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Fritillaria imperialis

Botanical Name : Fritillaria imperialis
Family: Liliaceae
Genus: Fritillaria
Species: F. imperialis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Liliales

Common Names: Crown imperial, Imperial fritillary or Kaiser’s crown. The common names and also the epithet “imperialis,” literally “of the emperor,” refer to the large circle of golden flowers, reminiscent of an emperor’s crown.

Habitat: Fritillaria imperialis is native to a wide stretch from Anatolia and Iraq across the plateau of Iran to Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Himalayan foothills. It is also widely cultivated as an ornamental and reportedly naturalized in Austria, Sicily, and Washington State.

Description:
Fritillaria Imperialis is a species of flowering plant with very sturdy stem. It grows to about 1 m (3 ft) in height, and bears lance-shaped, glossy leaves at intervals along the stem. It bears lance-shaped, glossy leaves at intervals along the stem. At the top of the stem, the downward facing flowers are topped with a ‘crown’ of small leaves, hence the name. While the wild form is usually orange-red, various colours are found in cultivation, ranging from nearly a true scarlet through oranges to yellow. The pendulous flowers make a bold statement in the late spring garden; in the northern hemisphere, flowering takes place in late spring, accompanied by a distinctly foxy odour that repels mice, moles and other small animals. (Flowers: Fresh….The flowers smell of wet fur and garlic.)...CLICK &  SEE THE  PICTURES

Due to the way that the bulb is formed, with the stem emerging from a depression, it is best to plant it on its side, to prevent water causing rot at the top of the bulb.

Cultivation:
Easily grown in a moderately fertile soil. Prefers a heavy soil without any disturbance, not even hoeing. Requires a well-drained soil and a sunny position or the shade of deciduous trees or shrubs. Succeeds in drier soils and is drought tolerant once established. Plants succeed in most fertile soils, avoiding pure chalk, heavy clay and boggy sites. The dormant bulbs are very hardy and will withstand soil temperatures down to at least -10°c. A very ornamental plant, there are some named varieties. The flowers smell of wet fur and garlic. Bulbs should be planted 10 – 12 cm deep in July on their side with sharp sand beneath them to ensure that they do not rot.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring. Protect from frost. Stored seed should be sown as soon as possible and can take a year or more to germinate. Sow the seed quite thinly to avoid the need to prick out the seedlings. Once they have germinated, give them an occasional liquid feed to ensure that they do not suffer mineral deficiency. Once they die down at the end of their second growing season, divide up the small bulbs, planting 2 – 3 to an 8cm deep pot. Grow them on for at least another year in light shade in the greenhouse before planting them out whilst dormant. Division of offsets in August. The larger bulbs can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, but it is best to pot up the smaller bulbs and grow them on in a cold frame for a year before planting them out in the autumn. Bulb scales.
Edible Uses: Root & bulb is cooked & eaten.A minor source of starch. Some caution is advised since there are reports of toxicity.
Medicinal Uses:
Diuretic; Emollient; Galactogogue; Resolvent.
The bulb is diuretic, emollient and resolvent
It is also a cardiac poison. It has been used as an expectorant and also to encourage increased breast milk production. The fresh plant contains the toxic alkaloid ‘imperialine’.
Known Hazards: The bulb is poisonous raw, it contains low concentrations of a toxic alkaloid.

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://plants.for9.net/edible-and-medicinal-plants/fritillaria-imperialis/
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/l/lilcro22.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritillaria_imperialis

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Medeola virginiana

Botanical Name : Medeola virginiana
Family: Liliaceae
Genus: Medeola
Species: M. virginiana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Liliales

Common Names :Medeola virginiana or Indian Cucumber-root

Habitat : Medeola virginiana is native to  Eastern N. AmericaNova Scotia to Ontario, Minnesota, Florida and Tennessee. It grows in rich woods, margins of swamps and bogs .

