Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why is blood pressure important?

The Facts about blood pressure

Why is blood pressure important?

Blood pressure is important because the higher your blood pressure is, the higher your risk of health problems in the future.

If your blood pressure is high, it is putting extra strain on your arteries and on your heart. Over time, this strain can cause the arteries to become to become thicker and less flexible, or to become weaker.

If your arteries become thicker and less flexible, they will become more narrow, making them more likely to become clogged up. If an artery becomes completely clogged up (known as a clot), this can lead to a heart attack, a stroke, kidney disease or dementia.

More rarely, if an artery has become weakened, the extra strain may eventually lead to the artery bursting. This may also cause a heart attack or stroke.

The good news is that there are many ways in which you can lower your blood pressure and put less strain on your arteries and heart.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tips for a Healthy Family

Healthy Family
The health of both women and children can be significantly improved by spacing births at least two years apart, by avoiding pregnancies before the age of 18 and by limiting the total number of pregnancies to three or less. Some basic parenting tips are:

* To reduce the danger of childbearing, all pregnant women should go to a health worker for pre-natal care and all births should be assisted by a trained midwife.

* For the first few months of a baby's life, breast milk alone is the best possible food and drink. Infants need other foods, in addition to breast milk, when they are four to six months old.

* Children below three years have special feeding needs. They need to eat 5 to 6 times a day. Mashed vegetables and small amounts of fats or oils should be added to their food to enrich their diet.

* Diarrhoea can kill by draining too much liquid from a child's body. So the liquid lost each time the child passes a watery stool must be replaced by giving the child plenty of the right liquids to drink- breast milk, home - based fluids such as dal water, rice water, butter milk or a special drink called Oral Rehydration Suspension (ORS).

* Immunization protects against several diseases, which can cause poor growth, disability, and death. All immunization should be completed in the first year of the child's life and a booster dose should be given at one and half years.

* Most coughs and colds will get better on their own. But if a child with a cough is breathing much more rapidly than normal then the child is seriously ill and it is essential to go to a health centre quickly. A child with a cough or cold should be helped to eat and to drink plenty of liquids.

* Many illnesses are caused when germs enter the mouth. This can be prevented by using proper latrines; by washing hands with soap and water after using the latrine and before handling food; by keeping food and water clean; and by boiling drinking water if it is not from a safe piped supply.

* Parents should keep an eye on the child's activities and also have knowledge about the mechanism of all the toys with which it plays

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tooth and Teeth Disease

The History and Causes of Tooth and Teeth Disease:

Essentially, the definition of tooth and teeth disease is anything which causes teeth to be malformed or suffer increasing damage in some way, over a period of time. So tooth and teeth diseases can be caused by genes or the environment. The key to the definition is that it is a process that occurs over time.

Tooth and teeth disease has been around since ancient times. From autopsies of Egyptian mummies, we know that some of the ancient Egyptians died agonizing slow deaths because of uncontrolled tooth disease / decay. Some mummies had all their teeth and jaws infected by tooth disease.

In the 1700's and 1800's we know from published cartoons that toothache was around and was treated often by blacksmiths and, often in public, even on public stages in front of large audiences.

In the late 1800's early 1900's, America was known as having the highest rates of tooth and teeth disease anywhere in the world. The cause of the high rate of tooth and teeth disease was attributed to the highly refined foods that Americans were eating.

The refined foods introduced higher concentrations of substances into the food supply, especially acidic types, which eat away / erode the tooth enamel.

It is clear, that even in the 1800's, the importance of diet in causing tooth and teeth diseases was well known.

This knowledge of tooth and teeth diseases continues to be verified to this day. When soft drinks became widely available, tooth disease increased quite markedly. Soft drink contains both sugar and acid which can quickly breakthrough the enamel of teeth, via causing plaque and acid erosion, allowing disease to enter the teeth.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Google's Street View cars collect locations of Wi-Fi devices

Google street view cars
Google is back in the hot seat today following a CNET report that suggests the search giant's Street View cars collected the locations of countless Wi-Fi devices. Along with mapping Wi-Fi access points (the intended purpose), the vehicles also charted the street addresses and unique identifiers of wireless Internet devices such as laptops and smartphones -- a practice that has been confirmed by the CNIL (France's data privacy commission).

What's worse, the search giant reportedly releases that information online, and you can't opt out of it. Harvested MAC addresses and their last known coordinates are published on the company's public geolocation database for all to access. Although this isn't inherently dangerous (it's effectively just a snapshot of where your device last was, so it's not like someone can stalk you with the information), it still raises valid privacy concerns.

For instance, someone could use the data to show you were at a specific place during a specific time, and that's something you might not want to share with the world. The Internet exploded earlier this year when it was discovered that Apple's iOS devices recorded a year's worth of location data that could be mapped to show your previous whereabouts. The company later released a software update that minimized users' biggest complaints.

And of course, isn't the first time Google's Street View cars have been caught gathering more information than intended. The company faced worldwide investigations, raids and even a $143,000 fine from France after it was discovered that the company "accidentally" collected private information from Wi-Fi networks, including emails, fragments of visited websites and passwords. The US FTC dropped its Wi-Fi sniffing investigation last October.

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Blood Pressure Chart

Blood Pressure Chart
What is Normal Blood Pressure?

Buy and use an automatic blood pressure monitor. Compare your BP reading with the numbers on the chart above. Draw a line from your systolic pressure to your diastolic pressure. Is the slope of the line about the same as shown on the chart? Where do YOU fit in? What are your risk factors?

Are your blood pressure readings within the normal blood pressure range?
Should you take anti-hypertension medication to lower your blood pressure?

Normal human daily Blood Pressure Range can vary widely, so any single blood pressure monitor reading is not reliable. BP monitor readings must be taken at different times of day, to determine AVERAGE blood pressure levels over time.

What is important is your AVERAGE BP, or MAP (Mean Arterial Pressure) over time.
Or, where are those numbers sitting MOST of the time?
Normal MAP is about 93 mm of mercury.

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Nutrition for Healthy Eyes

Research suggests that antioxidants and other important nutrients may reduce your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Specific antioxidants can have additional benefits as well; for example, vitamin A protects against blindness, and vitamin C may play a role in preventing or alleviating glaucoma.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids appear to help the eye in a variety of ways, from alleviating symptoms of dry eye syndrome to guarding against macular damage.
Eye Benefits of Vitamins and Micronutrients

The following vitamins, minerals and other nutrients have been shown to be essential for good vision and may protect your eyes from sight-robbing conditions and diseases.

Incorporating the following foods in your diet will help you get the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of these important eye nutrients. Established by the Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Sciences), the RDA is the average daily dietary intake level of a nutrient sufficient to meet the requirements of nearly all healthy individuals in a specific life stage and gender group.

While the RDA is a useful reference, some eye care practitioners recommend higher daily intakes of certain nutrients for people at risk for eye problems. In the following list, mg = milligram; mcg = microgram (1/1000 of a mg) and IU = International Unit.


