Thursday, 28 May 2015

How Do Sunscreens And Lotions Protect Us?

Sunlight –Ultraviolet – UV Photon 

Sunlight tends to contain ultraviolent – UV photon which are shorter in wavelength and higher in energy than the light that is visible. Since they fall beyond the visible spectrum, it is not possible to notice them through the human eye. When exposed to sun, these high energy photons that strike the skin and generate free radicals tend to damage the DNA.

This UV induced damage could result in painful burn and over a period of time could cause premature aging of the skin together with various other new cases of skin cancer. UV rays that humans are exposed to, on the earth’s surface comprises of UVB and UVA photons where the shorter wave length UVB rays does not penetrate deeply in the skin resulting in significant damage to DNA.

This is the main cause of sunburn and skin cancer. The longer wavelength UVA rays on the other hand tend to penetrate the deeper layers of skin, where they develop free radicals. Exposure to UVA is related to premature aging of the skin as well as immunologic issues. Some sun cream provides medium protection against the sun’s rays. In UK, sunscreens have been branded with SPF which means sun protection factor.

Bulletproof Top – Stops UV Photons

Sunscreen product is like a very thin bulletproof top that stops the UV photons before they reach the skin and cause damage. It comprises of organic sunscreen molecules which absorb the UV and inorganic pigments that absorbs, scatter and reflects UV. For a high level of protection, sunscreen product need to have adequate quantities of these protective means and should optimally array them on the skin’s valleys and peaks.

This indicates the level of protection against damaging ultraviolet B – UVB radiation from the sun which could cause skin cancer. A high SPF or factor is essential for protection against sunburn. SPF rating between 6 and 14 is considered to offer low protection while SPF rating between 15 and 29 provides medium protection and SPF ratings of 30 to 50 offers high protection.

 Factor 50 and above provides very high protection. The British Association of Dermatologists suggests a sunscreen with SPF of 30 to be a satisfactory form of protection from the sun. We find a variety of options on different sun products available which comprises of mousses, lotions, sprays, gels and creams. Consumers generally could use either organic or inorganic filters in order to absorb or reflect Ultraviolet rays.

Check for UVA Protection

Terms like `sun lotion’ and `sunscreens’ are utilised interchangeably for describing several of them. At times, `suntan lotions’ is used with reference to substances which have been intended to speed up tanning with little or no sun protection factor and some use the term `sunblock’ while referring to sunscreens which may reflect instead of absorbing UV rays.

However, the importance lies in the protection qualities of the product than the name used, which is found on the label. The SPF figure on the product is calculated to measure the quality of protection against UVB rays of the sun. Moreover, the ultraviolet-A rays – UVA also needs to be considered which could cause wrinkles and skin ageing.

While the rays are not as dangerous, there could be more of them which may penetrate the skin more deeply. It is essential to check for a UVA protection – denoted by a UVA star rating and UVB protection – denoted by the SPF, on the bottle. Star rating of UVA ranges from 0 to 5 indicating the percentage of UVA radiation that is absorbed by the sunscreen when compared to UVB.

Sunscreen with Higher SPF & UVA Rating Suitable 

Moisturizers too tend to have SPF or sun protection factor rating though they are quite low. They are also less likely to be water proof and rub resistant giving less protection against the UVA protection and also tend to be applied lightly than the other creams.

Hence sunscreen having a higher SPF and a UVA rating is best suited to a lengthy more considered exposure to the sun in the case of being on the beach. Some may tend to tan from a low to medium SPF sunscreen which is due to the small quantity of ultraviolet which they receive. The skin may tan unless one applies carefully and regularly a good amount of high SPF sunscreen which tends to have a high UVA protection. There is no damage or tanning, if no ultraviolet gets through.

According to skin experts, it is essential to know the type of skin one has and how vulnerable it could be to sunburn and skin cancer. This can control how much protection is needed and the type of sunscreen to be purchased.

 Besides this it is also important to wear protective clothes and ensure to be in the shade during the hottest period of the day, especially those with fair skin.Research indicates that several people apply less amount of sunscreen than needed to provide the level of protection that is mentioned on the label. Application of generous amount of cream at regular interval is very important in order to avoid sunburn.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015


Image credit: Denver Chiropractic

Chiropractic – Focus on Disorders of Musculoskeletal/Nervous System

Chiropractic, a health care profession focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system together with the nervous systems. It is used often for the treatment of neuro-musculoskeletal complaints, which include though not limited to back pain, pain in the joins of the arms or legs, neck pain and headaches.

Chiropractic doctors are referred as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians, who tend to practice drug free, hands on approach to health care which includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. They tend to have broad diagnostic skills and are trained in recommending therapeutic as well as rehabilitative exercises together with nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counselling.

