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A Painful Night Visitor

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It is not unusual to get a sudden spasm or cramp in a muscle, causing excruciating pain and a temporary inability to move. The condition, however, has an unusual colloquial name in the US and the UK — charley horse. This may be because the pain resembles the kick of a horse. The ailment is not confined to Western nations or horse riders. It affects 70 per cent of people over the age of 50 and 50 per cent of women during pregnancy.

These leg cramps usually last less than a minute — though it may seem much longer as the pain is severe — but the contraction may take several minutes to subside. It may leave a residual dull ache. It can occur once — as a never-to-be-forgotten single incidence — or several times a month, or disturb the person’s sleep night after night.

Although any muscle can go into such cramps, it commonly occurs in bigger muscles that cross two joints, like the hamstrings and quadriceps which cross the knee and hip or calf muscles which cross the ankle and the knee. It can occur in the fingers and toes as well.

The exact reason for cramps is not known. Older people, especially post menopausal obese women, and smokers are more prone to them. Improper footwear while exercising aggravates the problem. Medications — such as statins (for high cholesterol), some drugs for high blood pressure, diuretics and steroids — may cause cramps. People of all ages can develop cramps, especially if they change their mode of exercise and suddenly increase its intensity, type and duration.

Cramps are a result of electrolyte imbalance in the body. This causes defective functioning of the muscle-nerve reflex arc. It is rather like traffic lights going out of sync and causing a jam. The electrolytes involved are sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc and calcium. Cramps occur if the ratio among these minerals changes. Proper functioning of the reflex arcs also requires biochemical reactions in the body, mediated by enzymes. The latter are affected by diseases like diabetes and malfunctioning of the thyroid gland. Deficiencies in the B group of vitamins, alcohol consumption, excessive caffeine intake and smoking also affect the enzymes.

If you have several attacks of leg cramps a month, consult your doctor. You need to tackle treatable conditions and change medication that may be aggravating it. If the cramps are due to pregnancy, they usually disappear once the baby is born.

If all the tests are normal, you may try a few simple measures:

* Try eating three to four helpings of fresh fruit and raw vegetables every day. It will correct any potassium and vitamin B deficiency.

* Eat a handful of nuts. It will take care of your requirements of magnesium and zinc.

* If you are anaemic, take iron and folic acid supplements.

* Most people do not get enough calcium from their diet and this needs to be supplemented. Around 1,200 mg of calcium needs to be taken daily, preferably at bedtime.

* Keep yourself well hydrated. Drink at least three litres of water a day and at least 250 ml before going to bed.

* Finish all your exercise at least an hour before bedtime.

* Soak the legs in warm water for 10 minutes before bedtime, and place a pillow at the end of the bed so that you sleep with your feet propped up.

* Some stretches done morning and evening prevent cramps. Stand on the floor with your feet apart. Stretch your hands up over your head and rise up on to your toes. Holding this position, rock backwards and forwards on your feet for a minute.

* Always warm up and cool down before and after exercise.

* The stretches done as a part of yoga prevent cramps.

If you develop spasms despite all this, immediately try to push the foot upwards. Massage the affected leg and apply moist heat. Sometimes, stretching the unaffected leg helps.

Leg cramps occur specifically at night. That is what distinguishes them from pain that is due to nerve disorders or damage, slipped discs or blocked blood vessels which reduce blood circulation to the legs. These diseases cause pain all the time, day and night.

“Restless legs” are different from leg cramps. This is a peculiar condition where both the legs develop pins and needles and sometimes a creeping pain several times during the night. It wakes up the person, and relief can be obtained only by moving the leg or standing up. Sleep is disturbed and inadequate. This needs to be evaluated by a doctor and treated with medication.

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Different Types of Milk & Their Health Benefits

 

CLICK & SEE……Cow’s milk.
Whole cow’s milk packs 150 calories per cup, and about half of those calories come from fat. (See the related chart for a nutritional breakdown of all these different milks.) The 8 grams of fat in a cup of whole milk includes 5 grams of saturated fat, which can raise blood cholesterol. The American Heart Assn. recommends limiting saturated fat intake to 7% or less of daily calories: An adult consuming 1,800 calories per day would get more than one-third of that in an 8-ounce glass of whole milk.

