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.

News on Health & Science

Functional Foods: Enhanced for Health

Should you buy into super foods — products with added vitamins, herbs and extracts? Here’s what you need to know :


The link between diet and health continues to grow, and researchers have begun looking at benefits that certain foods may provide beyond their basic nutritional value. Recent years have seen a growing interest in functional foods — foods that have specific components, naturally occurring or added, that may reduce the risk of certain diseases. Whole as well as fortified, enriched, or enhanced foods can fall into this category.

Unmodified whole foods such as fruits and vegetables are the simplest example of a functional food. For example, broccoli, carrots, or tomatoes may be considered functional foods because they are particularly rich in compounds that have been linked with reduced risk of various diseases. Modified foods, including those fortified with nutrients or enhanced with specific phytochemicals or botanical extracts, are also functional foods. There is hope that these can play a role in prevention and treatment of conditions like cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, and others.

The functional-food market is one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. food industry, and is also growing rapidly in Japan and England. In other countries, such as Canada, growth is slower because of current regulatory constraints.

Some types of fortified functional foods have been around for a long time. For example, we fortify milk and margarine with vitamin D to prevent vitamin D deficiency diseases such as rickets. We add iodine to salt to prevent goiter. But the recent explosion of research into the role of food and nutrients and disease has resulted in huge interest by food companies to develop and market foods as medicine. For example, in the United States, products like cereal with added psyllium to lower cholesterol and tea with St. John’s wort for mood improvement are now found on store shelves. Since these products are not regulated, a consumer has no way of knowing how much of the supposed “active ingredient” they contain. Herbal medicine experts decry the addition of herbs to products such as soft drinks and snacks as an attempt to exploit people’s growing interest in alternative medicine. These products are not available in Canada.

There are many areas of controversy surrounding functional foods. Some believe that they will distract people from eating healthy diets. Some blast manufacturers for making health claims for which, in many cases, there is little or no scientific support. Others believe that there is plenty of evidence to show that certain functional foods could be the answer to reducing the prevalence of chronic disease and the cost of treatment. Regardless of the controversy, strong consumer interest in functional foods will most likely drive continued development of this market.

Here is a list of some food components that are the focus of current research:

1.Omega-3 fatty acids. These have been linked to the treatment and prevention of a large variety of diseases, including heart disease and stroke, lupus, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, and breast, colon, and prostate cancer. Foods containing omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish, fish oils, and flaxseed. Some eggs now contain omega-3 fatty acids.

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2.Soy protein : Research supports soy protein’s role in the reduction of blood cholesterol levels. It remains unknown whether the effect comes from the isoflavones (hormonelike plant compounds) in soy or some other components — perhaps sterols. Isoflavones are now being studied for their potential anticancer properties. They may also guard against osteoporosis. Soy protein can be found in a variety of soy foods, including soybeans, soy nuts, tofu, and soy beverage.

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3.Probiotics and prebiotics : Probiotics are active bacterial cultures that can help restore gut function and improve immune response. They are found in yogurt and other fermented foods. Prebiotics are substances that stimulate the growth of specific beneficial bacteria in the colon. Fructooligosaccharide (FOS) and inulin, both of which are found in chicory root, are good examples. They can be extracted from the root and added to processed foods.

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4.Lutein : This carotenoid (a type of antioxidant) has been linked to age-related macular degeneration, the main cause of vision loss in older people. It is in foods such as eggs, corn, spinach, kiwifruits, oranges, broccoli, and chard.
Psyllium. In the United States, psyllium is being added to cereals and other foods for its cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber.

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5.Oats : Oats have been widely studied for their ability to lower cholesterol levels. They contain a cholesterol-reducing soluble fiber known as beta-glucan.

