Sunday, December 27, 2009

Malaria

Malaria is an infection characterised by fever, shivering, chills, malaise, headache and sweats, but it can present as a respiratory or gastrointestinal illness. It is caused by any of four different species of the Plasmodium parasite, passed on via the bite of an infected mosquito. Malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum is life threatening. Infants, the elderly and those with comprised immunity may be at greater risk. The incidence of malaria is on the rise, with around 220 million new infections worldwide every year. Australia is free of endemic malaria, but Australians can catch the disease when travelling to tropical regions in Asia, Africa, and Central or South America. Most Australian cases of malaria are contracted in Papua New Guinea. Effective treatment relies on early diagnosis and specific anti-malarial medications.

Symptoms of malaria include:
  • A slow rising fever that escalates to a rapid temperature rise and fall
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • Shivering
  • Excessive sweating
  • Diarrhoea
  • General malaise
  • Anaemia and associated symptoms.
Avoid mosquito bites:
  • Avoid outdoor activity around dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear loose, long, light-coloured clothing.
  • Use mosquito repellents on exposed skin and clothing.
  • Don't wear perfumes, colognes or aftershave.
  • Use 'knockdown' sprays, mosquito coils and plug-in vaporising devices indoors.
  • Sleep under mosquito nets treated with repellents or insecticides if you don't have fly-wire screens on windows.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lyme Disease for teens

Lyme disease
Teens are at high risk for Lyme disease because they spend a lot of time outdoors. You may play sports, or have an outdoor job, or just like to walk through the woods. Unfortunately, all these activities expose you to the hundreds of tiny ticks living in the brush and grasses, and some of those ticks carry Lyme disease.

Lyme disease - It is an infection caused by bacteria (Borrelia burgdorferi) that causes skin rashes, fatigue, fever, chills, and pain and swelling in the muscles and joints. If left untreated, Lyme disease can lead to heart problems and even neurological (pertaining to the brain) disorders, such as the inability to move certain muscles.

What can you do about it? You might be tempted to stay inside during the summer (when ticks are most active), but there’s no need for that. There are plenty of ways to avoid ticks when you are outdoors in grassy and wooded areas. Even if a tick does bite you, there is only a small chance that the tick is carrying the Lyme bacteria, and even if it is, it takes 24-48 hours for a tick to infect you with the bacteria, so it is important to remove it as soon as possible. Also, it is useful to determine what kind of tick it is. Certain kinds of ticks don’t carry Lyme disease, but some carry other diseases.

If you are bitten by a tick that could carry Lyme disease (such as a Deer Tick, Western Black-Legged Tick, or Lone Star Tick), you need to watch for the first symptoms of the disease. Most people who have Lyme disease develop a bull’s-eye rash around the tick bite, but many people do not. Other early symptoms of Lyme are similar to the flu or mono, such as fever, fatigue, chills, headaches, and joint and muscle pain. If you have symptoms like these for several days, you should see your doctor. He might give you a blood test to see if you have Lyme disease.

If Lyme disease is left untreated, it can develop into late Lyme disease. Most people with late Lyme disease have an intense fatigue, arthritis, stiff neck, and fever, and a few experience paralysis in (inability to move) their face muscles or an irregular heartbeat.

Doctors usually treat Lyme disease with an antibiotic called doxycycline, taken in pill form for about a month. In more severe cases, however, you might have to take the pills for several months, or receive injections of antibiotics instead.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Good fats? Bad fats?

FatsFats are often labelled as the bad guys but actually we need some fat to keep us healthy.

Fats are a source of energy, they help us to absorb some vitamins and contain important things called essential fatty acids.

But lots of people eat more fat than they need or is good for them. And some types of fat are worse than others.

cookies stacked Saturated fats are the ones we need to watch out for. They raise cholesterol and can block up the arteries to the heart.

So instead of having saturated fat we should have fats that are high in polyunsaturates and monounsaturates instead.

This means cutting down on these sorts of foods:
  • meat pies
  • sausages
  • pastry
  • cakes and biscuits
  • cream, soured cream, crème fraîche
  • lard, suet
And trying to have more of these, which are high in unsaturated fats:
  • oily fish
  • nuts and seeds
  • avocados
  • sunflower, rapeseed and olive oil spreads and vegetable oils
Oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel and herring are also high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are really good for us.

But this doesn't mean you should never have foods that contain a lot of fat. It's just that if you want to be as fit as you can, you should try to choose foods that are low in saturated fat as often as you can.

And many of your favourite foods are probably already low in fat, such as pasta, breakfast cereals, bananas, fish fingers and fruit smoothies, so you can still eat them regularly.

Do you ever look at food labels? If you do, here's how to work out if a food is high in fat.

High is more than 20g fat per 100g
Low is 3g fat or less per 100g

If the amount of fat per 100g is in between these figures, then that is a medium level of fat.

Here’s how to work out if a food is high in saturated fat.

High is more than 5g saturates per 100g
Low is 1.5g saturates or less per 100g

If the amount of saturates per 100g is in between these figures, then that is a medium level of saturated fat.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Back pain

Back Pain
Back pain is a very common problem. Around eight in 10 people in Western countries suffer from backache at least some of the time. Back pain is usually not due to any serious disease. Most episodes of back pain get better quickly. Simple analgesics (pain killers) and a change of activity are generally all that is needed.

About half of all people who get back pain will have further episodes. The first step to managing back pain is to rule out the possibility of any medical problem, such as infection or fracture (although these are rarely the cause).

Preventing back pain

In most cases, back pain can be prevented by making a few lifestyle changes. Some suggestions include:

  • Exercise regularly – this is important to improve posture and increase muscle support of the spine. Try walking instead of using the car. Work towards doing 30 minutes of gentle exercise each day. This can be broken into shorter periods for equal benefit.
  • Lift and carry safely – if you are picking up a heavy load: squat down, hold the object as close to your body as practical and lift by using your legs, keeping your back straight. Get some help from another person or use equipment (such as a trolley) if the load is too heavy to manage comfortably on your own.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight – being overweight or obese puts extra strain on your back.
  • Be aware of your posture – consider your posture, particularly in seated positions such as when driving or sitting at a desk for long periods of time. Don’t slump, keep your back upright and use support where necessary (such as a lumbar support cushion or footstool).
  • Take regular breaks – when driving, standing or sitting for long periods of time, take a break at least every hour. This will help change the position of your joints and loosen your muscles. Include a short walk and a few stretches as part of your break.
  • Relax and manage your pain – learn some relaxation techniques to reduce stress levels and related muscle tension. Try massage, heat or cold packs and gentle exercise. Seek advice from a physiotherapist.
  • Change your mattress – surfaces that are too soft or too hard can aggravate a sore back. Avoid sleeping on your stomach.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What Are Eating Disorders?

Eating Disorder
An eating disorder is marked by extremes. It is present when a person experiences severe disturbances in eating behavior, such as extreme reduction of food intake or extreme overeating, or feelings of extreme distress or concern about body weight or shape.

A person with an eating disorder may have started out just eating smaller or larger amounts of food than usual, but at some point, the urge to eat less or more spirals out of control. Eating disorders are very complex, and despite scientific research to understand them, the biological, behavioral and social underpinnings of these illnesses remain elusive.