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Skim and reduced-fat milks provide the same amount of protein without the high levels of saturated fats or the cholesterol whole milk also contains. They also retain all of the calcium found in whole milk — up to 300 milligrams, about one-third of the recommended daily intake. According to the Institute of Medicine, adults require between 1,000 and 1,300 milligrams of calcium a day for optimum bone strength. And cow’s milk has long been promoted by nutritionists and dietitians as a good source of this important mineral, as well as the vitamin D needed to absorb the mineral.

But “there’s a fair amount of controversy in that whole area,” says Larry Kushi, associate director for epidemiology in the division of research at Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland. The issue is just how important calcium — and milk as a source of calcium — truly is for bone health.

Scientists increasingly began to question the relationship after several studies, including two unusually large ones, failed to find evidence linking increased milk consumption to a decreased risk of fractures, a sign of bone health.

A 12-year study of more than 77,000 women, conducted by Harvard researchers and published in 1997, found that women who drank two glasses of milk a day had roughly the same risk of hip or forearm fractures as women who drank one glass or less per week. A 2003 investigation of the same population found that although vitamin D intake reduced the risk of hip fractures in post-menopausal women, high calcium and milk intake did not.

The science on the relationship between cow’s milk and cancer is also somewhat murky, and researchers are working to clarify this. Population studies have produced good evidence that increased dairy consumption, including that of milk, may decrease the risk of colorectal cancer. But studies also suggest that the risk of prostate cancer may increase with increasing milk consumption.

The evidence for female cancers — including breast, ovarian and endometrial cancers — is more mixed. Studies conducted several decades ago were less likely to demonstrate a link between dairy consumption and female cancers than more recent ones, and some nutrition experts think this difference may be linked to industrial practices that have increased the levels of the hormone estrogen in cow’s milk.

Then there’s the issue of milk allergy, an immune-system reaction to any of the several types of casein, whey or other proteins in milk. About 2.5% of children develop cow’s milk allergies in their first year, according to the National Institutes of Health, and 80% outgrow it in adulthood.

Other individuals suffer from lactose intolerance, the inability to digest the dominant sugar found in milk. The intolerance (which causes gas, bloating and diarrhea) stems from a lack of lactase, the enzyme required to break down the milk sugar lactose. It is far more common than milk allergy. “Most of the world’s population can’t digest milk,” says Dr. Scott Sicherer, professor of pediatrics at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and co-author of the 2009 book “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Dairy-Free Eating.” “Our bodies are not made to drink this stuff.”

CLICK TO SEE.Buffalow milk

Buffalo milk contains higher total solids than cow milk, which makes it thicker. Buffalo milk has 100% more fat content than cow’s milk, which makes it creamier and thicker. Due to high peroxidase activity (family of enzymes that are a catalyst for reactions), buffalo milk can be preserved naturally for a longer period. Buffalo milk contains more calcium, a better calcium to phosphorous ratio and less sodium and potassium which makes it a better nutritional supplement for infants. Cow’s milk is extremely rich in iodine. It has good amount of minerals like Calcium and Phosphorus.

 

CLICK & SEE……..Goat’s milk
The popularity in the U.S. of cow’s milk makes us a bit of an anomaly: Globally, goat’s milk is a far more popular drink.

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But Americans may be getting a taste for it. Tracy Darrimon, director of marketing for Turlock, Calif.-based Meyenberg Goat Milk Products, the top producers of commercially available goat milk in the U.S., says that over the last four years the company has increased production more than 30% to keep up with demand.

Consumers choose goat’s milk because they perceive it as less allergenic, easier to digest and more healthful all round than cow’s milk. Some of those perceptions may be wrong. Since goat’s milk, like cow’s milk, is derived from mammals, “It’s much more likely to have similar effects on long-term health,” Kaiser’s Kushi says.