The most known therapeutic technique conducted by chiropractic doctors is called `spinal manipulation’ which is also called `chiropractic adjustment’. The need of the manipulation is for the purpose of restoring joint mobility through manual application of controlled force in joints to make them hypo-mobile or restricted in their movement which could be the cause of tissue injury.

Injury to tissue could be due to single traumatic event like improper lifting of heavy items, or it could be through repetitive stress like sitting in wrong position with poor spinal posture for a long period of time. In either of these cases, the injured tissue undergoes chemical and physical changes causing inflammation, pain together with reduced function to the victim.

Clinical Examination/Laboratory Testing/Diagnostic Imaging/Invention

Adjustment or manipulation of the joint and tissues that are affected reinstates mobility thus reducing pain and muscle tightness enabling the healing of the tissues.

Chiropractic adjustment or manipulation seldom causes discomfort though patients tend to experience at times, mild soreness or ache after treatment which eases out within 12 to 48 hours. In most of the cases as in lower back pain, chiropractic care could be the primary process of treatment. With the existence of other medical conditions, chiropractic care could complement or support medical treatment by relieving musculoskeletal parts connected with the condition. Practitioners of chiropractic tend to use their hands while treating the disorder of the bones, muscles and joints.

 The practitioners of chiropractic assess patients with the help of clinical examination, laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging together with other diagnostic intervention to identify the suitable chiropractic treatment for the patient.Chiropractors tend to use a variety of techniques with focus on manipulation of the spine.

Rehabilitation Programmes - Exercises 

Besides different techniques, they also offer other rehabilitation programmes which may involve exercises that can be done according to the patient’s convenience. Some also tend to offer other alternative treatments like acupuncture.

Chiropractic is considered to be a part of complementary and alternative medicine – CAM which means that it is a different type of treatment which is part of conventional western medicine. Most of the chiropractors only tend to treat condition which are related to the spine like the neck or lower back while some claim to treat a wider range of condition which includes asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, infant colic etc.

There is good evidence that manual therapy which includes spinal manipulation is considered to be an effective treatment for persistent pain in the lower back region.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Cystic Fibrosis Drug Offers Hope to Patients

CF Therapy
Breakthrough for Cystic Fibrosis 

Dr Bonnie Ramsey, professor of paediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Centre for Clinical and Translational Research at Seattle Children’s informs that there is a breakthrough for cystic fibrosis, Ramsey is one of the four lead authors of two Phase 3 clinical trials, who confirmed that Orkambi which is a new drug from Vertex Pharmaceutical has the potential to help people from 12 years and older, with 2 copies of the most common mutation, F508del and Vertex aided in funding the trials. A ground-breaking cystic fibrosis therapy could help in improving the quality of life of the patients according to doctors.

People often tend to die before the age of 40 since mucus tends to clog and damage the lungs making them vulnerable to infection. Major trial on around 1,108 patients in New England Journal of Medicine, indicated a combination of drugs can bypass the genetic fault which causes the disease and could increase life expectancy. The Cystic Fibrosis Trust has informed that it could improve the lives of several people. Faults in sufferer’s DNA are inherited from their parents causing damage of the microscopic machinery which controls the salt and water levels in the linings of the lungs. This leads to thick mucus which inevitably damages the lungs.

Antibiotic – Prevention of Infection, Drugs – Loosen Mucus

The use of antibiotics helps the prevention of infection and drugs tend to loosen the mucus though the fundamental problem for most of the patients is not dealt with. The combination of lumacaftor and ivacaftor drugs were designed for repairing the microscopic machinery and the trial indicated that the patients who were given the combination for a period of 24 weeks,showed better lung function and also gained weight in the trial.

Prof Stuart Elborn, who had led the European part of the trail from Queen’s University Belfast, informed BBC News website that it is very exciting and really demonstrates that they can correct the basic defects in cystic fibrosis and is likely to become a fundamental treatment for cystic fibrosis. Beginning with the children, it could prevent the developing process of the disease if the basic defect is corrected at the initial stage of life.

There are several types of error in the DNA which could end in cystic fibrosis. Combination of treatment could work on around half of the patients while one of the drugs on its own could correct a small amount of errors.

Ground-Breaking Findings 

Professor of paediatrics at North-western University, Susanna McColley, informed that these are `ground-breaking findings’, which showed the future of treating cystic fibrosis. She informed BBC that - for subjects she cared for, they felt better in ways that are not necessarily measurable.

Jane Allen, director of research at the Cystic Fibrosis Trust charity has informed that `these results open up a new front in the fight against cystic fibrosis and this combination therapy looks set to be an important additional treatment option that could improve the lives of many.

As this leading edge of science continues to be explored and understood better, we are hopeful that a future of personalised medicines is increasingly within reach’. Regulators around the world have been examining this therapy.