Description:
Medeola virginiana is a perennial plant, growing to 0.25m.It occurs with either a single tier or two tiers of leaves. The upper tier consists of from three to five whorled leaves on the stem above a lower tier of five to nine (also whorled). Only the two-tiered plants produce flowers which are green-to-yellow and appear from May to June. When two-tiered, it grows up to 30 inches high. The waxy leaves are typically 2.5 inches long and about an inch wide, but can be as long as five inches. The leaves have an entire margin. It typically produces three dark blue to purple, inedible berries above the top tier of leaves in September.
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It is hardy to zone 3.  The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Prefers light shade and plenty of leaf mould in a slightly acid soil. Prefers a rich sandy soil. The rootstock has a pleasant refreshing smell of cucumber.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame in a well-drained soil-less medium. Fully remove the fleshy seed covering because this contains germination inhibitors. The seed should germinate in the spring. Spring sown seed can be slow to germinate and may take 12 months or more. The seed should be sown thinly so that the seedlings can be grown on undisturbed in the pot for their first year. If necessary apply a liquid feed at intervals through the growing season to ensure that the plants grow on well. Prick the roots out into individual pots in the autumn and grow them on in a shady part of the greenhouse for at least the next growing season, planting them out into their permanent positions when they are dormant. Division in spring as the plant comes into growth

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Root.

Root – raw or cooked. Crisp and tender with the aroma and taste of cucumbers. A sweet flavour. The root is up to 8cm long.

Medicinal Uses:

Antispasmodic; Diuretic; Hydrogogue.
The root is diuretic and hydrogogue. It is used in the treatment of dropsy. An infusion of the crushed dried berries and leaves has been used to treat babies with convulsions.

Other Uses:
Scented Plants
Root: Fresh
The rootstock has a pleasant refreshing smell of cucumber.This plant produces a crisp, edible tuber that smells and tastes like garden cucumber. It is listed as an endangered plant in Florida and in Illinois.

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/Medeola_virginiana
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Medeola+virginiana

http://www.nps.gov/plants/pubs/chesapeake/plant/2000.htm

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Some Health Quaries & Answers

Fight that fever :
Q: I read in the newspaper that there is a lot of flu around. I am worried as I get sick every winter.

A: There is an epidemic of influenza. It is especially dangerous in the paediatric and geriatric age groups. Medication called Tamiflu is available to treat flu once it has developed. If you have been prescribed this medication, please remember to take the entire course. Ideally, it should be given twice a day for five days.

Flu can be prevented with a readily available vaccine, which needs to be taken as a single injection and provides protection for six months. Hopefully by that time the flu season will be over.

Ankle ache


Q: I twisted my ankle a year ago. After that I found that if I skid while walking, I tend to sprain it repeatedly. This is very painful.

A: There are ligaments around the ankle joint that should hold it firmly in place. Once you sprain your ankle, the ligaments become stretched and weakened. A slight slip will cause injury and pain. You need to go to a physiotherapist and learn ankle-strengthening exercises. It may make sense to wear an ankle support for a couple of months to prevent slips and strains.

Best exercise :

Q: What is the best exercise to do? There is so much conflicting advice that I am confused.

A: Ideal exercise really depends on how much time you have on your hands. Theoretically you need to do an hour of running or jogging and 20 minutes of stretching. Most people cannot spare that much time. If you are confined to a limited space and cannot go outdoors you could do the same amount of exercise using a stationary exercise cycle, rowing machine or treadmill. But, to make whatever exercise you do more efficient, increase the intensity for 6 minutes and then decrease it for 6. A slow one-hour stroll will improve your health significantly but these variations and additions will add benefit.

Sports physicians have come to the conclusion that the “Burpee” is the best exercise. It involves a squat, followed by a push-up and a leap into the air. Doing about 20 of them is ideal.

Clotty truth

Q: I am going to have cataract surgery and I am on 75mg aspirin once a day. The doctor asked me to “stop it before surgery” but did not specify for how long I should do so. Also should I take clopidogrel instead?

A: Aspirin and clopidogrel have similar actions. Both prevent platelets from sticking together and increase the time taken by blood to clot. You need to stop both for a week before surgery.

Kids and TV

Q: How much television should I allow my children to watch?

