Monday, 27 July 2015

Health - Cuba Becomes First Ever Country To Eliminate Mother-To-Child Transmission of HIV


Cuba – First Country to Eliminate Transmission of HIV/Syphilis

Cuba has become the first country in eliminating the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mother to baby and has demonstrated that its health care system is something that can be admired and learned by becoming the first country to receive World Health Organization – WHO, validation.Margaret Chan, WHO’s director general has said that it was `one of the greatest public health achievements possible’ and an important step for an Aid-free generation.

Caribbean countries over the past five years have improved access to antiretroviral drugs as a regional initiative in eliminating mother-to-child transmission. Syphilis and HIV testing of pregnant women as well as their partners, caesarean deliveries and substitution of breastfeeding have made their contribution in the breakthrough of the infection chain according to `WHO’.

Though the term `elimination’ may give rise to believe that this type of transmission could have been cleared out, it is not essential to meet the needs set out by WHO for the purpose of validation. On the contrary, the country requires demonstration that the country has less than 50 infections from this route of transmission for 100,000 births for at least a year though Cuba has exceeded these requirements. Only two babies were born with HIV and just five with syphilis in 2013.

Major Victory in Long Fight against HIV

Dr Margaret Chan commented in a statement that `eliminating transmission of a virus is one of the greatest public health achievements possible. This is a major victory in the long fight against HIV and sexually transmitted infection and an important step towards an AID-free generation.

There are around 16 million women living with HIV, all over the world and every year about 1.4 million of them tend to get pregnant and the risk of transferring the virus to their child is around 1%, if the anti-HIV drug is not given during phases where infection tends to take place, right through the stage of pregnancy to breastfeeding.

If they are left without any treatment, there could be around 45% chance of the child getting infected during any of these stages. While syphilis obtains considerably less attention than HIV, the infection at the time of pregnancy could tend to be serious bad news since it could lead to stillbirth or neonatal death without the antibiotic therapy.

Initiative Set in 2010 to Reduce Mother-to-child Transmission

An initiative was set up in 2010 to reduce the mother-to-child transmission rate of both of these, which improved the access to testing as well as treating these infection, caesarean deliveries as well as breastfeeding alternatives.

Services which tend to form part of the universal health system of Cuba are said to be implemented in various other countries and are being helpful towards the global aim of less than 40,000 new infections yearly. Though Cuba could be the first country in receiving the WHO validation stamp, it is not that other countries have not reached the elimination position.

As Carissa Etienne, Pan American Health Organization Director points out that it is likely that the U.S. and Canada have already eliminated mother-to-child transmission of both these infections, but have not sought validation. Thirty other countries have requested validation and so they could see the list begin to grow soon.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Smoking May Cause Schizophrenia, Scientists Warn


Smoking Connected to Development of Schizophrenia

According to latest research, smoking could be connected to the development of incurable mental illness like schizophrenia. Researchers from King’s College London has informed that smoking could triple the chances of becoming psychosis, stating that it was clear the possible link between smoking and psychosis, should be taken earnestly. The result, if verified would confirm that nicotine tends to damage the brain causing psychosis. The team observed that 57 percent of the people seeking mental health services with their first psychotic incident were smokers, more than the general average population.

Regular smokers were also twice as likely in developing schizophrenia as non-smokers and smokers suffering psychosis one year earlier. Results of the same were published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry. Earlier, smoking was considered as a form of self-medication among several individuals with schizophrenia. If this belief was true, researchers would have observed that the smoking rates only increased after a person had developed psychosis.

However, this was not the case indicating that smoking could have played an active role in progress of psychosis. The research observed 61 studies, which included data from 14,555 smokers and 273,162 non-smokers.

Meta-Analysis on Research

Researchers at King’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience – IoPPN, carried out meta-analysis on the research seeking for patterns from the results of prevailing studies and though it was clear that most of the smokers did not develop psychosis, they claimed that the link could be significant. They observed that several of the studies did not justify for the consumption of substances other than tobacco, like cannabis, which could have been the outcome of the results.

Experts working on the research consider that though the results did not prove causality, the links should not be overlooked. Clinical Senior lecturer in psychosis studies at King’s IoPPN, Dr James MacCabe, comments that while it is hard to determine the direction of causality, findings indicate that smoking should be taken seriously as a possible risk factor for developing psychosis.

The real cause why smoking could encourage the progress of psychosis tends to be unknown and would need further research. However, activity in the brain’s dopamine system could clarify the link wherein an excess of dopamine could be bought on by nicotine exposure that could cause the development of psychosis.

