Categories
Ailmemts & Remedies

Gastroparesis

Definition:
Gastroparesis (gastro-, “stomach” + -paresis, “partial paralysis”), also called delayed gastric emptying, is a medical condition consisting of a paresis (partial paralysis) of the stomach, resulting in food remaining in the stomach for an abnormally long time. Normally, the stomach contracts to move food down into the small intestine for additional digestion. The vagus nerve controls these contractions. Gastroparesis may occur when the vagus nerve is damaged and the muscles of the stomach and intestines do not properly function. Food then moves slowly or stops moving through the digestive tract….CLICK & SEE

YOU MAY CLICK & SEEOur Digestive System and How It Works 
Symptoms:
The most common symptoms of gastroparesis are the following:
*Chronic nausea (93%)
*Vomiting (especially of undigested food) (68-84%)
*Abdominal pain (46-90%)
*A feeling of fullness after eating just a few bites (60-86%)

Other symptoms include the following:
*Palpitations
*Heartburn
*Abdominal bloating
*Erratic blood glucose levels
*Lack of appetite
*Gastroesophageal reflux
*Spasms of the stomach wall
*Weight loss and malnutrition

Morning nausea may also indicate gastroparesis. Vomiting may not occur in all cases, as sufferers may adjust their diets to include only small amounts of food.

Symptoms may be aggravated by eating greasy or rich foods, large quantities of foods with fiber—such as raw fruits and vegetables—or drinking beverages high in fat or carbonation. Symptoms may be mild or severe, and they can occur frequently in some people and less often in others. The symptoms of gastroparesis may also vary in intensity over time in the same individual. Sometimes gastroparesis is difficult to diagnose because people experience a range of symptoms similar to those of other diseases.

Causes:
Transient gastroparesis may arise in acute illness of any kind, as a consequence of certain cancer treatments or other drugs which affect digestive action, or due to abnormal eating patterns.

It is frequently caused by autonomic neuropathy. This may occur in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In fact, diabetes mellitus has been named as the most common cause of gastroparesis, as high levels of blood glucose may affect chemical changes in the nerves.The vagus nerve becomes damaged by years of high blood glucose or insufficient transport of glucose into cells resulting in gastroparesis. Other possible causes include anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, which may also damage the vagus nerve. Gastroparesis has also been associated with connective tissue diseases such as scleroderma and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. It may also occur as part of a mitochondrial disease.

Chronic gastroparesis can be caused by other types of damage to the vagus nerve, such as abdominal surgery.  Heavy cigarette smoking is also a plausible cause since smoking causes damage to the stomach lining.

Idiopathic gastroparesis (gastroparesis with no known cause) accounts for a third of all chronic cases; it is thought that many of these cases are due to an autoimmune response triggered by an acute viral infection. “Stomach flu”, mononucleosis, and other ailments have been anecdotally linked to the onset of the condition, but no systematic study has proven a link.

Gastroparesis sufferers are disproportionately female. One possible explanation for this finding is that women have an inherently slower stomach emptying time than men.A hormonal link has been suggested, as gastroparesis symptoms tend to worsen the week before menstruation when progesterone levels are highest. Neither theory has been proven definitively.

Gastroparesis can also be connected to hypochlorhydria and be caused by chloride, sodium and/or zinc deficiency, as these minerals are needed for the stomach to produce adequate levels of gastric acid (HCL) in order to properly empty itself of a meal.

Other identifiable causes of gastroparesis include intestinal surgery and nervous system diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. For reasons that are not very clear, gastroparesis is more commonly found in women than in men.