* Eye benefits of beta-carotene: May protect against night blindness and dry eyes.

* Food sources: Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, butternut squash.

* RDA: None (Most supplements contain 5,000 to 25,000 IU).

Bioflavonoids (Flavonoids)

* Eye benefits of bioflavonoids: May protect against cataracts and macular degeneration.

* Food sources: tea, red wine, citrus fruits, bilberries, blueberries, cherries, legumes, soy products.

* RDA: None.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

* Eye benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin: May prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.

* Food sources: Spinach, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, squash.

* RDA: None.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

* Eye benefits of omega-3 fatty acids: May help prevent macular degeneration (AMD) and dry eyes.

* Food sources: Cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring; flaxseed oil and fish oil; ground flaxseeds and walnuts.

* RDA: None. (For cardiovascular benefits, the American Heart Association recommends approximately 1,000 mg daily.)


* Eye benefits of selenium: When combined with carotenoids and vitamins C and E, may reduce risk of advanced AMD.

* Food sources: Seafood (shrimp, crab, salmon, halibut); Brazil nuts; enriched noodles; brown rice.

* RDA: 55 mcg for teens and adults (60 mcg for women during pregnancy and 70 mcg when breast-feeding).

Vitamin A

* Eye benefits of vitamin A: May protect against night blindness and dry eyes.

* Food sources: Beef or chicken liver, cod liver oil, eggs, butter, milk.

* RDA: 3,000 IU for men; 2,333 IU for women (2,567 IU during pregnancy and 4,333 IU when breast-feeding).

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Depression is a serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Depression has a variety of symptoms, but the most common are a deep feeling of sadness or a marked loss of interest or pleasure in activities. Other symptoms include:

• Changes in appetite that result in weight losses or gains unrelated to dieting

• Insomnia or oversleeping

• Loss of energy or increased fatigue

• Restlessness or irritability

• Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt

• Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions

• Thoughts of death or suicide or attempts at suicide

Depression is common. It affects nearly one in 10 adults each year—nearly twice as many women as men. It’s also important to note that depression can strike at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Depression is also common in older adults. Fortunately, depression is very treatable.

How Depression and Sadness Are Different

The death of a loved one, loss of a job, or the ending of a relationship are difficult experiences for a person to endure. It is normal for feelings of sadness or grief to develop in response to such stressful situations. Those experiencing trying times often might describe themselves as being “depressed.” But sadness and depression are not the same. While feelings of sadness will lessen with time, the disorder of depression can continue for months, even years. Patients who have experienced depression note marked differences between normal sadness and the disabling weight of clinical depression.


Depression can affect anyone—even a person who appears to live in relatively ideal circumstances. But several factors can play a role in the onset of depression:


Abnormalities in two chemicals in the brain, serotonin and norepinephrine, might contribute to symptoms of depression, including anxiety, irritability and fatigue. Other brain networks undoubtedly are involved as well; scientists are actively seeking new knowledge in this area.

Depression can run in families.


People with low self-esteem, who are easily overwhelmed by stress, or who are generally pessimistic appear to be vulnerable to depression.
Environmental factors

Continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse or poverty may make people who are already susceptible to depression all the more vulnerable to the illness. Also, a medical condition (e.g., a brain tumor or vitamin deficiency) can cause depression, so it is important to be evaluated by a psychiatrist or other physician to rule out general medical causes.


For many people, depression cannot always be controlled for any length of time simply by exercise, changing diet, or taking a vacation. It is, however, among the most treatable of mental disorders; the majority of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment, and almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms.

Before a specific treatment is recommended, a psychiatrist should conduct a thorough diagnostic evaluation, consisting of an interview and possibly a physical examination. The purpose of the evaluation is to reveal specific symptoms, medical and family history, cultural settings and environmental factors to arrive at a proper diagnosis and to determine the best treatment.


Antidepressants may be prescribed to correct imbalances in the levels of chemicals in the brain. These medications are not sedatives, “uppers” or tranquilizers. Neither are they habit-forming. Generally antidepressant medications have no stimulating effect on those not experiencing depression.

Antidepressants may produce some improvement within the first week or two of treatment. Full benefits may not be realized for two to three months. If a patient feels little or no improvement after several weeks, his or her psychiatrist will alter the dose of the medication or will add or substitute another antidepressant.

Psychiatrists usually recommend that patients continue to take medication for six or more months after symptoms have improved. After two or three episodes of major depression, long-term maintenance treatment may be suggested to decrease the risk of future episodes.


Psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” is sometimes used alone for treatment of mild depression; for moderate to severe depression, it is often used in combination with antidepressant medications. Psychotherapy may involve only the individual patient, but it can include others. For example, family or couples therapy can help address specific issues arising within these close relationships. Group therapy involves people with similar illnesses. Depending on the severity of the depression, treatment can take a few weeks or substantially longer. However, in many cases, significant improvement can be made in 10 to 15 sessions.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Low cholesterol diet for a healthy heart

Eating healthy is about making choices. When it comes to cholesterol- free food, there are many choices. In addition to cholesterol-free foods, a heart- healthy diet often calls for foods that contain some cholesterol.

Cholesterol-free foods originate from plants — fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. A low cholesterol diet will usually include a combination of cholesterol- free foods and low cholesterol foods, such as low-fat dairy products, poultry, and fish. By choosing cholesterol-free foods, one can easily lower risk of heart disease.

Types of cholesterol-free foods include vegetables, fruits, whole-grains and legumes.
Eat at least three to five servings of fruits and vegetables and six to 11 servings of whole grains and legumes each day as part of a cholesterol lowering diet. Fruits and vegetables are low in saturated fat and total fat, and have no cholesterol. A diet high in fruit and vegetables may also help keep cholesterol levels low. Fruits and vegetables are great substitutes for foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Breads, cereals, rice, pasta, and other grains, and dry beans and peas are generally high in starch and fibre and low in saturated fat and calories. They also have no dietary cholesterol, except for some bakery breads and sweet bread products made with high fat, high cholesterol milk, butter, and eggs.

Chicken is relatively low in saturated fat and cholesterol, especially when the skin is removed. Low cholesterol foods also include most fish. Fish also tends to be low in saturated fat.

While some types of shellfish would be classified as low cholesterol foods, others would not. But shellfish do have little saturated fat and total fat. Even shrimp can be enjoyed occasionally on a heart healthy diet, provided you eat less.

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Good Fish, Bad Fish

Good Fish
Fish is an excellent source of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

A diet rich in fish oil may help reduce inflammation and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are also essential for brain and eye development. The American Heart Association suggests that we each eat at least two servings of oily fish each week to help keep our hearts healthy.
So when is fish not so good for your health?

Almost all fish is contaminated with trace amounts of mercury. While most healthy adults have no problem eliminating the mercury from their bodies, children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid some types of fish and shellfish to reduce their risk of mercury exposure.