Consumers looking to avoid saturated fat and cholesterol, for instance, may do well to eschew whole goat’s milk: It has more saturated fat than cow’s milk and similar levels of cholesterol and is higher in calories and total fat. And goat’s milk, like cow’s milk, contains lactose. Though the levels can be slightly lower than those in cow’s milk, “It’s not enough to really make a difference if someone has lactose intolerance,” Bastyr’s Kazaks says.

In Europe, where goat’s milk consumption is far more common than in the U.S., a few studies have suggested that goat’s milk is less likely to cause allergies than cow’s milk. But Ohio allergist Dr. Julie McNairn, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, doubts that this is true. She says the proteins triggering allergy to cow’s milk are very similar to those found in goat’s milk.

More than 90% of the time, people allergic to cow’s milk are allergic to goat’s milk, Sicherer adds: “If someone’s allergic to cow’s milk, I tell them to stay away from mammalian milks.”

Click & see…Sheep milk
Sheep milk (or ewe’s milk) is the milk of domestic sheep. Though not widely drunk in any modern culture, sheep’s milk is commonly used to make cultured dairy products. Cheeses made from sheep milk include the feta of Greece, Roquefort of France, Manchego from Spain, the Pecorino Romano (the Italian word for sheep is pecora), the Pecorino Sardo and Ricotta of Italy, and the ?bejna from Malta. Yogurts, especially some forms of strained yogurt, may also be made from sheep milk. Though sheep produce a far smaller volume of milk than cows, it is richer in fat, solids, and minerals. This makes it ideal for the cheese-making process.

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It is a delicious and healthy alternative to cow’s milk. It is particularly popular among those with lactose intolerance because of sheep milk’s low lactose properties.

Sheep milk can be used in every way that cow’s milk can: over cereal, cooking, baking, and desserts. The taste is often preferred over cow’s milk bland taste.

There are several reasons that you should choose sheep milk over traditional cow’s milk:

*Taste: After trying sheep milk, many people often conclude that cow’s milk is “tasteless” whereas sheep milk is sweet and creamy. It is comparable to goat’s milk, yet sheep milk does not have the faint bitterness or tanginess of goat’s milk, which makes it a more preferable option. With all changes, sheep milk may take a little while to get use to, but after the initial trial stage many people come to prefer the rich taste of sheep milk over any other milk on the market. Therefore if you prefer a sweet and creamy treat any time of the day, sheep milk is a viable and healthy option.

*Digestion:Nearly 75 percent of the world’s population is considered to have a lactose allergy, or are “lactose intolerant”. Those with a lactose allergy have difficulty digesting cow’s milk causing symptoms such as gas and diarrhea. However, most people with lactose intolerance are able to drink and enjoy sheep milk without the symptoms because of sheep milk’s low lactose content. With sheep milk being used in cheeses and yogurts, those that are lactose intolerant now have more options to enjoy dairy products once again.

*Nutrition:It may be a surprise to learn that sheep milk is actually more nutritious than cow milk and even goat milk. Though it contains a high level of butterfat, it is lower in saturated fat than cow or goat milk.

CLICK & SEE……CAMEL MILK

Compared to cow, buffalo and ship or ewe milk fat, camel milk fat contains fewer short-chained fatty acids, but the same long-chained fatty acids can be found. Some researchers claim that the value of camel milk is to be found in the high concentrations of linoleic acid among other polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are essential for human nutrition.

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Camel milk has a high vitamin and mineral content and immunoglobin content. The composition of camel milk depends on its feed and species: Bactrian milk has a higher fat content than dromedary milk.

Camel milk is low in lactose compared with cow’s milk. However, levels of potassium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, sodium and zinc are higher than in cow’s milk.