Complications:
The complications of gastroparesis can include

*severe dehydration due to persistent vomiting

*gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is GER that occurs more than twice a week for a few weeks; GERD can lead to esophagitis— irritation of the esophagus

*bezoars, which can cause nausea, vomiting, obstruction, or interfere with absorption of some medications in pill form

*difficulty managing blood glucose levels in people with diabetes

*malnutrition due to poor absorption of nutrients or a low calorie intake

*decreased quality of life, including work absences due to severe symptoms

Diagnosis:
Gastroparesis is diagnosed through a physical exam, medical history, blood tests, tests to rule out blockage or structural problems in the GI tract, and gastric emptying tests. Tests may also identify a nutritional disorder or underlying disease. To rule out any blockage or other structural problems, the doctor may perform one or more of the following tests:

*Upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy. This procedure involves using an endoscope—a small, flexible tube with a light—to see the upper GI tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum—the first part of the small intestine. The test is performed at a hospital or outpatient center by a gastroenterologist—a doctor who specializes in digestive diseases. The endoscope is carefully fed down the esophagus and into the stomach and duodenum. A small camera mounted on the endoscope transmits a video image to a monitor, allowing close examination of the intestinal lining. A person may receive a liquid anesthetic that is gargled or sprayed on the back of the throat. An intravenous (IV) needle is placed in a vein in the arm if general anesthesia is given. The test may show blockage or large bezoars—solid collections of food, mucus, vegetable fiber, hair, or other material that cannot be digested in the stomach—that are sometimes softened, dissolved, or broken up during an upper GI endoscopy.

*

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Categories
Herbs & Plants

Purging Flax

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Botanical Name :Linum catharticum
Family: Linaceae
Genus:     Linum
Species: L. catharticum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Malpighiales

Synonyms: Purging Flax. Dwarf Flax. Fairy Flax. Mill Mountain.

Common Name:Mountain Flax

Habitat :Purging Flax is native to  Europe, including Britain, from Iceland south and east to Spain the Caucasus and Iran. It grows in grassland, dunes and moors, most commonly on calcareous grassland.

Description:
Purging Flax is an annual plant, with a small, thready root, which sends up several slender, smooth, straight stems, which rise to a height of 6 to 8 inches, and are sometimes branched towards the upper part. The leaves are small, linear-oblong and obtuse, the lower ones opposite, and the upper alternate. The flowers, 1/3 to 1/4 of an inch in diameter, are white. The plant at first glance much resembles chickweed, being glaucous and glabrous. It is in flower from Jun to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies, self.The plant is self-fertile. click  & see
click to see the pictures
Cultivation:   
Prefers a light well-drained moderately fertile humus-rich soil in a sunny sheltered position[.

Propagation:   
Seed – sow early spring in situ.

Medicinal Uses:

Part Used:The whole herb is used mediinally, both fresh and dried, collected in July, when in flower, in the wild state.

Constituents:  A green, bitter resin and a neutral, colourless, crystalline principle of a persistently bitter taste, called Linin, to which the herb owes its activity.

Anthelmintic;  Diuretic;  Emetic;  Homeopathy;  Purgative.

Purging Flax was often used in the past as a gentle laxative, and also for the treatment of muscular rheumatism, liver complaints, jaundice and catarrhal problems, though it is seldom used in modern herbalism. The whole herb is anthelmintic, diuretic, emetic and purgative. It is harvested in the summer as it comes into flower and can be dried for later use. When used as a purgative it is generally taken with a carminative such as peppermint. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of bronchitis, piles and amenorrhoea.

Known Hazards :    Poisonous in large doses

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.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/flamou24.html
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Linum+catharticum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linum_catharticum

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Eclipta alba

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Botanical Name : Eclipta alba
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Eclipta
Species: E. alba
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
syn. : Eclipta prostrata L.
Common Names: False Daisy , yerba de tago, and bhringraj

Habitat :Eclipta alba grows in E. Asia – China, Japan and Korea to Australia.Wet places in the lowlands of Japan, especially by paddy fields.

It grows commonly in moist places as a weed all over the world. It is widely distributed throughout India, China, Thailand, and Brazil.

Description:
Eclipta alba is an Annual plant growing to 0.6m by 0.6m.  Root well developed, cylindrical, greyish. It is also named ‘kehraj’ in Assamese and karisalankanni in Tamil. Floral heads 6-8 mm in diameter, solitary, white, achene compressed and narrowly winged. .
Click to see the pictures..>....(01).....(1).……...(2)……...(3)..(4)
It is hardy to zone 9. It is in flower in August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It requires moist or wet soil.

