Tag Archives: Parkinson

Datura stramonium

Botanical Name : Datura stramonium
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Datura
Species: D. stramonium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common Names:Jimson weed or datura

Habitat : Original habitat is obscure,but is believed to have originated in the Americas, it is found in many areas of the world, occasionally in S. Britain.Grows in  dry waste ground and amongst rubble or the ruins of old buildings.

(The native range of Datura stramonium is unclear. It was scientifically described and named by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1753, although it was earlier described by many herbalists, such as Nicholas Culpeper. Today, it grows wild in all the world’s warm and moderate regions, where it is found along roadsides and in dung heaps. In Europe, it is found as a weed on wastelands and in garbage dumps.

The seed is thought to be carried by birds and spread in their droppings. It can lie dormant underground for years and germinate when the soil is disturbed. People who discover it growing in their gardens, and are worried about its toxicity, have been advised to dig it up or have it otherwise removed)

Description:
Datura stramonium is a foul-smelling, erect annual, freely-branching herb that forms a bush up to 2–5 ft (1–1.5 m) tall.

The root is long, thick, fibrous and white. The stem is stout, erect, leafy, smooth, and pale yellow-green. The stem forks off repeatedly into branches, and at each fork forms a leaf and a single, erect flower.

The leaves are approximately 3-8 inches long, smooth, toothed, soft, irregularly undulate. The upper surface of the leaves is a darker green, and the bottom is a light green. The leaves have a bitter and nauseating taste, which is imparted to extracts of the herb, and remains even after the leaves have been dried.

click to see the pictures

Datura stramonium generally flowers throughout the summer. The fragrant flowers are trumpet-shaped, white to creamy or violet, and 2.5 to 3.5 in. long, and grow on short stems from either the axils of the leaves or the places where the branches fork. The calyx is long and tubular, swollen at the bottom, and sharply angled, surmounted by 5 sharp teeth. The corolla, which is folded and only partially open, is white, funnel-shaped, and has six prominent ribs. The flowers open at night, emitting a pleasant fragrance and providing food for nocturnal moths.

The egg-shaped seed capsule is walnut-sized and either covered with spines or bald. At maturity it splits into four chambers, each with dozens of small black seeds.

It is hardy to zone 7 and is not frost tender.

Cultivation: 
Succeeds in most moderately good soils but prefers a rich light sandy soil or a calcareous loam, and an open sunny position. Plants often self-sow when well sited. The thornapple is cultivated commercially as a medicinal plant. It can become a weed in suitable conditions and is subject to statutory control in some countries. This species is extremely susceptible to the various viruses that afflict the potato family (Solanaceae), it can act as a centre of infection so should not be grown near potatoes or tomatoes. Grows well with pumpkins. The whole plant gives off a nauseating stench.

Propagation: 
Sow the seed in individual pots in early spring in a greenhouse. Put 3 or 4 seeds in each pot and thin if necessary to the best plant. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 6 weeks at 15°c. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Especially in areas with hot summers, it is worthwhile trying a sowing outdoors in situ in mid to late spring…..click & see

Medicinal Uses:
Anodyne;  Anthelmintic;  Antiasthmatic;  Antidandruff;  Antiinflammatory;  Antispasmodic;  Hallucinogenic;  Hypnotic;  Mydriatic;  Narcotic.

The thornapple is a bitter narcotic plant that relieves pain and encourages healing. It has a long history of use as a herbal medicine, though it is very poisonous and should be used with extreme caution. The leaves, flowering tops and seeds are anodyne, antiasthmatic, antispasmodic, hallucinogenic, hypnotic, mydriatic and narcotic. The seeds are the most active medicinally. The plant is used internally in the treatment of asthma and Parkinson’s disease, excess causes giddiness, dry mouth, hallucinations and coma. Externally, it is used as a poultice or wash in the treatment of fistulas, abscesses wounds and severe neuralgia. The use of this plant is subject to legal restrictions in some countries. It should be used with extreme caution and only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner since all parts of the plant are very poisonous and the difference between a medicinal dose and a toxic dose is very small. The leaves should be harvested when the plant is in full flower, they are then dried for later use. The leaves can be used as a very powerful mind-altering drug, they contain hyoscyamine and atropine. There are also traces of scopolamine, a potent cholinergic-blocking hallucinogen, which has been used to calm schizoid patients. Atropine dilates the pupils and is used in eye surgery. The leaves have been smoked as an antispasmodic in the treatment for asthma, though this practice is extremely dangerous. The seeds are used in Tibetan medicine, they are said to have a bitter and acrid taste with a cooling and very poisonous potency. Analgesic, anthelmintic and anti-inflammatory, they are used in the treatment of stomach and intestinal pain due to worm infestation, toothache and fever from inflammations. The juice of the fruit is applied to the scalp to treat dandruff.

It is anti-asthmatic, antispasmodic, good for swellings and healing wounds  Traditional medicinal uses include placing a folded leaf behind the ear to allay motion-sickness, or applying a fresh leaf poultice externally to allay the pain of rheumatic or glandular swellings. Leaves and seeds were once smoked with Mullein for treating asthma.

Specifics: Body pain: Grind the roots and leaves of Datura stramonium into a paste. Add the latex of Jatropha gossyifolia in it. Then fry this paste with mustard oil. Massage this oil an all over the body only once before going to bed at night.  Earache: Pound a fruit of Datura stramonium and extract the juice. Warm this juice gently and put 2 to 3 drops of this juice inside the aching ear only once.  Elephantiasis: Grind all the following into a paste: the roots of Datura stramonium, the seeds of Brassia juncea and the bark of Morangia oleifera. Smear this paste locally on legs once daily for one month and bandage by a cloth.  Rheumatism: Boil all the followings in mustard oil: the young branch of Datura stramonium, the bark of Vitex negundo, few pieces of Ginger and garlic. Massage this oil on joints twice daily for a week.