*Cholesterol in camel milk is lower than cow or goat milk.
*Camel milk is three times higher in vitamin C than cow’s milk and 10 times higher in iron.
*It is also high in unsaturated fatty acids and B vitamins but lower in vitamin A and B2 (than cow milk).
*Camel milk has more fat and protein than cow’s milk

Camel milk is believed to modulate the immune system. A study showed its ability to ameliorate allergies in children. (Shabo Y, Barzel R, Margoulis M, Yagil R., Camel milk for food allergies in children.) However, the sample size of this study is evidently small.

Camel milk is also used as a medicinal product in India. The Bedouins of the Middle East believe it to have curative powers.. Click & read> ..Diabetic? Try camel’s milk
CLICK & SEE…Donkey milk

Donkey milk is considered to be the closest to woman’s milk. It is very nourishing because it contains more lactose and less fat than cow’s milk.  It was used until the beginning of the twentieth century as a substitute to breast milk. The 1928 testimony of Dr. Charles Porcher (1872-1933) of the Lyon National Veterinary Institution showed that the practice was still used, to a lesser extent, in the interwar years:

It seems that we are getting back to ass milk to raise children in the earliest infancy, notably when the child is of delicate health. Ass milk has not been quite totally abandoned, but if 25 or 30 years ago, a few well looked-after asses were easily found in the city to provide milk nourishing young babies, it is no longer the case today.

More recently, studies have shown that that ass’s milk could serve as an alternative to cow’s milk for children allergic to bovine proteins.

It has several other medicinal and cosmetic uses

CLICK & SEE………...Soy milk
Because soy milk is made from a plant, it contains no cholesterol and negligible amounts of saturated fat: just half a gram per cup.

Compared with whole cow’s or goat’s milk, it is lower in calories too, but a glass still provides the same levels of key nutrients present in those milks, including calcium, protein, vitamin A, vitamin D and potassium. That’s partly because soybeans contain calcium, protein and potassium. But soy milk is also fortified to be nutritionally comparable to cow’s milk.

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Soy milk’s lack of cholesterol and low levels of saturated and total fat have made it a popular choice for people looking to improve their heart health, says Stacey Krawczyk, a research dietitian with the National Soybean Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For the last 10 years, soy foods have been allowed to bear the FDA-approved claim that a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet containing 25 grams of soy protein per day may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Soy milk may have another benefit: In recent decades, several large population studies have suggested consuming soy may be linked to a lower risk of cancer, including prostate, colorectal and breast cancer.

But the relationship between soy milk consumption and cancer remains unclear — largely because most studies have focused on populations, such as those in Asia, that consume whole soy products, such as tofu, tempeh and edamame, as a large part of their diet. Studies on the general U.S. and European populations have not been able to replicate the findings, in part because soy consumption levels here are much lower, Kushi says.

This protective effect against cancer, if there is one, is thought to be at least partly due to estrogen-like compounds in soy that may compete with human estrogen in the body, hindering it from prompting the cell proliferation that can trigger cancer. But the link between soy consumption and cancer may invert in women after menopause, when natural estrogen levels plummet. “The evidence is still unclear,” Kushi says.

Soy can be a good dairy alternative for most people with allergies to cow’s milk. Soy allergies affect 0.4% of children — more common than most food allergies but far less common than ones to milk. Soy milk allergy in children is often outgrown. And though people allergic to cow’s milk are often likely to have another food allergy, the differences in the two milks’ proteins means an allergy to one doesn’t automatically translate into an allergy to the other, McNairn says.

Soy milk also lacks lactose, so it’s easier for people with lactose intolerance to digest it.

A downside? Because soybeans have an inherently bitter taste, soy milk is often heavily processed — and sweetened — to mask that flavor, says Kantha Shelke, a food chemist with the Chicago-based food-science think tank Corvus Blue. Sweeteners are often high on the list of ingredients in soy milks, adding sugar and calories that consumers might not be aware of. Still, with about 5 grams of sugar per cup, even the more sugary soy milks contain fewer sugars than the 12 grams per cup in cow’s milk. (Soy milks labeled “unsweetened” contain about 1 gram.)

Soy milk presents its own digestibility challenges, Kazaks says. The milk contains high levels of oligosaccharides, carbohydrates that are hard for the body to break down. “It can really cause a lot of gas in some people,” she says.

