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Ailmemts & Remedies

Radiation sickness

Other Names: Acute radiation syndrome or Radiation poisoning.

Description:
Radiation sickness is damage to our body caused by a large dose of radiation often received over a short period of time (acute). The amount of radiation absorbed by the body — the absorbed dose — determines how sick we will be. It is not caused by common imaging tests that use low-dose radiation, such as X-rays or CT scans.

Radiation sickness is serious and often fatal, but it is very rare. Since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, during World War II, most cases of radiation sickness have occurred after nuclear industrial accidents, such as the 1986 explosion and fire that damaged the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl, Ukraine.

The amount of radiation our body gets is measured in an international unit called a sievert (Sv). Symptoms of radiation sickness show up when we are exposed to levels of more than 500 millisieverts (mSv), or half a sievert. More than 4 to 5 Sv is likely to be fatal. The workers who got radiation sickness at Chernobyl received doses that measured 700 mSv to 13 Sv.

Natural radiation is everywhere — in the air, the water, and materials like brick or granite. You typically get only about 3 mSv — three one-thousandths of a sievert — of radiation from these natural sources in a year.

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Man-made sources of radiation from things like X-rays add about another 3 mSv. A CT (computerized tomography) scan, which involves several X-rays taken from different angles, delivers about 10 mSv. People who work in the nuclear industry aren’t allowed to be exposed to more than 50 mSv a year.

Symptoms:
Early symptoms of ARS typically includes nausea and vomiting, headaches, fatigue, fever, and a short period of skin reddening. These symptoms may occur at radiation doses as low as 0.35 grays (35 rad). These symptoms are common to many illnesses, and may not, by themselves, indicate acute radiation sickness

Classically acute radiation syndrome is divided into three main presentations: hematopoietic, gastrointestinal, and neurological/vascular. These syndromes may or may not be preceded by a prodrome. The speed of onset of symptoms is related to radiation exposure, with greater doses resulting in a shorter delay in symptom onset.[2] These presentations presume whole-body exposure and many of them are markers that are not valid if the entire body has not been exposed. Each syndrome requires that the tissue showing the syndrome itself be exposed. The gastrointestinal syndrome is not seen if the stomach and intestines are not exposed to radiation. Some areas affected are:

Hematopoietic. This syndrome is marked by a drop in the number of blood cells, called aplastic anemia. This may result in infections due to a low amount of white blood cells, bleeding due to a lack of platelets, and anemia due to too few red blood cells in the circulation. These changes can be detected by blood tests after receiving a whole-body acute dose as low as 0.25 grays (25 rad), though they might never be felt by the patient if the dose is below 1 gray (100 rad). Conventional trauma and burns resulting from a bomb blast are complicated by the poor wound healing caused by hematopoietic syndrome, increasing mortality.

Gastrointestinal. This syndrome often follows absorbed doses of 6–30 grays (600–3,000 rad). The signs and symptoms of this form of radiation injury include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain. Vomiting in this time-frame is a marker for whole body exposures that are in the fatal range above 4 grays (400 rad). Without exotic treatment such as bone marrow transplant, death with this dose is common. The death is generally more due to infection than gastrointestinal dysfunction.

Neurovascular. This syndrome typically occurs at absorbed doses greater than 30 grays (3,000 rad), though it may occur at 10 grays (1,000 rad). It presents with neurological symptoms such as dizziness, headache, or decreased level of consciousness, occurring within minutes to a few hours, and with an absence of vomiting. It is invariably fatal.

Causes:
Radiation is the energy released from atoms as either a wave or a tiny particle of matter. Radiation sickness is caused by exposure to a high dose of radiation, such as a high dose of radiation received during an industrial accident.

Sources of high-dose radiation
Possible sources of high-dose radiation include the following:

  • An accident at a nuclear industrial facility
  • An attack on a nuclear industrial facility
  • Detonation of a small radioactive device
  • Detonation of a conventional explosive device that disperses radioactive material (dirty bomb)
  • Detonation of a standard nuclear weapon

Radiation sickness occurs when high-energy radiation damages or destroys certain cells in your body. Regions of the body most vulnerable to high-energy radiation are cells in the lining of your intestinal tract, including your stomach, and the blood cell-producing cells of bone marrow.

Complications:
Having radiation sickness can contribute to both short-term and long-term mental health problems, such as grief, fear and anxiety about:

  • Experiencing a radioactive accident or attack
  • Mourning friends or family who haven’t survived
  • Dealing with the uncertainty of a mysterious and potentially fatal illness
  • Worrying about the eventual risk of cancer due to radiation exposure

Diagnosis:
Diagnosis is typically made based on a history of significant radiation exposure and suitable clinical findings. An absolute lymphocyte count can give a rough estimate of radiation exposure. Time from exposure to vomiting can also give estimates of exposure levels if they are less than 10 Gray (1000 rad)

Treatment:
The treatment goals for radiation sickness are to prevent further radioactive contamination; treat life-threatening injuries, such as from burns and trauma; reduce symptoms; and manage pain.