A: Television is a free baby sitter. You can place your child in front of it and have some quiet time for yourself. However, more and more studies have shown that television is detrimental for the social and cognitive brain development of the child. The rapidly flashing images deplete brain chemicals. Memory becomes poor and school performance suffers. The educative programmes and channels too have the same effect. Children learn far more from playing with their peers and having books read to them.

Hookah harm:

Q: I found a hookah bar near my college. My friends said it is smokeless tobacco and hence not harmful. Is it true?

A: Hookahs use specially treated flavoured tobacco and then pass the smoke through water. This does not do much to reduce the health risks. The cancer causing chemicals and nicotine are still present in high concentrations. Also since the smoking sessions last longer (an hour or so) the total amount of these poisonous substances inhaled may actually be proportionately greater. The risks for throat and lung cancer remain the same.

Jogging in pregnancy :

Q: Is running during pregnancy safe? Recently I read an article about a woman who completed a marathon and then delivered. But my parents worry even if I walk.

A: The marathon woman obviously was a regular runner with a well-conditioned physique. The dangers in exercising vigorously are dehydration (which will adversely affect the baby) and falls, which may result in injury. If you have not been advised to take bed-rest then try walking for a half hour in the morning and evening. It will build stamina, strengthen your leg muscles and help you have an easy delivery.

Groin pain :

Q: I have pain on the right side of my groin if I cough or sneeze. Do I need to worry?

A: You might be developing a hernia. You need to consult a surgeon.

Sources: The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Some Health Quaries & Answers

Bundle Of Joy:-

Q: My grandmother wraps up children in a bed sheet all the time so that they cannot move. She says it makes them sleep better.

A: She is following an ancient practice called “swaddling”. This involves wrapping the baby so that its hands and legs are inside the sheet. Newborn babies sleep better when they are swaddled as it makes them feel they are still in the womb. But this should be discontinued after 10-14 days as the baby needs to move its arms and legs freely to grow and develop normally.

By-pass surgery :-
Q: I am a 58-year-old woman. I underwent hysterectomy at 40. Of late, I’ve been developing a vague chest pain while climbing stairs. I consulted a cardiologist. He did an angiogram and said I had triple vessel block and advised immediate by-pass surgery. A second surgeon, however, said that since I had well-developed collaterals, there was no need for surgery now. He advised revaluation with a stress test every year.

A: I would go with the more conservative approach and not of the knife-happy surgical team. If your collaterals are well developed, you can probably continue indefinitely without a problem. You need to make sure the collaterals stay patent by walking an hour a day on level ground and maintaining your ideal body weight.

Vitamin deficiency :-
Q: I feel very tired all the time. My muscles pain and I cannot eat any spicy food. I went to a physician who prescribed a battery of tests. Finally, he said I had vitamin D deficiency, anaemia and vitamin B12 deficiency. I am only 37.

A: Vitamin D deficiency is common in India and much of the time it goes unrecognised. It may occur because of our lifestyle (remaining indoors) or it may be a genetic problem. A lot of research is being carried out. The deficiency makes the bones weak and this is reflected as muscle pain.

The stomach contains some cells that are essential for the body to bind and absorb vitamin B12. If those cells are damaged or wasted away, you will not only develop intolerance to spicy food but also adequate amounts of vitamin B12 will not be absorbed. Vitamin B12 is essential for red blood cell formation. That is why you are anaemic.

Your doctor will be able to treat all of this with medical supplements. Once your body responds, your symptoms will disappear.

TV and chips :-
Q: My niece is 10 years old. She is 150 cm tall and weighs 50 kg. I think she is fat. She watches cartoons all day and eats potato chips. Please advise.

A: Being fat or thin is a perception which may be incorrect. You need to find her ideal body weight using the calculation 23 x 1.5 x 1.5 = 51.75 (height in metre squared multiplied by 23). As per the calculation, if you have measured her height correctly, she is not overweight. On the other hand she may have no muscle mass, poor posture and a general round appearance. She does, however, need to curtail her television viewing, stop snacking and become physically more active.

This often involves a change of lifestyle for the whole family. Children learn a great deal by watching their parents and other family members.

Anti-obesity pill :-
Q: I want some tablets to lose weight. All this advice about diet and exercise really depresses me. Exercise makes my body ache and diets make me hungry.