Cultivation:
Requires a damp to wet soil and a position in some shade. This is a tropical species and it might need more summer heat and a longer growing season than is normally available in British summers.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer, after the last expected frosts. Give the plants some extra protection, such as a cloche, until they are established and growing away well.

Edible Uses: Tender leaves and young shoots – cooked and used as a vegetable

Medicinal Uses:
Antiseptic; Astringent; Depurative; Emetic; Febrifuge; Ophthalmic; Purgative; Styptic; Tonic.

This species is widely used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine, and in Ayurveda. It is considered to be the best remedy for the hair and is also used as a rejuvenative and liver tonic. The whole plant contains the alkaloids nicotine and ecliptine as well as coumarin. It is astringent, deobstruent, depurative, emetic, febrifuge, ophthalmic, purgative, styptic and tonic. It is used internally in the treatment of dropsy and liver complaints, anaemia, diphtheria etc, tinnitus, tooth loss and premature greying of the hair. Externally, it is used as an oil to treat hair loss and is also applied to athlete’s foot, eczema, dermatitis, wounds etc. The plant juice, mixed with an aromatic (essential oil?), is used in the treatment of catarrhal problems and jaundice. The leaves are used in the treatment of scorpion stings. They are used as an antidote for snake bites in Korea. The plant is harvested as it comes into flower and is dried for later use. The roots are emetic and purgative. They are applied externally as an antiseptic to ulcers and wounds, especially in cattle

In ayurvedic medicine, the leaf extract is considered a powerful liver tonic, rejuvenative, and especially good for the hair. A black dye obtained from Eclipta alba is used for dyeing hair and tattooing. Eclipta alba also has traditional external uses, like athlete foot, eczema and dermatitis, on the scalp to address hair loss and the leaves have been used in the treatment of scorpion stings. It is used as anti-venom against snakebite in China and Brazil (Mors, 1991). It is reported to improve hair growth and colour

The herb Eclipta alba contains mainly coumestans i.e. wedelolactone (I) and demethylwedelolactone (II), polypeptides, polyacetylenes, thiophene-derivatives, steroids, triterpenes and flavonoids. Coumestans are known to possess estrogenic activity (Bickoff et al. 1969) Wedelolactone possesses a wide range of biological activities and is used for the treatment of hepatitis and cirrhosis (Wagner et al. 1986), as an antibacterial, anti-hemorrhagic (Kosuge et al. 1985). and for direct inhibition of IKK complex resulting in suppression of LPS-induced caspase-11 expression (Kobori et al. 2004)

Folkloric:
Plant is bitter, hot, sharp, dry in taste and is used in ayurveda & “siddha” for the treatment of Kapha and Vata imbalances. In India, the plant is known as bhangra, “bhringaraj” or bhringraja. Another plant Widelia calendulacea is also known by the same name, but Eclipta has white flowers so called white bhangra and Widelia has yellow flower so it is called yellow Bhangra (Puri 2003).

The expressed leaf juice, applied along with honey, is a popular remedy for catarrh in infants. A preparation obtained from the leaf juice boiled with sesame or coconut oil is used for anointing the head to render the hair black and luxuriant. An oil prepared with amla, bhringraj and sometimes with brahmi is well known in India as Amla Bhringraj oil, which is said to blacken the hair. Plant is rubbed on the gums in toothache and applied with a little oil for relieving headache and with sesame oil in elephantiasis. Roots of Eclipta alba are emetic and purgative.