Long-Term Research for Precise Link between Smoking/Psychosis Needed

One theory could be the possible link between smoking and extra dopamine, which is a brain chemical, playing a role in the transmission of nerve signals. Professor Sir Robin Murray, from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at Kings’ College comments that `excess dopamine is the best biological explanation for psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia and it is possible that nicotine exposure, by increasing the release of dopamine causes psychosis to develop’.

Another member of King’s College team, Dr Sameer Jauhar also comments that `longer term studies are needed to investigate the relationship between regular smoking, sporadic smoking, nicotine dependence and the development of psychotic disorders. Based on the clear advantages of smoking termination programs, every effort should be maintained in implementing changes in smoking habits in the group of patients.

Clinical lecturer in psychiatry at University College London, Dr Michael Bloomfield also comments that `it has been known for some time that patients having schizophrenia are likely to be smokers rather than people who do not have schizophrenia, though a definitive explanation as to why this is the case, is lacking’ Long term research looking for a precise link between smoking and psychosis would be needed to find a definitive link.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Systematic Over-Medication Blights Learning Disability Care

GPs Over Medicating – Learning Disabilities 

According to new health research, GPs have been over medicating people with learning disabilities very often prescribing antipsychotics which could be unsuitable for people. The research from Public Health England also revealed from the government report on private hospital Winterbourne View, that people with learning disables were known to have been abused, The report also concluded that there was `deep concern’ on the over prescribing antipsychotic as well as antidepressant medicines for patients with learning disabilities and autism.

The latest report providing information from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, revealed that 17% of the adults having learning disability were prescribed with an anti-psychotic by the general physician although more than half of them did not have any form of diagnosis which could have possibly be interpreted as a need of antipsychotic, disorders like psychosis, bipolar disorder and depression.

It has been estimated by Public Health England that from 30,000 - 35,000, people having learning disabilities were unsuitably prescribed for antipsychotic, an antidepressant or both by their physician which is one in every six people with learning disability identified by the health services.

Psychiatric Drugs – To Manage Challenging Behaviour 

Co-director of the learning disabilities team at Public Health England, Gyles Glover had mentioned in a government post, that `psychiatric drugs were often given to people with learning disabilities to try and manage challenging behaviour and these drugs have important side effects, though the evidence that they are effective is limited. The report, which is the first of its kind indicate that psychiatric drugs are used more commonly than is suitable and this comes with a risk’.

Glover also urged for more evidence on how and when these drugs are prescribed, to administer a wider change in public health practices. The research viewed anonymised data of clinical records from April 2009 till March 2012 of those diagnosed having learning disability – 17,887, or autism – 11,136.

All the drugs that were prescribed to these people have been recorded and when the study authors viewed instances of hypnotics, anxiolytics, antipsychotic drugs, antidepressants and antiepileptic, that were being prescribed, they had found adult patienthad been exposed to one or more of these on 41.3% of `person days’, when the patient met with a doctor

System Developed Could be Utilised to Track/Monitor Changes 

In 90% of the cases, it was found that the prescription was not short term and patients returned and were given a repeat prescription. When the team behind the paper generalised the data in order to get countrywide estimates, it came to the conclusion that 13% of the adults in England having learning disabilities were needlessly prescribed antipsychotics while 10% were needlessly receiving antidepressants.

The report stated that `allowing for overlap which is common, was estimated that between 30,000 and 35,000 adults with learning disability in England are taking one or both of these types of drug in the absence of the condition for which they are indicated’.

 There could be a chance that these numbers could increase further taking into view the report that did not take into account drugs which were prescribed by secondary care staff or in, in-patient situations, as this is not the data which could have been followed up.

However, accepting the restrictions of the analysis the authors state that with reasonably straightforward improvements, the system developed could be utilised to track as well as monitor changes over a period of time.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Blocking Brain Protein Could Stop Memory Loss Caused By Ageing

Scientist to Develop Antibodies – Reverse Effects of Aging Protein

Scientists are trying to develop antibodies which may reverse the effects of `aging’ protein that tends to build up in the body and the blood. Researchers from the University of California San Francisco –UCSF, are of the belief that protein which gets accumulated in the blood and the cerebral spiral fluid in elderly people affects the formation of new brain eventually leading to age related memory loss.

It is a known fact that as people tend to age, it gets harder to remember and this occurs when people age and their brain chemistry begins to change. The body contains a kind of protein that interrupts the repair system of the brain cell as people tend to age. This protein beta2-microglobin – B2M, builds in the cerebrospinal fluid and the blood.

