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Beating those bugs(Lice)

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Lice infestation is universal. Head lice have co-existed with humans for two thousand years. They have been observed in the sarcophagus of well-preserved Egyptian mummies, in tombs that also contained fine-toothed combs to remove head lice. They do not pay heed to social, economic or geographic boundaries. A millionaire’s  offspring as well as the child of a slum dweller can both be seen scratching their heads. Closer inspection may reveal lice scurrying along hair shafts, or white nits (eggs) closely attached to the hair.

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Infestation is a social stigma. The child is perceived as “dirty” and the parents are seen as negligent caretakers. Neither of these statements, however, is necessarily true. Lice can survive submersion, oiling, shampooing and extremities of temperature.

Head Lice or Pediculus capitis (which literally translates to “lice of the head”) have not changed or evolved much. They are still small, brown insects with a tough outer coat and tapering legs adapted to cling tenaciously on hair shafts. They can survive huge climatic variations and lay dormant for up to 10 days. They cannot fly or jump; they move from one human being to another by crawling along the hair as heads move into close contact, or by walking along walls, floors, furniture and bedding. They are also very fastidious and host specific   they can survive only on the scalps of human beings, and not on other animals.

Head lice themselves do not cause disease
. But they cause intense itching which can interfere with sleep, concentration and efficient functioning. The scratching can cause secondary bacterial infection. This, in turn, can lead to painful enlargement of the lymph nodes in the neck.


In traditional societies, people found a way around this problem. Some families regularly went on pilgrimage. Their houses were cleaned and then locked. Unable to obtain a human blood meal, the lice starved to death within 10 days. And at the pilgrimage site, the whole family was tonsured. Thus, no hair meant no lice!

Bug-busting fine-toothed combs are readily available. They are safe and effective. The hair should be well oiled and all the tangles removed before combing. Most of the lice slip off with this treatment. The action has to be repeated every alternate day for two weeks till no lice are seen.

Chemical lice treatments are also available. They contain pyrethroids, permethrin, lindane or malathion. These compounds may be available as lotions or shampoos. The treatment must be repeated after 10 days.

About 17 per cent of lice are resistant to insecticides. Repeated treatment, using higher-than-recommended doses will not work. In fact, they may even be harmful and signs of toxicity may appear.

A combination of insecticide treatment followed by bug-busting combing is very effective.

Lice reproduce efficiently and explosively. Each couple can produce 100 eggs in a lifetime. Each egg hatches after eight days and the little bug develops into an adult in around 10 days. Unless the eradication treatment is repeated every 10 days, new lice will repopulate the hair.

After some time lice may reappear. This may be due to reinfection from another person or repopulation from lice that survived the original treatment.

If lice have gravitated to the eyebrows and lashes, they should be very carefully manually removed. Chemicals should not be applied.

Natural compounds are advertised for lice treatment. Some are neem-based. There may be others that contain organic pesticides in unregulated and dangerous doses. Before applying them, please read the fine print carefully.

Egg white and motor oil do not have any action on lice. On the contrary, they may cause hair loss.

Kerosene kills lice and nits. But it is also a dangerous, highly inflammable compound and therefore should not be used.

“Lice” is actually a generic term that loosely refers to head lice. Insects from the same family, called Pediculus humanus or body lice, can also be found on the body (not the head), in areas where there is overcrowding, homelessness and poor hygiene. These lice cause itching, particularly around the waist, groin and upper thighs. There may be an allergic reaction that aggravates the itching. The skin may eventually become discoloured. Secondary bacterial or fungal infection may occur.

Unlike head lice, body lice can cause typhus and relapsing fever.

Regular bathing, clean clothes and application of lotions or creams containing pyrethroids, permethrin, lindane or malathion will kill the lice.

Crabs or pubic lice (Pythiriasis pubis) are usually spread through sexual contact. They can also spread through infected bedding. These lice cause intense intolerable itching in the genital area. They also respond to the lotions and shampoos containing pyrethroids, permethrin, lindane or malathion.

It is possible to get rid of all types of lice provided the cycle of reinfestation is broken and good personal hygiene maintained.