Other Uses:
Hair;  Repellent.: The growing plant is said to protect neighbouring plants from insects. The juice of the fruits is applied to the scalp to cure dandruff and falling hair.

Spiritual Uses:
For centuries, Datura stramonium has been used as a mystical sacrament which brings about powerful visions (lasting for days) and opens the user to communication with spirit world.

The ancient inhabitants of what is today central and southern California used to ingest the small black seeds of datura to “commune with deities through visions”. Across the Americas, other indigenous peoples such as the Algonquin, Cherokee, Marie Galente and Luiseño also utilized this plant in sacred ceremonies for its hallucinogenic properties. In Ethiopia, some students and debtrawoch (lay priests), use D. stramonium to “open the mind” to be more receptive to learning, and creative and imaginative thinking.

The common name “datura” has its roots in ancient India, where the plant was considered particularly sacred — believed to be a favorite of the Hindu god Shiva Nataraja

Known Hazards: All parts of Datura plants contain dangerous levels of the tropane alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine and scopolamine which are classified as deliriants, or anticholinergics. There is a high risk of fatal overdose amongst uninformed users, and many hospitalizations occur amongst recreational users who ingest the plant for its psychoactive effects.

The amount of toxins varies widely from plant to plant. There can be as much as a 5:1 variation across plants, and a given plant’s toxicity depends on its age, where it is growing, and the local weather conditions. Additionally, within a given datura plant, concentrations of toxins are higher in certain parts of the plant than others, and can vary from leaf to leaf. When the plant is younger, the ratio of scopolamine to atropine is approximately 3:1; after flowering, this ratio is reversed, with the amount of scopolamine continuing to decrease as the plant gets older.  This variation makes Datura exceptionally hazardous as a drug. In traditional cultures, a great deal of experience with and detailed knowledge of Datura was critical in order to minimize harm. An individual datura seed contains about 0.1 mg of atropine, and the approximate fatal dose for adult humans is >10mg atropine or >2-4mg scopolamine.

Datura intoxication typically produces delirium (as contrasted to hallucination); hyperthermia; tachycardia; bizarre behavior; and severe mydriasis with resultant painful photophobia that can last several days. Pronounced amnesia is another commonly reported effect. The onset of symptoms generally occurs approximately 30 minutes to an hour after smoking the herb. These symptoms generally last from 24 to 48 hours, but have been reported in some cases to last as long as 2 weeks.

As with other cases of anticholinergic poisoning, intravenous physostigmine can be administered in severe cases as an antidote

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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datura_stramonium
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Datura+stramonium
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm

http://www.thoughtscreatereality.com/shiva.htm

Enhanced by Zemanta

Parkinson’s Disease

Alternative Names : Parkinson disease, Parkinson’s, idiopathic parkinsonism, primary parkinsonism, PD, or paralysis agitans

Definition:
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and the most common movement disorder. It is characterized by progressive loss of muscle control, which leads to trembling of the limbs and head while at rest, stiffness, slowness, and impaired balance. As symptoms worsen, it may become difficult to walk, talk, and complete simple tasks.
click & see the pictures
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. It develops gradually, often starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. But while tremor may be the most well-known sign of Parkinson’s disease, the disorder also commonly causes a slowing or freezing of movement. Many people with Parkinson’s disease live long productive lives, whereas others become disabled much more quickly. Premature death is usually due to complications such as falling-related injuries or pneumonia.

Friends and family may notice that your face shows little or no expression and your arms don’t swing when you walk. Speech often becomes soft and mumbling. Parkinson’s symptoms tend to worsen as the disease progresses.

While there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, many different types of medicines can treat its symptoms. In some cases,  doctor may suggest surgery.

In the United States, about 1 million people are affected by Parkinson’s disease and worldwide about 5 million. Most individuals who develop Parkinson’s disease are 60 years of age or older. Parkinson’s disease occurs in approximately 1% of individuals aged 60 years and in about 4% of those aged 80 years. Since overall life expectancy is rising, the number of individuals with Parkinson’s disease will increase in the future. Adult-onset Parkinson’s disease is most common, but early-onset Parkinson’s disease (onset between 21-40 years), and juvenile-onset Parkinson’s disease (onset before age 21) also exist.

Descriptions of Parkinson’s disease date back as far as 5000 BC. Around that time, an ancient Indian civilization called the disorder Kampavata and treated it with the seeds of a plant containing therapeutic levels of what is today known as levodopa. Parkinson’s disease was named after the British doctor James Parkinson, who in 1817 first described the disorder in great detail as “shaking palsy.”

Symptoms:
The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can vary from person to person. Early signs may be subtle and can go unnoticed. Symptoms typically begin on one side of the body and usually remain worse on that side even after symptoms begin to affect both sides.

Parkinson’s signs and symptoms may include:

*Tremor. The characteristic shaking associated with Parkinson’s disease often begins in a hand. A back-and-forth rubbing of your thumb and forefinger, known as pill-rolling, is common, and may occur when your hand is at rest. However, not everyone experiences tremors.

*Slowed motion (bradykinesia). Over time, Parkinson’s disease may reduce your ability to initiate voluntary movement. This may make even the simplest tasks difficult and time-consuming. When you walk, your steps may become short and shuffling. Or your feet may freeze to the floor, making it hard to take the first step.

*Rigid muscles. Muscle stiffness can occur in any part of your body. Sometimes the stiffness can be so severe that it limits the range of your movements and causes pain. People may first notice this sign when you no longer swing your arms when you’re walking.

*Impaired posture and balance. Your posture may become stooped as a result of Parkinson’s disease. Balance problems also may occur, although this is usually in the later stages of the disease.