Decontamination:
Decontamination involves removing external radioactive particles. Removing clothing and shoes eliminates about 90 percent of external contamination. Gently washing with water and soap removes additional radiation particles from the skin.

Decontamination prevents radioactive materials from spreading more. It also lowers the risk of internal contamination from inhalation, ingestion or open wounds.

Treatment for damaged bone marrow:
A protein called granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, which promotes the growth of white blood cells, may counter the effect of radiation sickness on bone marrow. Treatment with this protein-based medication, which includes filgrastim (Neupogen), sargramostim (Leukine) and pegfilgrastim (Neulasta), may increase white blood cell production and help prevent subsequent infections.

Treatment for internal contamination:
Some treatments may reduce damage to internal organs caused by radioactive particles. Medical personnel would use these treatments only if you’ve been exposed to a specific type of radiation. These treatments include the following:

  • Potassium iodide (ThyroShield, Iosat). This is a nonradioactive form of iodine.

Iodine is essential for proper thyroid function. If you’re exposed to significant radiation, your thyroid will absorb radioactive iodine (radioiodine) just as it would other forms of iodine. The radioiodine is eventually cleared from the body in urine.

If potassium iodide is taken, it may fill “vacancies” in the thyroid and prevent the absorption of radioiodine. Potassium iodide isn’t a cure-all and is most effective if taken within a day of exposure.

  • Prussian blue (Radiogardase). This type of dye binds to particles of radioactive elements known as cesium and thallium. The radioactive particles are then excreted in feces. This treatment speeds up the elimination of the radioactive particles and reduces the amount of radiation cells may absorb.
  • Diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA). This substance binds to metals. DTPA binds to particles of the radioactive elements plutonium, americium and curium. The radioactive particles pass out of the body in urine, thereby reducing the amount of radiation absorbed.

We may get some Supportive treatment for the following:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Burns
  • Sores or ulcers

A person who has absorbed very large doses of radiation has little chance of recovery. Depending on the severity of illness, death can occur within two days or two weeks. People with a lethal radiation dose will receive medications to control pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. They may also benefit from psychological or pastoral care.

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:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acute_radiation_syndrome
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/radiation-sickness/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20377061
https://www.webmd.com/cancer/radiation-sickness-facts#1

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Chemicals & Minerals POLUTION CONTROL

Dioxins

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Definition:
Dioxins  are a group of organic polyhalogenated compounds that are significant because they act as environmental pollutants. They are commonly referred to as dioxins for simplicity in scientific publications because every PCDD molecule contains a dioxin skeletal structure. Typically, the p-dioxin skeleton is at the core of a PCDD molecule, giving the molecule a dibenzo-p-dioxin ring system. Members of the PCDD family have been shown to bioaccumulate in humans and wildlife due to their lipophilic properties, and are known teratogens, mutagens, and confirmed (avered) human carcinogens. They are organic compounds.

Dioxins are found just about everywhere – they are present in the atmosphere, soil, rivers and the food chain. They occur naturally as a result of incomplete burning of organic materials during natural events such as volcanoes and forest fires.

But they are also produced during many man-made events which involve combustion such as waste incineration and in chemical and fertiliser manufacturing plants. They may, for example, be produced during chlorine-based bleaching processes in paper mills, or during the manufacture of herbicides. They are also found in low levels in cigarette smoke and vehicle exhaust fumes.

The introduction of a new chlorine production technique in 1900 meant that they became more widespread. However, in recent years manufacturing and environmental controls have reduced the production of dioxins, and the main source now is the burning of fossil fuels and incineration processes. But because of their potential toxicity, exposure even at low levels, remains a concern.

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In living organisms, toxic chemicals are often taken up and stored by fat. This means they can persist in the food chain through a process called bioaccumulation.

They are mainly found in meat and dairy produce, but are also found in poultry, fish and on unwashed fruit and vegetables:

•Fish accumulate dioxins through exposure to water – dioxins are repelled by the water and attach themselves to the fatty fish.
•Unless – as was the case in Belgium – feed becomes contaminated, animals are usually exposed to dioxins in the air settling on their food. They accumulate in the fatty tissue of animals, and the longer that animal lives, the greater the build up.
•Dioxins in the air also land on fruit and vegetables, but washing can get rid of these – they are not absorbed into the plant itself.

Risk Factors:
Environmental campaign groups describe dioxins as among the most dangerous toxins known. Scientists are working to establish their exact toxicity, but a draft report from the US Environmental Protection Agency indicates dioxins are considered a serious threat to public health.