Fish that contain the highest level of mercury are larger and older sharks, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. It is probably a good idea for most people to avoid eating much of these fish. They can be replaced with other fish and shellfish such as shrimp, pollock, canned light tuna, salmon and catfish, which all contain much less mercury.

Most other fish fall somewhere in between. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has a complete listing of the mercury levels in commercial seafood and fish. It is also interesting to note that deep-frying fish may increase the concentration of mercury in fish.

Besides mercury, fish can be a problem if it isn't prepared properly. Deep fried or served with a heavy, fat- and calorie-dense sauce will turn healthy fish into an unhealthy meal fast.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Exercise Is Key To Brain Health, Says Study

Brain Health
Regular physical activity -- even walking -- may be key to maintaining a sharp mind as we get older, two new studies suggest.

While that's not a new discovery, the studies plug critical gaps in the scientific literature and corroborate previous reports linking exercise to reduced rates of mental impairment in older adults.

The message is now clearer than ever: "If you stay physically active, you're buying protection for your brain," says Eric B. Larson, M.D., the vice president for research at Group Health Cooperative, a nonprofit health-care system based in Seattle.

The studies appear in the July 25 print edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine and were published online today to coincide with the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease, taking place this week in Paris.

One of the studies included 2,809 women over the age of 65 who had a history of heart disease or stroke, or at least three risk factors for those conditions. That's noteworthy because most previous studies on exercise and dementia have focused on healthy people, according to Dr. Larson, who wrote a commentary accompanying the new research.

Exercise may be particularly important for these women, since unhealthy cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and other conditions that affect blood-vessel health have been linked to the memory and language problems known as cognitive decline, which often precedes Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

Researchers in Paris and at the Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston, reanalyzed data from a study originally designed to examine the role of antioxidant vitamins in heart health.

Beginning in 1995, the women answered biennial surveys on how often they engaged in various types of exercise (such as jogging, swimming, walking, and climbing stairs). Several years later, the researchers then gave them a series of telephone-based cognitive and memory tests on four separate occasions spread out over a four- to six-year period.

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Stroke risk reduced by optimism

Optimism helps protect against risk of stroke, a new study suggests.

The study included 6,044 adults aged 50 and older who self-rated their health and optimism on a 16-point scale. They were followed for two years.

Optimism is the expectation that more good things, rather than bad, will happen.

Each point increase in optimism was associated with a 0.90 times lower risk for stroke, after adjusting for age, U.S. psychologists found.

"Optimism may play an important role in protecting against stroke among older adults," Eric Kim, a doctoral student at the University of Michigan and his co-authors concluded in Thursday's online issue of the journal Stroke.

Over the two-year followup period, there were 88 strokes, the researchers found.

"Our work suggests that people who expect the best things in life actively take steps to promote health," Kim said.

The self-reported stroke history and limited followup were limitations of the study.

Previously, a sunny attitude has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease and a healthier immune system.

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Pain Killers

Pain Killers

Vicodin and other hydrocodone products: Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid similar in effects to morphine. Vicodin is hydrocodone mixed with acetaminophen. Hydrocodone products, when abused, can lead to dependence, tolerance, and addiction. Vicodin is one of the most frequently prescribed medications for pain. Other products include Vicoprophen, Tussionex, and Lortab.


OxyContinand other oxycodone products: Oxycodone is used as an analgesic and is formulated into numerous pharmaceuticals including OxyContin (a controlled-release product) and with aspirin (Percodan) or with acetaminophen (Percoset). These drugs are prescribed for pain relief. They all require a doctor's prescription and are prescribed for moderate to severe pain.


FENTANYL is extensively used for anesthesia and analgesia. Duragesic is a fentanyl transdermal patch used in chronic pain management, and Actiq is a solid formulation of fentanyl citrate on a stick that dissolves slowly in the mouth for transmucosal absorption. Illicit use of pharmaceutical fentanyl first appeared in the mid-1970's in the medical community. To date, over 12 different analogues of fentanyl have been produced clandestinely and identified in the U.S. drug traffic. The biological effects are indistinguishable from those of heroin, with the exception that the fentanyls may be hundreds of times more potent. Fentanyls are most commonly used by intravenous administration, but like heroin, they may also be smoked or snorted.


ULTRAM(tramadol hydrochloride) and ULTRACET (tramadol with acetaminophen) are prescription medications indicated for the management of moderate to moderately severe pain. Side effects include: dizziness, drowsiness, or headache; nervousness, tremor, or anxiety; nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea; or itching, dry mouth, or sweating.


Tramadol is habit forming. Physical and/or psychological dependence can occur, and withdrawal effects are possible if the medication is stopped suddenly after prolonged or high-dose treatment.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Antibiotics in meat: What you need to know

Antibiotics in meat
Should I be concerned about antibiotics in the meat I serve my baby?

Well, most experts say it's unlikely that you or your baby will be harmed in the immediate future by the practice of giving antibiotics to livestock. But it is something that you should be concerned about because of its potential threat to public health.

Many farmers who raise cows, chickens, and other livestock use antibiotics to treat animals that are sick or at a high risk of becoming sick. In addition to using antibiotics for treatment, though, some critics believe that the industry relies too heavily on antibiotics to fatten livestock and to compensate for unsanitary and crowded conditions in industrial-size farms — despite guidelines for antibiotic use, which specify that they be used judiciously

How can people be affected by the antibiotics that farmers use for animals?

The main concern isn't that the antibiotics will be transferred to you or your baby, but that they will increase the antibiotic resistance of bacteria that we all contend with. Experts warn that there are already many strains of bacteria that no longer respond to antibiotics.

Just as a child's taking antibiotics unnecessarily contributes to increased resistance in some strains of bacteria, overusing antibiotics in agriculture is contributing to the emergence of bacteria that are resistant to common antibiotics. The more an antibiotic is used, the more the bacteria will become resistant to it.

Also, if too little antibiotic is used (as is often the case when antibiotics are used on healthy animals), it won't kill all the bacteria — and the survivors can grow and multiply into resistant strains.

Some of these bacteria can spread to humans when proper handling and cooking procedures aren't followed. Bacteria can be consumed in meat that hasn't been heated to the proper temperature before serving, for example. And campylobacter (a bacteria found in the intestines of chickens) can be spread by handling raw chicken and not washing up afterward.