A: Weight gain and loss are usually gradual processes. When we gain weight, we are probably unaware of it until our clothes become tight and people make unkind remarks. Very rarely do people weigh themselves regularly. For many, maintaining the ideal body weight involves a lifetime of concentrated effort.

Try to control your total calorie intake. Say no to second helpings and avoid fat-filled snacks. Jog, walk or run for an hour every day. That way your body will utilise the food you consume more efficiently.

There are no “weight control” tablets. There are appetite suppressants but they have been banned in India as well as abroad as they were found to cause dangerous, non-reversible, life threatening side effects.

Taking thyroid hormones to increase your basal metabolic rate or steroids to “bulk up” is equally dangerous. Some advertised commercially available weight loss supplements contain these.

Pregnancy puff :-
Q: I have wheezing. I think it’s asthma. I am now pregnant and my doctor switched me from tablets to inhalers. Are they safe for the baby?

A: Inhalers deliver the medicine direct to your lungs which will help you stop the wheezing. Tablets, on the other hand, enter the bloodstream and go all over the body, including the lungs. Many also cross the placenta and reach the baby. Your doctor is right — inhalers are better.

All answers are given by Dr Gita Mathai , a paediatrician with a family practice at Vellore. Questions on health issues may be emailed to her at yourhealthgm@yahoo.co.in

Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Deafness and Hearing Problems

Definition:
Deafness is a condition wherein the ability to detect certain frequencies of sound is completely or partially impaired. When applied to humans, the term hearing impaired is rejected by the Deaf Culture movement, where the terms deaf and hard-of-hearing are preferred.

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Hearing sensitivity is indicated by the quietest sound that an animal can detect, called the hearing threshold. In the case of humans and some animals, this threshold can be accurately measured by a behavioral audiogram. A record is made of the quietest sound that consistently prompts a response from the listener. The test is carried out for sounds of different frequencies. There are also electro-physiological tests that can be performed without requiring a behavioral response.

Normal hearing thresholds within any given species are not the same for all frequencies. If different frequencies of sound are played at the same amplitude, some will be perceived as loud, and others quiet or even completely inaudible. Generally, if the gain or amplitude is increased, a sound is more likely to be perceived. Ordinarily, when animals use sound to communicate, hearing in that type of animal is most sensitive for the frequencies produced by calls, or in the case of humans, speech. All levels of the auditory system contribute to this sensitivity toward certain frequencies, from the outer ear’s physical characteristics to the nerves and tracts that convey the nerve impulses of the auditory portion of the brain.

A hearing loss exists when an animal has diminished sensitivity to the sounds normally heard by its species. In humans, the term hearing impairment is usually reserved for people who have relative insensitivity to sound in the speech frequencies. The severity of a hearing loss is categorized according to the increase in volume that must be made above the usual level before the listener can detect it. In profound deafness, even the loudest sounds that can be produced by an audiometer (an instrument used to measure hearing) may not be detected.

Another aspect to hearing involves the perceived clarity of a sound rather than its amplitude. In humans, that aspect is usually measured by tests of speech perception. These tests measure one’s ability to understand speech, not to merely detect sound. There are very rare types of hearing impairments which affect speech understanding alone.

Causes:
The following are some of the major causes of hearing loss:-

*Age:-
Presbycusis, the progressive loss of ability to hear high frequencies with increasing age, begins in early adulthood, but does not usually interfere with ability to understand conversation until much later. Although genetically variable it is a normal concomitant of aging and is distinct from hearing losses caused by noise exposure, toxins or disease agents.

*Long-term exposure to environmental noise:-
Populations of people living near airports or freeways are exposed to levels of noise typically in the 65 to 75 dB(A) range. If lifestyles include significant outdoor or open window conditions, these exposures over time can degrade hearing. The U.S. EPA and various states have set noise standards to protect people from these adverse health risks. The EPA has identified the level of 70 dB(A) for 24 hour exposure as the level necessary to protect the public from hearing loss and other disruptive effects from noise, such as sleep disturbance, stress-related problems, learning detriment, etc. (EPA, 1974).