In Ayurveda the plant is considered a rasayana for longevity and rejuvenation. Recent studies have shown that it has a profound antihepatotoxic activity. A cardiodepressant activity was also observed in it when used for hepatic congestion. A complete symptomatic relief in epigastric pain, nausea and vomiting in ulcer patients has also been observed (Puri 2003). Also it is one among 10 flowers called as ‘Dasapushpam’ (Ten auspicious flowers) in Kerala, the southern state in India

In Taiwan, entire plant is used as a remedy for the treatment of bleeding, haemoptysis, haematuria and itching, hepatitis, diphtheria and diarrhoea; in China, as a cooling and restorative herb, which supports the mind, nerves, liver and eyes. The leaf extract is considered to be powerful liver tonic, rejuvenative, and especially good for the hair. A black dye obtained from Eclipta alba is also for dyeing hair and tattooing. Eclipta alba also has traditional external uses, like athlete foot, eczema and dermatitis, on the scalp to address hair loss and the leaves have been used in the treatment of scorpion strings. It is used as anti-venom against snakebite in China and Brazil (Mors, 1991).

Other Uses: A black dye is obtained from the plant. It is used as a hair dye and for tattooing.

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://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Eclipta+prostrata
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eclipta_alba

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Categories
Health Alert

Morning Sickness, All Day Long

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Pregnancy sometimes causes nausea and vomiting. It is dismissed as normal morning sickness. In some cultures, vomiting is actually taken as proof of pregnancy.
…..CLICK & SEE
Morning sickness, however, is not necessarily confined to the morning, though 80 per cent of pregnant women fall in this category
. It can occur at any time of the day or night. The remaining 20 per cent of the women may show other signs of pregnancy such as eating ravenously.

Vomiting usually starts around the sixth week — around two weeks after the period is missed. It settles around the twelfth week, and then disappears around the fifth month. Any strong smell can precipitate waves of nausea — be it garbage or spices being fried in the kitchen.

Baffled scientists put forward many theories to explain this strange phenomenon. It was touted as an unconscious rejection of the pregnancy. Women were unsympathetically told to “control themselves”. Some blamed it on the hormonal changes during the period, which causes relaxation of the smooth muscles of the oesophagus and gall bladder and slows digestion.

Scientists have now discovered that the nausea is due to sensitivity to a hormone called HCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin). The vomiting coincides with peak levels of this hormone (six to 12 weeks).

The sensitivity varies and is genetically determined. Women who vomit during pregnancy often have mothers and sisters who had the same problem. It also tends to recur in each succeeding pregnancy, though, if the tolerance levels to HCG build up, the vomiting in the second pregnancy can be less than that in the first.

Excessive vomiting causes 1 per cent of the women who vomit to become morbidly ill. They lose 5 per cent or more of their pre-pregnancy weight. The violent retching can cause tears in the esophagus, resulting in blood in the vomit. The inability to retain any food in the stomach can result in dehydration severe enough to affect the kidneys. Blood may begin to clot in the veins. The brain may be affected as a result of electrolyte imbalance or dehydration. Loss of vitamins, particularly thiamine, may cause delirium.

This severe vomiting is also known as hyperemesis gravidarum (in Latin, gravid means pregnant, and hyper is excessive). It is more likely in younger women who are underweight before the pregnancy, pre-diabetic (abnormal GTT values) or have migraine headaches.

Persistent hyperemesis can be a danger signal. It can occur if the levels of HCG are higher than normal. This occurs when it is a twin pregnancy or if the baby has a chromosomal abnormality like trisomy 18 or 21. Or, it may not be a pregnancy at all but a tumour called hydatidiform mole that mimics pregnancy. An ultrasound examination at this stage will pick up all the above abnormalities.

Well meaning advice to tackle morning sickness with bed rest is counterproductive. The reclining position may further aggravate reflux from the stomach. Moreover, inactivity may lead to loss of muscle mass. This may make it difficult to withstand the rigours of labour and childbirth.

• To tackle morning sickness, consider the following.

• A good diet with adequate vitamins, particularly folic acid.

• Exposure to fresh air. Try going for a walk outdoor for half an hour in the morning and evening.

• Eat several small meals instead of three regular ones.

• Avoid anything that triggers the vomiting even if it touted as being “good for the baby”.

