Self Health Care

Articles about alternative ways of treatment and self health care

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Research? You ain’t seen nuttin’ yet!

When people get the bit between their teeth, they can be driven to do good things. Hopefully staying on the right side of obsession, they devote their lives to asking questions and finding the answers. This is the “scientific method” at its best. In this case, as you can see from the title to this post, we are dealing with the “nut” which, in British English, means the head (when bald, it’s round and shiny like the shell of a nut). On this most important parts of the body, the best brains of Canada, England, Holland, Iceland and Switzerland have come together to solve the problem of male pattern baldness. No more “nut” in the British sense of the word, unless it’s a hairy nut. Until now, men have either had to tolerate hair loss or use propecia, the only really effective medication on the market that stops hair loss. Now there’s better hope for a “cure”. The international team has found a genetic combination that appears to multiply the risk of hair loss by a factor of seven. It’s another of these “accidental” breakthroughs. The research team was looking at cardiovascular diseases and they came across evidence that there’s a statistical link between heart disease and baldness. Searching for a clue to confirm this apparent relationship, the team scanned the human genome and came across an area that was incomplete in bald men who had heart disease. Nearly three thousand caucasian men were examined and this genetic gap was identified in more than half the sample. There is, however, no cause for immediate excitement. Like many advances in human knowledge, the fact that you make a discovery is no use unless you see how to take advantage of the knowledge. In this case, they can say we have found a gap. Whether that gap can be repaired and how science might engineer it is anyone’s guess. In the case of propecia, for example, hair loss is described as androgenic alopecia. It affects about 40% of men as they age. It is caused by an excess of Di-hydrotestosterone (DHT). Propecia prevents the body from producing 5-Alpha-Reductase, a chemical necessary to the production of DHT. It’s a magic bullet to remove the cause of baldness. For as long as a man takes the tablets, they will stop hair loss and sometimes allow some hair to regrow. When a man stops taking propecia, the hair loss resumes. Following this research breakthrough, hair loss will be characterized as a genetic deficiency and, in due course, a magic bullet may be devised to deliver replacement genes to the right place in the genetic sequence in your body. Until then, rely on propecia.

Age is no barrier when the product delivers the goods

One of the more interesting questions for any pharmaceutical company is how to market their drug. In theory, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. You have this great tablet. When people take it, the terrible disorder or disease is cured. All you have to do is tell everyone who might get this disorder or disease, and they will flock to buy these tablets when they get sick. Except not everyone thinks the same way. Let’s say you come up with this really great drug that works on the nitric oxide in the body. People who research plants, fruit and vegetables get interested because nitric oxide extends the life of cut flowers and the shelf-life of food in our stores. They discover that putting tiny amounts of this medication in the water for cut flowers gives a week and more of life before wilting sets in. Who would have thought it? Well, certainly not the medical researchers who designed the drug in the first place. Those of you reading this are, of course, way ahead of me. You all know that adding a pinch of the little blue pill to the water of your cut flowers wards off droop for up to a week. It’s not the cheapest way of keeping flowers fresh but, if it’s that important to you, the remedy is in your hands. So what has all this to do with this article’s theme? To answer that, we need to go back to the history of the viagra. The first application that came up for clinical testing was as a treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). The drug dilates arteries. If the main arteries in the chest and lungs are constricted, this limits the flow of oxygen around the body and bad things happen. When the side-effect of erections was noticed, the researchers put PAH on the back-burner and focussed on making money – an understandable decision that has paid the bills at Pfizer for the last ten years. But good ideas never go away. Now’s the time to meet Calvin Muteesa. This British boy has been taking viagra for 92% of this life. The daily dose is between four and six tablets. He started when he was three months old. He’s now thirty-three months old. The diagnosis of PAH was clear. His heart was struggling to pump the blood around his body. He could barely breathe. The effect of taking this “adult” drug was described by his parents as nothing short of miraculous. Within an hour, his blood pressure dropped and his breathing became more normal. Remember, the chemistry in the body works the same in arteries at strategic places all around the body. If a drug works to dilate the artery to relieve erectile dysfunction, it also works to relieve PAH. Quite what will happen to Calvin’s physical development is uncertain. Doctors will monitor him and adjust the dose if it seems necessary. So age is no barrier to the use of this drug. Viagra really does get the blood flowing where it should with all the desired results.