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Eat To Lose Weight

weight loss
2 poached eggs
1 slice wholewheat toast with
1 tsp butter or 2 tsp canola spread
½ grapefruit

1 Chicken Sandwich with Olives and Fresh Basil (see recipe here).
Green salad with 2 tbsp olive oil vinaigrette

Afternoon snack
2 tbsp peanut butter
6 small (about 30g) wholewheat crackers
1 sliced apple

Pan-seared salmon fillet (about 120g cooked, slightly larger than a deck of cards)
1 cup long-stemmed broccoli cooked with olive oil, cracked red pepper and garlic
¾ cup wild or brown rice
Dessert or evening snack
½ cup fresh raspberries or other seasonal berry
½ cup low-fat plain or vanilla yoghurt

Daily totals: 7020kJ, 104g protein, 179g carbohydrates, 68g fat (15g sat), 34g fibre, 1586mgsodium

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The 9 Best New Health Products For Women

womens health products

It's fine to think the Michael Kors crepe wedge boots and Hogan shearling shoulder bag will instantly change your life. But to really change it — and maybe even save it — you have to focus on the products that will dress up the inside of your body. So we searched the aisles, talked to doctors, and treated our bodies like a 10th grade biology project — to come up with the nine new health products that are absolutely worth trying on for size.

1 | To Fall Asleep Faster...

When you're lying awake bug-eyed, you can either make shadow puppets on your closet door or pop a sleeping pill and risk feeling groggy the next day. Or you can try the Zzone Sleep Solution: a 60-minute CD of not-too-New-Agey instrumental music to use at bedtime (or if you awaken in the middle of the night) to encourage your body's natural relaxation response. The sciencey stuff? Zzone's tunes reduce beta waves (present when we're alert or agitated) and stimulate theta waves (present during meditation or when we're falling asleep). Yes, it sounds bogus, but the occasional insomniacs we polled fell asleep an average of 15 minutes faster while listening to the music to combat stress-related sleeplessness. $25, includes two additional CDs for stress relief and relaxation plus a guidebook, Better Sleep; available at bookstores

2 | To Protect Your Teeth...

Barry Manilow tunes have little soothing effect when a dental hygienist manhandles your gums with floss. You'll spend less time thrashing and decrease your risk of developing gingivitis or cavities if you make the Oral-B Triumph Professional Care 9000 Series part of your daily routine. The rechargeable toothbrush signals you when to change position (move on to the back teeth!), stays on for 2 minutes (the recommended brushing time), and alerts you when the removable head needs changing so you won't brush with worn-out bristles. Pricey, yes, but studies have shown that rotating brush heads reduce plaque by 11 percent over manual toothbrushes and cut back on signs of gingi-vitis by nearly 20 percent. $140, includes two brush heads, travel case, charger, and base station; Oral-B.

3 | To Enjoy Your Calcium...

Chocolate calcium supplements have bombed big time thanks to their rubbery texture. But Healthy Indulgence's marble-sized chocolate balls actually taste Wonka-worthy (think Hershey's Kiss). They have just 25 calories each — same as a Kiss — and contain 500 milligrams of calcium (take two a day) plus 200 IUs of vitamin D, which enhances calcium absorption

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

YES! YOU CAN! Stop Smoking

Stop Smoking
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over one million people quit smoking each year. They reach the decision that the risks to their health — as well as to the health of their loved ones and people around them — are no longer acceptable. It is a monumental decision, as any smoker will tell you, one that is not reached without difficulty or determination.

Thanks to the availability of a number of over-the-counter aids, smokers who want to kick the habit now have access to some very real assistance in overcoming their physical dependence on cigarettes.
Smoking Is An Insult To Your Whole Body

Cigarette smoking is the most widespread example of drug dependency in this country today. Many experts believe that it may be even more resistant to treatment than addiction to heroin. The reason for the addiction is nicotine, which is the only known psycho-active ingredient in tobacco smoke.

Once nicotine finds its way to the brain, it triggers the release of some powerful chemicals, sending signals throughout the body. For those who are dependent upon the substance, nicotine produces a state of enhanced pleasure, decreased anxiety and a sense of being alert but relaxed.

There are over 3000 chemicals in cigarette smoke, including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, benzine, formaldehyde, acetone, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia — to name just a few. Within seconds of taking a puff, the cardiovascular system becomes highly stressed; the pulse increases 15-25 beats per minute, and the blood pressure rises about 10 to 20 points on both scales. Basically, these effects from smoking impact on your body about the same way as being on a treadmill all day long.

After your body has become dependent on cigarettes, taking them away can cause a whole range of physical reactions or symptoms…irritability, restlessness, headaches, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and even difficulty concentrating. While it is the nicotine in cigarettes which causes the addiction, it is the other harmful chemicals, tars and carbon monoxide that cause lung cancer and heart disease.

Recently, using nicotine to help people quit smoking has been approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and is now avilable in a chewing gum and through a “patch.” The nicotine is time-released into the bloodstream, satisfies the “craving” and relieves some of the other withdrawal symptoms, allowing the person to concentrate on their commitment to quit. The nicotine therapy is not a panacea; however, the person must sincerely want to break their smoking habit and follow instructions for using the “medication.”

The nicotine replacement therapy works best when supplemented by smoking cessation instruction. In addition to controlling the physical desire to light up a cigarette, the emotional desire must be conquered, as well.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Whooping cough

Whooping cough

Whooping cough, sometimes referred to as pertussis, is an infection of the lining of the airways. It mainly affects the windpipe (trachea) and the two airways that branch off from it to the lungs (the bronchi).

Whooping cough is highly infectious. The condition is caused by a bacterium called Bordetella pertussis, which can be passed from person to person through droplets in the air from coughing and sneezing.

The condition is known as whooping cough because the main symptom is a hacking cough, which is often followed by a sharp intake of breath that sounds like a 'whoop'.
Who is at risk?

Whooping cough usually affects infants and young children, although adults can sometimes develop the condition. Whooping cough tends to be most severe in young infants. In rare cases, it can be fatal.

How common is it?

The introduction of a vaccination programme during the 1950s and the introduction of a pre-school booster jab in 2001 means the annual number of cases of whooping cough in the UK is now very low.

Just under 600 cases of whooping cough were recorded in England and Wales in 2005. Before the introduction of the whooping cough vaccine, the average annual number of cases exceeded 120,000.

Despite the number of cases falling, it is still important that all children have the whooping cough vaccine to prevent future outbreaks of the infection.

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Chikungunya fever is a viral disease transmitted to humans by the bite of infected mosquitoes. Chikungunya virus is a member of the genus Alphavirus, in the family Togaviridae.

Chikungunya fever is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., joint swelling), laboratory testing, and the possibility of exposure to infected mosquitoes. There is no specific treatment for chikungunya fever; care is based on symptoms. Chikungunya infection is not usually fatal. Steps to prevent infection with chikungunya virus include use of insect repellent, protective clothing, and staying in areas with screens. Chikungunya virus was first isolated from the blood of a febrile patient in Tanzania in 1953, and has since been cited as the cause of numerous human epidemics in many areas of Africa and Asia and most recently in limited areas of Europe.

Chikungunya Prevention

The best way to prevent chikungunya virus infection is to avoid mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or preventive drug currently available. Prevention tips are similar to those for other viral diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, such as dengue or West Nile.

* Use insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 on exposed skin. Always follow the directions on the package.

* Wear long sleeves and pants (ideally treat clothes with permethrin or another repellent).

* Have secure screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.

* Get rid of mosquito sources in your yard by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used.

* Additionally, a person with chikungunya fever should limit their exposure to mosquito bites to avoid further spreading the infection. The person should use repellents when outdoors exposed to mosquito bites or stay indoors in areas with scre

Chikungunya Symptoms and Treatment

Chikungunya virus infection can cause a debilitating illness, most often characterized by fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, rash, and joint pain. The term ‘chikungunya’ means ‘that which bends up’ in the Kimakonde language of Mozambique.

Acute chikungunya fever typically lasts a few days to a few weeks, but as with dengue, West Nile fever and other arboviral fevers, some patients have prolonged fatigue lasting several weeks. Additionally, some patients have reported incapacitating joint pain, or arthritis which may last for weeks or months. The prolonged joint pain associated with chikungunya virus is not typical of dengue. No hemorrhagic cases related to chikungunya virus infection have been conclusively documented in the scientific literature. Co-circulation of dengue fever in many areas may mean that chikungunya fever cases are sometimes clinically misdiagnosed as dengue infections, therefore the incidence of chikungunya fever could be much higher than what has been previously reported.

The incubation period (time from infection to illness) can be 2-12 days, but is usually 3-7 days. “Silent” chikungunya virus infections (infections without illness) do occur; but how commonly this happens is not yet known. Chikungunya virus infection (whether clinically apparent or silent) is thought to confer life-long immunity. Fatalities related to chikungunya virus are rare.

Pregnant women can become infected with chikungunya virus during all stages of pregnancy and have symptoms similar to other individuals. Most infections occurring during pregnancy will not result in the virus being transmitted to the fetus. The highest risk for infection of the fetus/child occurs when a woman has virus in her blood (viremic) at the time of delivery. There are also rare reports of first trimester abortions occurring after chikungunya infection. Pregnant women should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Products containing DEET can be used in pregnancy without adverse effects. Currently, there is no evidence that the virus is transmitted through breast milk.

There is no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment currently available for chikungunya fever. Treatment is symptomatic and can include rest, fluids, and medicines to relieve symptoms of fever and aching such as ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen, or paracetamol. Aspirin should be avoided. Infected persons should be protected from further mosquito exposure (staying indoors in areas with screens and/or under a mosquito net) during the first few days of the illness so they can not contribute to the transmission cycle.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Brain cancer facts

Brain Cancer
Brain cancer facts

* Brain cancer can arise from many different types of brain cells (primary brain cancer) or occur when cancer cells from another part of the body spread (metastasize) to the brain.

* Causes of brain cancer are difficult to prove; avoiding compounds linked to cancer production is advised.

* Symptoms of brain cancer vary but often include weakness, difficulty walking, seizures, and headaches. Other common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, blurry vision, or a change in a person's alertness, mental capacity, memory, speech, or personality.

* Tests for brain cancer involve a history, physical exam, and usually a CT or MRI brain scan; sometimes a brain tissue biopsy is done.

* Treatments usually are directed by a team of doctors and are designed for the individual patient; treatments may include surgery, radiotherapy, or chemotherapy, often in combination.

* Side effects of treatments range from mild to severe, and patients need to discuss plans with their treatment team members to clearly understand potential side effects and their prognosis (outcomes).

* Depending on the brain cancer type and overall health status of the patient, brain cancer frequently has only a fair to poor prognosis; children have a somewhat better prognosis.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Google Doodle and Google Plus invite

Google Doodle
Web search engine behemoth Google on Tuesday honored Russia’s historic St. Basil’s Cathedral’s 450th birthday showing an image of the church as a doodle on its home page. It was the coolest way the world can remember the great cathedral of the world.

A multi-colored tiny image of the iconic structure was placed in the background of the last two letters of the Google logo on its home page. Google used to remind the world of the most important events, dates, objects, inventions, and personalities through its home page doodles.
Google recently managed to obtain patent for its doodles to cover, “systems and methods for enticing users to access a Web site.” Of course, it is a fantastic way to keep the Internet users across the world aware of some unforgettable things.

Recently Google remembered all of us of the great American guitarist Les Paul through a doodle, which became famous under the name Les Paul Doodle.

It was a JavaScript and HTML5-powered playable guitar, which a user can play using either the keyboard or mouse to generate some stunning music. As well, Google celebrated the recent lunar eclipse with another animated doodle.

Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral was completed in 1561 after ten years work. The ancient church is now used as a museum to let people watch the architectural wonder of the history.

“The cathedral has been rebuilt more than once over the centuries, and its present appearance is quite different from what it was then,” says, Tatyana Saracheva, director of the cathedral-turned museum.

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Hand washing: Do's and don'ts

Hand wash
Hand washing is an easy way to prevent infection. Understand when to wash your hands, how to properly use hand sanitizer and how to get your children into the habit.

Frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness. Hand washing requires only soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer — a cleanser that doesn't require water. Find out when and how to wash your hands properly.
When to wash your hands

As you touch people, surfaces and objects throughout the day, you accumulate germs on your hands. In turn, you can infect yourself with these germs by touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Although it's impossible to keep your hands germ-free, washing your hands frequently can help limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes.

Always wash your hands before:

* Preparing food

* Eating

* Treating wounds or giving medicine

* Touching a sick or injured person

* Inserting or removing contact lenses

Always wash your hands after:

* Preparing food, especially raw meat or poultry

* Using the toilet

* Changing a diaper

* Touching an animal or animal toys, leashes or waste

* Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing into your hands

* Treating wounds

* Touching a sick or injured person

* Handling garbage or something that could be contaminated, such as a cleaning cloth or soiled shoes

Of course, it's also important to wash your hands whenever they look dirty.
How to wash your hands

It's generally best to wash your hands with soap and water. Follow these simple steps:

* Wet your hands with running water.

* Apply liquid, bar or powder soap.

* Lather well.

* Rub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Remember to scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.

* Rinse well.

* Dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel or air dryer.

* If possible, use your towel to turn off the faucet.

Keep in mind that antibacterial soap is no more effective at killing germs than is regular soap. Using antibacterial soap may even lead to the development of bacteria that are resistant to the product's antimicrobial agents — making it harder to kill these germs in the future.

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The top five foods for healthy skin

Beautiful skin
A host of healthy, natural foods offer potent healing and preventative powers to remedy a wide range of skin troubles. These foods can dramatically improve skin for a fraction of the price of costly cosmetics or dermatologist visits:

1. Green Tea
-- Green tea is rich in antioxidants that reduce inflammation and protect cell membranes. It has been proven to reduce the damage of sunburns and overexposure to ultraviolet light, which in turn reduces the risk of skin cancer. Green tea is also high in polyphenols -- compounds that eliminate cancer-causing free radicals.

Recent research by scientists at the Medical College of Georgia shows that the polyphenol most abundant in green tea -- EGCG -- also acts as a "fountain of youth" of sorts for skin by reactivating dying skin cells. In addition to its skin-healthy properties, green tea is also high in vitamins C, D and K, as well as riboflavin, zinc, calcium, magnesium and iron.

2. Salmon
-- Salmon -- along with other fatty fish, walnuts and flaxseed -- is high in healthy fatty acids that are key for achieving healthy skin. Essential fatty acids such as omega-3s help keep cell membranes healthy by keeping out harmful substances as well as allowing nutrients to enter cells and exit with waste products. Omega-3s also reduce the body's production of inflammatory agents that can damage the skin.

Increasing consumption of omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods such as salmon will help keep the skin supple and youthful. A 1:1 ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3s is ideal, but the ratio in the typical American diet is more like 20:1, so boosting consumption of salmon and other oily fish can help bring that ratio closer to 1:1. Salmon is also rich in protein, potassium, selenium and vitamin B12.

3. Blueberries
-- Blueberries are considered by many experts to be the highest food source of antioxidants, which target free radicals that can wreak havoc on skin cells. The antioxidants and phytochemicals (plant sources of nutrition) in blueberries neutralize DNA-damaging free radicals, reducing cell damage. When skin cells are protected from damage and disintegration, the skin looks younger for longer. Blueberries are also an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin E and riboflavin.

4. Carrots
-- Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, which is a required nutrient for healthy skin. They also contain high levels of antioxidants, which prevent free radical damage of skin cells. Vitamin A is required for developing and maintaining skin cells, and a deficiency of the vitamin can cause dry skin. Carrots are also a superior source of fiber, biotin, vitamins K, C and B6, potassium and thiamine.

5. Water
-- Drinking plenty of water -- at least your individual minimum intake -- will help keep your skin young and healthy-looking. Water in caffeinated or sugary beverages does not count; water intake must be from pure, clean water, which rejuvenates skin cells. Water both hydrates cells and helps them move toxins out and nutrients in. Nutrition expert Liz Lipski, PhD, CCN, says when the body is properly hydrated, it sweats more efficiently, which helps keep the skin clean and clear.

In addition to consuming therapeutic quantities of green tea, salmon, blueberries, carrots and water, consumers should avoid certain foods that trigger bad skin reactions. Such ingredients include sugar, white flour, saturated fats and fried foods, which are especially bad for the skin, since they can trap oil and bacteria beneath the skin, causing acne and other skin ailments.

The skin is considered the outside indicator of inside health, and putting expensive creams, lotions and treatments on the outside of the skin can't alleviate problems that stem from inner nutritional deficiencies. Consuming the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones can reveal beautiful, youthful-looking skin without the high price tag of expensive cosmetics.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mastering The Language Of Google Plus

Google Plus
As people stream onto Google Plus (aka Google+), the question crops up: how should users describe their actions on the search giant’s new social networking service? After all, Google Plus introduced a few new paradigms to social networking when it launched in late June.

Two Google Plus standouts are the idea of grouping connections into “circles” delineated by relationships (friends, family, work, etc.) and the practice of making video-call “hangouts” with those connections. The new features mean the terms “circle” and “hangout” – one word, not two – are now verbs of a different, somewhat awkward nature.

Nine years after the debut of Friendster – and seven years after Facebook first went live – most of us are familiar with the basics of social networking. But do Google Plus’ unique features require their own lingo? (The Washington Post brought up the same question earlier this week and solicited some interesting suggestions from readers.)

Here are some suggestions I came across online. Ironically, I found them on LinkedIn, a different social networking site that may compete with Google Plus should the latter expand to include more professional networking features.

Some of these terms are tongue-in-cheek, some perhaps unnecessary but at least a few seem useful. What would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.

Google+ Lingo

* Circle: to add someone to ones circle

* Circlespect: not trusting someone in ones circle

* Circle-vent: to avoid placing someone in your circle (primary meaning) or to express frustration to ones circle (secondary meaning)

* Circlesized: to oust someone from your circle

* Circle-du-soleil: a masterful arrangement of ones circle/s

* Circle hopping: moving a person from one circle to the next

* Circonference: a hangout with ones circle

* Cirplexed: to be unsure which circle to add someone to

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What is psoriasis?

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a noncontagious common skin condition that causes rapid skin cell reproduction resulting in red, dry patches of thickened skin. The dry flakes and skin scales are thought to result from the rapid buildup of skin cells. Psoriasis commonly affects the skin of the elbows, knees, and scalp.

Some people have such mild psoriasis (small, faint dry skin patches) that they may not even suspect that they have a medical skin condition. Others have very severe psoriasis where virtually their entire body is fully covered with thick, red, scaly skin.

Psoriasis is considered a non-curable, long-term (chronic) skin condition. It has a variable course, periodically improving and worsening. Sometimes psoriasis may clear for years and stay in remission. Some people have worsening of their symptoms in the colder winter months. Many people report improvement in warmer months, climates, or with increased sunlight exposure.

Psoriasis is seen worldwide, in all races, and both sexes. Although psoriasis can be seen in people of any age, from babies to seniors, most commonly patients are first diagnosed in their early adult years.

Patients with more severe psoriasis may have social embarrassment, job stress, emotional distress, and other personal issues because of the appearance of their skin.

What causes psoriasis?

The exact cause remains unknown. There may be a combination of factors, including genetic predisposition and environmental factors. It is common for psoriasis to be found in members of the same family. The immune system is thought to play a major role. Despite research over the past 30 years looking at many triggers, the "master switch" that turns on psoriasis is still a mystery.
What does psoriasis look like? What are the symptoms?

Psoriasis typically looks like red or pink areas of thickened, raised, and dry skin. It classically affects areas over the elbows, knees, and scalp. Essentially any body area may be involved. It tends to be more common in areas of trauma, repeat rubbing, use, or abrasions.

Psoriasis has many different appearances. It may be small flattened bumps, large thick plaques of raised skin, red patches, and pink mildly dry skin to big flakes of dry skin that flake off.

There are several different types of psoriasis including psoriasis vulgaris (common type), guttate psoriasis (small, drop like spots), inverse psoriasis (in the folds like of the underarms, navel, and buttocks), and pustular psoriasis (liquid-filled yellowish small blisters). Additionally, a separate entity affecting primarily the palms and the soles is known as palmoplantar psoriasis.

Sometimes pulling of one of these small dry white flakes of skin causes a tiny blood spot on the skin. This is medically referred to as a special diagnostic sign in psoriasis called the Auspitz sign.

Genital lesions, especially on the head of the penis, are common. Psoriasis in moist areas like the navel or area between the buttocks (intergluteal folds) may look like flat red patches. These atypical appearances may be confused with other skin conditions like fungal infections, yeast infections, skin irritation, or bacterial Staph infections.

On the nails, it can look like very small pits (pinpoint depressions or white spots on the nail) or as larger yellowish-brown separations of the nail bed called "oil spots." Nail psoriasis may be confused with and incorrectly diagnosed as a fungal nail infection.

On the scalp, it may look like severe dandruff with dry flakes and red areas of skin. It may be difficult to tell the difference between scalp psoriasis and seborrhea (dandruff). However, the treatment is often very similar for both conditions.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Common Cold Diet

common cold

A cold is one of the most common afflictions, affecting millions of men and women around the world.

It is also referred to, as a common cold, by most people, since almost everyone has suffered from this minor ailment at some time or the other. A cold is generally characterized by symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, throat irritation, tiredness and perhaps even loss of appetite. The common cold symptoms generally disappear within 5 to 7 days, without any treatment.

However, at times, a cold could mark the beginning of allergies or infections, in which case medical treatment may be required. There is no medication as such for treating a cold; people usually rely on home remedies or common cold diet treatment options.
Common cold diet treatment is very effective in reducing the uncomfortable symptoms of a cold, even though it does not really address the cause of the problem or cure the cold.

However, there are many foods and recipes that can help alleviate the symptoms of a common cold to a great extent. These foods mainly include warm liquids, which soothe the throat and dilute the mucus blocking the nasal passages, so that the body can expel it easily. In addition to that, people suffering from a severe cold tend to get drained out quite easily and therefore, the common diet treatment should be aimed at increasing strength and energy in the body. Given below is a sample of a common cold diet treatment menu for one day:

* Breakfast: Oatmeal in warm water, topped with fresh berries, orange juice, whole grain toast and hot tea, preferably decaf

* Lunch: Chicken / vegetable soup (without any dairy), tomato juice, orange slices, some green salad and hot tea

* Dinner: Chicken noodle soup, mixed steamed veggies, whole wheat pasta in tomato sauce and hot tea

* Snacks: Warm milk or slices of fruit

Working out also boosts the energy and makes it easier for the body to fight off the germs causing a cold. Before following a common cold diet and exercise routine, it is best to consult a doctor and get a go ahead.

Common Cold Foods

Warm liquids, like broth, herbal tea, soup and warm water are regarded as some of the best foods for common cold by people, as well as health experts. Fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and lean meat are also regarded as foods to fight the common cold. Some of the most healthy common cold foods to eat include:

* Foods that are high in beta carotene and other carotenoids, such as oranges, tomatoes, melons, squash, grapefruit, leafy greens, mangoes, guava, carrots, corn, cantaloupe, asparagus and apricots, to name a few.
* Fruits and veggies high in Vitamin C, like berries, oranges, lemons, peppers, papaya, cauliflower, broccoli, kiwi, cantaloupe and kale
* Vitamin E rich foods, like hazelnuts, almond, lobsters, cod liver oil, peanut butter, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower seeds and salmon.

Just like there are healthy foods to cure common cold, there are others that are known to worsen the symptoms of a cold, such as sore throat and runny nose. Some of the common cold foods to avoid include eggs, junk food, red meat, sweets, cheese and cold foods like ice cream. Foods that are made from refined flour or contain high amounts of starch should also be avoided by people who are running a cold.

Before trying any common cold food remedies, it is important for people to consult a doctor, especially in case of those who are elderly or may be suffering from any preexisting medical condition. In case a person is suffering from common cold food poisoning, it is absolutely essential to seek emergency medical advice.

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How do you prevent the common cold?

Common Cold
The most important measure to prevent the common cold is to avoid infected individuals.

Frequent hand washing is also extremely important, as this can destroy viruses that you have acquired from touching contaminated surfaces. Also, try to avoid sharing utensils and try to use disposable items (such as disposable cups) if someone in your family has a cold. Finally, lifestyle modifications such as smoking cessation and stress management may decrease your susceptibility to acquiring the common cold. At this time, an effective vaccine against the common cold is not available.

Common Cold At A Glance

* The common cold is caused by many different viruses.

* Being in cold weather does not cause the common cold.

* Over-the-counter medications may be used for treatment of the common cold.

* Antibiotics do not help the common cold.

* The common cold is self-limited and can generally be managed at home

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Baby not sleeping properly?

Crying Baby
A lot of young mothers are worried about their babies not sleeping through the night. And some have a lot of questions about a baby's sleep patterns.

Remember that a new born baby sleeps most of the time. But they usually don't sleep when we want them to. Your baby wakes up at night and cries, not because s/he has jet lag, not because s/he is a night owl, but because s/he does not know that its night! Simply put, it takes time for your baby to understand the concept of night and day. The good news: there are things you can do to program your new born.

Try feeding your baby in noisy and/or bright surroundings during the day. Make sure the room is well lit while you feed. During the night, keep your baby under softer lights and quieter surroundings and make sure the room is dimly lit while feeding.

Even when your baby sleeps during the day, keep the room well lit either naturally (open curtains and blinds to let sunlight through) or by artificial lighting. Normally you can expect your baby to sleep through the night by 6 to 7 weeks of age, though some manage it earlier. Feed your infant if s/he is hungry at night. You can change this habit by slowly feeding your baby to his/her full at night and giving short yet frequent feeds during the day.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Google updates Google Docs for mobile screens

Google Doc
I wouldn't call myself a spreadsheet ninja, but I do use spreadsheets on a daily basis--and Google Docs, specifically--to track roommate bills, plan vacations and conferences, and keep tabs on work projects.

Today Google updated Google Docs for the mobile phone and tablet browser to make it easier for the tool's users to share multiple documents and sort spreadsheets, text docs, presentations, PDFs, and drawings you create online.

Log in from any mobile browser and you'll immediately see two drop-down categories on the navigation bar. One sorts documents by name, modification date, and the date you last opened it. The other filters gargantuan lists by documents you own, have starred as important, or are part of a collection. You can also filter by document type.

Any time you select (or more) one of those docs, you'll see the Share button appear on the bottom of the screen. You'll be able to then e-mail the file as an attachment or as a link, or copy the link.

All these are small but useful additions to the online version that make for a smoother viewing and using experience from a condensed mobile screen.

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What is the treatment for whooping cough?

Whooping Cough
Antibiotics directed against Bordetella pertussis can be effective in reducing the severity of whooping cough when administered early in the course of the disease.

Antibiotic therapy can also help reduce the risk of transmission of the bacterium to other household members as well as to others who may come into contact with an infected person. Unfortunately, most people with whooping cough are diagnosed later with the condition in the second (paroxysmal) stage of the disease. Treatment with antibiotics is recommended for anyone who has had the disease for less than three to four weeks. Azithromycin (Zithromax), clarithromycin (Biaxin), erythromycin (E-Mycin, Eryc, Ery-Tab, PCE, Pediazole, Ilosone), and trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra) are antibiotics which have been shown to be effective in treating whooping cough. It is unclear whether antibiotics have any benefit for people who have been ill with whooping cough for longer than three to four weeks, although antibiotic therapy still is often considered for this group. There is no proven effective treatment for the paroxysms of coughing that accompany whooping cough.

