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Eatching & tearing of Eyes (Epiphora)

Definition:

Watery eyes (epiphora) tear persistently or excessively.

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Depending on the cause, watery eyes may clear up on their own. Self-care measures at home can help treat watery eyes, particularly if caused by inflammation or dry eyes.

Causes:
Watery eyes can be due to many factors and conditions.

In infants, persistent watery eyes, often with some matter, are commonly the result of blocked tear ducts. The tear ducts don’t produce tears, but rather carry away tears, similar to how a storm drain carries away rainwater. Tears normally drain into your nose through tiny openings (puncta) in the inner part of the lids near the nose. In babies, the tear duct may not be fully open and functioning for the first several months of life.

In older adults, persistent watery eyes may occur as the aging skin of the eyelids sags away from the eyeball, allowing tears to accumulate and flow out.

Sometimes, excess tear production may cause watery eyes as well.

Allergies or viral infections (conjunctivitis), as well as any kind of inflammation, may cause watery eyes for a few days or so.

There may be some more other cause like due to different medication & other  diseases.

Do your eyes itch after you’ve been near a cat? Do they puff up or run with tears when pollen is in the air? Allergies of the eye affect about 20% of Americans each year, and are on the rise. The same inhaled airborne allergens — pollens, animal dander, dust mite feces, and mold — that trigger allergic rhinitis (the familiar sneezing, runny nose, and congestion) can lead to allergic conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva, the lining of the eye). It’s not surprising that people with allergic rhinitis often suffer from allergic conjunctivitis as well.

About 50% of allergic conjunctivitis sufferers, who tend to be young adults, have other allergic diseases or a family history of allergies. About 80% of eye allergies are seasonal; the rest are perennial (year-round). The symptoms are itchy and red eyes, tearing, edema (swelling) of the conjunctiva or eyelid, and a mucous discharge. Although it can be uncomfortable, you can rest assured that it is not a threat to your vision.

Diagnosing allergic conjunctivitis:

Allergic conjunctivitis usually can be confirmed by your doctor based on your symptoms. Testing is not usually needed to diagnose the condition, but skin testing (the same kind that’s done for other allergic reactions) may help identify the allergens causing your symptoms.

If your symptoms don’t quickly respond to treatment, see your doctor in case you have a different condition. Dry eye, in particular, can mimic the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis.

Treating allergic conjunctivitis:-

Avoidance is your first line of defense. If you are allergic to cats, for example, avoid them (or at least don’t touch your eyes when near one), and wash your hands immediately after touching one. If pollen is your nemesis, keep your windows closed and an air purifier or air conditioner going in pollen season. Also, don’t rub your eyes, because rubbing causes cells in the conjunctiva to release histamine and other inflammatory chemicals, which worsens symptoms. Use artificial tears (available without prescription) frequently for relief and to dilute allergens in the eye.

If your only allergy problem is allergic conjunctivitis, then medicated eye drops would be your first step. You can start with an over-the-counter product, such as ketotifen eye drops (Zaditor, Alaway). The active ingredient is an antihistamine and a mast cell stabilizer, both of which can control the immune system overreaction that leads to your symptoms. Prescription-strength products that have similar actions are also available.

Allergic conjunctivitis can also be treated with over-the-counter oral antihistamines such as loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and fexofenadine (Allegra), or the prescription antihistamines desloratadine (Clarinex) and levocetirizine (Xyzal). These are especially useful for people that have other allergy symptoms in addition to conjunctivitis.

For allergic conjunctivitis that is very severe and doesn’t improve with other medications, there are prescription eye drops that contain corticosteroids, such as loteprednol etabonate (Alrex, Lotemax) and fluorometholone (Fluor-Op, FML Forte). However, these eye medications should only be used under the guidance of an ophthalmologist.

General  precautions  & Alternative treatment of eatching & tearing eyes:

*Remember to keep their eyes free from dust and other particles that cause a blocking of the tear ducts.

*Wash the face and eyes frequently as this will also help to keep you refreshed. Washing your eyes frequently also removes the impurities from around the area of the tear ducts, keeping them free from blockages.

*You could also keep your eyes moist with the use of some mild eye drops. This will help in reducing the itchiness and the dryness that you experience.

*If you are going outdoors, make sure to wear some protective eye wear that help to keep impurities out of the eyes, thereby avoiding any irritability of the sense organs.