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Stanols and sterols. In the United States, these cholesterol-lowering compounds, which are derived from wood oils, are being added to margarines such as Benecol.
When in Doubt, Stick With Nature’s Functional Foods
As researchers and food companies continue to look at new ways to link food products with disease prevention and treatment, remember that nature has provided us with an abundance of functional foods. Fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds are examples of foods naturally packed with phytonutrients that we know can lower the risk of cancer, heart disease, hypertension, and many other chronic diseases. No matter what the future of functional foods brings, you can’t go wrong sticking with the basics.

From: Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal

Ailmemts & Remedies


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Definition:    A cough is our body’s way of responding to irritants in our throat and airways. An irritant stimulates nerves there to send a cough impulse to the brain. The brain signals the muscles of our abdomen and chest wall to give a strong push of air to our lungs to try to expel the irritant.

It is a sudden and often repetitively occurring reflex which helps to clear the large breathing passages from secretions, irritants, foreign particles and microbes. The cough reflex consists of three phases: an inhalation, a forced exhalation against a closed glottis, and a violent release of air from the lungs following opening of the glottis, usually accompanied by a distinctive sound. Coughing is either voluntary or involuntary.

A coughing attack can be very forceful — the velocity of air from a vigorous cough through the nearly closed vocal cords can approach 500 miles per hour. Prolonged, vigorous coughing is exhausting and can cause sleeplessness, headaches, urinary incontinence, and even broken ribs.
Frequent coughing usually indicates the presence of a disease. Many viruses and bacteria benefit evolutionarily by causing the host to cough, which helps to spread the disease to new hosts. Most of the time, irregular coughing is caused by a respiratory tract infection but can also be triggered by choking, smoking, air pollution, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease, post-nasal drip, chronic bronchitis, lung tumors, heart failure and medications such as ACE inhibitors.

An occasional cough is normal and healthy. A cough that persists for several weeks or one that brings up discolored or bloody mucus may indicate an underlying condition that requires medical attention. A cough rarely requires emergency care.

Cough is a helpful phenomenon, it is the body’s natural reflex to irritation in the throat. There are two kinds of cough, one which is wet and associated with mucus (productive cough); and the other which is dry and there is no mucus (unproductive cough). It is important to differentiate between the two, because the treatments are entirely different.....CLICK & SEE

Causes:  The list of possible causes of cough is long and highly varied. Doctors classify coughs into 2 categories, acute and chronic. Many doctors define an acute cough as one that been present for less than 3 weeks. Chronic coughs are those present for more than 3 weeks.

  • Acute coughs can be divided into infectious (caused by an infection) and noninfectious causes.
  • Noninfectious causes of cough include flare-ups of the following chronic conditions: chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, and environmental allergies.
  • The easiest way to simplify the causes of chronic cough is to divide them into their locations with respect to the lungs. The categories are environmental irritants, conditions within the lungs, conditions along the passages that transmit air from the lungs to the environment, conditions within the chest cavity but outside of the lungs, and digestive causes.
  • Any environmental substance that irritates the air passages or the lungs is capable of producing a chronic cough with continued exposure. Cigarette smoke is the most common cause of chronic cough. Other cough-producing irritants include dusts, pollens, pet dander, particulate matter, industrial chemicals and pollution, cigar and pipe smoke, and low environmental humidity.
  • Within the lungs both common and uncommon conditions cause chronic cough. Common causes include asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. Less common causes of lung-induced chronic cough include cancer, sarcoidosis, diseases of the lung tissue, and congestive heart failure with chronic fluid build-up in the lungs.
  • The passages that connect the lungs to the external environment are known as the upper respiratory tract. Chronic sinus infections, chronic postnasal drip, diseases of the external ear, infections of the throat, and use of ACE inhibitors for high blood pressure have all been implicated in chronic cough.
  • In addition to disease processes within the lung and air passages, diseases elsewhere within the chest cavity may also be responsible for chronic cough. Conditions within the chest known to cause chronic cough include cancer, unusual growth of a lymph node, and an abnormal enlargement of the aorta, which is the main blood vessel leaving the heart.
  • An often-overlooked cause of the chronic cough is gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). GERD occurs when acid from the stomach travels up the esophagus. This abnormal condition can cause irritation of the esophagus and larynx resulting in the reflex production of a cough.

In the case of productive cough, coughing helps in removing excess mucus or phlegm which has come up in the back of the throat from the lungs or the nose and sinuses. A common cause of coughing in the night is mucus dripping from the nose into the back of the throat. Expectorant syrups , specially herbal base cough syrup can be used to get rid of the phlegm. Note that productive coughs should never be suppressed since they serve a very useful purpose. Night-time irritation of a chield can be eased by turning the child on his side or his front. A doctor should be consulted in case the cough lasts for more than 48 hours.

Unproductive coughs on the other hand serve no useful purpose, and can be very irritating to a small child, sometimes to the extent of preventing sleep. In this case, cough suppressants can help ease the discomfort.

Complications:   The complications of coughing can be classified as either acute or chronic. Acute complications include cough syncope (fainting spells due to decreased blood flow to the brain when coughs are prolonged and forceful), insomnia, cough-induced vomiting, rupture of blebs causing spontaneous pneumothorax (although this still remains to be proven), subconjunctival hemorrhage or “red eye”, coughing defecation and in women with a prolapsed uterus, cough urination. Chronic complications are common and include abdominal or pelvic hernias, fatigue fractures of lower ribs and costochondritis.

Diagnosis:  The diagnose of the cause of a cough usually begins by determining if it is specific or nonspecific in nature. A specific cough is one associated with other symptoms and further workup is dependent on these symptoms while a non specific cough occurs without other signs and symptoms. Further workup may include labs, x rays, and spirometry.
Treatment:  Treatment should target the cause as per diagnosis; for example, smoking cessation or discontinuing ACE inhibitors. Cough suppressants such as codeine or dextromethorphan are frequently prescribed, but have been demonstrated to have little effect. Other treatment options may target airway inflammation or may promote mucus expectoration. As it is a natural protective reflex, suppressing the cough reflex might have damaging effects, especially if the cough is productive.

In children half of cases go away without treatment in 10 days and 90% in 25 days.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics the use of cough medicine to relieve cough symptoms is supported by little evidence and thus not recommended for treating cough symptoms in children. There is tentative evidence that the use of honey is better than no treatment or diphenhydramine in decreasing coughing. It appeared similar to dextromethorphan. A trial of antibiotics or inhaled corticosteroids may be tried in children with a chronic cough in an attempt to treat protracted bacterial bronchitis or asthma respectively.
Home Care for prevention :
If one has asthma or another chronic lung disease, he or she should make sure to taking medicines prescribed by  the doctor.

Some helpful tips to ease cough:

*If one has a dry, tickling cough, try cough drops or hard candy. Never give these to a child under age 3, because they can cause choking.
*Use a vaporizer or take a steamy shower. These increase moisture in the air and help soothe a dry throat.
*Drink plenty of fluids. Liquids help thin the mucus in your throat making it easier to cough it up.
*Do not smoke and stay away from secondhand smoke

Medicines can be bought on own include:

*Guaifenesin helps break up mucus. Drink lots of fluids if you take this medicine.
*Decongestants help clear a runny nose and relieve postnasal drip. Check with your doctor before taking decongestants if you have high blood pressure.
* In case of children the doctor should be consulted before giving a child 6 years old or younger an over-the-counter cough medicine, even if it is labeled for children. These medicines likely do not work for children, and can have serious side effects.

If one has seasonal allergies, such as hay fever:
*Stay indoors during days or times of the day (usually the morning) when airborne allergens are high.
*Keep windows closed and use an air conditioner.
*Do not use fans that draw in air from outdoors.
*Shower and change clothes after being outside.
If one has allergies year-round, cover pillows and mattress with dust mite covers, use an air purifier, and avoid pets and other triggers.


Sometimes Homeopathic medication works well.
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.