CLICK & SEE…......Almond milk
“With almond milk, it’s more about what you don’t get” than what you do, says Sam Cunningham, an independent food scientist and consultant specializing in nuts, who helped develop almond milk for Sacramento-based Blue Diamond Growers as an employee of the almond processor in the 1990s.

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Like soy milk, almond milk contains zero cholesterol. It’s free of saturated fats, so it’s a healthful option for people with, or at risk for, heart disease. It doesn’t contain lactose, so it’s an option for people with lactose intolerance. And it’s even lower in calories and total fat than soy milk: a glass contains just 60 calories and 2.5 grams of fat to soy milk’s 100 calories and 4 fat grams.

But although almonds, among nuts, are a good source of calcium and protein, almond milk’s calcium and protein levels don’t compare to the levels in cow’s, goat’s or soy milks. A glass of almond milk provides just 1 gram of protein. Some brands provide up to 20% of the daily recommended calcium intake (about 10% less than the other milks), but other brands provide none.

Almonds are also a good source of iron, riboflavin, vitamin E and some essential fatty acids. A cup of the ground-up nuts contains more than 11 grams of omega-6 fats (but very few omega-3s).

In recent years, several studies have hinted at a link between nut consumption and lower blood cholesterol and a reduced risk of heart disease. Since 2003, the Food and Drug Administration has allowed almonds (and other nuts) to bear the claim that eating 1.5 ounces of nuts daily, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce risk of heart disease.

Still, nuts are one thing — almond milk is another. The fraction of almond milk that’s actually comprised of finely blended almonds varies between products and can be minimal, Kazaks says. In many commercially available almond milks, almonds are the second or third ingredient, after water and sweeteners. (The same is true for many soy milks as well.) So despite the high vitamin E and omega-6 content of almonds, a glass of almond milk may contain none of the vitamin and just 300 to 600 milligrams of the omega-6s.

Almond milk is a fine alternative for people allergic to cow’s and soy milks, Jaffe’s Sicherer says, but almonds pose their own allergenicity hazards. Allergies to tree nuts, including almonds, are among the top allergies in the population, affecting 0.2% of children. And although cow’s and soy milk allergies are often outgrown, nut allergies are more likely to persist.

CLICK & SEE……..Rice milK
Like almond milk, rice milk’s main advantages are what it doesn’t contain. It is free of cholesterol and saturated fat. It doesn’t contain lactose. Allergies to rice are rare.

In fact, rice milk manufacturers commonly promote their product as safe for people with any of a number of allergies or intolerances — including cow’s milk, soy and nut allergies, as well as lactose and gluten intolerance. (Gluten, found in wheat and other cereal grains, is not present in any of the milks mentioned here.)

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Rice milk, like soy and almond milk, is formulated to contain levels of calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D similar to (albeit lower than) those in cow’s milk. But it is not a good source of protein, with just 0.67 grams per serving, and often contains more calories than almond or soy milk: about 113 calories per cup. Its vitamin E levels exceed that of cow’s, goat’s and soy milk but don’t compare with that of some almond milks.

One more thing rice milk doesn’t have: flavor in need of masking with sweeteners. “It’s a very mild-flavored product,” Corvus Blue’s Shelke says.

CLICK & SEE……….Hemp milk
Among plant-based milks, hemp milk is unique, and not just because the cannabis plant it’s made from poses legal challenges for farmers.

A glass of hemp milk contains the same number of calories as soy milk, one-third to one-half of the protein, but 50% more fat: 5 to 6 grams. However, most of the fats in hemp milk are omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, key for nervous system function and healthy skin and hair. Certain omega-3 and omega-6 fats also appear to reduce inflammation and lower blood lipid levels.

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Plant oils typically have an excess of omega-6 fats relative to omega-3s — and the hemp seed is no exception. A cup of hemp milk (which is made from the “nut” of the hemp seed but can also contain some of the hull) often provides about 1 gram of omega-3s and 3 to 4 grams of omega-6s. Still, that level of omega-3s is high for plants, making hemp milk a useful source of them — especially given that American diets typically provide too few omega-3 fats and too many omega-6s.