Ginger helps as lozenges, ginger tea or lime juice. Supplements are available but since the other additives in the capsules are not known, it is probably better and safer to use the natural product.

Peppermint can be sucked as lozenges or peppermint oil used as inhalations.

Try acupressure. The pressure point to reduce nausea is located in the middle of the inner wrist, three finger-breadths away from the crease and between the two tendons. Locate and press firmly, one wrist at a time for three minutes.

Despite this, if uncontrollable vomiting occurs, with aversion to food, loss of weight, dark coloured urine, loss of consciousness, headache, confusion or fainting, it is better to seek medical help. Hyperemesis can be fatal.

An initial evaluation will rule out a correctable cause like a urinary tract infection, acid dyspepsia, chromosomal abnormalities or a hydatidiform mole. Intravenous fluids (IV) can be given to restore hydration, electrolytes, vitamins and nutrients.

If anti-nausea medications are used, the danger to the baby has to be weighed against the risk to the mother. Strict medical supervision and documentation of the dose and duration of treatment are required.

Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Categories
Diagnonistic Test

Computed Tomography (CT Scan) for Back Problems

The prototype CT scanner
Image via Wikipedia

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Definition:
Computed tomography (CT) scan, also called computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan, is used to create cross-sectional images of structures in the body. In this procedure, x-rays are taken from many different angles and processed through a computer to produce a three-dimensional (3-D) image called a tomogram.

……………CLICK & SEE

CT scans are pictures taken by a specialized x-ray machine. The machine circles your body and scans an area from every angle within that circle. The machine measures how much the x-ray beams change as they pass through your body. It then relays that information to a computer, which generates a collection of black-and-white pictures, each showing a slightly different “slice” or cross-section of your internal organs. Because these “slices” are spaced only about a quarter-inch apart, they give a very good representation of your internal organs and other structures. Doctors use CT scans to evaluate all major parts of the body, including the abdomen, back, chest, and head.

A CT scan is not a very common test to have done for back problems. It does a better job showing the abdominal internal organs than showing details of the bones in the spine. But some back pain is caused by problems in these internal organs, such as the pancreas or the kidney. The CT scan is an excellent way to examine these organs. Also, the CT scan can be combined with a test called a “myelogram” (discussed separately) to give a clear view of the spinal cord and places where the vertebral bones might be pinching it.

Why It Is Done
A CT scan of the spine is done to:

*Look at the bones of the spine (vertebrae).

*Find problems of the spine, such as tumors, fractures, deformities, infection, or narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis).

*Find a herniated disc of the spine.

*Check to see if osteoporosis has caused compression fractures.

*Check on problems of the spine that have been present since birth (congenital).

*Look at problems seen during a standard X-ray test.

*Check how well spinal surgery or therapy is working for a spine problem.

How do you prepare for the test?
If you are having an abdominal CT scan, you might have to fast 2–4 hours before your test. You also may have to drink a large quantity of oral contrast, a fluid that will show up on the CT scan and help define the lining of some internal organs. Tell your doctor if you’re allergic to x-ray contrast dyes, may be pregnant, or have diabetes and take insulin. Insulin can cause hypoglycemia after missing a meal.

What happens when the test is performed?
The test is done in the radiology department of a hospital or in a diagnostic clinic. You wear a hospital gown and lie on your back on a table that can slide back and forth through the donut-shaped CT machine.

During the test, you will lie on a table that is attached to the CT scanner, which is a large doughnut-shaped machine. The CT scanner sends X-rays through the body. Each rotation of the scanner takes a second and provides a picture of a thin slice of the organ or area being studied. One part of the scanning machine can tilt to follow the curve of your spine. All of the pictures are saved as a group on a computer. They also can be printed.

In some cases, a dye (contrast material) may be put in a vein (IV) in your arm or into the spinal canal (intrathecally). The dye make structures and organs easier to see on the CT pictures. The dye may be used to check blood flow and to look for tumors, areas of inflammation, or nerve damage.