*Loss of automatic movements. Blinking, smiling and swinging your arms when you walk are all unconscious acts that are a normal part of being human. In Parkinson’s disease, these acts tend to be diminished and even lost. Some people may develop a fixed staring expression and unblinking eyes. Others may no longer gesture or seem animated when they speak.

*Speech changes. Many people with Parkinson’s disease have problems with speech. You may speak more softly, rapidly or in a monotone, sometimes slurring or repeating words, or hesitating before speaking.

*Dementia. In the later stages of Parkinson’s disease, some people develop problems with memory and mental clarity. Alzheimer’s drugs appear to alleviate some of these symptoms to a mild degree.

Causes:
The exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown, but several factors appear to play a role, including:

*Genes. Researchers have found specific genetic mutations that likely play a role in Parkinson’s disease. In addition, scientists suspect that many more changes in genes — whether inherited or caused by an environmental exposure — may be responsible for Parkinson’s disease.

*Environmental triggers. Exposure to toxins or certain viruses may trigger Parkinson’s signs and symptoms.In addition, numerous changes are found in the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease. The role of these factors in the development of the disease, if any, isn’t clear, however. These changes include:

*A lack of dopamine. A substance called dopamine acts as a messenger between two brain areas – the substantia nigra and the corpus striatum – to produce smooth, controlled movements. Most of the movement-related symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are caused by a lack of dopamine due to the loss of dopamine-producing cells in the substantia nigra. When the amount of dopamine is too low, communication between the substantia nigra and corpus striatum becomes ineffective, and movement becomes impaired; the greater the loss of dopamine, the worse the movement-related symptoms. Other cells in the brain also degenerate to some degree and may contribute to non-movement related symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Although it is well known that lack of dopamine causes the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, it is not clear why the dopamine-producing brain cells deteriorate. Genetic and pathological studies have revealed that various dysfunctional cellular processes, inflammation, and stress can all contribute to cell damage. In addition, abnormal clumps called Lewy bodies, which contain the protein alpha-synuclein, are found in many brain cells of individuals with Parkinson’s disease. The function of these clumps in regards to Parkinson’s disease is not understood. In general, scientists suspect that dopamine loss is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

*Low norepinephrine levels. People with Parkinson’s disease also have damage to the nerve endings that make another important chemical messenger called norepinephrine. Norepinephrine plays a role in regulating the autonomic nervous system, which controls automatic functions, such as blood pressure regulation.

*The presence of Lewy bodies. Unusual protein clumps called Lewy bodies are found in the brains of many people with Parkinson’s disease. How they got there and what type of damage, if any, Lewy bodies might cause is still unknown.

Risk Factors:
Risk factors for Parkinson’s disease are:

*Age : Age is the largest risk factor for the development and progression of Parkinson’s disease. Most people who develop Parkinson’s disease are older than 60 years years of age.Young adults rarely experience Parkinson’s disease. It ordinarily begins in middle or late life, and the risk continues to increase with age.

*Heredity : Having a close relative with Parkinson’s increases the chances that you’ll also develop the disease, A small number of individuals are at increased risk because of a family history of the disorder. Although your risk is still no more than about 4 to 6 percent.

*Sex: Men are more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than women are.Men are affected about 1.5 to 2 times more often than women.

*Exposure to toxins: Ongoing exposure to herbicides and pesticides puts you at slightly increased risk of Parkinson’s.Head trauma, illness, or exposure to environmental toxins such as pesticides and herbicides may be a risk factor.
Complications:
Parkinson’s disease is often accompanied by these additional problems:

*Depression:  Depression is common in people with Parkinson’s disease. Receiving treatment for depression can make it easier to handle the other challenges of Parkinson’s disease.

*Sleep problems:  People with Parkinson’s disease often have trouble falling asleep and may wake up frequently throughout the night. They may also experience sudden sleep onset, called sleep attacks, during the day.

*Difficulty chewing and swallowing:  The muscles you use to swallow may be affected in the later stages of the disease, making eating more difficult.

*Urinary problems:  Parkinson’s disease may cause either urinary incontinence or urine retention. Certain medications used to treat Parkinson’s also can make it difficult to urinate.

*Constipation: Many people with Parkinson’s disease develop constipation because the digestive tract works more slowly. Constipation may also be a side effect of medications used to treat the disease.

*Sexual dysfunction:  Some people with Parkinson’s disease may notice a decrease in sexual desire. This may stem from a combination of psychological and physical factors, or it may be the result of physical factors alone.Medications for Parkinson’s disease also may cause a number of complications, including involuntary twitching or jerking movements of the arms or legs, hallucinations, sleepiness, and a drop in blood pressure when standing up.

Diagnosis:
A physician will diagnose Parkinson’s disease from the medical history and a neurological examination.  There is no lab test that will clearly identify the disease, but brain scans are sometimes used to rule out disorders that could give rise to similar symptoms. Patients may be given levodopa and resulting relief of motor impairment tends to confirm diagnosis. The finding of Lewy bodies in the midbrain on autopsy is usually considered proof that the patient suffered from Parkinson’s disease. The progress of the illness over time may reveal it is not Parkinson’s disease, and some authorities recommend that the diagnosis be periodically reviewed.

Other causes that can secondarily produce a parkinsonian syndrome are Alzheimer’s disease, multiple cerebral infarction and drug-induced parkinsonism.  Parkinson plus syndromes such as progressive supranuclear palsy and multiple system atrophy must be ruled out.  Anti-Parkinson’s medications are typically less effective at controlling symptoms in Parkinson plus syndromes. Faster progression rates, early cognitive dysfunction or postural instability, minimal tremor or symmetry at onset may indicate a Parkinson plus disease rather than PD itself.  Genetic forms are usually classified as PD, although the terms familial Parkinson’s disease and familial parkinsonism are used for disease entities with an autosomal dominant or recessive pattern of inheritance.