In fact, some nutrition experts recommend a dietary ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s of between 1:1 and 1:3, a ratio that occurs naturally in hemp milk.

But the story is more complicated than that. It is unclear whether the predominant omega-3 fat in hemp, alpha linolenic acid (ALA), has the same heart-health benefits of those found abundantly in fish oils (known as EPA and DHA for short), says William Harris, director of the Cardiovascular Health Research Center at the University of South Dakota.

Like soy milk, hemp milk is low in saturated fat and cholesterol-free. It’s also free of lactose, and allergies to hemp are rare. Christina Volgyesi, vice president of marketing for Portland, Ore.-based Living Harvest Foods, which makes hemp milk, says the milk is made from different cannabis varieties than those used to produce marijuana, and contains none of the mind-altering active ingredient THC.

Hemp milk contains many of the nutrients found in cow’s milk (including calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D) since it’s fortified. In fact, some brands provide 40% to 50% of the daily recommended allowance of calcium, as compared with the 30% found in cow’s milk.

Nutritionally, hemp seeds are similar to flax seeds, which have become increasingly popular sources of essential fatty acids in recent years. But not all seeds rich in the fats lend themselves to a palatable milk alternative.

“Flax milk would probably be dark brown,” Shelke says. “We are probably not prepared to drink something dark brown in color.”

Unless, of course, it’s chocolate milk — be it of cow’s, goat’s, soy, almond, rice or even hemp.
Resources:
The Los Angeles Times
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camel_milk
http://www.diffen.com/difference/Buffalo_Milk_vs_Cow_Milk
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheep_milk
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ass%27s_milk_%28Donkey%27s_milk%29

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Secrets Your Dentist Doesn’t Want You To Know

Here are the secrets your dentist may not want you to know — but you need to know to get the best care possible:

………………..
Secret #1: Your dentist may not be as educated as you think.

Dentistry has changed a lot since your dentist graduated from dental school. There have been major advances in most materials used in fillings, bonding and root canals. If your dentist is not actively engaged in continuing education, it is unlikely that he or she is keeping up with these developments.

Secret#2. Your dentist may not have the latest technology. ret #2:

Digital x-ray: Dentists who do not have digital x-ray equipment are practicing in the dark ages. Digital x-rays use less radiation than film. They are easier to read and the ability to manipulate contrast makes diagnosis more accurate.

Ultrasonic Cleaning: Ultrasonic instruments vibrate plaque and calculus off your teeth, even in areas below your gums. It is much more comfortable than old-fashioned hand scraping.

CEREC: The CEREC system lets your dentist provide a ceramic crown or veneer in only one visit. CEREC means fewer injections, less drilling and no annoying temporaries.

Diagnodent: This is a laser that the dentist shines on the tooth and it tells whether there is a cavity and how deep it is. With the use of this technology, the dentist can detect cavities, and find them at an earlier stage, than traditional poking around the tooth.

Secret #3: Your dentist may be using mercury.

Mercury is toxic. Norway and Sweden have banned the use of mercury fillings.. But mercury fillings are less expensive and easier for the dentist to use. If your dentist does not use composite fillings, don’t go to that dentist any more. In the US, the FDA is way behind the ball and not actively warning patients about this like they have been mandated by the courts to do.

Secret #4: The lab may be more important than your dentist.

Dental labs create dentures, crowns, bridges, orthodontic appliances, and other dental restorations like implant crowns. There is a huge difference in the quality of these labs. You should be particularly wary if your dentist is using a lab in China or Mexico. Some of the top labs in the U.S. are Aurum Ceramics, MicroDental Laboratories, da Vinci Dental Studio, and Williams Dental Lab.

Secret #5: There’s more to good dentistry than filling cavities.