 The build-upprotein tend to alter how mice are able to perform in memory test and scientists have been conducting research in determining if eliminating the protein could help the aging memory. Researchers are making progress in discovering medication which could minimize the build-up of B2M and will very soon be capable of testing humans to determine if the protein tends to affect memory with use of appropriate medication to resolve the issue.

Protein Accountable for Brain Degeneration

Researcher from the University of California, Saul Villeda, has been responsible for the original discovery of detailed research of `anti-elixir’, factor, which is the protein accountable for brain degeneration.

Villeda is a former postdoce in the Wyss-Coray lab and as a professor his desire was to study blood factors that contribute to aging like B2M, with a hope of reversing the memory loss or save thoughts of past years by eliminating the protein. Several well-known scientists are aware that B2M is responsible in cutting nerve cell connections in young developing brains.

Major part of the research which has been focused on age reversal is looking into `elixir’ factor which are the agents that bring back youth. For instance, when a young mouse’s blood is injected into an old mouse, the brain and muscle degeneration tends to stop, while broken bones heal and heart damage is prevented. Scientists, at this point consider that the best solution in tackling the aging process is through treatments with the combination of pro-youthful factors and medication which are capable of neutralizing pro-aging agents like B2M. The protein is produces by the human body to assist the immune system to identify the difference between human cells and foreign cells and also has a role in developing the nervous system.

Possibility of Reversing Effects of B2M

But as people begin to age, the protein accumulates and prevents the brain in creating new cells. The cause of this build-up of protein is not clear.The research team of Villeda injected B2M into the brain or blood of young mice and thereafter the young mice performed poorly as the elderly mice in two various kinds of memory tests. After the B2M naturally reduced itself from the younger mice, which took around 30 days, the performance returned back to normal.

This indicates that there is a possibility in reversing the effects of B2M. Villeda had naturally engineered mice which did not develop this protein and their performance was the same at any age. Benjamin Alman from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada is not in agreement that B2M is the only factor causing memory loss as people begin to age. He is presently researching the molecules in the young blood which quickens the healing of bones.

He states that it does give rise to the possibility that failing memory can be rescued by drugs that interferes with circulating factors. The concept is very exciting and would have been unthinkable a few years ago.
Research on Molecules in Blood Associated with Aging
High levels of B2M have been found in people having cognitive disorders which have been associated with aging as well as those with Alzheimer. Initially Villeda’s team observed the protein in the blood of mice as well of people of varying ages and established that the levels does increase with age.

They then injected the protein into three month old mice and discovered that these mice were having problem with memory loss. While struggling to complete a water maze, the mice made more than a couple of mistakes after they had been trained to get through the maze. This took place since these mice had less new neurons than the other young mice.

Villeda is of the opinion that this on-going research ascertains that the blood could be manipulated rather than the brain in treating memory impairment which is a much easier attempt with regards to humans. This would mean that eliminating the protein B2M could help in saving cognitive memory loss. Several studies have been conducted and still going on which are looking into molecules in the blood associated with aging. Researcher, tony Wyss-Coray from Stanford University while working with other researchers confirmed from these and other studies mentioned, that injecting older mice with the blood of younger mice could reverse age related cognitive function and vice-versa

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Bonobos Use A Range Of Tools Like Stone-Age Humans


Captive Bonobos Used Tools to Crack Open Log/Extract Food

Bonobos could be just as handy as chimpanzees and their tool using abilities tends to look a lot similar to those of early humans indicating that witnessing them could teach anthropologists on how our very own ancestors developed such skills. Till now they have been more prominent with their free and easy life rather than their skills with tools.

They have not been seen in using tools though some of the wild populations have been researched due to political instability in Democratic Republic of the Congo where they tend to live. According to Itai Roffman of Haifa University in Israel together with his colleagues, regarding those captive, he observed a captive bonobo named Kanzi.

His observation was that he used stone tools to crack open a log and extract food. However, it was a possibility that Kanzi could be a lone genius, raised by humans who taught his sign language and also shown how to use the tools. To know if the other captive bonobos shared the same aptitude as Kanzi, Roffman’s team observed animals at a zoo in Germany and a bonobos sanctuary in Iowa.

Series of Problems Involving the Use of Tools – To Solutions

The team provided them with a series of problems which involved the use of tools to solve them. For instance, showing the bonobos that food was buried under rocks and then leaving a tray of potential aids like sticks and antlers nearby.

Two from the eight zoo animals together with four out of seven in the sanctuary utilised the tools, in some cases almost instantly. The Bonobos used sticks and antlers for digging as well as long stick as levers to move huge rocks out of the way while some used different tools in order.In another mission, three of the sanctuary animals used rocks as hammers to crash long bones and uncover food hidden in the marrow cavity.