Let’s get down and dirty on the farms

I have to admit to something – a small secret. I spent nearly twenty years of my life living surrounded by dairy herds. I lived out in the countryside with the milking sheds in plain sight and the gentle beasts grazing happily all around. It is, by any standards, a peaceful life which I now miss in this urban setting. Except, there’s one thing I don’t miss. There were no main drains or sewers in our area so everyone collected their waste in tanks. The grateful farmers would come round on a regular basis, collect the contents of the tank and then spray it on the fields. Those were the days we went shopping in the nearby town. But this was “proper” farming back them – a practice going back centuries. Today, it’s called organic farming but the principles are the same. Except there’s a growing problem. Actually, the problem is not with the “growing”. Produce and the grass eaten by cattle, sheep, etc., do very well. It’s that some of the cattle are getting a little too gentle in some parts of the world. In Georgia, the state monitors the quality of the milk and the labs have made an interesting discovery. The milk is laced with valium. Alerted to this, other US states and those in Canada have begun testing, and the levels in milk are surprisingly high. The stresses of modern living have been driving the growth in the consumption of antidepressants and other drugs for controlling anxiety. Valium has been on the market the longest time. Humans have been popping the tablets and recycling the “waste products” back into the environment for decades. This means the drugs are now in the rivers and the underground water used for irrigation. They are also sprayed directly on to field as fertilizer. Valium has the highest concentration. When the cows contentedly ruminate on the problem, it enters their milk and then reappears on our tables. Well, apart from taking a valium to stop worrying about the problem (or should that be, simply drinking more milk), there’s almost nothing that can be done about it. The whole system we city dwellers have built for dealing with human waste depends on processing and then releasing the “safe” outflow and sludge into the environment again. None of us want to see our taxes rise to redesign or replace our sewage plants. So, all I can ask is that we all use fewer pills. I like my milk and prefer it free from valium. And the same goes for the yoghurt, butter, cheese and anything else made from the milk of animals. And don’t forget to wash fresh produce thoroughly before using it!

Lawyers – can’t live without them wanting a share of the profits

Sometimes, it seems as if lawyers have been running some cases for decades – in the case of the litigation against the tobacco companies, that would be true. With other drugs, it usually takes less than a decade to reach the final settlement of liability. However, there is one issue that has been rumbling through the courts for more than the magic ten year limit. That involves the combination of phentermine with fenfluramine, sometimes called Fen-phen used to promote weight loss which was withdrawn from the market in 1997. We should be very clear about the safety of phentermine on its own. This has been FDA approved since the 1950s and its record for safety and effectiveness has always been accepted without question. But, there were problems when it was combined. This month has seen a jury in Philadelphia dismiss a tort case alleging that Fen-phen caused Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH). This is a disease of the blood vessels inside the lungs and it is always fatal. The problem faced by every plaintiff is the need to prove that whatever the defendant did or did not do caused the plaintiff’s injury. When it comes to a disease or physical disorder, there is sometimes no clear scientific explanation of how people catch the disease or fall victim to the disorder. People have been suffering from diseases of the blood vessels within the lungs, and leading into and out of the heart, since the Dawn of Time. There is no convenient moment that plaintiffs can point to. Before this time, there was no Fen-phen and no PPH. A year after the introduction of Fen-phen, the first cases of PPH were diagnosed among those taking the drug combination. Without such evidence, it is difficult to prove that taking this drug rather than having this lifestyle was the cause of the problem. In this case, the deceased was morbidly obese and a heavy smoker for twenty-five years. The jury obviously preferred those choices as the cause of lung disease. Just to confirm you can buy phentermine with confidence. There has never been any suggestion that phentermine on its own has ever caused such physical problems. It is good to see that, albeit by association, phentermine has also been cleared in almost every case brought before a court alleging PPH from the use of the Fen-phen combination. Weight loss medications get a bad press sometimes. In this case, it’s all good news from the courts.