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) typically is centered at 3000, 4000, or 6000 Hz. As noise damage progresses, damage starts affecting lower and higher frequencies. On an audiogram, the resulting configuration has a distinctive notch, sometimes referred to as a “noise notch.” As aging and other effects contribute to higher frequency loss (6–8 kHz on an audiogram), this notch may be obscured and entirely disappear.

Louder sounds cause damage in a shorter period of time. Estimation of a “safe” duration of exposure is possible using an exchange rate of 3 dB. As 3 dB represents a doubling of intensity of sound, duration of exposure must be cut in half to maintain the same energy dose. For example, the “safe” daily exposure amount at 85 dB A, known as an exposure action value, is 8 hours, while the “safe” exposure at 91 dB(A) is only 2 hours (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1998). Note that for some people, sound may be damaging at even lower levels than 85 dB A. Exposures to other ototoxins (such as pesticides, some medications including chemotherapy, solvents, etc.) can lead to greater susceptibility to noise damage, as well as causing their own damage. This is called a synergistic interaction.

Some American health and safety agencies (such as OSHA-Occupational Safety and Health Administration and MSHA-Mine Safety and Health Administration), use an exchange rate of 5 dB. While this exchange rate is simpler to use, it drastically underestimates the damage caused by very loud noise. For example, at 115 dB, a 3 dB exchange rate would limit exposure to about half a minute; the 5 dB exchange rate allows 15 minutes.

While OSHA, MSHA, and FRA provide guidelines to limit noise exposure on the job, there is essentially no regulation or enforcement of sound output for recreational sources and environments, such as sports arenas, musical venues, bars, etc. This lack of regulation resulted from the defunding of ONAC, the EPA’s Office of Noise Abatement and Control, in the early 1980s. ONAC was established in 1972 by the Noise Control Act and charged with working to assess and reduce environmental noise. Although the Office still exists, it has not been assigned new funding.

Many people are unaware of the presence of environmental sound at damaging levels, or of the level at which sound becomes harmful. Common sources of damaging noise levels include car stereos, children’s toys, transportation, crowds, lawn and maintenance equipment, power tools, gun use, and even hair dryers. Noise damage is cumulative; all sources of damage must be considered to assess risk. If one is exposed to loud sound (including music) at high levels or for extended durations (85 dB A or greater), then hearing impairment will occur. Sound levels increase with proximity; as the source is brought closer to the ear, the sound level increases.

*Genetic:-
Hearing loss can be inherited. Both dominant genes and recessive genes exist which can cause mild to profound impairment. If a family has a dominant gene for deafness it will persist across generations because it will manifest itself in the offspring even if it is inherited from only one parent. If a family had genetic hearing impairment caused by a recessive gene it will not always be apparent as it will have to be passed onto offspring from both parents. Dominant and recessive hearing impairment can be syndromic or nonsyndromic. Recent gene mapping has identified dozens of nonsyndromic dominant (DFNA#) and recessive (DFNB#) forms of deafness.

#The first gene mapped for non-syndromic deafness, DFNA1, involves a splice site mutation in the formin related homolog diaphanous 1 (DIAPH1). A single base change in a large Costa Rican family was identified as causative in a rare form of low frequency onset progressive hearing loss with autosomal dominant inheritance exhibiting variable age of onset and complete penetrance by age 30.

#The most common type of congenital hearing impairment in developed countries is DFNB1, also known as Connexin 26 deafness or GJB2-related deafness.

#The most common dominant syndromic forms of hearing impairment include Stickler syndrome and Waardenburg syndrome.

#The most common recessive syndromic forms of hearing impairment are Pendred syndrome, Large vestibular aqueduct syndrome and Usher syndrome.

#The congenital defect microtia can cause full or partial deafness depending upon the severity of the deformity and whether or not certain parts of the inner or middle ear are affected.

#Mutations in PTPRQ Are a Cause of Autosomal-Recessive Nonsyndromic Hearing Impairment

*Disease or illness:-
#Measles may result in auditory nerve damage

#Meningitis may damage the auditory nerve or the cochlea

#Autoimmune disease has only recently been recognized as a potential cause for cochlear damage.
#Although probably rare, it is possible for autoimmune processes to target the cochlea specifically, without symptoms affecting other organs. Wegener’s granulomatosis is one of the autoimmune conditions that may precipitate hearing loss.