The two main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. A third category is "eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS)," which includes several variations of eating disorders. Most of these disorders are similar to anorexia or bulimia but with slightly different characteristics. Binge-eating disorder, which has received increasing research and media attention in recent years, is one type of EDNOS.

Eating disorders frequently appear during adolescence or young adulthood, but some reports indicate that they can develop during childhood or later in adulthood. Women and girls are much more likely than males to develop an eating disorder. Men and boys account for an estimated 5 to 15 percent of patients with anorexia or bulimia and an estimated 35 percent of those with binge-eating disorder. Eating disorders are real, treatable medical illnesses with complex underlying psychological and biological causes. They frequently co-exist with other psychiatric disorders such as depression, substance abuse, or anxiety disorders. People with eating disorders also can suffer from numerous other physical health complications, such as heart conditions or kidney failure, which can lead to death.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Childhood Overweight and Obesity

Obesity and overweight
Obesity is a serious health concern for children and adolescents. Data from NHANES surveys (1976–1980 and 2003–2006) show that the prevalence of obesity has increased: for children aged 2–5 years, prevalence increased from 5.0% to 12.4%; for those aged 6–11 years, prevalence increased from 6.5% to 17.0%; and for those aged 12–19 years, prevalence increased from 5.0% to 17.6%.

Obese children and adolescents are at risk for health problems during their youth and as adults. For example, during their youth, obese children and adolescents are more likely to have risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes) than are other children and adolescents.

Obese children and adolescents are more likely to become obese as adults.3, 4 For example, one study found that approximately 80% of children who were overweight at aged 10–15 years were obese adults at age 25 years.3 Another study found that 25% of obese adults were overweight as children.5 The latter study also found that if overweight begins before 8 years of age, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thyroid Diseases

Thyroid
Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, just above your collarbone. It is one of your endocrine glands, which make hormones. The thyroid helps set your metabolism - how your body gets energy from the foods you eat.

Millions of people in the U.S. have thyroid diseases. Most of them are women. If you have a thyroid disease, your body uses energy more slowly or quickly than it should. A thyroid gland that is not active enough, called hypothyroidism, is far more common. It can make you gain weight, feel fatigued and have difficulty dealing with cold temperatures. If your thyroid is too active, it makes more thyroid hormones than your body needs. That condition is hyperthyroidism. Too much thyroid hormone can make you lose weight, speed up your heart rate and make you very sensitive to heat.

There are many causes for both conditions. Treatment involves trying to reset your body's metabolism to a normal rate.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fat Diet will help to Reducing Heart Risks

Healthy Eating
A moderate-fat diet may work better than a low-fat regimen for people suffering from metabolic syndrome, a collection of conditions putting them at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, new research finds.

"This is a good study that essentially confirms that the current recommendations are appropriate," said Alice Lichtenstein, a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association (AHA). "Since 2000, the AHA has been recommending not a low-fat diet, but one that is low in saturated fats and trans fatty acids."

People with metabolic syndrome are glucose-intolerant, meaning they can't process blood sugar well. Low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets exacerbate this condition, Lichtenstein explained.

To be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, you must have three or more of the following risk factors for heart disease: belly fat, high triglycerides, low good cholesterol, high blood sugar and high blood pressure.

The study was among several to be presented Monday at the AHA's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle randomized 71 men and women with metabolic syndrome into one of two diet arms, the first made up of 40 percent fat, 45 percent carbohydrate and 15 percent protein (the moderate-fat diet) and the other, the low-fat diet, containing 20 percent fat, 65 percent carbs and 15 percent protein. Saturated fat content was about 8 percent in each, and each had about the same amount of fiber.

Levels of LDL (or "bad") cholesterol fell 3.4 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) on the low-fat diet compared with 11.6 mg/dL on the moderate-fat plan. HDL (or "good") cholesterol also fell, by 4.9 mg/dL on the low-fat plan and by 1.9 mg/dL on the other.

C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation linked to heart disease, fell more in the low-fat group than in the moderate-fat group (0.82 mg/L versus 0.63 mg/L), but the authors considered it a good drop in both cases.

While triglycerides, another measure of heart health, increased 11.1 mg/dL on the low-fat diet, they dropped 28.6 mg/dL on the other plan.

Experts familiar with the study aren't surprised by the findings. "This sort of falls within the boundaries of what we used to call the Atkins diet, which was a high-lipid and low-carb diet. Normally this kind of diet suppresses appetite, improves diabetes," said Dr. Alfred Bove, president of the American College of Cardiology. "This diet looks like it does a good job of altering the negative metabolic effects of early diabetes or high carbohydrate stimulation," he said.

"Much of this we've known before, but the idea is that a moderate-fat diet is something most people can tolerate," Bove said. "It probably affects the way insulin is released because if you have a lot of carbohydrates in the diet, you tend to generate a lot of insulin, and insulin is the hormone that lowers blood sugar," Bove explained. "In addition to lowering blood sugar, it also increases appetite so a lot of people on high-carb diets are restimulated to eat more."

Another study found yet more evidence to recommend the famed DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, an eating plan that has been found to lower blood pressure. DASH calls for a diet high in fruits and veggies and low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. Red meat and sweets are limited as well.

This study showed that the diet lowered coronary heart disease risk for a decade by 18 percent compared with people eating as usual and 11 percent compared with people in a fruit- and vegetable-rich program.

"We took our data and plugged it into the Framingham risk equation used to estimate heart disease risk and found a 20 percent reduction in risk of heart disease," said study senior author Dr. Lawrence Appel, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore. "We don't have a 40,000-person randomized trial but, next to that, this is probably one of the best analyses to show that the DASH diet should reduce heart disease as well as blood pressure."

Although the DASH diet is recommended to reduce blood pressure, there had been some "quirks" in previous data leading people to question the program's net effect, Appel said.

A third study confirmed that even small helpings of fruits and veggies can boost your health.

In a Columbia University Medical Center study of 501 patients, just one extra serving of fruits or vegetables was linked with lower levels of both CRP and cholesterol. And adding another gram per day of omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish as well as plant-based oils, also was associated with a drop in CRP levels.

Lowering intake of saturated and trans fats meant reductions in both total and LDL cholesterol, the researchers, led by Dr. Lori Mosca, found.

And more calories from alcohol seemed to move HDL cholesterol levels down, although other measures did not change.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

All About Asthma

Asthma
Asthma is a serious, sometimes life-threatening respiratory disease that affects the quality of life for millions of Americans. Although there is no cure for asthma yet, asthma can be controlled through medical treatment and management of environmental triggers. EPA is committed to educating all Americans about asthma so that everyone knows what asthma is, how the environment can affect asthma patients and how to manage environmental asthma triggers.

Preventing Asthma Attacks:

Step 1 - Talk to a doctor

Talk to a doctor about your child’s asthma. If your child has asthma or if you think your child may have asthma, take your child to a doctor. Your doctor will work with you to keep your child from having asthma attacks.
  • Learn what triggers your child’s asthma attacks.
  • Identify asthma triggers in your home.
  • Talk about ways to get rid of triggers in your home.
  • Find out what medicine your child should take.
  • Make sure that you are prepared for the Transition to Ozone Safe Metered Dose Inhalers.
Learn more about asthma from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's "What Is Asthma?"