A competent dentist screens for more than tooth decay. He or she should be concerned about sleep apnea, jaw-related pain known as TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder, periodontal disease, oral cancer, diabetes and hypertension.

Secret #6: You are probably using the wrong specialist for dental implants.

Since dental implants involve the removal of a tooth and replacing it with an artificial tooth, many patients assume that an oral surgeon is best qualified to do it. This can be a flawed assumption. Periodontists, who specialize in gum disease, may be a better option. Periodontists have special training in gum tissue and underlying bone in the mouth, which are significant issues in dental implants.

Secret #7: Bad dental advice about dentures can be fatal!

Dentures are no joke. Your dentist should examine your dentures for evidence of wear. Wearing down the teeth on your dentures can result in distorted facial characteristics, collapse of the bite and closure of the airway.

Secret #8: Your dentist may not know enough about sleep apnea.

The most common form of sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway during sleep. It is a pretty scary condition. The patient can stop breathing hundreds of times during the night. A common treatment for sleep apnea is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), which involves blowing pressurized room air through the airway at high enough pressure to keep the airway open.

As an alternative, your dentist, working with your physician, can custom make a device that guides the lower jaw forward, called a mandibular advancement device or MAD. MAD devices are more comfortable to wear and the compliance rates are much higher than using CPAP.

Secret #9: Not all cosmetic dentists have the skills to really improve your smile.

Any dentist can call herself a “cosmetic dentist.” Your dentist should be able to show you ten or more before and after photographs or videos, and be willing to give you the names of patients who have consented to be used as references.

Secret #10: How to avoid the root canal your dentist says you need.

Ask about the “ferrule effect.” Technically, this means that a root canal is unlikely to be successful if there is not enough tooth structure above the gum line to protect the tooth from coming loose or fracturing after it has been prepared for a crown. If your tooth fails the “ferrule effect” test, you might be better off with an extraction and an implant.

Source: Daily Finance August 27, 2009

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News on Health & Science

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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Healthy Tips

Places Where Germs Love to Lurk in Your Home

1. TV remote
TV REMOTE
Many people watch TV while they absent-mindedly chew their fingernails, snack on food and flip through channels, leaving all kinds of bacteria on the remote. Make sure to sanitize the remote control regularly to prevent sickness.

2. Tub and shower

Artweger-Twinline-Tube-Shower

Your bathtub may have 100 times more bacteria than the trash can, according to an in-home bacteria study conducted by the Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community. The Hygiene Council recommends that showers and tubs be disinfected twice a week to get rid of dead skin cells left in the tub that can carry germs too.

3. Pet food dish
Pet food dish
Most pet food dishes stay on the floor and do not get washed regularly.

4. Kitchen cloths and sponges
Kitchen cloths and sponges
People frequently use sponges or cloths to wipe germs from surfaces in the kitchen. As a result, 70 percent of kitchen sponges in U.S. homes failed the hygiene test by having high levels of bacteria, according to the Hygiene Council. The council recommends running sponges through the dishwasher regularly and washing kitchen cloths on the hot cycle in the washing machine.

5. Microwave touch screen
Microwave touch screen
This spot is notorious for not getting cleaned. Even though the food comes out cooked, the germs that can make you sick are left on the outside of the microwave for the next person to touch. It is important to wipe down the touch screen regularly, especially after cooking raw meat.

6. Light switches
Light switches
Touching the light switch is practically unavoidable, but keeping it clean is not. The bathroom light switch can have as many germs as the trash bin. Disinfect light switches twice a week, or every day if a member of your household is sick.

7. Baby changing table
changing-table-baby
During diaper changes, the baby wipes container, the diaper packaging, the trash can and anything around the changing area get contaminated with bacteria through touching after handling a dirty diaper. The baby changing table area should be cleaned often.

8. Kitchen faucets

Kitchen faucets
Typically people wash their hands after handling raw meat in the kitchen, but they touch the faucet to turn on the water and do not think about the bacteria that they leave. The Hygiene Council found more than half of faucets in American homes are covered in bacteria.

Sources: Chicago Tribune August 16, 2009

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