Another cracked them neatly open lengthwise, a technique previously presumed to be unique to human descent. One bonobos even went to the extent of sharpening the stick with its teeth to fashion a spear, something which chimpanzees tend to do for hunting bush-babies and then thrust it at Roffman presuming him to be an intruder.

Bonobos – Potential of Using Wide Variety of Tools

Research indicates that bonobos have the potential of using a wide variety of tools which places them at par with chimps according to Roffman. Their hunting techniques are similar to those used by the earlier Stone Age humans of the Oldowan culture.

Roffman states that `when they are given the raw materials, they tend to use them in correct and context specific strategies’. Though captive bonobos unlike their wild counterparts have sufficient time to experiment, states Francesco d’Errico of the University of Bordeaux in France. Actions of the captive animal could bear some resemblance to what took place in the wild.

 However, d’Errico states that it shows the potential is there and the skill may come or go as needed. He suspects that once researches get to study bonobos in the southern area of their range, where the food seems to be hard to get, they may find that the use of tool would be common. If the use of tool in great apes could be older than we imagined, we could go back at least 5 million years to the common ancestor of chimps, bonobos as well as human.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Pityriasis Rosea

Pityriasis Rosea – Common Skin Problem

Pityriasis rosea is a common skin problem which tends to cause a temporary rash and can take place at any age which is generally seen between the ages of 10 and 35. This ailment is usually harmless though it could cause rare and serious problems in pregnant women, like miscarriage or premature delivery. Pityriasis rosea appears as raised red scaly patches on the body which tends to be very itchy and usually clears off within 2 -12 weeks. In rare cases, it could even last for around 5 months.

This condition does leave any traces of scars, though some may tend to have discolouration of their skin being affected with this disorder which could last for a few months. In most cases a single pick or oval patch of scaly skin known as `herald patch’ is seen on the chest, tummy and the back around 5 – 15 days prior to the development of the rash. The cause of Pityriasis Rosea is not known but the possibility could be that the rash could be due to viral infection though there is no evidence, presently to support this claim. This disease is not contagious and does not spread to others on physical contact and the need to keep away from an infected individual does not arise.

Similar to Other Skin Conditions 

If one has a rash, it is advisable to consult your GP who could confirm if the person has pityriasis rosea or other ailments like psoriasis, eczema or fungal skin infection.In case of uncertainty, one could check with a dermatologist. If one develops soreness or blister, or if the eyes, genitals or mouth tend to get affected, medical helps need to be taken immediately since this could be a serious condition. In several cases, this disorder clears away without much treatment and the rash generally disappears within 12 weeks and at times may last for 5 months. The rash often starts with a single oval or round, pink patch which is scaly having a raised border or herald patch.

The size could range from 2 cm to 10 cm though larger patches are also common. Thereafter, salmon coloured oval patches tend to appear in batches on the abdomen, chest, arms, back and legs of about 1 cm and at times could also spread to the neck though rarely to the face. The patches on the back are generally vertical and angled to form a `Christmas tree or fir tree appearance. There could be mild itching for about half of the people suffering from this rash.
Treatment – Moisturisers/Steroid Creams

In some cases, the rash could take other forms and rounded bumps or popular rash may appear in the case of children, pregnant women and people having dark skin. In young children and infants, blisters may appear while in some people the herald patch could appear or two herald patches may be seen close together. Prior to the herald patch, one may tend to feel exhausted as though suffering from a cold and may also suffer from nausea, headache, sore throat and loss of appetite.

The rash seems to be similar those seen in several other skin conditions which may include tinea versicolor, ringworm, eczema etc. Rash similar to pityriasis rosea could also be due to syphilis as well as certain medicines like antibiotics. To relieve the itching sensation, emollients or moisturisers, steroid creams and antihistamines could be used.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Brachial Plexus Injuries

Brachial Plexus – Damage to Network of Nerves

Brachial plexus is a network of nerves which come from the spinal cord in the neck and travel down the arm. These nerves tend to control the muscles of the shoulder, elbow, wrist and the hand. The nerves supporting the arm exit at the spinal column high in the neck and those supporting the hand and fingers exit lower in the neck. The nerve complex comprises of four cervical nerve roots – C5-C8 and the first thoracic nerve root – T1.