*Rose water is an excellent remedy to soothe dryness or burning sensations that are experienced in the eyes. Washing out the eyes in a capful of rose water will provide instantaneous relief.

*There are occasions where the optical nerve of the eyes and the muscles around the eyes have been strained, leading to dryness and itching, followed by a continuous flow of secretions. In order to relax the eyes and the relevant muscles, place slices of cucumber over the eyelids while you rest your eyes. The cooling effect of the cucumber slices will provide a great deal of relief to your tired eyes.

*On certain occasions, a warm compress, made by dipping a piece of towel into warm water and pressing it gently over the eyes will provide relief from symptoms of itching and continuous flow of tears.

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:
Harvard Medical School healthbeat@mail.health.harvard.edu via nf163.n-email.net
http://www.home-remedies-for-you.com/askquestion/83237/causes-of-itchy-eyes-what-could-be-the-root-of-itc.html
http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/watery-eyes/basics/causes/SYM-20050821

Papaver bracteatum

Botanical Name : Papaver bracteatum
Family: Papaveraceae
Genus: Papaver
Species: P. bracteatum
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Synonyms: Papaver orientale

Common Name :Iranian poppy

Habitat : Papaver bracteatum is native to W. Asia – Armenia, N.E. Iran, Turkey. It grows in meadows, usually in sub-alpine zones, but also on stony slopes in the lower mountain zone.

Description:
Papaver bracteatum is a sturdy perennial poppy with large deep red flowers up to 8 inches (20 cm) across on stiff stalks up to 4 feet (1.22 metres) high with a prominent black spot near the base of the petals. It is related to the commonly cultivated oriental poppy, Papaver orientale.

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Non-horticultural use of this species is for the production of thebaine, which is commercially converted to codeine and semi-synthetic opiates. Papaver bracteatum does not contain morphine or codeine and no other narcotic alkaloids in significant amounts. Oripavine was reported in minute traces but would not exert a relevant activity.

It is hardy to zone 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from July to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation:
Prefers a well-drained sandy loam in a sunny position. Succeeds in an ordinary good soil and in dry soils, tolerating drought when established. Plants prefer a deep soil that is poor and dry rather than rich, they dislike moist conditions. Plants can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn. A deep-rooting and almost indestructible plant, every scrap of the running root system that is left in the ground can grow into a new plant. There are many named varieties selected for their ornamental value. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits. A good bee plant.

Propagation:
Seed – sow June in an outdoor seedbed. Plant into permanent positions in September. Seed can also be sown in spring and may then flower in late summer. Division in March or October with care. Another report suggests that division is very simple. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer. Root cuttings 10cm long, November/December in a cold frame.

Edible Uses
Edible Uses: Condiment.

The young seed heads are used as a condiment, they are hot and acrid. Some caution is advised, see the notes  below on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
Diaphoretic.
The petals are sudorific.The roots are used medicinally.  Their constituents include thebaine.  It is possible to derive codeine and other pain-killing substances from thebaine.  Unlike opium alkaloids, thebaine does not have additive narcotic properties, it cannot be used directly and it thus poses no dancer of drug addiction: morphine, the precursor of the addictive-drug heroin, can be obtained only with great difficulty from it.  For pharmaceutical purposes, therefore, there may be considerable social and economic benefits in introducing this poppy into cultivation in place of Opium Poppy.  Crop scientists have discovered that Iranian Poppy can provide up to 37 kg of codeine per hectare compared with Opium Poppy’s much lower yield of 3 kg per hectare.

Known Hazards:  Although no specific mention has been found for this plant, many species in this genus are toxic to mammals, though the toxicity is low.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papaver_bracteatum
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Papaver+orientale
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_OPQ.htm

http://www.interq.or.jp/www1/chungush/flower/kesi.htm

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Learn Music, Get Smart

Training in music while still young effects changes in the brain that enhance one’s speech and sound abilities.
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Practitioners of music therapy, like most members of the listening public, vouch for the healing qualities of music. Music soothes a stressed mind, elevates the soul, and helps cope with illnesses. What if it also improves intelligence? Can we say that learning the violin or piano would make you smarter? We could debate the meaning of “intelligence”, but many neuroscientists and psychologists are now beginning to answer the question in the affirmative.

In a review paper published last week in Nature, Nina Kraus and Bharath Chandrasekaran, both of the School of Communication at Northwestern University near Chicago, claim that training in music changes the brain significantly. And that these changes would help specifically in skills like speech processing, and generally in many areas that involve the processing of sound. Musicians get better at remembering things, have better motor skills, and can also pay attention better in a sea of noise. “Music training improves auditory skills that are not exclusively related to music,” write the authors.