Thursday, 21 May 2015


Lobotomy – Neurosurgical Operation

Lobotomy is also known as leucotomy and is a neurosurgical operation involving separating the connections in the brain’s prefrontal lobe as per Encyclopaedia Britannica. It has always been debated, though was widely performed for over two decades as treatment for schizophrenia, manic depression and bipolar disorder beside several other mental illnesses.

According to Dr Barron Lerner, a medical historian as well as professor at NYU Medical Centre in New York, lobotomy was considered as an umbrella term for a series of various operations which had damaged the brain tissue, to treat mental illness. He states that lobotomy was invented when there were no suitable ways of treating mental disorder and the people looked forward desperately for some type of intervention.
Inspite of it all, there were often criticisms of the procedure.He further adds that `the behaviour they thought of trying to fix, were set down in neurological connections and the idea was that if one could damage these connections, it could stop the bad behaviour’.

Invention of Lobotomy - 1935

Initially, the doctors began manipulating the brain to calm the person towards the late 1880s when Gottlieb Burkhardt, the Swiss physician, removed some parts of the cortex of the brains of patient having auditory hallucinations and other symptoms of schizophrenia. He observed that this calmed the patient according to Encyclopaedia Britannica, though one died and another committed suicide after the procedure. Antonio Egas Moniz, the Portuguese neurologist, has been credited for the invention of lobotomy in 1935 for which he shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1949. Later, a movement took place to revoke the prize which turned out to be unsuccessful.

John Fulton, a Yale neuroscientist, together with his colleague Carlyle Jacobsen performed lobotomy like process on chimpanzees in 1935. Later that year, Moniz with his colleague Almeida Lima performed the first human experiments and the frontal lobes were targeted due to their connection with behaviour and personality. Moniz had reported the success of the treatment for patients with the conditions like depressions, panic disorder, schizophrenia and mania as per an article published in 2011 in the Journal of Neurosurgery.

Severe Side Effects

However, the operation had severe side effects which included high temperature, bladder and bowel incontinence, vomiting and eye problems together with lethargy and abnormal sensations of hunger, besides other effects. Though initially, the medical community were critical of the procedure, the physicians began using it in various countries around the world.

The procedures involved making a hole in the skull and injecting ethanol in the brain in order to do away with the fibres which connected the frontal lobe to various parts of the brain. Moniz, later on introduced a surgical treatment known as leucotome that contained a loop of wire which rotated creating a circular lesion in the brain.

This practice subsided in mid 1950s since scientists created antipsychotic and antidepressant medication which turned out to be effective. Presently mental illness is treated with drugs and where drugs do not tend to be effective; they are treated with electroconvulsive therapy which involves passing electrical currents through the brain to generate a brief seizure as per Mayo Clinic. Lerner informs that currently, lobotomy is rarely performed and if it is, it is then a much more elegant procedure.

Asbestos Victim Advice

Mesothelioma – Compensation to the Sufferers

Mesothelioma is one of those conditions caused by asbestos and the sufferers of these conditions can claim compensation for the victims. Solicitors specialized in mesothelioma compensation act on behalf of these people helping them in receiving their claims. This money could be paid to those who are not in a position to make an insurance claim since the company which had exposed them to asbestos could have been out of business.

Several of the workers working in dockyards may have been shut down with no trace of the essential records of employer’s liability insurance and the money to finance the new Mesothelioma Act pay-outs comes from the insurance industry. Once a person has been diagnosed with asbestos related ailment, they should immediately seek the services of a legal advisor to receive the necessary compensation.For making a claim for government benefits and through the court system, there is some time limit wherein bringing in court proceedings is within a period of 3 years from the date of being informed of the asbestos related condition.

Special Court Procedure

If the person is not within this 3 year time limit, the court can decide to still award the person for the damages provided there is a valid reason for the delay. The victim is entitled for compensation for the pain and suffering due to asbestos working conditions and the ultimate amount could depend on various factors which could include the period of time the condition could last, the symptoms suffered, loss of earning, the age of the victim and the care which would be needed.

The time period in receiving the claim could depend on several factors like the company or its insurers could be traced easily. Mesothelioma victims tend to have a special court procedure to quicken the process which are expected to start within 6 months on receiving information and could conclude within 12 months. Judges also tend to be sympathetic to those victims with serious illness and provide the essential support in hearing their case in a quick manner.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Jellyfish Stings and Other Sea Creature Stings

Sea Creature Sting– Weever Fish/Stingrays

It is essential to know which bite or sting from sea creature could be dangerous or not, with appropriate treatment based on the creature involved. One needs to know that these bites or stings could cause severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis in the case of some people.

There are a few kinds of sea creatures which could be dangerous and being knowledgeable could be very helpful while spending time near beaches. There are five main types of stinging sea creatures which are found in UK waters such as, weever fish, stingrays,sea urchins, jellyfish and Portuguese man-of war.