#Mumps (Epidemic parotitis) may result in profound sensorineural hearing loss (90 dB or more), unilateral (one ear) or bilateral (both ears).

#Presbycusis is a progressive hearing impairment accompanying age, typically affecting sensitivity to higher frequencies (above about 2 kHz).

#Adenoids that do not disappear by adolescence may continue to grow and may obstruct the Eustachian tube, causing conductive hearing impairment and nasal infections that can spread to the middle ear.

#AIDS and ARC patients frequently experience auditory system anomalies.

#HIV (and subsequent opportunistic infections) may directly affect the cochlea and central auditory system.

#Chlamydia may cause hearing loss in newborns to whom the disease has been passed at birth.

#Fetal alcohol syndrome is reported to cause hearing loss in up to 64% of infants born to alcoholic mothers, from the ototoxic effect on the developing fetus plus malnutrition during pregnancy from the excess alcohol intake.

#Premature birth results in sensorineural hearing loss approximately 5% of the time.

#Syphilis is commonly transmitted from pregnant women to their fetuses, and about a third of the infected children will eventually become deaf.

#Otosclerosis is a hardening of the stapes (or stirrup) in the middle ear and causes conductive hearing loss.

#Superior canal dehiscence, a gap in the bone cover above the inner ear, can lead to low-frequency conductive hearing loss, autophony and vertigo.

*Medications:
Some medications cause irreversible damage to the ear, and are limited in their use for this reason. The most important group is the aminoglycosides (main member gentamicin) and platinum based chemotherapeutics such as cisplatin.

Various other medications may reversibly affect hearing. This includes some diuretics, aspirin and NSAIDs, and macrolide antibiotics.

The 1995 Miss America Heather Whitestone lost her hearing after receiving strong antibiotics for haemophilus influenzae.[citation needed] Extremely heavy hydrocodone (Vicodin or Lorcet) abuse is known to cause hearing impairment. Commentators have speculated that radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh’s hearing loss was at least in part caused by his admitted addiction to narcotic pain killers, in particular Vicodin and OxyContin.

*Exposure to ototoxic chemicals:-
In addition to medications, hearing loss can also result from specific drugs; metals, such as lead; solvents, such as toluene (found in crude oil, gasoline[6] and automobile exhaust, for example); and asphyxiants. Combined with noise, these ototoxic chemicals have an additive effect on a person’s hearing loss.Hearing loss due to chemicals starts in the high frequency range and is irreversible. It damages the cochlea with lesions and degrades central portions of the auditory system. For some ototoxic chemical exposures, particularly styrene, the risk of hearing loss can be higher than being exposed to noise alone. Controlling noise and using hearing protectors are insufficient for preventing hearing loss from these chemicals. However, taking antioxidants helps prevent ototoxic hearing loss, at least to a degree. The following list provides an accurate catalogue of ototoxic chemicals:-

#Drugs
antimalarial, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory (non-steroidal), antineoplastic, diuretics

#Solvents
toluene, styrene, xylene, n-hexane, ethyl benzene, white spirits/Stoddard, carbon disulfide, fuels, perchloroethylene, trichloroethylene, p-xylene

#Asphyxiants
carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide

#Metals
lead, mercury, organotins (trimethyltin)

#Pesticides/Herbicides
paraquat, organophosphates

#Physical trauma
There can be damage either to the ear itself or to the brain centers that process the aural information conveyed by the ears.

#People who sustain head injury are especially vulnerable to hearing loss or tinnitus, either temporary or permanent.

#Exposure to very loud noise (90 dB or more, such as jet engines at close range) can cause progressive hearing loss. Exposure to a single event of extremely loud noise (such as explosions) can also cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. A typical source of acoustic trauma is an excessively loud music concert. I King Jordan lost his hearing after suffering a skull fracture as a result of a motorcycle accident at age 21

Diagnosis:
The diagnosis starts with verifying the medical and the family histories of the person. Ear examination is done to assess the hearing and the balancing ability of the person.