Medical organizations have created diagnostic criteria to ease and standardize the diagnostic process, especially in the early stages of the disease. The most widely known criteria come from the UK Parkinson’s Disease Society Brain Bank and the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The PD Society Brain Bank criteria require slowness of movement (bradykinesia) plus either rigidity, resting tremor, or postural instability. Other possible causes for these symptoms need to be ruled out. Finally, three or more of the following features are required during onset or evolution: unilateral onset, tremor at rest, progression in time, asymmetry of motor symptoms, response to levodopa for at least five years, clinical course of at least ten years and appearance of dyskinesias induced by the intake of excessive levodopa. Accuracy of diagnostic criteria evaluated at autopsy is 75–90%, with specialists such as neurologists having the highest rates.

Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans of people with PD usually appear normal.  These techniques are nevertheless useful to rule out other diseases that can be secondary causes of parkinsonism, such as basal ganglia tumors, vascular pathology and hydrocephalus.  A specific technique of MRI, diffusion MRI, has been reported to be useful at discriminating between typical and atypical parkinsonism, although its exact diagnostic value is still under investigation. Dopaminergic function in the basal ganglia can be measured with different PET and SPECT radiotracers. Examples are ioflupane (123I) (trade name DaTSCAN) and iometopane (Dopascan) for SPECT or fludeoxyglucose (18F) for PET. A pattern of reduced dopaminergic activity in the basal ganglia can aid in diagnosing PD

Treatment :
There’s no cure for Parkinson’s disease although new research is just starting to suggest that some drugs already used for the condition do have some effect in holding back progression of the disease.

A lot can be done to relieve symptoms, especially in the early stages, by replacing the missing dopamine in the brain. This can be done very effectively with a drug called levodopa – a synthetic chemical that’s converted into dopamine in the brain. However, there can be severe side-effects with prolonged usage.

Because of these problems, doctors usually try to delay using levodopa, especially in younger people. Instead, they use other drugs that boost dopamine activity or mimic its effects, known as dopamine agonists. These drugs also have side-effects and doses have to be carefully tailored to each patient’s needs.

Another option for people with more advanced Parkinson’s is injections of a drug called apomorphine which can ‘rescue’ people from sudden ‘off’ periods (episodes of greatly reduced mobility).

This drug can also be given as a continuous infusion for those with severe movement fluctuations and reduces the dose of levodopa that a person requires.

Occupational therapists and physiotherapists help people manage their condition by assisting with movement and providing advice on how to maintain independence in everyday life. Speech and language therapists help with communication or swallowing difficulties.

Deep brain stimulation is a form of surgery that can be used to treat some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s. A wire with four electrodes at its tip is implanted in one of four target sites in the brain. Then a small unit, which generates electrical signals for the stimulation, is implanted into the person’s chest. When the stimulation is switched on, electrical signals are sent to the brain to stop or reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s. It’s not suitable for everyone with Parkinson’s, but can provide significant improvement in symptoms and quality of life.

In the future, gene therapy and stem cell therapy may hold some possibility of more effective treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

YOU MAY CLICK & SEE  : Parkinson’s disease ‘may start in gut’

Lifestyle and home remedies:
If you’ve received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, you’ll need to work closely with your doctor to find a treatment plan that offers you the greatest relief from symptoms with the fewest side effects. Certain lifestyle changes also may help make living with Parkinson’s disease easier.

Healthy eating
Eat a nutritionally balanced diet that contains plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These foods are high in fiber, which is important for helping prevent the constipation that is common in Parkinson’s disease. A balanced diet also provides nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, that may be beneficial for people with Parkinson’s disease.

If you take a fiber supplement, such as psyllium powder, Metamucil or Citrucel, be sure to introduce it gradually and drink plenty of fluids daily. Otherwise, your constipation may become worse. If you find that fiber helps your symptoms, use it on a regular basis for the best results.

Walking with care
Parkinson’s disease can disturb your sense of balance, making it difficult to walk with a normal gait.

These suggestions may help:

*Try not to move too quickly.
*Aim for your heel to strike the floor first when you’re walking.
*If you notice yourself shuffling, stop and check your posture. It’s best to stand up straight.

Avoiding falls
In the later stages of the disease, you may fall more easily. In fact, you may be thrown off balance by just a small push or bump.

The following suggestions may help:

*Don’t pivot your body over your feet while turning. Instead, make a U-turn.
*Don’t lean or reach. Keep your center of gravity over your feet.
*Don’t carry things while walking.
*Avoid walking backward.

Dressing
Dressing can be the most frustrating of all activities for someone with Parkinson’s disease. The loss of fine motor control makes it hard to button and zip clothes, and even to step into a pair of pants. An occupational therapist can point out techniques that make daily activities easier.

These suggestions also may help:

*Allow plenty of time so that you don’t feel rushed.
*Lay clothes nearby.
*Choose clothes that you can slip on easily, such as sweat pants, simple dresses or pants with elastic waistbands.
*Use fabric fasteners, such as Velcro, instead of buttons.

Alternative Medications:
Forms of alternative medicine that may help people with Parkinson’s include:

*Coenzyme Q10. People with Parkinson’s disease tend to have low levels of coenzyme Q10, and some research has suggested it may be beneficial. However, subsequent research hasn’t confirmed this benefit. You can buy coenzyme Q10 without a prescription in drugstores and natural food stores. Talk with your doctor before taking this supplement to ensure that it won’t interfere with any medication you may be taking.

*Massage. Massage therapy can reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation, which may be especially helpful to people experiencing muscle rigidity associated with Parkinson’s disease. These services, however, are rarely covered by health insurance.

*Tai chi. An ancient form of Chinese exercise, tai chi employs slow, flowing motions that help improve flexibility and balance. Several forms of tai chi are tailored for people of any age or physical condition.

*Yoga. Yoga is another type of exercise that increases flexibility and balance. Most poses can be modified, depending on your physical abilities.

Prognosis:
PD invariably progresses with time. Motor symptoms, if not treated, advance aggressively in the early stages of the disease and more slowly later. Untreated, individuals are expected to lose independent ambulation after an average of eight years and be bedridden after ten years.  However, it is uncommon to find untreated people nowadays. Medication has improved the prognosis of motor symptoms, while at the same time it is a new source of disability because of the undesired effects of levodopa after years of use.   In people taking levodopa, the progression time of symptoms to a stage of high dependency from caregivers may be over 15 years.  However, it is hard to predict what course the disease will take for a given individual. Age is the best predictor of disease progression. The rate of motor decline is greater in those with less impairment at the time of diagnosis, while cognitive impairment is more frequent in those who are over 70 years of age at symptom onset.

Since current therapies improve motor symptoms, disability at present is mainly related to non-motor features of the disease.Nevertheless, the relationship between disease progression and disability is not linear. Disability is initially related to motor symptoms. As the disease advances, disability is more related to motor symptoms that do not respond adequately to medication, such as swallowing/speech difficulties, and gait/balance problems; and also to motor complications, which appear in up to 50% of individuals after 5 years of levodopa usage. Finally, after ten years most people with the disease have autonomic disturbances, sleep problems, mood alterations and cognitive decline. All of these symptoms, especially cognitive decline, greatly increase disability.

The life expectancy of people with PD is reduced. Mortality ratios are around twice those of unaffected people. Cognitive decline and dementia, old age at onset, a more advanced disease state and presence of swallowing problems are all mortality risk factors. On the other hand a disease pattern mainly characterized by tremor as opposed to rigidity predicts an improved survival. Death from aspiration pneumonia is twice as common in individuals with PD as in the healthy population

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/parkinsons1.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson’s_disease
http://www.medicinenet.com/parkinsons_disease/article.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson’s_disease
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/parkinsons-disease/DS00295

Sex, Chemicals and Longevity

A substance released during intercourse can extend the lifespan of an organism:

Intimate bedroom moments have given researchers new clues about combating ageing. A team of European researchers, led by a biologist in Austria, has found that a substance released in copious amounts during sexual intercourse can actually extend the lifespan of a range of organisms — from flies to worms and even mammals.

Spermidine, an important constituent of seminal fluid which helps neutralise the acidic pH of the vagina — the first step in the sperm’s journey towards fertilising an egg — is known to be necessary for cell growth and maturation. Scientists have previously found that when ageing sets in, its concentration dips in living cells. However, it was unclear if its decrease was the cause or consequence of ageing.

But in an interesting study reported online in the journal Nature Cell Biology, scientists led by Frank Madeo of the Institute of Molecular Biosciences, University of Graz, Austria, have shown that the levels of spermidine can be propped up in cells through the oral route. Experimenting with laboratory mice, the scientists found that an additional dose of spermidine rejuvenated the cells, as a result of which the animals lived longer.

“Our studies have shown that spermidine-treated fruit flies and worms can live up to 30 per cent longer than their average lifespan,” Madeo told KnowHow.

Madeo thinks the study is important for a variety of reasons. First, spermidine is an intrinsically natural compound abundantly found in every type of cell or eukaryotic organism and hence part of normal human nutrition. It is found in abundant quantities in soybeans as well as grapefruit, a subtropical citrus fruit known for its bitter taste.

“Intriguingly, spermidine is (released)… in huge concentrations during sexual intercourse. This means that it is already approved by nature,” says Madeo. The second fascinating thing, according to him, is the way it does cellular “clean up”. Spermidine is capable of inducing a process called “autophagy” by which a cell itself destroys its own degraded components. Scientists have known for long that autophagy plays a critical role in halting the progression of cancers and certain neurodegenerative disorders.

A similar study about three months ago by a team of French scientists found that melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone, when supplied externally, could delay the onset of ageing.

“It is too early to speculate if and to which extent these two substances (melatonin and spermidine) might interfere with ageing through similar mechanisms. It is worthwhile, however, to note that both the studies addressed the effect of a single compound that is naturally produced in the human body,” says Madeo.

Altering the concentrations of these compounds through external supply seems to be efficient in retarding the signs of ageing, he adds.

The advantage, particularly in the case of spermidine, says Madeo, is that its application is easy. Madeo and his team received positive results when they used spermidine simply as a nutritional supplement to food or drinking water in their experiments.

The scientists are also hopeful that spermidine will help them formulate therapies for several neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease which are normally associated with longevity.

In fact, Madeo along with his associate Tobias Eisenberg is currently engaged in a series of experiments on mice to see whether spermidine could be effective against such neurodegenerative diseases.

Milind Gajnan Watve, professor of biology at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune, feels the work is interesting. It indicates that the biology of ageing is very similar in a range of organisms, from simple single-cell creatures to humans. “The study is promising, but has a long way to go,” he adds.

Source:The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

 

Spinal Shocks Can Control Parkinson’s

By electrically stimulating the spinal cords of rodents, scientists have reversed some of the worst symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. As long as a  mild current flows up their spines and into their brains, the animals regain the ability to scamper around their cages, as if they were normal.
..
The therapy, described in the journal Science, is a potential alternative to direct stimulation, which requires risky and invasive surgery to implant electrodes deep in the brain, researchers said. Only 30% of severely impaired Parkinson’s patients qualify for the operation.

Spinal cord stimulation would be less invasive and inherently safer, and it would reduce the amount of drugs needed to treat the disease, said the report’s lead author, Miguel Nicolelis, a neuroscientist at Duke. In the new treatment, animals whose brains were depleted of dopamine had tiny electrodes, the size of a fingernail, implanted on their spinal cords. Three seconds after a mild electrical stimulation began, they could move about normally.

The treatment was also effective when combined with L-dopa in further experiments; only two doses of L-dopa were needed to produce movement, compared with five doses when it was used by itself. Spinal cord stimulation represents a “big conceptual change” in how to treat Parkinson’s disease, Nicolelis said. Rather than looking at where things happen in the brain, the approach focuses on when things happen, as in the dynamic firing patterns of large circuits of neurons.

These circuits oscillate in harmony and underlie normal brain function. Parkinson’s patients have abnormal low-frequency oscillations in the brain regions controlling movement, Nicolelis said. Stimulation of the topmost layer of the spinal cord, which conveys touch sensations to the brain, may work by disrupting these abnormal oscillations, restoring normal firing patterns across multiple brain structures involved in the control of voluntary movements.

Sources: The Times Of India

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Graphology

DEFINITION:-
Graphology is the study and analysis of handwriting especially in relation to human psychology. In the medical field, it can be used to refer to the study of handwriting as an aid in diagnosis and tracking of diseases of the brain and nervous system. The term is sometimes incorrectly used to refer to forensic document examination.

Click to see the   Letter from John Cox, 1784

click to see…>…..(01)...(1)……..(2).……...(3).……….(4).………..(5)..……….(6)...

Graphology: graphos (from the Greek  writing) / logos (from the Greek science). It is a generic, as for instance: Anthropology, Psychology, Biology, Geology. With the lexeme Grapho (from the Greek: ) there are many words generic: Graphopatology, Graphomaniac, Graphistic, Graphopsychology, psycho Graphology, Graphometric, Graphometry, Graphoanalysis, Graphotechnology.

Graphology has been controversial for more than a century. Although supporters point to the anecdotal evidence of thousands of positive testimonials as a reason to use it for personality evaluation, most empirical studies fail to show the validity claimed by its supporters. Graphology is now generally considered a pseudoscience.

BASIC TENENTS:-
Graphology is based upon the following basic assertions:

*When we write, the ego is active but it is not always active to the same degree. Its activity waxes and wanes; being at its highest level when an effort has to be made by the writer and at its lowest level when the motion of the writing organ has gained momentum and is driven by it.

*When the action of writing is comparatively difficult, the writer uses those forms of letters which are simpler or more familiar.

*The muscular movements involved in writing are controlled by the central nervous system. The form of the resultant writing movement is modified further by the flexibly assembled coordinative structures in the hand, arm, and shoulder; which follow the principles of dynamical systems. The specific writing organ (mouth, foot, hand, crook of elbow) is irrelevant if it functions normally and is sufficiently adapted to its function.

*The neurophysiological mechanisms which contribute to the written movement are related to conditions within the central nervous system and vary in accordance with them. The written strokes, therefore, reflect both transitory and long term changes in the central nervous system such as Parkinson’s disease, or alcohol usage.

*The movements and corresponding levels of muscular tension in writing are mostly outside of conscious control and subject to the ideomotor effect. Emotion, mental state, and biomechanical factors such as muscle stiffness and elasticity are reflected in a person’s handwriting.

*One must examine the handwriting or drawing movements by considering them as movements organized by the central nervous system and produced under biomechanical and dynamical constraints. Given these considerations, graphologists proceed to evaluate the pattern, form, movement, rhythm, quality, and consistency of the graphic stroke in terms of psychological interpretations. Such interpretations vary according to the graphological theory applied by the analyst.

*Most schools of thought in graphology concur that a single graphological element can be a component of many different clusters, with each cluster having a different psychological interpretation. The significance of the cluster can be assessed accurately by tracing each component of the cluster back to their origins and adapting the meaning of the latter to the conditions of the milieu in which the form appears.

APPROACH TO GRAPHOLOGY :-
There are three approaches to graphology: the integrative approach, the holistic approach, and the symbolic analysis.

Integrative graphology
This approach holds that specific stroke structures relate to personality traits. Most systems within this approach use a cluster of stroke formations, to score a specific personality trait. Systems that fall under this umbrella are: fixed signs, trait stroke, French System and Graphoanalysis. It has been described as starting from the inside, and working to the outside.

Holistic graphology
This is commonly, but incorrectly referred to as Gestalt Graphology. Gestalt graphology was a system of handwriting analysis developed circa 1915 in Germany and was related theoretically to Gestalt psychology. In this approach (Holistic Graphology) a profile is constructed on the basis of form, movement and space. It has been described as starting from the outside, and working to the inside. In this approach, individual traits, such as legibility, are not assigned specific meanings, but can take on different meanings depending on the overall context.

Symbolic analysis
In this approach, one looks for symbols seen in the handwriting. This can be either Major symbolism, or Minor Symbolism.

*Major symbolism is the meaning ascribed to the stroke, as it related to the page.

*Minor symbolism ascribes a meaning to the stroke, depending upon the picture that the stroke draws. For example, John Wayne’s signature shows a blackened out portion, that represents his lung cancer.

This approach provides the theory that underlies both Holistic Graphology, and Integrative Graphology. Max Pulver is the best known exponent of this system.

SYSTEMS OF HANDWRITING ANALYSIS:-
Each approach to handwriting analysis has spawned several different systems.

Integrative Graphology
Graphoanalysis was the most influential system in the United States, between 1929 and 2000.
Sistema de Xandró.

Holistic Graphology
*The psychogram is the only system to have been taught as part of an academic degree, at an accredited institution in the United States .

*The Personal Worth Chart was developed by Handwriting Consultants of San Diego during the early eighties.

*The psychograph  was developed by Leslie King during the seventies.

*Wittlich Character Diagram.

*Muller – Enskat Protokol

*Szondi

*Girolamo Moretti

*Augusto Vels

TRAINING:-
The only academic institutions in the world that currently offer an accredited degree in handwriting analysis are:

*The University of Urbino, Italy: MA (Graphology)

*The LUMSA University in Rome, Italy: BA (Graphology)

*Emerson University College, Buenos Aires, Argentina: BA (Graphology)

*Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona: Spain: MA (Graphology)

TRANING IN THE UNITED STATES :-
Between 1940 and 1995, New School for Social Research, in New York City, offered a diploma in Graphology. At its peak, the diploma course took 8 semesters, and also included Forensic Document Analysis. This diploma did not have academic accreditation.

From 1970 to 2000, one could obtain a Graphology track Associate Arts Degree from Felician College, in Lodi, NJ. This was the only academic institution in the United States to have offered graphology for an accredited academic degree.

Training in the United States is currently available through correspondence courses. The quality of instructions varies considerably. Look for instructors that have a successful track record in teaching handwriting analysis.

WRITING SYSTEMS:-
The majority of material in the field is oriented towards the Latin Writing system. Courses offered in the subject reflect that bias.

Before taking any course, or certification, ensure that it is usable for the local writing system.
CERTIFICATION:-
There is no certification that is generally recognized, either within or without the field. Certifications are invariably linked to the organization one belongs to, and are no longer recognized when one resigns from the organization.

VOCABULARY:-
Every system of handwriting analysis has its own vocabulary. Even though two or more systems may share the same words, the meanings of those words may be different. The technical meaning of a word used by a handwriting analyst, and the common meaning is not congruent. Resentment, for example, in common usage, means to feel or exhibit annoyance. In Graphoanalysis, the term indicates a fear of imposition.
VALIDITY :-
Although graphology had some early support in the scientific community such as Fluckinger, Tripp & Weinberg(1961)  , Lockowandte (1976)  and Nevo(1986) , the results of most of the recent surveys on the ability for graphology to assess personality and job performance have been negative . Graphology is primarily used as a recruiting tool to screen candidates during the evaluation process. Many studies have been conducted to assess its effectiveness to predict personality and job performance. Recent studies testing the validity of using handwriting for predicting personality traits have been consistently negative , the results of most of the recent surveys on the ability for graphology to access personality and job performance have been negative as well . Here are some of the specific results for the personality tests:

*Graphologists were unable to predict scores on the Eysenck personality questionnaire using writing samples from the same people

*Graphologists were unable to predict scores on the Myers-Briggs test using writing samples from the same people
Using meta-analysis drawn from over 200 studies, graphologists were generally unable to predict any kind of personality trait on any personality test

Graphologists didn’t do better to assess job performance:

*Professional graphologists using handwriting analysis were just as ineffective as lay people at predicting performance

*A broad literature screen done by King and Koehler confirmed dozens of studies showing the mechanical aspects of graphology (slant, slope, etc.) are essentially worthless predictors of job performance.

The best way to summarize the appeal that graphology has despite the complete lack of empirical evidence has been put up by Dr Rowan Bayne, a British psychologist who wrote several studies on graphology: “It’s very seductive because at a very crude level someone who is neat and well behaved tends to have neat handwriting” and then added that the practice was “useless… absolutely hopeless”. It is also worth noting that the British Psychological Society for example ranks graphology alongside astrology – giving them both “zero validity”.

Overall, despite a few studies that support handwriting analysis, such as Crumbaugh & Stockholm , the large majority of studies such as Ben-Shakar, Bar-Hillel, Blum, Ben-Abba, & Flug [59] and many others indicate overwhelming evidence against its predictive validity.

ADDITIONAL SPECIFIC OBJECTIONS :-
*The Barnum effect and the Dr Fox effect . These phenomena make it difficult to validate methods of personality testing. These describe the observation that individuals will give high accuracy ratings to descriptions of their personality that supposedly are tailored specifically for them, but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to a wide range of people. See, for example, Tallent(1958). Non-individualized graphological reports give credence to this criticism.

*Effect Size: Dean’s(1992) primary argument against the use of graphology is that the effect size is too small. Regardless of the validity of handwriting analysis, the research results imply that it is not applicable for any specific individual, but may be applicable to a group.

*Vagueness: One of the key points of attack for critics is the ease with which a graphologist can alter the “rules.” Formniveau, for example, interprets a sign positively if the individual is high status, and negatively if the individual has low status

LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS :-

Privacy
Graphologists often claim that handwriting analysis in the workplace is legal[64], citing one or more of the following cases:

*Gilbert v California :388 US 263-267 (1967)

*US v Dionisio :410 US 1 (1973) 1973, Lawyers Edition, Second Series 35, 67; 93 SC 774

*US v Mara aka Marasovich :410 US 19 (1973)

*US v Rosinsky :547 F 2nd 249 ( CA 4th 1977 )

*United States v Wade  :388 US 218, 221-223 (1967)

All of these cases are about Fifth Amendment rights in a criminal investigation. These cases do not address issues relating to psychological analysis of an individual. Neither do they address third party issues.

A Hungarian Parliamentary Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information report states that handwriting analysis without informed consent is a privacy violation.

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION (EEOC):-
Many graphologists claim that handwriting analysis is non-discriminatory, since it cannot determine Gender, Age, Ethnicity, or other EEOC Protected Classes. However, thus far, there have been no studies demonstrating that the use of handwriting analysis in employment does not have a disparate impact upon EEOC protected classes.

There have been a number of studies on gender and handwriting. Uniformly the research indicates that gender can be determined at a significant level. The published studies on ethnicity, race, age, nationality, gender orientation, weight, and their relationship to handwriting have had mixed results, with a tendency to indicate that they can be determined from handwriting.

DAUBERT :-
Daubert defined several criteria that admissible expert testimony has to meet.

