Archive for April 12th, 2012

Intro to Tinnitus

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Tinnitus, a phenomenon of the nervous system, is directly connected to the ear. This phenomenon is characterised by perception of an internal beating or ringing like sound. This sound can appear to be a quiet background noise, or loud enough to drown out all outside sounds.Some Causes of tinnitus are:

1. A sudden loud bang or noise

2. Excessive Ear wax,

3. Acoustic neuroma,

4. Hypertension and atherosclerosis,

5. Severe anemia and renal failure,

6. Palatal myoclonus

7. Thyroid disorders

8. Glomus jugulare tumours

9. Lyme Disease

10.Loss of Hearing

11.Drugs: aspirin overdose, loop diuretics, aminoglycosides, quinine,

12.Injury to the head

13.Temporomandibular and cervical spine disorders,

14.Suppurative otitis media (also chronic infection and serous OM),

15.Otosclerosis,

16.Impacted wisdom teeth,

17.Meniere’s disease,

18.Arteriovenous fistulae and arterial bruits

19.Stress and depression

Some but not all types of tinnitus can be treated. This leaves the non-treatable types permanent. There are no cures directly for tinnitus, but because often times tinnitus is caused by a physical condition that can be treated, thetinnitusmay also dissapear as the physical condition dissapears. Permanent tinnitus can be very stressful psychologically to the affected individual as it distracts them affected from mental tasks and interferes with sleep. This is particularly when there is no external sound. Often times these individuals will use a device that will generate an artificial noise to mask the tinnitus sound.This process is called tinnitus retraining therapy. It is a widely known and practiced remedy to the noise. Although it doesn’t actually make the noise disappear, it makes the noise alot less annoying and disturbing the person who is affected; this makes the noise easier to ignore allowing the individual to concentrate on mental tasks.

Fluid Pneumonia

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Pneumonia, is when the lungs fill with fuild, and in turn prevent oxygen from reaching the bloodstream. This is a medical condition that can have result from severl diseases where the tiny, air-filled saces in the lung, which are responsible for absorbing oxygen from the air, are filled with fluid. Many different types of pneumonia exist. The most commony types are results of a bacterial infection of the lung. Several other things can cause pneumonia, such as viruses, fungi, and parasites. Another type of pneumonia occurs as a result of chemical or physical irritation to the lungs. A common sickness, pneumonia, occurs basically evenly among all age groups. Caused by infection in most cases, pneumonia, will often cause difficulty breathing, coughs, fevers, and chest pains. Antibiotic Medication is normally used to treat pneumonia when it has been caused by an infection. Victims of pneumonia will often have a cough that produces green/yellow sputum. This is one of the leading symptoms of pneumonia as well as a high fever followed by shaking chills. Pneumonia is usually diagnosed by health care providers observations on a patient’s symptoms and discoveries from various physical examinations. Pneumonia diagnoses can be difficult for some people. This is especially true for those who have other illnesses at the time of examination. Often times physical examination by a health provider may reveal low amount of oxygen in the blood, low blood pressure, an increased respiratory rate, low body temperature, a fast heart rate, or a fever.

Stuttering Disorder

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Stuttering, scientifically known as stammering is a speech disorder in which the normal flow of speech is frequently disrupted by repetitions of sounds, syllables, words or phrases, pauses and prolongations that differ both in frequency and severity from those of a normally fluent speaker. The term stuttering is most often associated with involuntary sound repetition. An example of involuntary sound repetition, would be: – Trying to say the word «ken», but instead saying «k-k-ken» Often times these individuals will put words together. An example would be: – «Llllllets g-g-go home» Not only is stuttering involuntary sound repetition it also contains the unnormal hesitation or pausing before speech. This pause or hesitation is commonly called a «block». Alot of the variables that make up ‘true’ stuttering cannot be heard or seen by a listener. The things that cannot be observed include: – word and sound and situational fears – shame – anxiety – tension – «loss of control» feeling during speech Often times the most difficult aspect of the stutter or stammering disorder is the emotional state of the individual. The dissorder affects about 1.5% of the world’s adult population, and approximately 5% of children. A greater rate of stuttering has been observed in Africanand West Indies adults. These rates can be as high as 10%. Men around the globe make up about eighty percent of all stutterers. Part of this huge difference between male and females is attributed to the fact that women are so much more likely to outgrow or recover from the disorder. Presently there is no known cause for the disorder. There are several theories for the disorder; they can be divided into 3 categories. There is no known cause for stuttering. Theories about the causes of stuttering can be ided into three categories: ‘The «Monster» study’, ‘Genetics’, and ‘Childhood development’. Fast Facts: – Stuttering usually begins in early childhood, when a child is first developing his or her speech and language skills – The majority of stutters develop between the ages of two and five – Stutters can developed later in life, however are usually through a stroke or other type of brain trauma – 50% to 70% of all stutterers are related to another stutterer – Most children go through a stage of disfluency in early speech

