are going up in the US. The risk accentuates if there is a combination of paracetamol with codeine (found in cough and cold medications). When contacted, a GlaxoSmithKline spokesperson said: “GSK continues to believe that paracetamol medicines are appropriate for OTC, prescription and combination use when taken as directed. As consumer safety is paramount, GSK supports any change that helps or educates our consumers on the safe, effective and appropriate use of medicine”.

GSK owns the two most popular brands of paracetamol — Crocin and Calpol, while others sold in the country include Pacimol, Metacin and Pyrigesic. Doctors say that paracetamol is the ‘‘safest pain killer’’ and liver damage is rarely seen, but should be used as directed. Says Anupam Sibal senior consultant pediatric gastroenterolgy “Paracetamol is the safest anti-pyretic and medication for fever. But since it is available over the counter people should use it with caution. While administering to kids, you should not confuse drops with syrup, as drops are highly concentrated”.

The Times Of India

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News on Health & Science

Body’s Natural Painkillers Can Block Phobias

Magnetic resonance image showing a median sagittal cross section through a human head.

Image via Wikipedia

Human body’s own pain-relief system has the ability to block phobias, claims a new study which is likely to soon throw light on the neural mechanisms behind anxiety and stress.

A international team, led by researchers at the University Medical Centre of Hamburg-Eppendorf, has found that the way humans are conditioned by fearful stimuli is to some extent damped down by the body’s own pain-relief system.

For their study, the researchers recruited 30 male volunteers who were asked to watch green triangles and blue pentagons on a screen inside an MRI scanner. One symbol was followed half the time by a moderately painful application of heat to the forearm; the other was never followed by pain.

Half the volunteers were infused with a drug that blocks the effects of opioids, while the others got saline solution as a control. The brain scans showed that in people whose opioid systems had been blocked, the amygdala showed a fear response that did not diminish with exposure. Every time they saw the symbol associated with pain, their amygdalas reacted strongly.

In the control group, however, the activation decreased over the course of the experiment. As the group receiving the drug was reacting fearfully, the researchers speculate, they were learning the association intensively.

At the beginning of each trial, volunteers had to perform a reaction time task – pressing a button to indicate on which half of the screen the symbol had appeared. Overall, the subjects reacted more quickly to the cue signalling pain than the cue signalling nothing – but the opioid-free subjects reacted significantly faster.

The team speculates that opioid deficiency could be a contributing factor to anxiety disorders and exaggerated fear responses.

Sources:The Times Of India


Getting the Lead Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Parents Take Notice: Your Teen Could Be Using Prescription Drugs

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Just when you thought you had covered the bases with your teenager about drugs and alcohol, you are hit with a new trend in drug abuse: prescription drug abuse. Unfortunately, prescription drug abuse is on the rise among our youth. Data from the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows the second most popular category of drug use after marijuana is the non-medical use of prescription drugs.Always remember, taking prescription drugs without a doctor’s approval and supervision can be a dangerous  even deadly    decision.

What can you do to prevent prescription drug abuse?

Once again, the answer is simple: Talk to your kids. Let them know that you oppose all illicit drug use   including prescription and OTC drug use. Monitor their behavior by randomly checking up on them to make sure they are where they say they are. Know their friends and their friends   families.

Also, itâs time for you to take inventory in your own home. Keep your prescription medications out of reach. They should not be in a place where your kids or their friends can find them. Put them in a safe place where only you have access. Move your OTC medications to a safe place as well. Just as you do for alcohol, make a note of the levels in each bottle.

Monitor the Web sites that your child visits on the Internet.
Some teens actually order medications via Web sites (or “pill mills”) that are not monitored by the FDA. These sites are sometimes in countries outside of the United States. Be sure to review the history trail on your computer and carefully track where your teen is making purchases on the Web especially if you allow them access to your credit card, or if they have their own card.