Music is a sophisticated art form that invokes several skills even to listen. From an auditory point of view, it has three aspects: pitch, timing and timbre. Timing is at the heart of rhythm, and timbre is involved in the quality of sound. At a deeper level, it involves a complex organisation of sound. Great musicians and highly sophisticated listeners, particularly of classical music, would often point to deep cultural facets as well.

Learning music would call into play basic skills as well higher cognitive abilities. Musical training is a complex task that involves several brain areas. At a basic level, it requires the ability to identify pitch, the frequency of a note. Even the most basic learner needs to tune the instrument first. This isn’t easy, and many people simply can’t identify the pitch of a note easily, no matter how hard they try. Good musicians need to have a great sense of timing. They also need to distinguish timbre, which actually conveys the richness of sound (while pitch is the basic frequency, timbre is the fine structure of a note). The ability to identify these three basic features needs considerable training.

A long history of training in music shows up in the brain structure. The brains of musicians show more grey matter in areas that are important for playing a specific instrument. In physiological terms, this change results in increased activation of neurons (brain cells) when exposed to sound. For example, the strength of activation when exposed to the sound of an instrument depends on the length of training on that instrument. What this shows, and Kraus and Chandrasekaran argue, is that the changes were acquired through training and are not innate differences in the brain.

Areas in the brain that get developed through musical training are involved in at least three faculties: sound processing, visual processing and motor control. This is why learning to perform music is different from listening, no matter how deep. “Listening to music does not involve motor control,” says Vinod Menon, professor at the department of psychiatry and behavioural sciences, Stanford University. Menon’s lab studies, among other things, show the brain processes music and also the similarities and differences between music and speech processing in the brain.

Language and music seem to be two different subjects, but there are many similarities between them. At a fundamental level, both involve the processing of sound. Some of the finer skills that musicians have are transferred easily to the processing of speech, which also uses attributes like pitch and timbre to convey information. “Musicians would be able to detect easily fine distinctions in speech like irony or sarcasm,” says T.S. Sridhar, professor of molecular medicine at St Johns Medical College, Bangalore. Sridhar has experience of working in auditory physiology.

This skill could translate to being able to identify emotions in speech much better than in the case of non-musicians. Musical training uses a high working memory, an ability that is extremely useful in language. It also involves paying close attention to sound, which also translates to a skill in language: the ability to listen carefully to a stream of sound amidst a sea of noise. Many experiments have shown that neurons in the brains of musicians indeed show a higher response when exposed to the sound of language when compared to non-musicians.

Since the strength of such response is dependent on the length of training, it always helps to start early. Kraus and Chandrasekaran argue that seven years is the best age to start. This in turn raises another question: can one get the benefits of musical training — in terms of translatable skills — when training in later life? Says Kraus, who is Hugh Knowles Professor of communication sciences, neurobiology and physiology and otolaryngology at Northwestern University, “There is evidence that the nervous system, and in particular the auditory system, continues to change throughout the life times of human and non-human animals. An important area for future research is to determine specifically the effects of musical experience — begun later in life — on the nervous system.”

So performers, play on, be it for your brain or your heart. As a commentary on the Nature article argues, music could be taught and learned for its own sake and not merely to improve the brain.

Source The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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DNA Test ‘May Predict Suitable Diet’

A simple DNA test may predict whether someone is more likely to lose weight on a low fat or a low carbohydrate diet, say US researchers.

The results from the small preliminary study of 101 women showed those on the best diet for their genes lost two to three times more weight than the rest.

The results are being presented at an American Heart Association conference.

Experts said the findings tied in with previous studies, but further work should be carried out.

Cheek swab:-

The emerging field of “nutrigenomics” looks at how food interacts with genes.

It has long been known that people react to certain nutrients differently according to their genetic makeup.

Lactose intolerance, for example, is more common among Asians and Africans than of people of North European descent.

This study looked at how well people with different genes fared on different weight-loss diets.

The researchers, from Stanford University, analysed data from 101 white Caucasian women who provided DNA from a swab of their cheek cells.

The women had different diets for a year. The diets were very low carbohydrate, low carbohydrate/high protein, and low or very low fat.

The researchers divided the group into three genotypes which they described as low carbohydrate diet responsive, low fat diet responsive and a balanced diet responsive genotype.