Jacketed General Anxiety Disorder

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

The term «Anxiety disorder» has become a jacket term, covering many unique forms of abnormal anxiety, fears, phobias and nervous conditions. All of these conditions come on suddenly and prevent an individual from continuining daily routines. Of the several different types of anxiety disorder these are the most popular: – Claustrophobia – Social anxiety – Specific phobias – Obsessive-compulsive disorder – General anxiety disorder – Post-traumatic stress disorder – Agoraphobia – Panic disorder – Separation anxiety disorder Usually all of these disorders or conditions are chronix, and lifestyle restricting. Alot of times individuals will be born with their condition, but it is also known that they can begin suddenly after a triggering event. Stress is a known factor which will increase in their persistence. There are several drugs available on the market that treat these disorders. They are drugs like benzodiazepines and antidepressants. A good counselor or behavioural therapist is often able to treat the disorders through use of cognitive therapies. It is important to know that anxiety is a complicated combination of the feeling of fear and worry. It can occur as a primary brain disorder, but is often times associated with other medical problems. Anxiety is most of the time said to have a cognitive, an emotial, a somatic and a behavioral component. All of these components make up the whole, which is Anxiety. In it’s chronic state Social Anxiety Disorder can be disabling, and prevent individuals from completing daily tasks, although with the help of drugs and therapies many of these individuals can battle the disorder and continue on with their lives.

Gilles Tourette syndrome

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Tourette syndrome, aka Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, is a neurological or neurochemical disorder that can be characterized by tics. Tics are involuntary, rapid, sudden movements or vocalizations that occur repeatedly in the same way. Symptoms to Tourette’s include multiple motor and often times several vocal tics present at some time during the disorder. These various tics are not nessecarry to occur simultaneously. The occurrence of tics throughout the day usually occur is spasms. These spasms occur nearly every day or intermittently throughout a span of more than one year. The syndrome will change in the quantity, frequency, type and location of the affecting tics.Vocal ticscan be subdivided into various categories, including: – Repetition of words after reading them – Spontaneous utterance of socially questionable words (Usually Racial and ethnic) – Repetition of one’s own previously spoken words – Repetition of words spoken by someone else after being heard by the person with the disorder Besides the vocal tics mentioned above, there are many other categories which don’t always involved word repetition. Tourette Syndrome vocal tics don’t even have to be words, they can be represented by almost any possible short vocal sound. The most common of these types of tics are sounds produced that resemble throat clearing, short coughs, grunts, or moans.Motor ticscan be a numberless variety of actions which can include: – Contorted facial grimacing. – Knuckles banging together – Itching – hand-clapping – Scratching Tourettes Syndrome is indicated when a person exhibits both multiple motor and one or more vocal tics over the period of 1 year, with no more than three months of consecutive living tic-free. These Tic disturbances can easily impair and or distress the individual from functioning normally. The diagnosis cannot be involved with substance abuse or another medical condition, and must be before the age of 18.

Bipolar Disorder – What is it and what are the symptoms?

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

What is Bipolar Disorder?I’m not going to try and give a medical definition here of bipolar disorder. There are plenty of those around on the internet if you care to do a search. I am simply going to give you my opinion, based on my experience. Bipolar disorder was formerly known as manic depression and this term for the disorder is still used in some quarters today. Bipolar disorder, as the name suggests, involves mood swings between depression and elevation plus all points in between. It does not only affect your mood however. It can affect your behaviour, your thought patterns, sleep patterns and feelings. These affects may be minor or major, but the effects of bipolar disorder in whatever its form require management and treatment. Untreated, a person who suffers from bipolar disorder can be well and truly on a path of self destruction. Indeed, the suicide rate amongst bipolars is quite high. Interestingly enough, bipolar disorder is referred to as a “mental illness”, yet if this is true and it is something in the mind, then how is it that it is treated with drugs? No-one has yet identified specifically what or how bipolar is caused, but the most common suggestions are that it is something to do with cells and activity in the brain. The brain is the organ we know least about, but it is a physical organ. That being the case, perhaps we should be referring to bipolar disorder as being as much a physical illness or disorder as diabetes. Bipolar disorder is a chronic disorder. That is, once it has been diagnosed you’ve won the lottery. You have it for life. The symptoms of bipolar disorder are broken up into two groups for all intents and purposes. These are depressive symptoms and manic symptoms. Manic symptoms are broken down however into a further sub-group known as “hypomanic” symptoms.Depression

Mania

A lower form of mania also can exist which is known as hypomania. Symptoms of hypomania can include all of the above, but to a lesser degree. A person in a hypomanic state may exhibit many of the above symptoms but only to the point where they appear to be very happy or cheerful. Consequently, it is not as visible or easy to diagnose as a full blown manic episode. Because of the two types of mania, bipolar disorder is broken down into two groups, that of Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2 and it is here that I will quote from the American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 4th Ed.Bipolar 1Characterized by the occurrence of one or more Manic Episodes or Mixed Episodes. Often individuals have also had one or more Major Depressive Episodes.Bipolar 2Characterized by the occurrence of one or more Major Depressive Episodes accompanied by at least one Hypomanic Episode.