These roots join together to form three trucks, C5-C6 form the upper truck, while C7 continues as the middle trunk and C8-T1 form the lower trunk. Individual trunk splits into a division and half the division altogether supply flexor muscles, which can lift and bend the arm while the others supply the extensor muscles which straighten the arm and helps to bring it down. Brachial plexus injuries are caused by damage to these nerves some of which could be minor and recover completely in some weeks. Other injuries could be severe causing permanent disability in the arm. Brachial plexus injuries could take place due to shoulder trauma, inflammation or tumours. At times it could occur during childbirth when the infant’s shoulder tends to get stuck during delivery and the nerves could stretch or tear.

Causes – Stretching/Pressure/Cutting

Some cases of these injuries may heal without much treatment. Several kids who tend to get injured during birth improve within a period of 3 to 4 months of age and treatment comprises of physical therapy and in some instances with surgery.

The nerves could get damaged from stretching, pressure or cutting wherein stretching could take place when the head and neck are forced backward or away from the shoulder which could take place during a motorcycle fall or a car accident. If it gets severe, the nerves could tear out of the spinal cord in the neck. Pressure, takes place during crushing of the brachial plexus between the collarbone and the first rib which could take place during a fracture of dislocation and swelling due to excessive bleeding or injured soft tissues could also lead to an injury.


These nerve injuries could block signals to and from the brain, thus preventing the muscles of the arm and the hand from proper function, causing loss of feeling in those areas. Some injuries will not recover on their own and an early examination by the physicians is essential while other injuries could recover with time and therapy. Whenever an injury does not tend to improve, other surgical technique could be utilised for improvement.To identify the injuries a series of test need to be conducted of the arm and hand to check the strength of muscles and presence of feeling in the various areas. Additional tests like an MRI scan or CT scan myelography could also be used.

A Nerve Condition Study/Electromyogram – NCS/EMG, a test which measures the electrical activity transmitted by nerves and muscles could also be done. When nerve recovery does not happen in some cases, a tendon transfer surgery could be done. Whenever a sensory nerve is injured, the person should be cautious not to burn or cut the finger since there is no sensation in the affected area and the brain does not interpret the new nerve signal. A procedure called sensory re-education is needed to improve muscle control and feeling in the hand or fingers. The physician could recommend proper therapy depending on the nature of the injury.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015


Pemphigus Vulgaris – Rare Autoimmune Disorder 

Pemphigus vulgaris is a rare autoimmune disorder causing painful blisters on the skin and the mucous membranes. It does not spread to otherpeople on contact and does not seem to be inherited, but people’s genes are more at risk for pemphigus. Originally the cause of this disorder was not known and this disease was used in referring to any blistering disease of the skin and mucosa.

Researchers, in 1964, found that the blood of patients with pemphigus contained antibodies in the layers of skin which tend to separate forming these blisters. Pemphigus is a form of a group of autoimmune disorders which is collectively known as pemphigus and each kind of pemphigus is categorized based on the location where the blisters tend to form.

 Pemphigus vulgaris affects the mucous membranes that are found in the mouth, nose, throat, eyes, genitals and the lungs wherein this disease begins with blisters in the mouth and thereafter on the skin. The blisters at times also affect the membranes of the genitals. The disease could be serious with proper treatment being very essential and the use of corticosteroids to control the immune system is needed. If the treatment is neglected the condition could cause serious complication and could also end up being fatal.

Combination of Genetic/Environment Factors

Pemphigus vulgaris is an autoimmune condition which means that the immune system lacks the body’s defence against infection malfunctions and starts attacking healthy tissue. The immune system produces proteins known as antibodies which attack harmful alien substance like bacteria and virus and in case of pemphigus vulgaris, the immune system attacks cells that are found in deep layer of skin and the cells found in the mucous membrane causing blisters to develop in the affected tissue.

This could be due to the combination of genetic as well as environmental factors.Possible complication of this disease is when the blisters get infected where in some instances; the infection could spread into the blood stream and affect the entire body which could be very dangerous. Other complication could also comprise of side effects linked with long term use of corticosteroids and immunosuppressant.

Treatment & Side Effects

Physicians diagnose pemphigus through physical examination, a biopsy as well as blood test and the treatment for this disease comprise of steroids which helps in reducing inflammation, drugs which reduces the immune system response and antibiotics in treating the related infections. Presently no cure is available for this disease though the symptoms respond to high doses of steroid medication.

However, usage of high dose of steroids for a long period of time could cause serious side effects. Hence when the symptoms tends to clear, low doses should be used together with other medication which is known as steroid sparing therapy since it prevents some of the dangerous side effects related to long term steroid use. Most cases of pemphigus first tend to develop in older adults between the age group of 50 and 60 though this disease can affect people of all ages, including children. People of both genders are equally affected. It is more common in people of Jewish, Mediterranean and Indian origin.