The following tests may be required to confirm the diagnosis and to find the cause:

Audiogram: The person sits in a sound proof room and wears a headphone attached to a machine. Different sounds of varying intensity or loudness are sent through the headphone and the person is asked to tell whether he hears the sound or not. Each ear is tested separately. An audiogram helps to assess any hearing loss.

Electrocochleography: This test measures electrical activity in the cochlea and in the nerves that take sensations from the ear to the brain. This is done by passing a thin needle into the ear that records the activity and sends it to an attached computer. In people who have SHL, the activity will be abnormal because of damage.

Caloric Testing: It is done to assess the functioning of the vestibular part of the inner ear, which maintains the body balance. The person is asked to sit in a chair. Cold and hot water is poured into the ear alternately and the associated involuntary eye movements are checked.

Computed Tomography Scan or Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Multiple images of the affected ear are taken and then they are assembled by a computer to generate a clear image of the internal body parts. These tests help to assess any damage in the inner ear. Also, any nerve tumor, such as Acoustic Neuroma, can be diagnosed.

Blood Tests such as fluorescent treponemal antibody absorption may be required to check for Syphili. Antinuclear antibodies may be checked to detect any autoimmune disorders.

Treatment:
The treatment of hearing loss depends on its cause. For example:

•ear wax can be removed,
•ear infection can be treated with medications,
•medications that are toxic to the ear can be avoided and;
•occasionally surgical procedures are necessary.

Gene therapy:-
A 2005 study achieved successful regrowth of cochlea cells in guinea pigs.[13] It is important to note, however, that the regrowth of cochlear hair cells does not imply the restoration of hearing sensitivity as the sensory cells may or may not make connections with neurons that carry the signals from hair cells to the brain. A 2008 study has shown that gene therapy targeting Atoh1 can cause hair cell growth and attract neuronal processes in embryonic mice. It is hoped that a similar treatment will one day ameliorate hearing loss in humans.

Assistive techniques and devices for hearing impairment:-
Many hearing impaired individuals use assistive devices in their daily lives:

#Individuals can communicate by telephone using Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD). These devices look like typewriters or word processors and transmit typed text over regular telephone lines.Other names in common use are textphone and minicom.

#There are several new Telecommunications Relay Service technologies including IP Relay and captioned telephone technologies.

#Mobile textphone devices came onto the market as of 2004, allowing simultaneous two way text communication.

#Videophones and similar video technologies can be used for distance communication using sign language. Video conferencing technologies permit signed conversations as well as permitting a sign language-English interpreter to voice and sign conversations between a hearing impaired person and that person’s hearing party, negating the use of a TTY device or computer keyboard.

#Video Relay Service and Video Remote Interpreting services also use a third-party telecommunication service to allow a deaf or hard-of-hearing person to communicate quickly and conveniently with a hearing person, through a sign language interpreter.

#In the U.S., the UK, the Netherlands and many other western countries there are Telecommunications Relay Services so that a hearing impaired person can communicate over the phone with a hearing person via a human translator. Wireless, internet and mobile phone/SMS text messaging are beginning to take over the role of the TDD.

#Phone captioning is a service in which a hearing person’s speech is captioned by a third party, enabling a hearing impaired person to conduct a conversation with a hearing person over the phone.

#Hearing dogs are a specific type of assistance dog specifically selected and trained to assist the deaf and hearing impaired by alerting their handler to important sounds, such as doorbells, smoke alarms, ringing telephones, or alarm clocks.

#Other assistive devices include those that use flashing lights to signal events such as a ringing telephone, a doorbell, or a fire alarm.

#The advent of the Internet’s World Wide Web and closed captioning has given the hearing impaired unprecedented access to information. Electronic mail and online chat have reduced the need for deaf and hard-of-hearing people to use a third-party Telecommunications Relay Service in order to communicate with the hearing and other hearing impaired people;

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/deafness1.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hearing_impairment
http://www.medicinenet.com/deafness/article.htm

http://www.assiutknol.com/hearing-loss-and-deafness

http://healthscribes.com/disease/Hearing+Loss,+Sudden

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