Polio Vaccines

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Currently there are two polio vaccines that are in use throughout the world to fight against polio. Jonas Salk, the man who invented the first, started his work on a vaccine in 1955. The vaccine worked in two steps: first a dose of killed polio virus is injected, and then an oral polio vaccine must be taken which contains a live but much weakened form of the virus. This vaccine was first tested in 1957 on humans, and was later liscensed in 1962. Then came along another vaccine that was developed by Sabin. This live-virus vaccine quickly became to more popular route of the two for 4 main reasons:

1. Due to it’s live state it has the ability to spread and to infect other individuals who have not been vaccinated. This sounds bad, but in the spread, it allows the remote body to build up some immunity to the virus.

2. Due to the fact that the oral vaccine performs its magic in the gut, it works on immunity there in the central system which in turn reduces the spread of the virus on the outside. If the polio vaccine is injected directly into the bloodstream it will immunize the inividual, however it does not not reduce his or her ability to spread the virus.

3. Everything is a matter of money these days, especially when it comes to healthcare. Sabin’s «live» vaccine was cheaper than than Salk’s «dead» vaccine.

4. The last reason for the increased popularity of Sabin’s vaccine is that the oral vaccine is alot easier to widely administer to the general population than the injected vaccine. This means that patients are more likely to complete the series of vaccinations that are required to attain full immunity.

Sabin’s vaccine is the standard treatment for polio to date. The dead virus was able to bring Polio to terms, however it was the live-virus vaccine that was able to completely eliminate the wild spread of the polio virus in the United States.

Celiac Disease and Loosing Weight

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Many celiacs lose weight before they are diagnosed; indeed it is often one of the reasons people go to their doctors in the first place. Once on a gluten-free diet the symptoms disappear, and as a result of better absorption or simply eating more, some people gain too much weight. Losing weight should be based on eating sensibly rather than lurching from one diet to another. Be wary of low carbohydrate diets, as high protein diets can cause acidosis, which in turn can lead to calcium being lost from the bones. You should always check the ingredients of any low calorie / low fat / low carbohydrate products as they may use ingredients containing gluten to thicken or stabilize the product. These are often wheat based. Moderation is the key. Don’t deprive yourself but be honest with yourself. Snacking and raiding the fridge can add huge amounts of empty calories. Consider the relationship you have with food – if you are using it to compensate for feeling unhappy it is better to deal with the underlying problem rather than use food. You end up with both the unhappiness and a weight problem. It is quite useful to keep a food diary for a week before attempting to change your diet. (This refers to weight loss only, you must stick to your gluten-free diet at all times.) Look for empty calories, hidden fats and sugar. How much alcohol are you drinking? Be absolutely honest. Cut down on convenience foods as they are usually high in fat, sugar and salt. The best way to lose weight is to: Eat regular meals, particularly breakfast. Consider your portion control, and use a smaller plate. Don’t feel you have to eat everything on your plate. Always stop eating when you are full! Eat lots of fruit and vegetables – at least 5 portions a day, Fill up on vegetables – if it is green and leafy or red you can eat as much as you like Eat potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes and parsnips in moderation The way you cook food is important – Remember frying, roasting or putting loads of butter on vegetables adds lots of fat and calories – beware Cut out the snacks – they are often very high in fat and or sugar. If you must eat between meals eat fruit, carrot or celery sticks Be sensible with carbohydrates –chose wholemeal rather than white bread, rice and pasta as it takes more calories for the body to digest, you feel full for longer and they have a higher level of vitamins and minerals. Eat them in moderation Trim fat off meat and don’t eat the skin of fish or poultry – there is a high concentration of fat just under the skin Beware hidden calories in drinks / snacks – a single tin of non – diet fizzy drink contains the equivalent of 7 teaspoonsfull of sugar Crisps / biscuits / cakes / chocolate / sweets should be a treat they are laden with fat, salt and sugar Alcohol is high in calories; approximately 80 calories for a small glass of wine. (1 unit). Cut your intake of salt – sodium can increase blood pressure. Eating and weight are like the seesaw at the park. One end represents the calories you take in – what you eat. The other end is the calories you use in your daily activities including exercise. If you eat more calories than you use you will put on weight. The seesaw will go up – as will your weight. If you eat fewer calories than you use you will lose weight. The seesaw will go down – as will your weight. Drink plenty of water – it will purify the system and help to make you feel full. Drinking ice-cold water will burn off more calories than drinking water at room temperature. It is vital that you follow a sensible balanced diet when you are trying to lose weight, ensuring you get enough vitamins and minerals if you want to remain healthy. We all know that is good advice, but for celiacs yo-yo dieting can seriously damage your health!