What are the signs of abuse?
The symptoms are pretty obvious: slurred speech, staggering walk, sweating, nausea, vomiting, numbness of extremities, dilated pupils, drowsiness, dizziness. If your teen shows these signs of drug abuse, ask questions immediately — then talk calmly with them about the risks of abuse. Also check your mail and your Internet history to make sure your child isn’t ordering medications over the Internet. There are Internet pharmacies that will sell to just about anyone.

What can you say to your teens?
If your teen shows these signs of drug abuse, ask questions immediately — then talk calmly with them about the risks of abuse. Make it a rule that they should never take prescription drugs unless you or their physician prescribes them. Visit the Action Guide for Parents for more information on how to start the conversation.

Always remember Parents can make a difference. Your kid may be mad now, but they will thank you later.

For more information and resources on this topic visit:
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
NIDA InfoFax

Source:The New York Times

Ailmemts & Remedies

Chronic Pain

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No matter where it hurts — in your head, toe, or anywhere in between — chronic pain can have a major impact on both physical and emotional well-being. Fortunately, natural therapies can be added to the wide range of treatments now available to help control pain… & see
Persistent or intermittent aching or pain, considered chronic if it lasts six months or longer. The muscles, head, back, joints, or other areas may be affected.
Pain that is acute and then becomes chronic.
Depression, insomnia, and daytime fatigue, which often accompany chronic pain.

When to Call Your Doctor
If pain is severe and disabling.
If pain does not improve in two weeks despite self-care measures or prescription or over-the-counter pain relievers.
If the character of the pain changes — it could signal a new underlying medical problem.
Reminder: If you have a medical or psychiatric condition, talk to your doctor before taking supplements.

What It Is
The word pain evolved from the Latin poena, meaning punishment — a fitting derivation, as anyone who experiences chronic pain can attest. Whether it is in the form of aching, tingling, stabbing, shooting, or burning, prolonged and uncontrollable pain can adversely affect one’s entire life. In addition to the physical discomfort, constant suffering can lead to anxiety, anger, and depression, which can all intensify the pain.

What Causes It
Pain occurs when a nerve ending senses a source of distress and sends a signal to the brain. The pain can become chronic if this impulse continues. The causes of chronic pain are too numerous to list but include a poorly healing injury, arthritis, a pinched or irritated nerve, or an underlying disorder such as cancer. Unfortunately, in some cases, especially those involving the muscles and bones, the actual cause remains a mystery, making the condition especially difficult to treat.

How Supplements Can Help
Under your doctor’s supervision, you can use natural pain relievers, singly or together, for the long-term relief of all types of chronic pain. Most can also be taken with conventional painkillers: Generally, supplements are safer than those drugs and may reduce your need for them. The exception is white willow bark, which shouldn’t be taken with aspirin; the two are so similar that combining them could increase the risk of aspirin-related side effects. (Both act to reduce levels of natural pain-causing compounds called prostaglandins.)

What Else You Can Do
Consider acupuncture. Mind-body techniques — such as biofeedback, hypnosis, relaxation training, and behavioral counseling — may also help.
Ask your doctor about pain clinics, which offer a range of treatments.

Supplement Recommendations
White Willow Bark
Cayenne Cream
Peppermint Oil
St. John’s Wort

White Willow Bark

Dosage: 1 or 2 pills 3 times a day as needed for pain (follow package directions).
Comments: Standardized to contain 15% salicin.


Dosage: 500 mg 3 times a day on an empty stomach.
Comments: Should provide 6,000 GDU or 9,000 MCU daily.

Cayenne Cream
Dosage: Apply cream thinly to painful areas several times a day.
Comments: Standardized to contain 0.025%-0.075% capsaicin.

Dosage: 100 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Look for supplements standardized to contain gingerols. Can use essential oil of ginger as part of a massage blend.

Peppermint Oil

Dosage: Add a few drops oil to 1/2 ounce neutral oil.
Comments: Apply to painful areas up to 4 times daily.

St. John’s Wort
Dosage: 300 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Standardized to contain 0.3% hypericin.

Dosage: 250 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Standardized to contain at least 30% kavalactones.


Dosage: 1-3 mg at bedtime.
Comments: Start with lower dose and increase as needed.

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.

Source:Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs