Tag Archives: Michael Jackson

Skin Colour

Indians are very conscious of their skin colour. There is great alarm and anxiety if the skin suddenly develops white patches. About 1 per cent of the population is affected by this condition — called leukoderma (white skin) or vitiligo (“streaked calf” in Greek). The patches usually appear between the ages of 12 and 40. The disease affects people in all socio-economic strata. Michael Jackson was affected by it. Other rich and famous sufferers are Amitabh Bachchan and Gautam Singhania, the chairman and managing director of Raymonds.
……..click to see the picture
The sudden loss of pigmentation causes 25 per cent of these people to become obsessed with their skin colour, depressed or even suicidal. Money does not make the disease disappear; it only makes it possible to consult the world’s best dermatologists.

The de-pigmentation often starts on the hands and feet. In the case of Jackson, it first appeared on his hands. This was the reason behind his signature white glove. In others it may start around orifices like the nose, mouth, eyes, umbilicus, genital areas and rectum. The patches may remain stationary, increase in size or spread over the whole body. They are symmetrical on both sides of the body. Some areas may suddenly re-pigment while the white patches continue to spread.

The loss of colour is due to the mutation of one of the genes on chromosome 17. This is usually inherited. The mutations may remain unexpressed and the person may be normal all through life. However, if a family member is affected, the risk of vitiligo developing eventually in another member is increased five-fold. The same gene is responsible for premature greying. Some members may have patches, others may develop grey hair in their twenties while still others may appear perfectly normal. The gene may start to express itself and cause de-pigmentation as a result of a trigger like a stressful event. It may also be precipitated by an injury or constant friction in shoes or clothing.

The mutated gene triggers an autoimmune disorder and the body forms antibodies against melanocytes (pigment producing cells). The latter are thus destroyed. Vitiligo may be associated with other autoimmune disorders which affect organs such as the thyroid, stomach and adrenal glands. It may form part of the spectrum of systemic lupus (an autoimmune disease that affects all the organs in the body, and is thus difficult to diagnose).

Sometimes a white baby is born to a “normal” family. The entire skin, hair and even the eyes lack pigment. This condition is called albinism and the person is referred to as an albino. It occurs because the melanocytes are unable to produce melanin, the colouring pigment. This is also an inherited condition but since the gene is recessive it does not express itself and manifest itself as a “white baby” unless it is inherited from both parents. A person who carries the gene may look normal and not be aware of it. If he or she incidentally marries another carrier, the child can be albino.

The pigment producing melanocytes may be absent from birth in certain areas. This hereditary condition is called piebaldism. It can occur anywhere, and can result in just a white forelock — like in the case of Indira Gandhi.

Owing to the similarity in symptoms, vitiligo is sometimes confused with piebaldism, albinsim or even leprosy. White scars may give rise to a similar appearance. A diagnosis can be reached by a skin biopsy.

It is better to avoid sunlight when vitiligo first appears. As the skin tans, the areas without melanin become obvious. Use an umbrella or apply SF (sunfilter) 30 sunscreen on the exposed areas.

Small patches can be camouflaged with cosmetics. They can also be treated under supervision by applying steroid creams. Constant use of these creams, however, can damage the skin texture.

Physicians in India and Egypt documented vitiligo as early as 1,500 BC. They treated it by applying and administering extracts of the fruit, seeds and leaves of two plants — Psoralea coryifolia Linnaues and Ammi majus Linnaeus. Even today, isolates of these plants are successfully used topically and orally. Synthetic compounds are also available. They act by increasing sensitivity to light and augmenting pigmentation in the affected areas (photochemotherapy). Treatment usually involves exposure to a measured amount of natural sunlight (PUVASOL) or artificial UV radiation (PUVA) to induce re-pigmentation. Phototherapy (without light-sensitising chemicals) can also be used. Sunburn is a common complication.

Surgical treatment can be tried by using skin grafts from pigmented areas. The success rate varies between 65 and 90 per cent. If the de-pigmented areas are extensive, some patients bleach the remaining dark portions of the skin to achieve a universal white colour.

Source: The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Pain and Painkillers

Michael Jackson lived and died under the arc lights. Speculation attributes his sudden death to addiction to painkillers, disastrously fuelled by the purchasing power of his millions. He could buy schedule H drugs — which are available on prescription only — and pay for their expert administration.

Pain is universal and accounts for half the medical consultations worldwide. Since everyone wants instant relief, painkillers — also called analgesics — are the most commonly prescribed and purchased medications. They belong to several chemical groups and act by dulling unbearable pain. They do not, however, cure the disease that is the root of the problem.

This means that if the actual disease is not tackled, the pain is likely to reappear when the medication wears off. This leaves patients dissatisfied and they tend to shop around for doctors.

Pain is handled by several specialists such as neurologists, surgeons, rheumatologists, general physicians, anesthetists and dentists. A patient can have several prescriptions with unidentifiable “trade names” instead of chemical names.

In an attempt to obtain relief, he or she may take several medications together. Others may dispense with the medical profession altogether and purchase analgesics over the counter (OTC) from the friendly neighbourhood pharmacy.

In such a scenario, the quantity of drug consumed and dosage intervals are no longer scientific or within safe limits. About 25 per cent of patients overdoses and 56 per cent experiences side effects — by either taking more than the recommended dose, or taking it at intervals so short that the medication is not adequately metabolised in the body.

Gradually, the body may become so used to the painkillers that habituation sets in. The medications no longer provide relief. Higher and more frequent doses are needed until, eventually, toxic levels are reached.

Today, there are millions of people from all socio-economic strata, around the world, who have unknowingly become addicted to painkillers. They are unaware of the potentially dangerous and lethal side effects of these “harmless” medications.

Pain is defined medically as “an unpleasant sensory or emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.” It is a natural protective defence, which prevents bodily harm. Unfortunately, pain is not a tangible or measurable entity. It is as severe as the sufferer says it is.

Although pain is subjective, the degree of pain and tolerance to it are influenced greatly by social, cultural and religious factors. Egyptian queens delivered in “birthing” chairs in full view of the entire court, without any analgesic or anaesthetic, and not one of them changed their expression. It certainly was not because they were impervious to pain!

Most of the time, pain has a sudden, acute onset at a specific location in the body and is dull, burning, throbbing or stabbing. The cause — which may be an infection or injury — can usually be identified. The pain generally disappears quickly either with no treatment at all, or with simple measures such as hot or cold compresses and analgesics.

Problems set in when the pain becomes chronic, and occurs day after day, evolving into a disease entity which seems impossible to bear or cure. Around 20 to 30 per cent of the world’s population suffers from chronic pain. The commonest causes of chronic pain are low backache, arthritis, migraine and nerve pains.

If you are suffering from chronic pain,

*Ask your doctor for a diagnosis

*Make sure you are not receiving habit-forming or dangerous medications

*Check if your social or family problems are aggravating the symptoms

*Do not take more than the amount prescribed or change the frequency

Liniments and ointments may provide relief. They need to be combined with icepacks and moist heat.

Vibration can be applied by rubbing with the hand or with a machine operated by a physiotherapist. It stimulates nerve endings and the chemicals released interfere with those causing pain and block them

Acupuncture uses needles to stimulate certain nerves. It is believed to release beneficial chemicals which block those causing pain.

Acupuncture may cause the release of the body’s own natural opiate painkillers into the various areas of the nervous system.

 

Graded exercises and physiotherapy help by gradually strengthening the muscles overlying painful joints.

Nutritional supplements like curcumin (found in turmeric), glucosamine, chondroitin (found in cartilage) and omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish) can be added to the medication. They may help even though there is no clear-cut scientific evidence that they are beneficial.

When nothing seems to work, intravenous medication and anaesthesia can be used. This should be reserved for severe pain as occurs in cancer or after surgery. This can be dangerous and should not be administered on request.

The response to pain is a conditioned reflex. Tolerance increases with physical fitness. Exercise causes the release of chemicals from the large muscles of the body which help to withstand pain. EXERCISE REGULARLY  FOR A HEALTHY AND PAIN-FREE LONG LIFE .

Always keep in mind  MOST OF THE TIMES, CHEMICAL PAINKEELERS  AS ARE AVAILABLE IN THE MARKET  DO  MORE HARM TO OUR BODY SYSTEM  THAN  DOING ANY GOOD.SO, TRY TO AVOID THEM UNLESS IT IS ESSENTIAL TO  USE THEM.

Source:
The Telegraph  ( Kolkata, India)

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Hands Free of Stress

If you’re one of those people who sits in front of a computer for hours, typing away, try this simple yet effective way to release tension in your forearms, wrists and fingers. Make a habit of taking breaks throughout the day to perform this exercise. When your hands and arms are relaxed, you’ll feel less stress in your neck and shoulders.

STEP-1. Sitting in your chair, back away from your desk and bend your arms to a 90-degree angle, bringing your elbows close to your waist. With forearms parallel to the ground, tuck your fingers in and squeeze each of your hands as tight as possible. Hold for 5 seconds.

 

STEP-2. Open your hands as wide as possible, spreading your fingers apart. Flex your wrists by moving your fingers up and back, simultaneously pushing your wrists forward. Hold for 5 seconds, trying to keep your hands fully stretched. Repeat this move three times — and remember to do the exercise 5 or 6 times a day.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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Leucoderma or Vitiligo

Leucoderma also known as vitiligo ,is a distressing skin condition. The word literally means white skin. There is a gradual loss of pigment melanin from the skin layer which results in white patches. These patches look ugly, especially in persons with a dark complexion. The condition does not cause any organic harm….click & see Continue reading