What Is It All About With The Bird Flu?

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

The humanity is always being challenged yearly. What good is a year if there has been no major threat to our humanity? It may be quite evil to say, but that’s reality. Every year, there are lots and lots of people who die from diseases, natural calamities or terrorist acts. It is a quite a scare to consider that one day, it might be us who will be the next victims. The current scare that is making officials all over the world S%$T their pants out is the H5N1 strain. The H5N1 is a strain of bird flu virus that has been found to be very deadly. It has been considered to be deadly because of the rate it has been transferring from one bird to the other. The scaring thing about it is that once the birds show symptoms of the disease. They have only a few days to live. The virus also spreads rapidly, sometimes spreading the virus to other flocks in just a matter of days. Another scary thing about it is that a flu virus tends to mutate. If it does mutate and joins with a human flu virus it can be considered deadly for our species. So far the people who have been affected did not contact the disease from other people. They got the disease because they were unhygienic in handling domesticated birds that are infected. However, recent developments have now got more people scared. The evens in Turkey should be observed more carefully. This is because in the span of only a week, 15 people were infected. Some may think that the virus has now mutated. If it has now mutated, we have bigger problems than Saddam Hussein. Currently we only have tamiflu to fight it with. Tamiflu is just an antiviral drug that prevents new virus from emerging out of the infected ones. Some experts even claim that Tamiflu does not help. If it does help, there is just nit enough to give to the whole world either. The problem with the companies being hesitant to produce the tamiflu or any other vaccine for bird flu for that matter; is because they are afraid the threat becomes bust and they might waste a whole lot of money. The H5N1 strain is really becoming the stuff only movie producers think about. It’s like the movie Outbreak. However, in real life the threat is bigger and we face a scarier situation when we just laugh about it. Thinking like it’s just Colonel Sander’s Big Joke. The best thing we have to do is just remember to live a healthier and hygienic lifestyle. Because as always prevention has always been the best answer of humanity to any threat that looms.

About Anorexia

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Plainly put, anorexia is an eating disorder where a person starves him or herself. Anorexia mainly affects adolescent girls. They have an intense fear of becoming fat. They think they are overweight, but in fact most anorexics weigh a full 15% below their normal body weight. Anorexia strikes about 1% of adolescent females. This is about one in one hundred women. Some psychiatrists think anorexia is not just about being thin or fat. It stems from fear a of growing up and losing control. It’s about fear of becoming a women, growing up, building relationships, leaving home. Her body is changing and growing and she doesn’t like it and wants to be child sized again. Some psychiatrists think that eating disorders can also be caused by life experiences such abuse. Some studies have shown that if a mother has anorexia a child is 12 time more likely to develop it than someone with no family history. The person who suffers with anorexia cannot help herself. She must be treated by a mental health professional experienced in dealing with anorexia. Some receive long term psychotherapy. The first thing however is to get this girl’s health back as best as you can. This person may need to be coaxed to eat, and, may need a supportive caregiver to actually watch to make sure she eats. There are numerous health concerns with anorexia. Some of these are osteoporosis, irregular heart beat and in the most severe of cases permanent failure of normal growth development. Most women sufferers of anorexia will lose their normal menstrual cycle. If an anorexic woman would conceive a child she would be likely to miscarry or have a baby born prematurely. Without treatment up to twenty percent of anorexia suffers will die. With treatment 60% can recover and maintain healthy weight. However, even with treatment about 20% of people will continue to have an unhealthy lifetime obsession with weight and food. If you confront a loved one about anorexia get ready to deal with someone in a true state of denial. They will be angry, and may become more withdrawn and depressed. There is nothing that you can do to change your loved one’s perception of him or herself. You can’t make your loved one eat. There are many organizations that are available to help anorexia sufferers and their families get the help they need.

Skin Scabies

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Scabies, a transmissible ectoparasite skin infection, is characterized by superficial burrows, secondary infection and intense itching. This makes good sense as the actual word ’scabies’ is Latin for ‘itch’. Unlike alot of different infections and diseases the cause of scabies is actually known. Caused by the mite, variety hominis, it intensifies which results in extremely itchy skin that rashes. This itchiness is because the pregnant female mites tunnel into the stratum corneum of the skin to deposit eggs in the burrow. Hatching in 3-10 days, the larvae, will move about in the skin. It is in the skin where they become mature adults. Adult mites will usually live in the skin for three to four weeks. Although, the mites aren’t able to live their entire life in the skin, they are able to cause alot of itching and hassle before they finally die. As you can imagine the existance of mites in your skin is extremely irritating and creates a huge itch sensation. Often times this step will look alot like an allergic reaction on the skin, which isn’t far off as the presense of the mite eggs inside the skin will produce a humongous allergic response. All of this just leads to more itching which is extremely damaging to the skin. Scabies, as you can see is an absolute pain, as it causes constant irritation. If the itching sensation is given into on a regular basis, often times sores will develop on the skin, which in turn lead to increased risk of infection. Sometimes classes as a sexual disease, scabies can easily transmit by prolonged skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. Often times it will rip through an entire household through the sharing of clothing, bedding or towels. These second hand methods of transmission are rarer, than first hand skin-to-skin, although they should still be noted. Three hundred million is the approximate number of scabies infestation cases around the world each year.