Step 2 - Make a Plan

Ask your doctor to help you create your child’s Asthma Action Plan. Work with your doctor to create an Asthma Action Plan that will help you learn to prevent your child’s asthma attacks. An Asthma Action Plan will help you control your child's asthma on a regular basis.

Step 3 - Asthma-Proof Your Home

Triggers are a part of everyday life. Asthma attacks can be triggered by things like mold growing on your shower curtain or tiny dust mites that live in blankets, pillow, or your child's stuffed animals.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Eyelid twitching

Eyelid Twitching
An eyelid twitch is a general term for involuntary spasms of the eyelid muscles. In some instances, the eyelid may repeatedly close (or nearly close) and re-open.This article discusses eyelid twitches in general.

Causes

The most common things that make the muscle in your eyelid twitch are fatigue, stress, and caffeine. Once spasms begin, they may continue off and on for a few days. Then, they disappear. Most people experience this type of eyelid twitch on occasion and find it very annoying. In most cases, you won't even notice when the twitch has stopped.

More severe contractions, where the eyelid completely closes, are possible. These can be caused by irritation of the surface of the eye (cornea) or the membranes lining the eyelids (conjunctiva).

Sometimes, the reason your eyelid is twitching cannot be identified. This form of eyelid twitching lasts much longer, is often very uncomfortable, and can also cause your eyelids to close completely.

Symptoms

In addition to having repetitive, uncontrollable twitching or spasms of your eyelid (usually the upper lid), you may be very sensitive to light or have blurry vision.

Treatment

Eyelid twitching usually disappears without treatment. In the meantime, the following steps may help:

  • Get more sleep.
  • Drink less caffeine.
  • Lubricate your eyes with eye drops.

If twitching is severe, small injections of botulinum toxin can temporarily cure the spasms.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outlook depends on the specific type or cause of eyelid twitch. In some cases, the twitches usually stop within a week.

Possible Complications

Permanent eye injury from unrecognized cornea injury is possible, but rare.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your primary care doctor or eye doctor (ophthalmologist) if:

  • Eyelid twitching does not go away within 1 week
  • Twitching completely closes your eyelid
  • Twitching involves other parts of your face
  • You have redness, swelling, or a discharge from your eye
  • Your upper eyelid is drooping
Alternative Names

Eyelid spasm; Eye twitch; Twitch - eyelid

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hair loss treatments

Hair Health

For most people, hair loss is mild and occurs later in life. However, when hair loss is premature or severe, it can be a source of distress. Although there is no cure, a number of treatments are available that can effectively slow or reduce hair loss and stimulate partial regrowth. Surgical treatment involving hair transplantation is available from some specialist dermatologists and can be helpful for some men with advanced balding.

Why hair loss occurs
Hair is in a constant cycle of growth, rest and renewal – it is natural to lose some hair each day. Androgenetic hair loss is caused by androgen hormones and occurs in people with a genetic susceptibility. It is likely that around five separate genes determine the susceptibility to baldness. Some of these genes come from the mother’s side and some from the father’s side of the family. Hormonal imbalances, the contraceptive pill or the effects of corticosteroids can also be responsible for baldness in women.

Other possible causes of hair loss include alopecia areata (an autoimmune disorder characterised by inflammation of the hair root), cancer chemotherapy, burns or injuries, nervous habits such as continual hair pulling or scalp rubbing, ringworm of the scalp and rough handling. Long-term illness, major surgery and high fever may cause temporary hair loss.


Treatment options
Treatment aims to slow or reduce hair loss, stimulate partial regrowth or replace damaged hair. Surgical treatment involving hair transplantation is available from some specialist dermatologists and can be helpful for some men with advanced balding. Non-surgical treatments include lotions and tablets. In general, these must be used continuously to maintain regrowth. If treatment is stopped, regrowth ceases and hair loss will start again. Cosmetic options include wigs and hairpieces.

A number of other treatments have been suggested for hair loss including massage, vitamin supplements, herbal remedies (such as saw palmetto), zinc, amino acids, hair lotions and tonics. None of these has been shown to promote hair growth or prevent hair loss. There is also no scientific evidence that the use of lasers is effective. If unsure, consult with your doctor before commencing treatment.

Minoxidil
Minoxidil lotion has been available in Australia since the 1970s. A number of different brands are available over-the-counter from pharmacies without a prescription. Drops are applied to the scalp morning and night and rubbed in. Hair regrowth generally takes six months to appear. Patients considering taking minoxidil should tell their health care provider if they are taking any other medicines, especially high blood pressure medication. Minoxidil is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Finasteride
Finasteride is the active ingredient in the hair loss treatment Propecia. Propecia has been available in Australia since the late 1990s. One tablet a day will arrest further hair loss in over 90 per cent of men and stimulate partial hair regrowth in over two-thirds. Regrowth may be visible at six months, but can take up to two years to become apparent. Side effects are uncommon; however, Propecia does require a prescription from your doctor. Finasteride is not recommended for women.

Spironolactone
This tablet has been widely used to treat high blood pressure and fluid retention in Australia since the 1960s. It blocks the effect of androgen hormones. In women, androgens can cause oily skin, acne, unwanted facial and body hair, and scalp hair loss. Spironolactone can be used to treat all of these conditions but requires a prescription from your doctor. Spironolactone is not recommended for men. Pregnant and breastfeeding women or women with severe kidney disease, hyperkalaemia or Addison’s disease should not take minoxidil.

Cyproterone acetate
This tablet was also developed in the 1960s. It blocks the effect of androgen hormones. It is also a weak progestogen and is used as a component of some oral contraceptives. Cyproterone acetate can also be used to treat acne, unwanted facial and body hair, and hereditary hair loss in women. Cyproterone acetate requires a prescription from your doctor. Cyproterone acetate is not recommended as a treatment for hair loss in men.

Hair transplantation
Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure for the treatment of hair loss that first became popular in the 1950s. Originally, large plugs of hair were used, which sometimes led to unsatisfactory and unnatural results. Nowadays, very small mini- and micro-plugs of skin, containing one to five hairs, are used. Unlike the original large plugs, this modern technique does not produce very thick or dense hair growth. It appears more natural and, in many cases, is undetectable as a transplant.

Types of hair loss that respond best to hair transplantation include:

  • Androgenetic hair loss in men – this is the most common type of baldness that can be helped by hair transplantation
  • Hair loss due to accidents and operations.
Hair transplantation is a surgical procedure
Hair plugs are taken from the back or sides of the scalp where the hair is less likely to fall out. These plugs are transferred to the bald areas and placed in such a way that they receive adequate blood flow during the healing process. The transplant session may take several hours. One to three months later, more grafts can be added. Several treatments are required to give a progressive increase in the amount of hair. Hair will regrow in the area from which the hair plug was taken for transplantation.

A sedative is usually given prior to the procedure. Local anaesthetic is also used at the hair removal (donor) and recipient sites. As the anaesthetic wears off, you may notice some discomfort. This can be eased with simple pain-killing medications.

Possible complications of hair transplantation
Possible complications include:
  • Infection – this can occur because the skin is broken to perform the procedure. It can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Bleeding – this is usually controlled through careful postoperative care.
  • Scarring – approximately 11 per cent of the population have a tendency to scar.
  • Temporary, operation-induced hair loss – known as telogen effluvium, this can occur with hair transplantation as well as some other operations. It occurs in approximately five per cent of patients.
  • Unacceptable cosmetic results – scarring and unacceptable cosmetic results are more common when hair transplants are carried out by inexperienced practitioners.
Seek advice from a specialist dermatologist
Many hair clinics offer hair transplantation. However, specialist dermatologists are best qualified to properly advise about this surgery, as they generally have the most knowledge about hair in health and disease.