*Be falsifiable, refutable, and testable;

*Be valid and reliable;

*Subject to published peer review;

*Held to standards within the field;

*Be generally accepted in the Scientific Community;

Depending upon the specific system of handwriting analysis that is used, it fails between two and five criteria.

APPLICATION OF GRAPHOLOGY :-

Employment profiling
A company takes a writing sample provided by an applicant, and proceeds to do a personality profile, matching the congruency of the applicant with the ideal psychological profile of employees in the position.

A graphological report is meant to be used in conjunction with other tools, such as comprehensive background checks, practical demonstration or record of work skills. Graphology supporters state that it can complement but not replace traditional hiring tools.

Research in employment suitability has ranged from complete failure [83] to guarded success.[84] The most substantial reason for not using handwriting analysis in the employment process is the absence of evidence of a direct link between handwriting analysis and various measures of job performance[85]

The use of graphology in the hiring process has been criticized on ethical grounds[86] and on legal grounds.


Business compatibility

This is an additional service offered by some handwriting analysts. The focus of these reports can be one, or more of the following:

Company-wide

This is a report the describes how compatible the individual is, with each employee in the company.

The average company employee
For this report, the mean, mode, and median scores of every scored data point , for the entire company are used, to create three hypothetical employees. The individual is then compared to these three employees, with the focus being how good a fit the individual is.

Division wide
This is a report that describes how compatible the individual is, with each employee in the division.

The average division employee
For this report, the mean, mode, and median scores of every scored data point , for the entire division are used, to create three hypothetical employees. The individual is then compared to these three employees, with focus being how well the individual will fit into the existing company psychodynamic profile.

Unit wide
This is a report the describes how compatible the individual is, with each employee in the unit.

The average unit employee
For this report, the mean, mode, and median scores of every scored data point , for the entire unit are used, to create three hypothetical employees. Those are then compared to the applicant, with a focus on how good a fit the individual is.

The unit manager / Co-worker
This explores the differences in personal style between a manager/co-worker and potential employee. The end result is on how each can maximize productivity and minimize personal friction.

Composite reports
This explores the difference in personal style between every employee in a group. The idea is for each member of the group to learn not only their own strengths and weakness, but also those of their co-workers, and how they can more harmoniously work together. The resulting reports not only deal with the individual on a one-to-one level within the group, but also each individual as a part of a group of three, four, five, etc people within the group.
The content of these reports can range from a simple perspectrograph, to a four wheel Wittlich Diagram and accompanying twenty five thousand word analysis.

PSYCHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS:-
These reports can range from a ten item check off list to a 25 page report on the makeup of an individual from the perspective of Freudian Psychoanalysis, Transactional Analysis, or another personality theory.

A major value of a graphological analysis lies in the increased understanding of people and the ability consequently to enjoy improved relationships both personally and professionally.

MARITAL COMPATIBILITY :-
In its simplest form only sexual expression and sexual response are examined. At its most complex, every aspect of an individual is examined for how it affects the other individual(s). The basic theory is that after knowing and understanding how each other is different, any commitment that is made will be more enduring. Typically done for couples, it is not unknown for a polyamorous group to obtain a report prior to the commitment ceremony of a new individual.

In cultures where arranged marriages are common, graphology can be used as an additional checkpoint on the compatibility of the couple prior to the elders giving their consent for the marriage to take place.
MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS :-
Medical graphology  is probably the most controversial aspect of handwriting analysis. Strictly speaking, such research is not graphology as described throughout this article but an examination of factors pertaining to motor control. Research studies have been conducted in which a detailed examination of handwriting factors, particularly timing, fluidity, pressure, and consistency of size, form, speed, and pressure are considered in the process of evaluating patients and their response to pharmacological therapeutic agents. The study of these phenomena is a by-product of researchers investigating motor control processes and the interaction of nervous, anatomical, and biomechanical systems of the body.

The Vanguard Code of Ethical Practice, amongst others, prohibits medical diagnosis unless one is also licensed to do diagnosis in the state in which they practice.

JURY SCREENING :-
A graphologist is given handwriting samples of a prospective jury and determines who should be struck, based upon their alleged personality profile. After the trial has begun, the graphologist advises counsel on how to slant their case, for the most favorable response from the jury.

GRAPHOTHERAPY :-….graphotherapy exercises
This is the practice of changing a person’s handwriting with the goal of changing features of his or her personality. It was pioneered in France during the nineteen-thirties, spreading to the United states in the late fifties.

The therapy consists of a series of exercises which are similar to those taught in basic calligraphy courses, sometimes in conjunction with music or positive self-talk. There have been anecdotal reports of these exercises curing everything from drug addiction to anorexia nervosa, and back to borderline personality disorder.

FORENSIC DOCUMENT EXAMINATION:-
This discipline is better known as questioned document examination within the judicial system. This is used to determine whether or not a document was written by the person who is thought to have written it. As such, this is not an aspect of graphology.

Goodtitle Drevett v Braham 100 Eng Rep 1139 (1792) is reportedly the first case at which the testimony of a questioned document examiner was accepted.

DIVINATION:-
Some individuals believe that one can tell the future from handwriting analysis. Others believe that a handwriting analyst can provide spiritual guidance on situations that they face. These beliefs are claimed to be false for reasons ranging from the complete lack of either scientific or anecdotal evidence, to the application of Aristotelian logic to any of the numerous (and mutually incompatible) theories of handwriting analysis. Most graphologists reject supernatural insights from their assessment of handwriting.

The code of ethics for the International Graphoanalysis Society, British Association of Graphology, and Association Déontologique Européenne de Graphologie prohibits the practice of anything related to the occult.

You may click to get more knowledge about Graphology:->..…..(A)….(B)….(C)…..(D)…….(E)

Sources:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphology

Enhanced by Zemanta