Cancer – The Real Facts

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Cancer has a fearsome reputation. Not without reason either. It is a disease that has not yet fully yielded to the skills and intelligence of medical scientists and doctors. And, as if the pain from the disease is not enough, the treatment for cancer, too, inflicts heavy suffering on the body. Cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled and abnormal cell division. Cancer spreads in the body and destroys tissues when the cancer cells travel through the blood stream or the lymphatic system. The runaway growth of cells is caused by mutations to the DNA in the cells that makes the cells unable to control cell division. This mutation can either be inherited or acquired. The mortality rate in cancer depends on the type of cancer and where it develops. Among cancers, lung cancer is the biggest killer, causing up to 3 million deaths every year worldwide. It affects the above-50 age group population most and is one of the most common types of cancers that occur in the Western countries. The main risk factor for lung cancer is smoking. Cigarette smoke, especially, contains several carcinogens. It is estimated that 80 per cent of all lung cancers are caused by smoking. The role of passive smoking in causing lung cancer is also being recognized by studies. Another carcinogen that causes lung cancer is asbestos. This substance, which is widely used because of its fire-resistant qualities, causes a rare type of cancer called mesothelioma cancer. In mesothelioma asbestos lung cancer or asbestos cancer, malignant cells develop in the pleura, the outer lining of the lungs and the chest cavity. The problem with asbestos cancer is that diagnosis is difficult. For one, the symptoms of mesothelioma cancer occur only 30-50 years after the exposure to asbestos. Second, the symptoms of asbestos lung cancer, such as shortness of breath and chest pain, are similar to those of many other medical conditions. The incidence of mesothelioma asbestos lung cancer has increased in the last two decades. Still it is considered a relatively rare form of lung cancer, because the incidence rate is only 1 per 1,000,000 people. This could be as high as 7-40 per 1,000,000 in the industrialized nations. By contrast, the incidence of lung cancer is 1,000 per 1,000,000. The common lung cancer treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. However, the conventional treatment methods have not been very successful in the case of asbestos cancer, yielding only a median survival rate of 6-12 months after the presentation. Again, surgery does not have much effect on small-cell lung cancer. A treatment method for lung cancer that has become increasingly popular in recent years is radiofrequency ablation. This technique is especially effective in destroying the cancerous cells inside the tumors. These cells are ‘cooked’ by inserting a small heat probe into the tumor. This technique is also non-toxic and causes very little pain for the patient. However, there is hope for the cancer-affected. Scientists are developing new techniques of treatment, such as molecular targeted therapies, for lung cancer. Better and more effective therapies can be expected as scientists and researchers coax out more secrets from the human cells.

Being A Celiac Can Be An advantage

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

It is very easy to focus on the difficulties of keeping to a gluten free diet, particularly when eating out. However you can also discover that being on a special diet can have huge advantages. I was on a recent business trip staying away from home, working as a facilitator/ trainer. Delegates were asked to choose lunch and dinner from a rather restricted menu. I on the other hand was invited to choose from the A la Carte menu. At the first lunch time there was no suitable desert. I spoke to the waiter and asked that there should be something more exciting than fresh fruit for the evening meal. From then on every meal a “creation” each more interesting than the last appeared amid oohs and ahhs from the assembled company. As they were of gigantic proportions my table were happy to share in my gastronomic delight. I accept you have to wrestle with the issue of being ‘different’ but at times it is rather nice to find that the difference leads to an enjoyable difference rather than watching everyone else tuck into something scrummy whilst I get the boring option. There are a few principles to ensure you get good service from a restaurant: Talk to the staff and make yourself known when you arrive Smile and engage rather than demand Explain what you are able to eat and what to avoid If things go wrong (and they will!) explain politely that what has been served will make you very ill. Ask them to completely replace with something safe rather than take the offending item off the rest. An example of this happened last week when a selection of sorbets came up with a biscuit. A quiet word with the waiter meant it was whisked away and a completely new sundae appeared very quickly. Always thank people for their help. It will make them much more likely to go that extra mile for you if you return and for the next celiac who walks through the door

The Hepatitis B virus

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Hepatitis B is what we used to originally known as just simply serum hepatitis. Hep B has been recognized as this new name since World War II. The virus is responsible for current epidemics in parts of Asia and Africa. Recognized as endemic in China and various other parts of Asia, the Hepatitis B virus has infected over one third of the world’s current population. Hepatitis B is in the Hepadnavirus family. Meaning that it consists of a proteinaceous core particle that has the viral genome inside of it in the form of double stranded DNA. It also has an outside lipid-based envelope that contains embedded proteins. These envelope proteins on the outside are involved in viral binding and release into susceptible cells. Where as the inner capsid refinds the DNA genome to a cell’s nucleus where it transcribes viral mRNAs. Although HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and Hepatitus are not related they are both viruses that use reverse transcription process. This also include HTLV. Hepatitis B’s genome is DNA, and reverse transcription is one of the latter steps of the entire process which results in making new viral particles. HIV on the other hand has an RNA genome and reverse transcription is one of the first steps in replication of the virus. Hepatitis B is most commonly transmitted through direct exposure to bodily fluids that contain the virus. This is a wide category but in most cases includes: – Re-using contaminated needles and syringes – Uncleanly Blood transfusions – Unprotected sexual contact – Direct transmission from mother to child during childbirth The dominant mode of transmission depends largely on the prevalence of the disease in a given area. For example if areas such as North America drug abuse and unprotected sex are the primary mode of infection. Where as in areas such as such as China where Hepatitis B is very prevalent, the vertical transmission (mother to child) is the most common. A mother who is positive for the Hepatitis B surface virus has a 20% risk of passing the infection to her offspring during birth. That percentage can rise to as high as 90% if the mother is also infected with the hepatitis B e antigen. The older a person is at the time of infection, the greater the risk that their body will not clear the infection. Hepatitis B infection can lead to a permanent inflammation of the liver, the result of this inflammation leads cirrhosis. These affects largely increase the likelyhood of developing liver cancer.