The technologist moves the table with a remote control to enable the CT machine to scan your body from all of the desired angles. You will be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds each time a new level is scanned. The technologist usually works the controls from an adjoining room, watching through a window and sometimes speaking to you through a microphone. A CT scan takes about 30–45 minutes. Although it’s not painful, you might find it uncomfortable if you don’t like to lie still for extended periods.

How It Feels
You will not have pain during the scan. The table you lie on may feel hard and the room may be cool. It may be hard to lie still during the test.

Some people feel nervous inside the CT scanner.

If a medicine to help you relax (sedative) or a dye (contrast material) is used, an IV is usually put in your hand or arm. You may feel a quick sting or pinch when the IV is started. The dye may make you feel warm and flushed and give you a metallic taste in your mouth. Some people feel sick to their stomach or get a headache. Tell the technologist or your doctor how you are feeling.

Risk Factors:

The chance of a CT scan causing a problem is small. The contrast dye used in the test can damage your kidneys, especially if they are already impaired by disease.However, some newer dyes are less likely to cause kidney injuries. If kidney damage does occur, this is usually temporary, although in some rare cases it becomes permanent. If you are allergic to the dye used in the procedure, you may get a rash or your blood pressure may drop enough to make you feel faint until you get treatment. As with x-rays, there is a small exposure to radiation. The amount of radiation from a CT scan is greater than that from regular x-rays, but it’s still too small to be likely to cause harm unless you’re pregnant.
If you have diabetes or take metformin (Glucophage), the dye may cause problems. Your doctor will tell you when to stop taking metformin and when to start taking it again after the test so you will not have problems.You may have nausea or vomiting after the test.

There is a small chance of an infection at the needle site on your spine or bleeding into the space around the spinal cord.Intrathecal injections may cause a headache. On rare occasions, seizures may occur after an injection of intrathecal contrast material.

There is a slight chance of developing cancer from having tests that use radiation. The chance is higher in children or people who have many radiation tests. If you are concerned about this risk, talk to your doctor about the amount of radiation this test may give you or your child and confirm the test is needed.

Must you do anything special after the test is over?
Nothing.

Results
A computed tomography (CT) scan uses X-rays to make detailed pictures of the spine and vertebrae in the neck (cervical spine), upper back (thoracic spine), or lower back (lumbosacral spine).

The radiologist may discuss the CT scan with you right after the test. However, complete results usually are ready for your doctor in 1 to 2 days.

If you face any problem After the test is over
Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if you have a seizure.

Call your doctor immediately if you:

*Have pain, weakness, or numbness in your legs.
*Have a severe headache.
*Have a headache that lasts more than 24 hours.
*Feel extremely irritable.
*Have problems urinating or having a bowel movement.
*Develop a fever.

What Affects the Test
The following may stop you from having the test or may change the test results:

*Pregnancy. CT scans are not usually done during pregnancy.

*Barium and bismuth used for another test. These substances show up on a CT scan. If a CT scan of the lower back is needed, it should be done before any tests that use barium, such as a barium enema.

*Metal objects in the body. These items, such as surgical clips or metal in joint replacements, may prevent a clear view of the body area.

*You are not able to lie still during the test.

What To Think About
*Sometimes your CT test results may be different than those from other types of X-ray tests, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or ultrasound scans because the CT scan provides a different view.

*CT results are often compared to positron emission tomography (PET) results to help find cancer. Some new scanners do both scans at the same time.

*MRI may give more information than a CT scan about the spinal discs and spinal cord. For more information, see the medical test Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

*When a CT scan of the spine is done with a myelogram, it is called a CT myelogram. An MRI of the spine is often done in place of a CT myelogram. For more information, see the medical test Myelogram.

Resources:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/diagnostic-tests/ct-scan-for-back-problems.htm
http://www.neurologychannel.com/diagnostictests/CTscan.shtml
http://health.yahoo.com/nervous-diagnosis/computed-tomography-ct-scan-of-the-spine/healthwise–tu6220.html

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