Weever fish are small sandy coloured fish which tend to lie deep in the sand on the seabed and have poisonous spines on their back and gills which can sting people especially on the feet and hands. Stingrays tend to be flat and circular or diamond shaped fish which have a sharp, serrated barb beneath their tail. It stings the lower legs, ankles and feet when they are accidentally stepped over in shallow water.

Sea Urchins/Jellyfish/Portuguese man-of-war 

Sea urchinsare round, small sea creatures with bony shell covered in spines and are usually found in the shallows, in seaweed and on rocks.Jellyfish seems to be like mushroom shaped creatures which often tend to float near the surface and have long thin tentacles on the underside of their bodies which are covered with small poisonous sacs known as nematocysts and if touched, give a nasty sting.

Portuguese man-of-war is a large and poisonous jellyfish type creature, though not a jellyfish, having large purple-blue, gas filled bladder and tentacles which hang below the water. They are usually found in tropical waters though some have been seen in UK water or found washed up near beaches. The sting of this sea creature can be painful and is rarely fatal.

Signs & Symptoms of Sting

The signs and symptoms of a sting may tend to vary based on which sting a person may get. In the case of weever and sea urchins which usually sting the foot, they often leave spines in the wound. Stingrays could leave a large, jagged cut or puncture wound on the skin while jellyfish and Portuguese men-of-war, often leave raised blisters on the skin which is in the shape of their own tentacles. All the stings seem to be painful causing swelling, inflammation or raised areas of skin or welts with nausea. There could be other symptoms based on what has stung the person.

Medical assistance is essential when a person has been stung while in the sea or if the symptoms seem to be severe with prolonged pain lasting for more than an hours or if faced with symptoms like chest pain or breathing problem, fits or seizures, severe redness and swelling around the affected area, One could avoid stings in the sea by not touching or handling sea creatures which sting, observe beach warning signs, wear protective clothing like wetsuit or waterproof footwear or scuffing feet as you walk in shallow water to warn any approaching sea creature and take precaution while walking in rocky areas or near seaweed since sea urchins tend to be present in shallow rocky areas like rock pools.

Monday, 18 May 2015


Hyperacusis – Over Sensitive to Certain Frequency & Volume Ranges of Sound

Hyperacusis is a health condition which is considered to be over sensitive to certain frequency and volume ranges of sound. It is a disorder which arises from a problem where the brains’ central auditory processing centre recognizes noise. It could be a cause of pain and discomfort.

The person suffering from hyperacusis tends to have difficulty in tolerating everyday sound which could be intolerable to that person but not to the others. They may be experiencing an extreme aversion and hypersensitivity to sounds which may not be an issue to the others. Machine and electrical sounds and sudden high pitched sound usually tend to be difficult to tolerate for people with hyperacusis.

This abnormal reaction could occur suddenly or tend to get worse gradually over a period of time. Hyperacusis could be a minor disorder for some with an uneasy or uncomfortable feeling when they tend to hear some sound. While for others it could be a major impact on life where low level sound could be considered as loud and may cause anxiety.

Some Causes of Hyperacusis

Hyperacusis could affect people of all age, in one or both the ears and people are not usually born with this disorder. They could develop a narrow tolerance to sound. Some causes may include –
  • Head injury
  • Lyme disease
  • Ear damage from toxins or medication
  • Air bag deployment
  • Viral infections which involves the inner ear or facial nerve
  • Temporomandibular joint - TMJ syndrome
A variety of neurologic conditions could also be associated with this disorder which may include –
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Tay Sach’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Certain forms of epilepsy
  • Valium dependence
  • Depression
  • Migraine headaches
Seek An Evaluation – Otolaryngologist 

Those suspecting this disorder should seek an evaluation by an otolaryngologist – an ear, nose and throat doctor. The initial consultations could comprise of a full audio logic evaluation – with a hearing test, a recording of medical history, together with a medical evaluation by a physician.

At that time, counselling on evaluation results as well as treatment could also be delivered. No precise corrective surgical or medical treatment is available, though sound therapy could be used to restrain the auditory processing centre of the brain in accepting the everyday noise.

This includes the use of a noise generating device which could be worn on the affected ear/ears. People with hyperacusis may find it uncomfortable in placing sound directly in their ear. However, the device creates a gentle static type of a sound which is barely audible. Sound therapy may take around 12 months for completion and generally tends to improve the sound tolerance.

There are a number of other therapies which could help in reducing the individual’s fears and anxieties with regards to this disorder together with sensitivity to sounds. These forms of therapies include retraining and acoustic.

 In the case of retraining therapy it comprises of counselling and acoustic therapy and the focus is in reducing a patient’s reaction to hyperacusis. Counselling enables to help the person to cope well while acoustic therapy helps in decreasing a person’s sensitivity to sounds as well as teach them to recognize sound in a positive manner.