Personality Disorders

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Question: Many of the symptoms and signs that you describe apply to other personality disorders as well (for instance, the histrionic, the antisocial and the borderline personality disorders). Are we to think that all personality disorders are interrelated? Answer: The classification of Axis II personality disorders – deeply ingrained, maladaptive, lifelong behavior patterns – in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition, text revision [American Psychiatric Association. DSM-IV-TR, Washington, 2000] – or the DSM-IV-TR for short – has come under sustained and serious criticism from its inception in 1952. The DSM IV-TR adopts a categorical approach, postulating that personality disorders are «qualitatively distinct clinical syndromes» (p. 689). This is widely doubted. Even the distinction made between «normal» and «disordered» personalities is increasingly being rejected. The «diagnostic thresholds» between normal and abnormal are either absent or weakly supported. The polythetic form of the DSM’s Diagnostic Criteria – only a subset of the criteria is adequate grounds for a diagnosis – generates unacceptable diagnostic heterogeneity. In other words, people diagnosed with the same personality disorder may share only one criterion or none. The DSM fails to clarify the exact relationship between Axis II and Axis I disorders and the way chronic childhood and developmental problems interact with personality disorders. The differential diagnoses are vague and the personality disorders are insufficiently demarcated. The result is excessive co-morbidity (multiple Axis II diagnoses). The DSM contains little discussion of what distinguishes normal character (personality), personality traits, or personality style (Millon) – from personality disorders. A dearth of documented clinical experience regarding both the disorders themselves and the utility of various treatment modalities. Numerous personality disorders are «not otherwise specified» – a catchall, basket «category». Cultural bias is evident in certain disorders (such as the Antisocial and the Schizotypal). The emergence of dimensional alternatives to the categorical approach is acknowledged in the DSM-IV-TR itself: “An alternative to the categorical approach is the dimensional perspective that Personality Disorders represent maladaptive variants of personality traits that merge imperceptibly into normality and into one another” (p.689) The following issues – long neglected in the DSM – are likely to be tackled in future editions as well as in current research: The longitudinal course of the disorder(s) and their temporal stability from early childhood onwards; The genetic and biological underpinnings of personality disorder(s); The development of personality psychopathology during childhood and its emergence in adolescence; The interactions between physical health and disease and personality disorders; The effectiveness of various treatments – talk therapies as well as psychopharmacology. All personality disorders are interrelated, at least phenomenologically – though we have no Grand Unifying Theory of Psychopathology. We do not know whether there are – and what are – the mechanisms underlying mental disorders. At best, mental health professionals record symptoms (as reported by the patient) and signs (as observed). Then, they group them into syndromes and, more specifically, into disorders. This is descriptive, not explanatory science. Sure, there are a few etiological theories around (psychoanalysis, to mention the most famous) but they all failed to provide a coherent, consistent theoretical framework with predictive powers. Patients suffering from personality disorders have many things in common: Most of them are insistent (except those suffering from the Schizoid or the Avoidant Personality Disorders). They demand treatment on a preferential and privileged basis. They complain about numerous symptoms. They never obey the physician or his treatment recommendations and instructions. They regard themselves as unique, display a streak of grandiosity and a diminished capacity for empathy (the ability to appreciate and respect the needs and wishes of other people). They regard the physician as inferior to them, alienate him using umpteen techniques and bore him with their never-ending self-preoccupation. They are manipulative and exploitative because they trust no one and usually cannot love or share. They are socially maladaptive and emotionally unstable. Most personality disorders start out as problems in personal development which peak during adolescence and then become personality disorders. They stay on as enduring qualities of the individual. Personality disorders are stable and all-pervasive – not episodic. They affect most of the areas of functioning of the patient: his career, his interpersonal relationships, his social functioning. The typical patients is unhappy. He is depressed, suffers from auxiliary mood and anxiety disorders. He does not like himself, his character, his (deficient) functioning, or his (crippling) influence on others. But his defences are so strong, that he is aware only of the distress – and not of the reasons to it. The patient with a personality disorder is vulnerable to and prone to suffer from a host of other psychiatric problems. It is as though his psychological immunological system has been disabled by his personality disorder and he falls prey to other variants of mental illness. So much energy is consumed by the disorder and by its corollaries (example: by obsessions-compulsions, or mood swings), that the patient is rendered defenceless. Patients with personality disorders are alloplastic in their defences. They have an external locus of control. In other words: they tend to blame the outside world for their mishaps. In stressful situations, they try to pre-empt a (real or imaginary) threat, change the rules of the game, introduce new variables, or otherwise influence the world out there to conform to their needs. This is as opposed to autoplastic defences (internal locus of control) typical, for instance, of neurotics (who change their internal psychological processes in stressful situations). The character problems, behavioural deficits and emotional deficiencies and lability encountered by patients with personality disorders are, mostly, ego-syntonic. This means that the patient does not, on the whole, find his personality traits or behaviour objectionable, unacceptable, disagreeable, or alien to his self. As opposed to that, neurotics are ego-dystonic: they do not like who they are and how they behave on a constant basis. The personality-disordered are not psychotic. They have no hallucinations, delusions or thought disorders (except those who suffer from the Borderline Personality Disorder and who experience brief psychotic «microepisodes», mostly during treatment). They are also fully oriented, with clear senses (sensorium), good memory and a satisfactory general fund of knowledge. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual [American Psychiatric Association. DSM-IV-TR, Washington, 2000] defines «personality» as: «…enduring patterns of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and oneself … exhibited in a wide range of important social and personal contexts.» Click here to read the DSM-IV-TR (2000) definition of personality disorders. The international equivalent of the DSM is the ICD-10, Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders, published by the World Health Organization in Geneva (1992). Click here to read the ICD-10 diagnostic criteria for the personality disorders. Each personality disorder has its own form of Narcissistic Supply: HPD (Histrionic PD) – Sex, seduction, «conquests», flirtation, romance, body-building, demanding physical regime; NPD (Narcissistic PD) – Adulation, admiration, attention, being feared; BPD (Borderline PD) – The presence of their mate or partner (they are terrified of abandonment); AsPD (Antisocial PD) – Money, power, control, fun. Borderlines, for instance, can be described as narcissist with an overwhelming separation anxiety.

They DO care deeply about not hurting others (though often they cannot help it) – but not out of empathy. Theirs is a selfish motivation to avoid rejection. Borderlines depend on other people for emotional sustenance. A drug addict is unlikely to pick up a fight with his pusher. But Borderlines also have deficient impulse control, as do Antisocials. Hence their emotional lability, erratic behaviour, and the abuse they do heap on their nearest and dearest.

What Is Endometriosis?