What you can expect from treatment
Despite advances in our understanding of hair loss, there are limits to current treatment. In particular, age-related hair loss and inherited forms of hair loss are difficult to reverse, although treatment may prevent further loss. There are also limits to controlling alopecia areata. In many conditions, hair loss or thinning will stabilise and may not progress to baldness.

Where to get help

  • Your doctor
  • Australasian College of Dermatologists Tel. 1300 361 821
  • Wigmaker
  • Plastic surgeon
Things to remember
  • Permanent hair loss is caused by genetic and hormonal factors.
  • A number of options are available to treat hair loss.
  • Hair transplantation is most effective for male pattern baldness.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

About Tinnitus

Ear

Do you hear a ringing, roaring, clicking, or hissing sound in your ears? Do you hear this sound often or all the time? Does the sound bother you a lot? If you answer yes to these questions, you may have tinnitus (tin-NY-tus).

Tinnitus is a symptom associated with many forms of hearing loss. It can also be a symptom of other health problems. Roughly 25 million Americans have experienced tinnitus. Some cases are so severe that it interferes with a person's daily activities. People with severe cases of tinnitus may find it difficult to hear, work, or even sleep.

What causes tinnitus?

  • Hearing loss. Doctors and scientists have discovered that people with different kinds of hearing loss also have tinnitus.

  • Loud noise. Too much exposure to loud noise can cause noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus.

  • Medicine. More than 200 medicines can cause tinnitus. If you have tinnitus and you take medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether your medicine could be involved.

  • Other health problems. Allergies, tumors, and problems in the heart and blood vessels, jaws, and neck can cause tinnitus.

What should I do if I have tinnitus?

The most important thing you can do is to go see your doctor. Your doctor can try to determine what is causing your tinnitus. He or she can check to see if it is related to blood pressure, kidney function, diet, or allergies. Your doctor can also determine whether your tinnitus is related to any medicine you are taking.

To learn more about what is causing your tinnitus, your doctor may refer you to an otolaryngologist (oh-toe-lair-in-GAH-luh-jist), an ear, nose, and throat doctor. He or she will examine your ears and your hearing to try to find out why you have tinnitus. Another hearing professional, an audiologist (aw-dee-AH-luh-jist), can measure your hearing. If you need a hearing aid, an audiologist can fit you with one that meets your needs.

How will hearing experts treat my tinnitus?

Although there is no cure for tinnitus, scientists and doctors have discovered several treatments that may give you some relief. Not every treatment works for everyone, so you may need to try several to find the ones that help.

Treatments can include

  • Hearing aids. Many people with tinnitus also have a hearing loss. Wearing a hearing aid makes it easier for some people to hear the sounds they need to hear by making them louder. The better you hear other people talking or the music you like, the less you notice your tinnitus.

  • Maskers. Maskers are small electronic devices that use sound to make tinnitus less noticeable. Maskers do not make tinnitus go away, but they make the ringing or roaring seem softer. For some people, maskers hide their tinnitus so well that they can barely hear it.

    Some people sleep better when they use maskers. Listening to static at a low volume on the radio or using bedside maskers can help. These are devices you can put by your bed instead of behind your ear. They can help you ignore your tinnitus and fall asleep.

  • Medicine or drug therapy. Some medicines may ease tinnitus. If your doctor prescribes medicine to treat your tinnitus, he or she can tell you whether the medicine has any side effects.

  • Tinnitus retraining therapy. This treatment uses a combination of counseling and maskers. Otolaryngologists and audiologists help you learn how to deal with your tinnitus better. You may also use maskers to make your tinnitus less noticeable. After a while, some people learn how to avoid thinking about their tinnitus. It takes time for this treatment to work, but it can be very helpful.

  • Counseling. People with tinnitus may become depressed. Talking with a counselor or people in tinnitus support groups may be helpful.

  • Relaxing. Learning how to relax is very helpful if the noise in your ears frustrates you. Stress makes tinnitus seem worse. By relaxing, you have a chance to rest and better deal with the sound.
What can I do to help myself?

Think about things that will help you cope. Many people find listening to music very helpful. Focusing on music might help you forget about your tinnitus for a while. It can also help mask the sound. Other people like to listen to recorded nature sounds, like ocean waves, the wind, or even crickets.

Avoid anything that can make your tinnitus worse. This includes smoking, alcohol, and loud noise. If you are a construction worker, an airport worker, or a hunter, or if you are regularly exposed to loud noise at home or at work, wear ear plugs or special earmuffs to protect your hearing and keep your tinnitus from getting worse.

If it is hard for you to hear over your tinnitus, ask your friends and family to face you when they talk so you can see their faces. Seeing their expressions may help you understand them better. Ask people to speak louder, but not shout. Also, tell them they do not have to talk slowly, just more clearly.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Oil Pulling a Heathy Practice

Oil Pulling
Oil pulling has been used extensively for many years, without scientific evidence or proof, as a traditional Indian folk remedy to prevent teeth decay, oral malodor, bleeding gums, dryness of throat and cracked lips, and for strengthening the teeth, gums, and jaws. AIMS: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of oil pulling with sesame oil on the count of Streptococcus mutans in plaque and saliva of children, using the Dentocult SM Strip mutans test, and to compare its efficacy with that of chlorhexidine mouthwash. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty age-matched adolescent boys were selected based on information obtained through a questionnaire. They were divided randomly into two groups: the control or chlorhexidine group (group I) and the study or oil pulling group (group II); there were ten subjects in each group. Plaque and saliva samples were collected from all the 20 subjects on the strips from the Dentocult SM kit and, after incubation, the presence of S. mutans was evaluated using the manufacturers' chart. The study group practiced oil pulling with sesame oil and the control group used chlorhexidine mouthwash for 10 min every day in the morning before brushing. Samples were collected from both groups after 24 h, 48 h, 1 week, and 2 weeks and the efficacy of oil pulling was compared with that of chlorhexidine mouthwash. RESULTS: There was a reduction in the S. mutans count in the plaque and saliva samples of both the study and the control groups. The reduction in the S. mutans count in the plaque of the study group was statistically significant after 1 and 2 weeks (P=0.01 and P=0.008, respectively); the control group showed significant reduction at all the four time points (P=0.01, P=0.04, P=0.005, and P=0.005, respectively, at 24 h, 48 h, 1 week, and 2 weeks). In the saliva samples, significant reduction in S. mutans count was seen in the control group at 48 h, 1 week, and 2 weeks (P=0.02, P=0.02, P=0.008, respectively). CONCLUSION: Oil pulling can be used as an effective preventive adjunct in maintaining and improving oral health.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Contact Lenses tips

Contact-Lens

Important Contact Lens Care Tips

  • Follow recommended wearing schedule.
  • Do not substitute sterile saline solutions for multi-purpose solutions.
  • Rub and rinse your contact lenses as directed by your eye care professional.
  • Do not “top-off” the solutions in your case. Always discard all of the leftover contact lens solution after each use. Never reuse any lens solution.
  • Clean, rinse and air-dry your lens case each time lenses are removed.
  • Do not expose your contact lenses to any water: tap, bottled, distilled, lake or ocean water.
  • Contact your eye care professional if you experience any symptoms of eye irritation or infection.
Contact lenses are the number one choice for many people with vision correction needs. For many, contact lenses provide flexibility and convenience. There are many different lenses available for a variety of needs and preferences. Contact lenses can be used to correct a variety of vision disorders such as Myopia (nearsightedness), Hyperopia (farsightedness), Astigmatism, and Presbyopia (poor focusing with reading material and other near vision tasks).

This website gives information about the latest innovations on contact lenses. It provides general information and is not meant to replace a discussion with your eye care professional.

You can buy contact lenses only if you have a current, valid prescription.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cell Phones and Brain Tumors

girl with mobile
The latest study focusing on a possible cell phone-brain tumor connection finds a weak potential link between the two.

A review of existing research on the topic, published online Oct. 13 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, discerned no overall link. But when the spotlight was turned on only the more methodologically rigorous studies, a potentially harmful association was found.

Combined with similarly murky conclusions from earlier research, this leaves the world's four billion cell phone users with no clear indication of what risk, if any, they are taking when they converse on the go.

"We cannot make any definitive conclusions about this," said one expert, Dr. Deepa Subramaniam, director of the Brain Tumor Center at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C. "But this study, in addition to all the previous studies, continues to leave lingering doubt as to the potential for increased risk. So, one more time, after all these years, we don't have a clear-cut answer."

"What makes me worry," she stated, "is that the higher quality studies [seen here] did indeed show an association."

Joel Moskowitz, the study's senior author, said that "clearly there is risk." He's director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health.

"I would not allow children to use a cell phone, or I at least would require them to use a separate headset," Moskowitz said. "It seems fairly derelict of us as a society or as a planet to just disseminate this technology to the extent that we have without doing a whole lot more research of the potential harms and how to protect against those harms. Clearly, we need to learn a whole lot more about this technology."

Some in the technology industry disagree.

"The peer-reviewed scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices do not pose a public health risk," John Walls, vice president of public affairs for CTIA-The Wireless Association, said in a prepared statement.

"In addition, there is no known mechanism for microwave energy within the limits established by the [U.S. Federal Communications Commission] to cause any adverse health effects," he said. "That is why the leading global heath organizations such as the American Cancer Society, [U.S.] National Cancer Institute, World Health Organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration all have concurred that wireless devices are not a public health risk."

For the new study, Moskowitz and his fellow researchers in South Korea searched medical bases for the keywords "mobile phones," "cellular phones," "cordless phones" and "tumors" or "cancer." They included 23 case-control studies, involving 37,916 total participants, in their final analysis.

When the studies were pooled, no risk was seen between mobile phone use and brain tumors, either benign or malignant. But a subgroup of studies that employed more rigorous methodology -- most conducted by the same research team in Sweden -- reported a harmful effect, whereas a set of less rigorous studies -- most funded by an industry consortium -- found a protective effect.

Specifically, the more robust studies found that using a mobile phone for a decade or longer resulted in an 18 percent increased risk for developing a brain tumor.

Some studies also showed that brain tumors were more likely to appear on the side of the brain where the cell phone was used.

According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 21,000 malignant brain or spinal cord tumors are diagnosed in adults in the U.S. each year, while 3,800 such tumors are diagnosed in children.

Moskowitz also believes that there's potential for harm to other areas of the body -- the genitals, for example -- when the phone is carried in a pocket.

With so many people worldwide using cell phones, even a small risk could translate into many illnesses and deaths, he said.

"We need to do a whole lot more research because the stakes are really high and there seems to be suggestive evidence that you better be careful about this, especially in children, who have developing tissue and smaller brain and skull sizes," Moskowitz warned.

Subramaniam seemed to agree.

"I do encourage people to use the speaker phone or a hands-free device if they can, and I definitely do not encourage children to use cell phones because then there's a much longer lifetime risk of exposure," she said.

"In my opinion," she said, "the question remains unsettled -- and unsettled always carries with it likelihood that we might find an association."

A report last year from the National Research Council, the main operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, and compiled at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, called for more research into the risks posed by long-term cell phone use, rather than the more commonly studied short-term risks. It urged that such research focus on the health of children, pregnant women and fetuses as well as workers subject to high occupational exposure.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Nose Piercing


What is nose piercing?

Nose piercing has specific equipment designed to carry out this procedure. A gun or needle can be used to pierce the nose, however it must not be a ear piercing gun. The operator carrying out the procedure must have adequate knowledge about piercing as well as knowledge in infection control techniques and minimum standards. The following recommendations are made to help achieve these standards.

Premises
  • All nose piercing premises must be registered with the local council. The register is to be made available for public viewing
  • The premises must be in a clean and hygienic condition at all times
  • A hand basin with hot and cold running water is required in the premises and is recommended to be in the treatment area
  • Soap or other hand cleaning substance is required to be at the hand basin
  • Paper towel or other single use hand drying equipment is required to be at the hand basin
  • The construction of the premises should meet with local council requirements
  • The finish on all surfaces within the piercing area should be made of materials that are easily cleaned
  • Fittings in the piercing area such as benches should be cleaned between each client and/ or a clean covering placed over the treatment surface
  • Adequate lighting is recommended.
Personal Hygiene
  • Nose piercers must wash their hands before and after attending a client.
  • A clean gown or apron must be worn during a nose piercing procedure
  • If a nose piercer has a cut or open wound on their hands or fingers especially, they must cover it with a waterproof dressing
  • When carrying out a piercing, single use gloves must be worn.
Equipment
  • A specific nose piercing gun or a needle is to be used for a nose piercing
  • The reusable nose piercing gun should not come in contact with the nose. Single use sterilised bags may be used to cover the gun while carrying out the piercing
  • All equipment and/or jewellery used to penetrate the skin must be sterilised
  • Most jewellery comes in pre-sterilised packaging. The jewellery should not be handled when loading it into the gun, or inserting it into the opening when using a needle
  • Disposable cartridges which sit in the gun are used to hold the jewellery in place for the piercing.
Procedures
  • Although not a legal requirement a person under the age of 18 years should not receive a nose piercing unless parental or guardian approval is provided
  • Nose piercers should have adequate knowledge on how and where to pierce First aid knowledge is also recommended
  • All necessary equipment should be set up just prior to start the procedure
  • The skin to be pierced should be cleaned with a skin antiseptic
  • Contact should not occur between the gun and the nose
  • Sterile packaging should only be opened when ready to perform the piercing
  • Jewellery is normally pre-sterilised, do not use jewellery that has been on display
  • Contact with sterile jewellery should be avoided unless sterile gloves are worn. Single use gloves are not sterile unless specified.
After Treatment
  • Single use gloves should be disposed of immediately after the procedure
  • The nose piercing gun should be cleaned immediately after the procedure unless a sterilised bag has been used. Sterilised bags are single use and must be thrown out after each piercing
  • Cartridges that hold the jewellery in place during a piercing are to disposed immediately after each piercing
  • All waste should be bagged appropriately and disposed daily
  • After care instructions should be provided to the client on cleaning the site and jewellery, infections and what to look for, and healing times
  • There should be no exchange of jewellery once inserted into an opening.

If a needle is used for a nose piercing:

  • Single use sharps must be disposed of into a sharps container
  • Re-useable sharps must be sterilised before reuse
  • Details of the sterilisation process must be recorded

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Kissing and your health

couple-kissing
Kissing offers many health benefits but may also transmit a small number of disease-causing bacteria and viruses. Bacteria and viruses in the saliva or blood of one person can be spread to another person by kissing. Some diseases are more easily spread than others.

Advantages in Kissing

passionate kisses are good for you!
It’s not all doom and gloom. Research into passionate kissing has uncovered many valuable health benefits, including:
  • Emotional bonding – kissing your partner is a fun, pleasurable and important part of physical intimacy and helps maintain a sense of togetherness and love.
  • Stress reduction – kissing your partner, either tenderly or passionately, releases calming brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that reduce stress levels and soothe the mind.
  • Foreplay – deep kissing your partner can lead to sexual intercourse. Various studies show that sex enhances a person’s physical and mental health. For example, regular sex is protective against stress and depression.
  • Metabolic boost – kissing burns kilojoules. The more passionate the kiss, the greater the metabolic boost.
  • Healthier mouth – saliva contains substances that fight bacteria, viruses and fungi. Deep kissing increases the flow of saliva, which helps to keep the mouth, teeth and gums healthy.
  • Increased immunity – exposure to germs that inhabit your partner’s mouth strengthens your immune system.
How disease is spread
Diseases can be spread from person to person in a number of ways:
  • Contact spread – some diseases are spread directly from person to person, for example during kissing, or indirectly when you touch a contaminated surface or object.
  • Droplet spread – infected droplets from the nose and throat can usually travel around one metre before they drop onto a surface. Sometimes infected droplets can also linger in the air. Infection occurs when the infected droplet is inhaled or someone comes into contact with a contaminated surface or object.
  • Airborne spread – some infected particles from the nose and throat can remain in the air for a long time because of their tiny size. They are called droplet nuclei and can be inhaled directly into the lungs.
Viruses that can be transmitted by kissing
Examples of illnesses caused by viruses that can be transmitted during kissing include:
  • Colds – also known as upper respiratory tract infections. Many different viruses can cause the common cold. Colds are thought to be spread by direct contact with the virus. You could catch the cold from airborne droplets or from direct contact with secretions (fluids and mucous) from the infected person’s nose and throat.
  • Glandular fever – also known as the kissing disease. Glandular fever is the common term for a viral infection called infectious mononucleosis, caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. The virus is spread through saliva and infection occurs through contact.
  • Herpes infection – viruses that are considered part of the herpes family include Epstein-Barr, varicella-zoster (causes chickenpox) and herpes simplex (causes cold sores). Herpes simplex virus can be spread through direct contact with the virus when kissing. Herpes is most easily spread to others when the blisters are forming or have erupted. The virus can be ‘shed’ (spread to others) from the site of blisters even when they have healed. Chickenpox is easily spread from person to person by direct contact, droplets or airborne spread.
  • Hepatitis B – kissing may also transmit this virus, although blood has higher levels of this virus than saliva. Infection can occur when infected blood and saliva come into direct contact with someone else’s bloodstream or mucous membranes. (Mucous membranes line various body cavities including the mouth and nose.) A person is more likely to be infected when kissing if they have open sores in or around the mouth.
  • Warts – warts in the mouth can be spread through kissing, especially if there are areas of recent trauma.
Bacteria that can be transmitted by kissing
Examples of bacteria that can be transmitted during kissing include:
  • Meningococcal disease – this is a potentially life-threatening condition which includes meningitis, inflammation of the membranes (meninges) that surround the brain and spinal cord, and septicaemia. These bacteria can be spread either through direct contact or via droplets. Studies show that, with respect to kissing, only deep kissing seems to be a risk factor.
  • Tooth decay – the bacteria that cause tooth decay aren’t found in the mouths of newborn babies! A baby’s mouth must be colonised with infected saliva, which can be passed by a kiss on the lips.
Keep it in perspective
There is no need to give up kissing for the sake of your health and that of your loved ones. While disease-causing bugs can be transferred during a kiss, most won’t cause disease and the risk of serious disease is very small.

Prevention tips
There are a number of things you can do to reduce the risk of passing on, or catching, an infection while kissing. You should try to:
  • Avoid kissing when you or the other person are sick.
  • Avoid kissing anyone on the lips when you, or they, have an active cold sore, warts or ulcers around the lips or in the mouth.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene.
  • Cough and sneeze into a hanky if you have a cold.
  • See your doctor about immunisations. Vaccines are available to prevent some infectious diseases, such as chickenpox, hepatitis B and group C meningococcal infection.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Microwave Oven Radiation


About Microwaves

Microwaves are used to detect speeding cars, to send telephone and television communications, and to treat muscle soreness. Industry uses microwaves to dry and cure plywood, to cure rubber and resins, to raise bread and doughnuts, and to cook potato chips. But the most common consumer use of microwave energy is in microwave ovens.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has regulated the manufacture of microwave ovens since 1971. On the basis of current knowledge about microwave radiation, the Agency believes that ovens that meet the FDA standard and are used according to the manufacturer's instructions are safe for use.

What is Microwave Radiation?

Microwaves are a form of "electromagnetic" radiation; that is, they are waves of electrical and magnetic energy moving together through space. Electromagnetic radiation ranges from the energetic x-rays to the less energetic radio frequency waves used in broadcasting. Microwaves fall into the radio frequency band of electromagnetic radiation. Microwaves should not be confused with x-rays, which are more powerful.

Microwaves have three characteristics that allow them to be used in cooking: they are reflected by metal; they pass through glass, paper, plastic, and similar materials; and they are absorbed by foods.

Cooking with Microwaves

Microwaves are produced inside the oven by an electron tube called a magnetron. The microwaves are reflected within the metal interior of the oven where they are absorbed by food. Microwaves cause water molecules in food to vibrate, producing heat that cooks the food. That's why foods high in water content, like fresh vegetables, can be cooked more quickly than other foods. The microwave energy is changed to heat as it is absorbed by food, and does not make food “radioactive” or "contaminated."

Although heat is produced directly in the food, microwave ovens do not cook food from the "inside out." When thick foods are cooked, the outer layers are heated and cooked primarily by microwaves while the inside is cooked mainly by the conduction of heat from the hot outer layers.

Microwave cooking can be more energy efficient than conventional cooking because foods cook faster and the energy heats only the food, not the whole oven compartment. Microwave cooking does not reduce the nutritional value of foods any more than conventional cooking. In fact, foods cooked in a microwave oven may keep more of their vitamins and minerals, because microwave ovens can cook more quickly and without adding water.

Glass, paper, ceramic, or plastic containers are used in microwave cooking because microwaves pass through these materials. Although such containers can not be heated by microwaves, they can become hot from the heat of the food cooking inside. Some plastic containers should not be used in a microwave oven because they can be melted by the heat of the food inside. Generally, metal pans or aluminum foil should also not be used in a microwave oven, as the microwaves are reflected off these materials causing the food to cook unevenly and possibly damaging the oven. The instructions that come with each microwave oven indicate the kinds of containers to use. They also cover how to test containers to see whether or not they can be used in microwave ovens.

FDA recommends that microwave ovens not be used in home canning. It is believed that neither microwave ovens nor conventional ovens produce or maintain temperatures high enough to kill the harmful bacteria that occur in some foods while canning.

Microwave Oven Safety Standard

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the responsibility for carrying out an electronic product radiation control program mandated by the Electronic Product Radiation Control provisions of the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act. Through it's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, FDA sets and enforces standards of performance for electronic products to assure that radiation emissions do not pose a hazard to public health.

A Federal standard limits the amount of microwaves that can leak from an oven throughout its lifetime to 5 milliwatts (mW) of microwave radiation per square centimeter at approximately 2 inches from the oven surface. This limit is far below the level known to harm people. Microwave energy also decreases dramatically as you move away from the source of radiation. A measurement made 20 inches from an oven would be approximately one one-hundredth of value measured at 2 inches.

The standard also requires all ovens to have two independent interlock systems that stop the production of microwaves the moment the latch is released or the door opened. In addition, a monitoring system stops oven operation in case one or both of the interlock systems fail. The noise that many ovens continue to make after the door is open is usually the fan. The noise does not mean that microwaves are being produced. There is no residual radiation remaining after microwave production has stopped. In this regard a microwave oven is much like an electric light that stops glowing when it is turned off.

All ovens must have a label stating that they meet the safety standard. In addition, FDA requires that all ovens have a label explaining precautions for use. This requirement may be dropped if the manufacturer has proven that the oven will not exceed the allowable leakage limit even if used under the conditions cautioned against on the label.

To make sure the standard is met, FDA tests microwave ovens in its own laboratory. FDA also evaluates manufacturers' radiation testing and quality control programs at their factories.

Although FDA believes the standard assures that microwave ovens do not present any radiation hazard, the Agency continues to reassess its adequacy as new information becomes available.

Microwave Ovens and Health

Much research is under way on microwaves and how they might affect the human body. It is known that microwave radiation can heat body tissue the same way it heats food. Exposure to high levels of microwaves can cause a painful burn. The lens of the eye is particularly sensitive to intense heat, and exposure to high levels of microwaves can cause cataracts. Likewise, the testes are very sensitive to changes in temperature. Accidental exposure to high levels of microwave energy can alter or kill sperm, producing temporary sterility. But these types of injuries - burns, cataracts, temporary sterility - can only be caused by exposure to large amounts of microwave radiation, much more than the 5mW limit for microwave oven leakage.

Less is known about what happens to people exposed to low levels of microwaves. Controlled, long-term studies involving large numbers of people have not been conducted to assess the impact of low level microwave energy on humans. Much research has been done with experimental animals, but it is difficult to translate the effects of microwaves on animals to possible effects on humans. For one thing, there are differences in the way animals and humans absorb microwaves. For another, experimental conditions can't exactly simulate the conditions under which people use microwave ovens. However, these studies do help us better understand the possible effects of radiation.

The fact that many scientific questions about exposure to low-levels of microwaves are not yet answered require FDA to continue to enforcement of radiation protection requirements. Consumers should take certain common sense precautions.

Have Radiation Injuries Resulted from Microwave Ovens?

There have been allegations of radiation injury from microwave ovens, but none as a direct result of microwave exposure. The injuries known to FDA have been injuries that could have happened with any oven or cooking surface. For example, many people have been burned by the hot food, splattering grease, or steam from food cooked in a microwave oven.

Ovens and Pacemakers

At one time there was concern that leakage from microwave ovens could interfere with certain electronic cardiac pacemakers. Similar concerns were raised about pacemaker interference from electric shavers, auto ignition systems, and other electronic products. FDA does not specifically require microwave ovens to carry warnings for people with pacemakers. The problem has been largely resolved because pacemakers are now designed to be shielded against such electrical interference. However, patients with pacemakers may wish to consult their physicians if they have concerns.

Checking Ovens For Leakage

There is little cause for concern about excess microwaves leaking from ovens unless the door hinges, latch, or seals are damaged. In FDA's experience, most ovens tested show little or no detectable microwave leakage. If there is some problem and you believe your oven might be leaking excessive microwaves, contact the oven manufacturer, a microwave oven service organization, your state health department, or the nearest FDA office.

A word of caution about the microwave testing devices being sold to consumers: FDA has tested a number of these devices and found them generally inaccurate and unreliable. If used, they should be relied on only for a very approximate reading. The sophisticated testing devices used by public health authorities to measure oven leakage are far more accurate and are periodically tested and calibrated.

Tips on Safe Microwave Oven Operation

  • Follow the manufacturer's instruction manual for recommended operating procedures and safety precautions for your oven model.
  • Don't operate an oven if the door does not close firmly or is bent, warped, or otherwise damaged.
  • Never operate an oven if you have reason to believe it will continue to operate with the door open.
  • As an added safety precaution, don't stand directly against an oven (and don't allow children to do this) for long periods of time while it is operating.
  • Users should not heat water or liquids in the microwave oven for excessive amounts of time.

Erupted Hot Water Phenomena in Microwave Ovens

The FDA received reports in the past of serious skin burns or scalding injuries around people's hands and faces as a result of hot water erupting out of a cup after it had been over-heated in a microwave oven. Over-heating of water in a cup can result in superheated water (water heated past its boiling temperature), which does not appear to be boiling.

This type of phenomena occurs if water is heated in a clean cup. If foreign materials such as instant coffee or sugar are added before heating, the risk is greatly reduced. If superheating has occurred, a slight disturbance or movement such as picking up the cup, or pouring in a spoon full of instant coffee, may result in a violent eruption with the boiling water exploding out of the cup.

What Can Consumers Do to Avoid Super-Heated Water?

Users should follow the precautions and recommendations found in the microwave oven instruction manuals, specifically the heating time. Users should not use excessive amounts of time when heating water or liquids in the microwave oven. Determine the best time setting to heat the water to the desired temperature and use that time setting regularly.

Other Tips for Microwave Oven Use

  • Some ovens should not be operated when empty. Refer to the instruction manual for your oven.
  • Clean the oven cavity, the outer edge of the cavity, and the door with water and a mild detergent. A special microwave oven cleaner is not necessary. Do not use scouring pads, steel wool, or other abrasives.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Healthy Sleeping makek the man perfect

Healthy Sleeping
When you’re in a rush to meet work, school, family,or household responsibilities, do you cut back on your sleep? Like many people, you might think that sleep is merely a “down time” when the brain shuts off and the body rests. Think again.

What Is Sleep?

Sleep was long considered just a uniform block of time when you are not awake. Thanks to sleep studies done over the past several decades, it is now known that sleep has distinctive stages that cycle throughout the night. Your brain stays active throughout sleep, but different things happen during each stage. For instance, certain stages of sleep are needed for us to feel well rested and energetic the next day, and other stages help us learn or make memories. In brief, a number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help maintain good health and enable people to function at their best. On the other hand, not getting enough sleep can be dangerous—for example, you are more likely to be in a car crash if you drive when you are drowsy.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

Sleep needs vary from person to person, and they change throughout the lifecycle. Most adults need 7–8 hours of sleep each night. Newborns, on the other hand, sleep between 16 and 18 hours a day, and children in preschool sleep between 10 and 12 hours a day. School-aged children and teens need at least 9 hours of sleep a night.

Some people believe that adults need less sleep as they get older. But there is no evidence to show that older people can get by with less sleep than younger people. As people age, however, they often get less sleep or they tend to spend less time in the deep, restful stages of sleep. Older people are also more easily awakened.

Why Sleep Is Good for You — and Skimping on It Isn’t

Does it really matter if you get enough sleep? Absolutely! Not only does the quantity of your sleep matter, but the quality of your sleep is important as well. People whose sleep is interrupted a lot or is cut short might not get enough of certain stages of sleep. In other words, how well rested you are and how well you function the next day depend on your total sleep time and how much of the various stages of sleep you get each night.

Performance: We need sleep to think clearly, react quickly, and create memories. In fact, the pathways in the brain that help us learn and remember are very active when we sleep. Studies show that people who are taught mentally challenging tasks do better after a good night’s sleep. Other research suggests that sleep is needed for creative problem solving.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Strong Thighs May Mean Less Knee Pain for Women

Knee
Stronger thigh muscles can help protect women, but not men, from the pain of arthritic knees, a new study finds.

The knee is the most common joint affected by osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, a major cause of disability in the United States, researchers say. In the United States, nearly 27 million adults suffer from osteoarthritis, and 16 percent of cases in people aged 45 and older affect the knee. Almost 19 percent of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis patients are women and 13.5 percent are men, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, the new study finds that "stronger quadricep [thigh] muscles may protect older adults from developing the combination of osteoarthritis on X-ray and daily pain or stiffness in their knees," said lead researcher Dr. Neil Segal, director of the Clinical Osteoarthritis Research Program at the University of Iowa.

"We already knew that quadriceps strength was associated with better ability to walk and get up from a chair," Segal said. "However, one implication of these new findings is that quadricep strength may protect against developing symptomatic knee osteoarthritis."

The report is published in the September issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

For the study, Segal's team followed more than 3,000 men and women between 50 and 79 years of age, all of whom took part in the in the Multicenter Knee Osteoarthritis Study (MOST). The trial was designed to find out if knee strength would predict knee osteoarthritis, either as observed on an X-ray or through patient symptoms.

Over two and a half years, the researchers evaluated each participant for thigh muscle strength. Muscle strength between the quadriceps and the hamstrings was used to determine weakness in the lower leg muscles. To see if people developed osteoarthritis, the researchers took X-rays of the participants' knees at the beginning and end of the study. They also asked about pain, aching or stiffness in the knees.

By the end of the study, 48 of 680 men and 93 of 937 women developed osteoarthritis detectable by X-ray. About 10 percent of the women and 8 percent of the men had symptoms of knee osteoarthritis, the researchers found.

These results showed that thigh muscle strength was not a significant predictor of osteoarthritis that was detected via X-ray. However, women with the strongest thighs had a lower incidence of symptomatic, or painful, knee osteoarthritis, Segal's group found.

And since the more painful form of knee arthritis, "is the type of osteoarthritis that brings older adults to health-care providers, this [finding] is important for public health," Segal said.

However, men with strong thigh muscles had only slightly better odds of avoiding painful knee osteoarthritis compared with men with weaker knee extensor strength.

It remains to be seen whether strengthening the thighs might help people avoid arthritic knees, the researchers stressed. "Our study was observational, so interventional studies need to be done to determine whether strengthening exercises for people with weak quadriceps will reduce their risk for developing symptomatic knee osteoarthritis years later," Segal said.

Samantha Heller, an exercise physiologist, said a few simple, low-impact exercises can help people -- even those with osteoarthritis -- strengthen their thighs and knees.

"The exercises that people can do, and tend to do correctly, and can do on their own, are climbing stairs -- up and down," Heller said.

Heller recommends climbing stairs slowly, making the best use of the thigh muscles. "You don't have to run up or down stairs. You can go up and down even one or two steps at a time -- that helps strengthen the leg muscles. Strong leg muscles not only support knee health, but they support your independence as you get older," she said.

In addition, walking is good for your muscles and your bones, Heller said. Walking engages all the muscles in your legs, she added. "If you want to have happy knees, you want to have the muscles surrounding the knee strong and balanced," she said.

People can also see a physical therapist to get on a program that will strengthen the legs, Heller said. "There's a whole ton of leg and knee exercises you can do," she said.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tooth Whitening

Tooth Whitening
Who Needs Tooth Whitening?

Tooth whitening is ideal for people who have unrestored teeth (no fillings) and healthy gums. Individuals with yellow tones to their teeth respond best. It is usually done to treat the problem of intrinsic staining.

This procedure is not recommended for everyone. Your dentist can advice you on whether whitening procedures would be effective for you.

How Is Whitening Done

Professional bleaching is the most common form of tooth whitening.

First the dentist will put a rubber shield or a gel on your gums to protect the soft tissue. They will then apply the whitening product to your teeth, either by painting directly onto your teeth or by using a specially made tray which fits into your mouth like a gum-shield.

Other Procedures

There is now laser whitening or 'power whitening'. A light or laser is directed on the teeth to activate the chemical. Colour changes can be achieved more quickly using these procedures.

Is There Any Side Effects Associated With The Treatment?

Some people may find that their teeth have become sensitive to cold during or after the treatment. Others report discomfort in the gums, a sore throat or white patches on the gum line. These symptoms are usually temporary and should disappear within a few days of finishing the treatment.

If any of these side effects continue you should go to your dentist.

How Long Does This Whitening Procedure Takes?

The duration of this procedure varies from an hour to making a few visits depending on the severity of your tooth discolouration and materials used.

What Are The Cost Involved?

Whitening treatment is not routinely done at the government dental clinic. It is only offered to those with special indications as determined by the dental officer.

Private charges will vary depending on the number of teeth treated and materials used. Laser or power whitening will be more expensive than professional bleaching.

We recommend you get a written estimate of the cost before you start any treatment.

What About At Home Procedures And Products?

There are several types of products available for use at home, which can either be dispensed by your dentist or purchased over-the-counter.

As tooth whitening is a complicated procedure you are advised to have it done only after a thorough examination and assessment of your teeth by a dentist.

How Long Will My Teeth Stay Whiter?

The effects of whitening can last up to three years. However, this will vary depending whether you smoke, eat or drink products that can stain your teeth.

Always ask your dentist for an opinion before you start the treatment.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Diet, Cognitive Ability May Play Role in Heart Disease

Healthy Eating
Seniors who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and who have good cognitive function are much less likely to die from heart disease than those who have poorer cognitive function and eat fewer fruits and vegetables, a new study has found.

Cognitive function refers to the ability to think, remember, plan and organize information.

Researchers at the Drexel University School of Public Health in Philadelphia analyzed diet and cognitive data on 4,879 people (3,101 women and 1,778 men), age 70 and older, who took part in the U.S. Longitudinal Study of Aging. The participants were followed for an average of seven years.

The analysis revealed that:

  • Those who ate three or more servings of vegetables daily had a 30 percent lower risk for dying from heart disease and a 15 percent lower risk for dying from any cause during the follow-up period than those who ate fewer than three servings of vegetables a day.
  • There was a significant association between higher consumption of fruits and vegetables and decreased prevalence of cognitive impairment.
  • People who scored high on cognitive functions tests were less likely to die from heart disease or any other cause during the follow-up than were those with low scores.

The study was to be presented Wednesday at the American Heart Association's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.