The health risks depend on several factors, including the level of exposure and the particular form of dioxin. For most people, levels in the general environment are not high enough to cause an immediate reaction but over a longer period, potential risks to health include:

•Damage to the immune and reproductive system (with lowering of the sperm count).
•An increased incidence of diabetes.
•A significant increase in the risk of cancer.
Exposure to high concentrations of especially toxic dioxins can cause an acne-like condition known as chloracne which mainly affects the face and upper body, which may last several years after exposure. Chloracne is difficult to cure and can be disfiguring. Other problems include:

•Discolouration of the skin.
•Rashes and redness.
•Vomiting.
•Diarrhoea.
•Lung infections.
•Damage to the nervous systems.
Most concerns now lie with the potential of dioxins to cause cancer. A peer-reviewed study of the population of Seveso (where an explosion in a chemical manufacturing plant in 1976 liberated large quantities of dioxins into the environment) found that, in the ten years following the accident both men and women more likely to have cancer, especially of the blood and lymph tissue, as well as breast cancer.

In 1997, a World Health Organisation group declared the most toxic dioxin (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, or TCDD) a class 1 carcinogen, meaning it causes cancer in humans.

Also of concern is the effect dioxins can have on unborn children and infants, as they can be passed through the placenta or carried in breast milk although the World Health Organisation emphasise that the benefits of breast feeding far outweigh any risks to the baby and child.

While governments and environmental bodies strive to minimise the risk, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s very unlikely that most people in the general population will be exposed to a level of dioxins high enough to cause significant toxic effects.

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/dioxins.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polychlorinated_dibenzodioxins

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News on Health & Science

Fish Oil Might Help Fight Gum Disease

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Even moderate amounts of omega-3 fats may help ward off gum disease, according to new research.

Researchers divided nearly 9,200 adults into three groups based on their omega-3 consumption.

Dental exams showed that those in the middle and upper third for consumption of the omega-3’s DHA and EPA were 23 percent to 30 percent less likely to have gum disease.

Business Week reports:

“About 54 percent of men and 46 percent of women over age 30 in the United States experience gingival bleeding, the earliest sign of periodontal disease … In the general population, about 11 percent of adults aged 50 to 64 have moderate or severe periodontitis, rising to 20 percent of those over age 75.”

Resources:
Business Week October 26, 2010
Journal of the American Dietetic Association November 2010; 110(11):1669-75 ?

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Herbs & Plants

Aconitum Uncinatum

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Botanical Name: Aconitum uncinatum
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus : Aconitum

Common Name : southern blue monkshood/Wild Monkshood

Habitat: Eastern N. AmericaPennsylvania to Indiana and south to Alabama and Georgia.   It grows on low woods and damp slopes. Wet areas along streams and in springs, also less mesic locations in woods and clearings at elevations of 200 – 2000 metres.

Description: Perennial growing to 1m.
. It is in flower from July to August. The flowers are pollinated by Bees.
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Flower/fruit: 1-inch deep purple or purplish blue flowers clustered at the end of stems; five sepals; upper sepal forms a rounded hood, concealing part of two clawlike petals.

Flowering Season: Summer into fall.

Foliage: Up to 6-inch coarsely toothed leaves with three to five lobes; similar to buttercup; slender, weak branching stem

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil

Cultivation:
Thrives in most soils and in the light shade of trees[1]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist soil in sun or semi-shade. Prefers a calcareous soil. Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits and deer. Grows well in open woodlands. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby species, especially legume.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed can be stratified and sown in spring but will then be slow to germinate. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division – best done in spring but it can also be done in autumn. Another report says that division is best carried out in the autumn or late winter because the plants come into growth very early in the year.

Medicinal Actions &  Uses
Alterative; Anaesthetic; Antiarthritic; Deobstruent; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Sedative; Stimulant.

The dried root is alterative, anaesthetic, antiarthritic, deobstruent, diaphoretic, diuretic, sedative, stimulant. It is harvested as soon as the plant dies down in the autumn. This is a very poisonous plant and should only be used with extreme caution and under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. A tincture is used as an external anaesthetic.


Known Hazards:
The whole plant is highly toxic – simple skin contact has caused numbness in some people.  Roots and seeds contain poisonous alkaloides


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://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Aconitum+uncinatum
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ACUN&photoID=acun_1v.jpg
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ACUN

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News on Health & Science

Teflon Lawsuit Slides Off DuPont

A federal court has dismissed a group of consolidated cases against chemical and housewares company DuPont. The 22 suits alleged DuPont knew for more than 20 years that cookware containing the company’s non-stick coating, popularly known as Teflon, could make consumers sick, but concealed the evidence.
…………………….
The actions alleged that, when heated to normal cooking temperatures, Teflon-coated pans release toxic particles that pose a health risk to consumers. The suits specifically singled out perfluorooctanoic acid, colloquially known as PFOA, as the culprit of the emissions. However, U.S. District Judge Ronald Longstaff found that individual issues differing among the plaintiffs would each require their own inquiry, making the suits improper.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that PFOA is likely a cancer-causing agent in humans. An EPA study has shown the chemical to be present in the bloodstream of 90 percent of Americans.

Resources:

Consumer Affairs May 19, 2009
WTOP May 12, 2009
Reading Tea Leaves May 13, 2009

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