Source:The Telegraph (Kolkata,India)

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Alternative Therapies for Migraine Sufferers

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Some 30 million Americans suffer from recurring headaches or migraines, with women three times more likely than men to suffer migraines, according to a recent American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention Study by the National Headache Foundation.

Migraine is listed as the 19th most common cause of disability   ahead of Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, according to the World Health Organization.

While many sufferers turn to over-the-counter painkillers or prescription drugs for a quick fix, more and more Americans are now looking for alternative therapies. Make sure to ask your doctor before trying any of these remedies, and don’t try them all at once. Lastly, be patient while waiting for results.

Alternative Therapies

Liz Weiss, contributing editor at Health magazine, suggested these alternative migraine remedies:

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Riboflavin, which is vitamin B2, converts energy from carbohydrates. There’s a belief that people with migraines have low levels of energy in their brains, which causes hypersensitivity to things like light or noise. The riboflavin gives your brain more energy, which makes it less likely to be bothered by migraine triggers.

Magnesium
Studies show that people who take more magnesium than they need have fewer migraines. Magnesium also combats hypersensitivity in the brain, and it has been shown to decrease migraine pain. So, even if you do get a migraine, it’s not going to be as bad.

Butterbur
For years people have been taking butterbur, an herb you can buy in health food stores, to fight allergies. Now this anti-inflammatory is seen as one of the newer migraine treatments, because migraines are basically an inflammation of blood vessels in your brain. Studies show you have to take butterbur for a while before you discover a decrease in migraines. But you can take this preventative along with your prescription.

Coenzyme Q
This antioxidant found in meat and nuts has been shown to give the brain more energy. It also cuts the frequency of migraine attacks and reduces nausea. Coenzyme Q, found in health food stores, is expensive and probably not the first alternative remedy to try.

Botox
Doctors noticed that patients who were getting Botox injections for wrinkles not only had fewer wrinkles, but fewer migraines as well. Botox blocks the pain, basically by deadening the area. It is extremely expensive compared to other alternative remedies and is not covered by insurance. But if you have severe migraines, you might want to consider it.

Worth Noting

It’s worth noting that coenzyme Q has not been studied much in healthy people; it’s mainly been studied in connection with heart disease. Also, placebo-controlled trials find that vitamin B and magnesium are no better than placebo at improving migraine headaches. The placebo effect in migraine headache studies is pretty high: If you think you are doing something to help your headache, you often will see a large improvement — usually around 50 percent, experts say.

Alternative therapies may offer safer alternatives to drugs. But remember that although vitamins and herbs may be natural, they are not without health consequences. Even at moderate levels, some vitamins have been shown to slighly increase risk of death. You definitely don’t want people overdosing on them.

It’s alway a good idea to talk to your doctor about which vitamins and herbs to try as well as to ask him or her how many pills are safe to take.

Source:ABC News

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Too much white brade can increase kidney cancer risk

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Eating a lot of white bread may increase the risk of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the most common type of kidney cancer, while vegetarian food lowers it, a case-control study has revealed...CLICK & SEE

Previous studies on RCC had shown that diet plays an important role in monitoring the risk of the disease, but they did not tell which foods could be harmful or beneficial.

With a view to discern the relationship between specific foods and RCC risk, researchers led by Fancesca Bravi of the Institute of Pharmacological Research “Mario Negri” in Milan, conducted a large case-control study of 2,301 Italians.

They found that there is a significant association between high bread consumption and RCC risk.For their study, the researchers enrolled 767 adults diagnosed with RCC and 1,534 controlled subjects who did not have the disease between 1992 and 2004.

They matched two controlled subjects to each case by gender, age range, and location, and collected sociodemographic information, anthropomorphic measures, lifestyle habits, and personal and family medical history from each participant.

They also administered a 78-item food frequency questionnaire which comprised of questions about the average weekly consumption for each item over the previous two years, and analysed the information gathered. They found that those who consumed more bread had a higher RCC risk.

They also saw a modest non-significant risk increase amongst those who ate a lot of pasta and rice. By contrast, decreasing risk was associated with increasing intake of poultry, processed meat, and vegetables.
(as published in The Times Of India)