Antibiotics also are routinely administered to people who have had close contact with an infected person, regardless of their vaccination status.

What are possible complications of whooping cough?

The most common complication and the cause of most whooping cough-related deaths is secondary bacterial pneumonia. (Secondary bacterial pneumonia is bacterial pneumonia that follows another infection of the lung, be it viral or bacterial. Secondary pneumonia is caused by a different virus or bacterium than the original infection.) Young infants are at highest risk for whooping cough and also for its associated complications, including secondary pneumonia. Other possible complications of whooping cough, particularly in infants less than 6 months of age, include seizures, encephalopathy (abnormal function of the brain due to decreased oxygen delivery to the brain caused by the episodes of coughing), reactive airway disease (asthma), dehydration, hearing loss, and malnutrition.

Data indicate that secondary pneumonia occurs in about one out of every 20 infants with whooping cough, and one out of 100 affected infants develop convulsions.

Whooping cough can cause serious illness and even death in young children; 10 children died from the infection in 2007. From 2004-2005, 66 deaths due to whooping cough were reported to the CDC, and 56 of these were children under 3 months of age. In 2008, 18 deaths due to whooping cough were reported in the U.S. Most deaths from whooping cough have occurred in children who have not been vaccinated or who are too young to have received the vaccine.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What Causes Tension Headaches?

tension headache
There is no single cause for tension headaches. This type of headache is not an inherited trait that runs in families. In some people, tension headaches are caused by tightened muscles in the back of the neck and scalp. This muscle tension may be caused by:

  • Inadequate rest
  • Poor posture
  • Emotional or mental stress, including depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Hunger
  • Overexertion

In others, tightened muscles are not part of tension headaches, and the cause is unknown. Tension headaches are usually triggered by some type of environmental or internal stress. The most common sources of stress include family, social relationships, friends, work, and school. Examples of stressors include:

  • Having problems at home/difficult family life
  • Having a new child
  • Having no close friends
  • Returning to school or training; preparing for tests or exams
  • Going on a vacation
  • Starting a new job
  • Losing a job
  • Being overweight
  • Deadlines at work
  • Competing in sports or other activities
  • Being a perfectionist
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Being over-extended (involved in too many activities/organizations)

Episodic tension headaches are usually triggered by an isolated stressful situation or a build-up of stress. Daily stress can lead to chronic tension headaches.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Importance of breakfast

What is the importance of breakfast?

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is probably one of the most common phrases you’ve ever heard. This is because most health experts often go on and on, about breakfast and its importance, for people of all ages. As the name suggests, when you eat breakfast, you “break” the “fast” that your body was going through, during the night. In general, after dinner, the human body generally goes without food, for an approximate period of 9 to 11 hours or so. Hence, when you wake up in the morning the level of glucose in your blood will be at its lowest, as compared to any other time of the day. Glucose can be described as the basic fuel that your body and your brain require in order to function properly. This level of glucose is usually replenished after you eat something. Therefore, eating a good breakfast first thing in the morning, before beginning your day, is as important as adding fuel to a car that is low on gas, before starting on a long journey.

Unfortunately, breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, it is also the most commonly skipped meal of the day. There are several people who avoid eating breakfast, due various factors, such as hectic schedules, lack of an appetite in the morning, running late, and so on. One of the main reasons of this could be the fact that most people do not realize the importance of breakfast completely.

The importance of breakfast

There are some people who realize the importance of breakfast, but do not have the time to cook in the morning. Fortunately, there are hundreds or maybe even thousands of different breakfast ideas, which are high in nutrition, but take only a few minutes to put together. Alternately, it is absolutely fine to save some leftovers of the night before, or cook something the prior evening and keep it in the refrigerator, for the next day. People who are very health conscious make it a point to at least grab some fruit if nothing else, in the morning, before they get started.
The importance of breakfast for children

There are some children, especially those of school-going ages that do not have an appetite and cannot stomach anything, before they go to school. There are several parents who allow them to skip breakfast, probably because they do not want to force the child to eat. However, these parents generally underestimate breakfast’s importance for kids. Studies indicate that children who eat breakfast on a daily basis perform better in almost all aspects of their school life. Given below are some of the tips that highlight the importance of breakfast to academic performance in children:

• Better performance on mental tasks and challenges
• Fewer behavioral problems in school
• Higher grades, especially in subjects like math
• Improved performance on standardized tests

Apart from the importance of breakfast on academic performance, there are several other reasons why children should eat breakfast on a daily basis. Given below are some of the facts that highlight the importance of breakfast for kids and students:

• Children who do not eat breakfast are less active and burn fewer calories in the day
• They tend to be hyperactive, which affects their performance in school, especially when it comes to subjects like math
• They may feel low on energy and lethargic, which could cause them to miss school on occasion, which will eventually affect their grades.

Therefore, it is absolutely essential for parent to realize the importance of breakfast in our brain and make sure that their children eat at least something, like a bowl of cereal, some milk and a piece of fruit, before they begin their day.
The importance of breakfast for teenagers

Studies indicate that an alarming 33% of teenagers do not eat breakfast everyday. In fact, according to the findings of similar studies, most teenagers have unhealthy eating habits and skipping breakfast could be one of the root causes. Therefore, most teenagers can avoid reaching out for sodas, burgers, candies, pies, cakes and other junk food, if they begin their day with a substantial breakfast, which keeps them full.

Importance of breakfast for adults

In today’s world, juggling a demanding job, family and the house has become very common, especially in women. Many people leave home early in the morning, so that they can reach work on time. In such cases, grabbing even a simple bowl of cereal before work may seem like a difficult task. However, breakfast can provide the body with energy and can also increase a person’s concentration and focus. These factors usually result in better professional performance.

Importance of breakfast and weight loss

Some people who are trying to lose weight mistakenly believe that they can do so, by skipping meals. As a result they tend to miss the first meal of the day. However, this leads to hunger attacks during the later part of the day, which could also result in overeating during lunch. Moreover, breakfast importance includes metabolism too, as the consumption of food first thing in the morning can kick start a person’s metabolism. Therefore, in case you do not eat breakfast, your metabolism remains low until lunchtime, or whenever it is that you do eat. Therefore, you can lose more weight by eating breakfast, than skipping it.
Importance of breakfast for athletes

Most of the top professional athletes and sports personalities understand the importance of breakfast and avoid skipping this meal. This is because most athletes spend several hours a day, engaging in strenuous physical activity. Beginning the day on an empty stomach could lead to dizziness, stomach gas, lack of energy and other similar problems, which cab lead to poor practice and performance. Therefore, to avoid situations where athletes feel low in energy and cannot work out properly, it is absolutely essential for them to eat foods that will boost their energy levels first thing in the morning.

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