Types Of Cosmetic Dental Procedures

cosmetic dentistry
If you're looking for a way to improve your appearance, then consider cosmetic dentistry. This is an option for those who have teeth that aren't straight, teeth that are discolored or teeth that are missing.

Whitening is often the most common type of cosmetic dental procedure done. You can get the teeth whitened with a gel that is applied to the teeth and allowed to sit for a certain length of time. A laser can also be used. Before getting your teeth whitened, you need to make sure the product that is used won't irritate the teeth and gums.

Another cosmetic procedure is a veneer. Most people get more than one place on the teeth. They are often placed on the front or immediate side teeth. Veneers are thin and can be colored to match the other teeth in the mouth. The enamel is removed from the teeth, and the veneers are applied to give a straight look to the mouth. They are cemented in place. Some people refer to them as Hollywood teeth as you will have a bright smile after the procedure. Bonding is similar to placing a veneer. A resin that is the consistency of putty is placed on the teeth. The material is hardened, and the dentist will file and shape the teeth to make them look normal.

Dental implants are a common cosmetic procedure. This is often reserved for someone who has one or multiple teeth missing. The jaw is prepared for the implants by the dentist drilling a small hole through the bone in the jaw. When the jaw is healed, the the replacement tooth is added. Since there is a metal post underneath the tooth, implants often last longer than other types of dental procedures. You can eat almost anything that you want and treat the teeth as you would your normal teeth.

Three Wellness Optimization Strategies You Should Not Ignore

At this historical moment, many wellness educators believe we are experiencing a health crisis. This assessment results from many factors, including the ongoing obesity epidemic and the fact that individuals who are overweight make themselves more susceptible to debilitating conditions like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Despite these dire realities, individuals who are interested in thriving should know that there are numerous wellness strategies they can implement to attain phenomenal health. Here are three:

1. Find The Ideal Health Care Provider. 

Choosing your health care provider wisely is infinitely important. Your doctor and other health care representatives are the individuals who will be providing advice regarding your diet, exercise pattern, and medicinal prescriptions. Since this is so, take the time to find a health care provider who consistently operates in excellence. Once you get the selection process started, keep a company like FxMed Centers in mind. This company's professionals offer holistic health services and are passionate about empowering people to attain optimal wellness. Learn more now by visiting the company's website.

2. Correct Poor Eating Habits. 

Most health coaches, doctors, fitness instructors, and dietitians agree that the primary factor that facilitates or detracts from wellness is the food you eat. In recognizing this important reality, it's important that you correct poor eating habits. Although many people view this as a daunting task, it doesn't have to be. To get started, you can remove unhealthy, fat and oil laden products from your kitchen. If you don't think you can successfully optimize your diet by yourself, consider the value of hiring a professional dietitian.

3. Invest In Personal Training Services. 

Outside of eating, getting regular physical activity is one of the best ways to optimize your health. In many cases, people find it difficult to motivate themselves to start and commit to an exercise routine. If this is your dilemma, know that hiring a professional personal trainer can help you begin and adhere to a physical activity program. Finding a personal trainer is relatively easy thanks to the internet. In addition to seeking a trainer through this medium, you can check in with your local gym to see if they employ any personal trainers as staff or independent contractors.


Pursuing optimal health is important for numerous reasons, including the fact that it helps you enhance your professional potential, fight disease, maintain weight, and obtain the energy levels necessary to realize your personal goals. To ensure that you are successful in attaining optimal wellness, implement the simple health optimization techniques listed here.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Moebius Syndrome

Image Credit: The Many Faces of Moebius Syndrome
Moebius Syndrome – Rare Neurological Condition

Moebius syndrome, a rare form of neurological condition affects the muscles which controls the facial expression as well as the eye movement. The symptoms and signs of this ailment tend to be present right from birth. The most common feature of this disorder is weakness or paralysis of the facial muscles and the person affected lacks facial expression and are unable to smile, frown or raise their eyebrows. The weakness of the muscle causes issues with feeding which becomes obvious in initial stage of infancy. Several individuals with Meobius syndrome have small chin when they are born and small mouth with short or unusually shaped tongue while the roof of the mouth could also have an abnormal opening or cleft palate, or is high and arched.

 These abnormalities result in problems with their speech. Dental abnormalities like missing and misaligned teeth are also some common signs. Moebius syndrome also has an impact on muscles which control the back and forth eye movement and those affected tend to move their head from side to side while reading or following movement of objects. They also have problem in making eye contact and their eyes may not look in the same direction. Besides this, the eyelids may not close completely while sleeping or blinking, resulting in dry or irritated eyes.

Bone Abnormalities in Hands & Feet

In addition, Moebius syndrome also has bone abnormalities in the hands and feet with weak muscle tone and hearing loss where the affected person often tends to show delayed development of motor skills, though eventually they are able to acquire these skills. Cause of this disorder is not known though the condition could result from a mixture of environmental and genetic factors. Researchers have not acknowledged any precise gene which could be connected to this condition, though the disorder tends to be related with changes in certain regions of chromosomes 3, 10 or 13 in certain families.

Some medications consumed during pregnancy and abuse of drugs could also be the result of this ailment. Several of the signs and symptoms are the outcome of the absence or underdevelopment of cranial nerves VI and VII and these nerves that appear from the brainstem at the back of the brain, are responsible for back and forth eye movement as well as the facial expressions. Disorder of these nerves could also affect other cranial nerves which are important for speech, swallowing and chewing.

No Course of Medical Treatment, But Supportive 

Abnormalities in the development of cranial nerves could result in the weakness of facial muscle or paralysis which is typical of Moebius syndrome. There does not seem to be any course of medical treatment for Moebius syndrome, though treatment is supportive and in accordance with the symptoms. In case of difficulty while nursing, infants may need feeding tubes or special bottles for adequate nutrition. Speech therapy, physical and occupational could improve their motor skills in coordination and lead to improved control in speech and eating abilities.

 Regular lubrication of eye drops could be helpful to overcome dry eyes which could result in impaired blinking. For correction of crossed eyes, protection of the cornea through tarsorraphy and improvement of limb and jaw deformities, surgery could be done. At times, `smile surgery’ as called by the media is done wherein muscle transfers are grafted from the thigh to the corners of the mouth, to help in the ability to smile, and the procedure seems to be a complex one which could take around 12 hours for each side of the face. Moreover, the surgery cannot be considered as a `cure’ but it could improve the ability of other facial expressions.

Thursday, 2 July 2015


Diprosopus – Craniofacial Duplication 

Diprosopus tends to take place in combination with other congenital disorders especially anencephaly, neural tube defect as well as cardiac malformations. Being a congenital defect, it is also known as craniofacial duplication and the exact description is referred to a foetus with a single truck, normal limbs with facial features that are duplicated to certain degree.

 Less severe example is when the foetus tends to have a duplicated nose and eyes are spread out, far apart. In most cases, the complete face is duplicated and hence the name diprosopus has been used. The term `diprosopus’ is derived from the Greek word `di’ meaning `two’ while `prosopon’ – `face’ meaning `two faced’.When it takes place, the brain could possibly show abnormalities from partial to total duplication of brain structures and/or underdevelopment of the brain tissues.

Though this disorder is classically considered to be conjoined twinning, this irregularity is not usually due to the incomplete separation or fusion of two embryos and is the outcome of abnormal activity of the protein known as sonic-hedgehog – SHH. This name of the protein was motivated by the Sonic the Hedgehog video game character and part of a characteristic naming tradition in molecular biology research.

Major Role in Signalling Craniofacial Patterning - SHH

SHH, together with the corresponding gene is considered to play a major role in signalling craniofacial patterning at the time of embryonic development. Besides, SHH also governs the width of the facial features and greater the widening, the more structures tend to get duplicated mostly in a mirror image form.

 The same has been confirmed in the laboratory on introducing pellets of the SHH protein in chicken embryos, the outcome of which was, chickens having duplicate beaks. Insufficient quantities of this protein could lead to opposite situations like cyclopia wherein the facial features tend to be inadequately developed.

Development of healthy brain is also dependent on the signalling function of SHH and during the development process of the embryonic, SHH tends to direct embryonic cells to establish in precise areas which at a later stage become specialized neural tissue enabling the controlling of the size and shape of the brain structures. Most of the infants having diprosopus tend to be stillborn and known instances of diprosopus humans surviving for longer than a few minutes to hours after birth are rare with only a few recorded.

Various Mechanisms – Phenomenon of Craniofacial Duplication

Researchers have suggested various mechanisms in explaining the phenomenon of craniofacial duplication and often class diprosopus as a rare variant of conjoined twinning when two completed identical faces are present. They are of the opinion that two faces are the outcome of cranial bifurcation of the notochord during neurulation where the bifurcation result in two vertebral axes and neural plates, developing alongside each other, complete with neural crest derivatives.

 Around only 0.4% or conjoined twins tend to have diprosopus. Another possibility of the abnormality could be an increase in the expression of the protein SHH that is needed for craniofacial patterning during the development process. While in the case of chickens, researchers imitated several of the phenotypes connected with craniofacial duplication by exposing the embryos to excess of SHH where the chicks were born with two beaks and eyes spaced wide apart.

Less of SHH could also affect midline facial structure causing the developing eyes to fuse together. This disorder can be identified in utero with the use of technology like ultrasound, computer tomography – CT scanning, magnetic resonance imaging – MRI and MR angiography. The first warning of craniofacial duplication is known as polyhydramnios, which is a condition wherein there is an abnormally high content of amniotic fluid existing within the amniotic sac.

Few Treatment Options/Corrective Surgery Techniques

No treatment exists in the cure of diprosopus though therapeutic abortion is at times an option if the condition is identified in the initial stage of pregnancy. Due to this disorder being rare, there are few treatment options or corrective surgery techniques that are documented. Duplication of face together with its structure allows embryologist to assume about the mechanism of the duplication.

The varied range of expression connecting craniofacial duplication differs to such an extent that there could be a possibility that more than one mechanism could explain the phenomenon. Additional examination of the case could clarify the mechanism which could be responsible for this disorder and also the mechanisms accountable for normal development. Diprosopus is evidently a distressing condition for those who suffer from it and though human cases are rare, it is known in several animal species.

In the case of feline, they are known as Janus Cats while a relatively popular pig with this disorder was known as `Ditto the pig’, who survived several years under the care of her owner. Generally people and also animals that are born with these forms of serious defects have to put up with mixed gloomy curiosity and religious damnation. Individuals with serious disfigurements are often despised by the society and also exploited. However with advancement in research, there could be some solutions offered for the future cases instead of despise and mockery

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Cinnamon May Protect Against Infection, Study Finds

Cinnamon – Posses Antiviral Effects in Prevention of Infection

An initial study of Touro College in New York recommends that household cinnamon tends to possessantiviral effects which help in the prevention of infection in body. As per a new release Dr Milton Schiffenbauer, of New York School of Career and Applied Studies, a division of Touro College & University System together with his team compared Saign and Ceylon cinnamons to other botanic extracts comprising of onion, cloves, cocoa, peppermint and Spanish saffron.

Though cinnamon appeared to deactivate viruses in some organisms, other extracts did not.Researchers evaluated the extracts against Phi X which is a virus that infects bacteria and has various similarities to viruses infecting animals and humans. After a period of 24 hours of incubation, an extract with 10% cinnamon deactivated 99.9% to 100% of the virus following only 10 minutes of recurrent mixing as per the news release. Schiffenbauer, stated in the news release that his colleagues’ discoveries indicate that cinnamon extract has the potential to damage the structure of the PhiX virus.

Prevention/Elimination of Virus

He stated that `the results validates our belief that a diet that includes a tablespoon of cinnamon, once or twice a day could be effective in the prevention or elimination of viruses which tend to infect humans resulting in sickness like cold, flu and even herpes. He along with his team would be presenting their initial discoveries at the American Society for Microbiology Annual Meeting.

Though the inactivation of viruses was conducted utilising a model system, the researcher wrote in the study that the similarities between the bacteriophage that was used for testing and viruses which infect animals, justify their conclusions from the study. As per a new study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, it is said that the compound responsible in giving cinnamon its sweet, bright smell could probably plays an important role in warding off Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers from University of California, Santa Barbara observed that the cinnamon compounds cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin could be helpful in stopping tangles of tau protein, disreputable in the memory robbing neurodegenerative disease, from forming in the brain. Tau proteins tend to form clumps and tangles with age.

Helps in Lowering Blood Sugar – Type 2 Diabetes

However Alzheimer victims are known to have more of these clumps than the people who do not have this disease. It was also observed by the researchers in cell lab research that cinnamaldehye helps to prevent these combinations by protecting the tau proteins from stress of oxidative. For instance, sunburn is a form of oxidative damage, according to study researcher Roshni Graves, an adjunct professor in the university’s department of molecular, cellular and developmental biology, that `if one tends to wear a hat, it could protect the face and head from the oxidation which in true sense, the cinnamaldehye acts as a cap’.

Graves has commented in a statement that researchers have however acknowledged that they are still getting to know whether this would work in the life of human beings and people should not attempt consuming high amounts of cinnamon beyond what is utilised in food to protect from Alzheimer’s disease. Other research has also showed that besides brain health, cinnamon could also help in lowering blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, as supplement to regular treatment as indicated by Mayo Clinic.