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

What is endometriosis? Endometriosis is one of those diseases that you’ve probably heard the name of before, but aren’t really sure how it’s caused or what its symptoms are. You may wonder who is most at risk for contracting it and whether there is a cure. The first question is relatively easy to answer. The answer to the second question is, sadly, no. As of yet there is no cure. Who is at risk? The good news is that if you are a man, you are out of danger. The bad news, unfortunately, is that if you every female is at risk from the time of their first period. So, then what is endometriosis, physically speaking? What happens to a woman who has it? The disease gets its name from the endometrium, which is the name for the tissue that lines the uterus. When a woman suffers from the disease, the endometrium grows outside the uterus. Why does this happen? That’s part of the problem. Nobody has yet learned why this occurs in some women. The tissue typically grows outside the uterus in somewhere in the pelvic cavity. The actual site of this tissue growth can take place in several places. It can occur either on or beneath the ovaries; or on the tissues behind the uterus; or on the bowels of the bladder. In extremely rare cases, it has even been know to grow outside the pelvic cavity. So what happens as a result of this tissue growth? Usually it develops into larger growths that can be referred to as tumors, lesions, or implants. Though they may be called tumors, they are typically not cancerous and don’t usually lead to developing any kind of cancer. These tumors can be painful, however. The pain can range from moderate to quite severe. They can also lead to infertility. The physiological changes that take place during a woman’s menstrual cycle affects these growths. The walls lining the uterus thicken each month as part of the reproductive cycle. If no pregnancy develops, the uterus sheds this lining and the woman experiences the bleeding associated with her period. However, a woman who has endometriosis also experiences bleeding on the growths outside the uterus. But since this tissue cannot be shed like the uterus lining, internal bleeding results and scar tissue develops. Depending on where the growth are located, this can lead to a variety of complications. A surgical procedure called a laparoscopy is needed to fully diagnose endometriosis. Though done under anesthesia, a laparoscopy is a relatively minor procedure in which a lighted tube is inserted into the abdomen through a small incision. This device is called a laparoscope and it allows the doctor examine the organs and determine if any growths are present. Although there is no cure yet for endometriosis, treatment does exist. Unfortunately, it ranges from medication to treat the pain to hysterectomies to remove the affected areas. The only problem with this is that there has been a high rate of recurrence even among women who undergone this procedure. The answer to the question what is endometriosis is, alas, not a happy one.

Typical Rashes

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Rash in short: is an acute and widespread temporary reddish eruption on the skin. A rash can develop in individuals that are sensitive to a particular drug, prescription or nonprescription. The rashes are characterized by itching of an intensity that can interfere with sleep or normal activities. The rash results from the entire body reacting to the drug itself and usually develops early in treatment rather than after the drug has been taken for a period of time. Rash is a change in the skin which affects its appearance and or texture. Most often a rash is localised to one part of the body, but other times it can have an affect on the entire body. Rashes can cause the skin to change color, become bumpy, dry, itchy, swell among other things that can result in alot of pain. Because of the wide array of rash symptoms treatments also vary widely. A proper diagnosis should look at all of the visual and physical symptoms of the rash, and also what the possible cause of the rash was. Often times the area in which the rash exists can tell alot about it’s condition, and where it is going. Rashes are often times associated and a result of diseases. For example, measles with cause a rash, that begins a few days after the fever begins. The most common causes of rashes today are: allergies, (ex. allerfic reaction to: foods, animeals, dyes, medicines, insect stings,etc), skin contact with an irritant, infection or reaction to a vaccine, skin diseases such as eczema or acne, autoimmune disorders such as psoriasis, cancer or other disease, pregnancy and, exposure to sun or heat.

Autism: Is There A Cure In Sight?

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Autism: What causes it, and can it be cured? Autism is a disorder that is affecting more and more children. But many autistic children have been able to lead normal lives. Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in the early stages of development of a child, mostly in the first three years of development. It is a neurological disorder that affects the proper functioning of the brain and affects the development of the social and communication skills of the individual. Early diagnosis of autism is most important for the treatment of this disorder. However, there is no blood or medical test available which will help in the diagnosis of autism. Generally, it is delay in the development of language skills or lack of appropriate social development that causes parents or teachers to seek a medical evaluation. There are no racial or ethnic specifications for the occurrence of this disorder, although boys are three or four times more likely to have autism. Autism is seen to affect each individual in different levels and so is considered a spectrum disorder. Generally, autism is seen to affect the verbal and non-verbal communication skills, leisure activities, and the all-round social interactions of the individual. There is no standard treatment for the cure of autism. Different medical professionals have different philosophies and practices for treating autistic individuals. The results of the treatment of autism will also vary from individual to individual. However, autism cannot be completely cured; there can only be improvements in the abilities of the autistic person. Autistic children are seen to benefit greatly from treatment approaches that include special education and behavioral management. An important strategy in the treatment of autism is to keep the diet of the autistic children gluten- and casein-free. A gluten – and casein-free autism diet is seen to produce a marked level of improvement in autistic children. This is because in their body system there is incomplete breakdown of the peptides in the food substances containing gluten and casein. This leads to an increased absorption of peptides causing disruption in the biochemical and neuroregulatory processes in the brain. Adding vitamin B6 and B12 to the diet is beneficial to the treatment of autism as it improves digestion, symptoms of allergy, and sociability in children. Despite one child in every thousand being affected by this illness, the awareness and the number of support groups for this illness is negligible. Efforts are being undertaken to create an increased awareness and to generate funds to support research and treatment of autism. Autism awareness bracelets and ribbons help spread awareness about this disorder. The sale of these bracelets supports many autism research foundations and also provides financial assistance to many parents with autistic children. ‘Autism walk’ is another novel fundraising effort for the support of those suffering from autism. The money generated from registration of the ‘Autism walk’ events is used to provide financial support to the parents of autistic children, or to establish support groups to facilitate their treatment.