They found that those on a diet which matched their genotype lost 2-3 times more weight over 12 months compared with those on the “wrong” diet.

The researchers said their findings were preliminary, and need much more confirmation before they could be used commercially.

‘Intriguing’

British experts pointed out that the study had looked at a very small number of people and did not make clear what genes were involved.

Prof Christine Williams, from the University of Reading, said: “This is a very intriguing study – though very small.”

She said it would be useful to get a better understanding of what genes were involved.

“It fits pretty well with some of our own studies which show that certain genotypes are more responsive than others to certain types of fats, eg diets high in omega-3 fatty acids,” she added.

You may click to see :->
Why do some people never seem to get fat?
Obesity ‘may be largely genetic’
Experts investigate ‘DNA diets’

The DNA Diet

Source : BBC News :March 5. 2010

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Too Close for Comfort

The scientific study of a person’s sense of personal space may one day lead to ways of treating neurological diseases such as autism.
………..
Have you been annoyed by people standing too close to you? Do you feel uncomfortable when people stare at you? If you are offended by excessive proximity, you are among the billions of normal people on this planet. If you are not, there may be something abnormal in your brain.

A person’s sense of private space is considered so important that scientists have given a name to its formal study — proxemics. The subject is already throwing up interesting theories and practical applications.

Studies show that our sense of personal space determines a large part of our public behaviour. It is this sense that stops us from staring at others in crowded places, opt for unoccupied rows in a train or bus, or not stand close to another person in a urinal. Also, it enables us to sense danger in people’s expressions. Our sense of personal space — or more accurately, lack of it — could even be linked to some neurological diseases such as autism.

At the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in the US, professor of psychology and neuroscience Ralph Adolphs recently found that our sense of personal space resides in a part of the brain called amygdala. This almond-shaped structure is in the medial temporal lobe, equidistant from either ear. The amygdala has been known for over a century but neuroscientists were not interested in it until recently. The region was known to be associated with emotions, but scientists are now learning that it also plays a role in a number of brain disorders.

Adolphs and his team had come across a woman who they prefer to call SM. SM had no sense of personal space, because of which she had got into potentially dangerous situations. She participated in an experiment at Caltech where people were asked to walk towards the experimenter but stop at a distance where they felt comfortable. SM got very close to the experimenter, far closer than anyone else did. The other 20 volunteers stopped at about two feet; SM stopped at one foot. She did not feel uncomfortable even when the noses were about to touch. “She had earlier got into relationships with people whom normal people would not associate with,” says Adolphs.

Obviously, SM cannot decide whom to trust and is uniformly friendly with everybody she meets. Adolphs then used imaging techniques to determine what part of the brain lit up when people felt uncomfortably close to the experimenter. It was undoubtedly the amygdala. SM had lesions on both sides of the amygdala. Now the team is investigating the relationship of the amygdala, our sense of space and autism. Autistic people have difficulties with personal space and have to be taught its importance.

The experience of SM clearly suggests that our sense of personal space is also a necessary part of a defensive mechanism. She could not recognise fear in the faces of others and could also not judge whether someone is trustworthy, both being abilities that could be related to our sense of personal space. So important and so ingrained is our sense of this space that we carry it even to cyberspace. In experiments performed at Stanford University, scientists had found out that people maintain their sense of personal space even in virtual worlds. Says Nick Yee, former Stanford PhD student and now research scientist at the Palo Alto Research Centre, “When avtars gather in Second Life, they tend to maintain a distance as they do in the real world.”

Second Life is a 3D virtual world where people can create “avtars” who interact just as in the real world. The Stanford Virtual Reality Lab research team, of which Yee was a part, had created algorithms that could analyse the behaviour of avtars in Second Life. The aim of this project was to study virtual environments and not our sense of personal space, but it clearly demonstrated that personal space was important even in virtual worlds.

Around 10 years ago, at the University of California, Santa Cruz, professor Dane Archer videotaped several individuals in situations where they felt their sense of personal space was being violated. These situations involved urinals, libraries and other public places. The videos are now sold by Berkeley Media LLC, a leading distributor of documentaries in the US. The clips show that though people feel their personal space is being violated, their response is to move away rather than confront the aggressor.

Although the term proxemics is only a few decades old (its originator, Edward Hall, passed away this July), the scientific study of personal space is just beginning. It is providing fascinating insights into non-verbal communication. And scientists hope it would one day also lead to ways of treating neurological diseases.

Source:The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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