Teeth whitening or tooth bleaching methods.

A lot of people have heard something about teeth whitening but they don’t know all the facts about it. This keeps them from possibly benefiting by whitening their teeth. In regard to teeth whitening, here are a number of facts you need to know.

1. Lots of people do not realize that there are teeth whitening methods at various cost levels. You don’t have to continue being embarrassed because of your stained or discolored teeth. The choices for teeth whitening range from the easy and affordable dental strips to the very costly treatments of dental whitening. With a bit of research, you should be able to find a method that you can afford and that you have time for in your schedule.

2. If you have concerns regarding safety, you will be happy to learn that the teeth whitening methods used most often, such as the ones that use peroxide, are quite safe. In some instances, temporary discomfort may occur, including gum irritation or sensitive teeth. The cause of gum irritation is usually a poorly fitting tray and not the whitening procedure itself. Above all, any pain will only last a little while and you will soon feel better. Its effectiveness and safety is also recognized by the American Dental Association.

3. In case you are wondering whether teeth whitening is worth the cost and inconvenience, let me assure you that there are many benefits. Perhaps the most important benefit is the instant effect on a person’s social confidence. Experience has shown that people who previously had stained or discolored teeth became greatly more self-confident. In addition, it is also beneficial for those who think their ugly smiles cause them to be less attractive to people of the opposite sex. A bit of discomfort and expense are small prices to pay for being able to smile without embarrassment.

4. It is true that a few people might be uncomfortable after a basic teeth whitening process. Minimizing this discomfort is quite possible. If you have a problem with teeth sensitivity, then the best thing you can do is take a break in between procedures. However, if you are still having a certain amount of sensitivity, you might try using toothpaste that is made for sensitive teeth. If you are continuing to have pain because of the tray, then you should wear it for shorter amounts of time. Although it will increase the time for the completion of the procedure, it will decrease the amount of discomfort.
5. You can obtain results with home treatments that are similar to results obtained in dental office treatments. It has been proven that you will get the same results whether you have your teeth whitened at a dentist’s office or you use the teeth whitening kit at home. The main difference will be the amount of time required to achieve the results. By going to the dentist, you can see good results within one or two visits, while using the home whitening kit will normally take 1 or 2 weeks before you see any results. But performing a home treatment is much more cost effective than the professional treatment.

6. Sadly, teeth whitening will not last for ever. Results usually last from 6 months to a year; following this time period, you must have more treatments if you want your teeth to remain white. The amount of time it will last will totally depend on your personal habits, such as smoking, chewing tobacco, etc. The effects of the dental office teeth whitening treatment will last a lot longer than the dental whitening strips or other cheaper treatments. However a lot people save money with home treatment whitening kits because once they have the tray, they only have to purchase the gel.
7. Many people believe that they can maintain white teeth if they scrub very hard with a hard bristled toothbrush. This does not work at all. In fact, it can actually harm your teeth by wearing away the enamel on your teeth. The layer below the enamel is known as dentin and is usually yellow or brown; this is not the color that you want your teeth to be!

8. The toothpastes claiming they can whiten your teeth are barely effective. They have mild abrasive and polishing agents which will help to remove the surface stains and thereby lighten your teeth one shade. They do nothing for severely stained or discolored teeth. The whitening claim is mainly hype.
9. A lot of teeth staining occurs because of some food products such as soy sauce that have dark pigments. Cherries and other berries can also stain the teeth. Coffee, tea, cola, and cranberry juice are some of the beverages that can stain the teeth. A very good way to keep your teeth from being stained is to use a straw when you drink any kind of staining beverage and brush your teeth as soon as possible.
10. You should be very careful of home teeth whitening remedies which others have recommended. Check these out in depth before giving them a try. Although they might be natural, using acidic products can cause the calcium in teeth to be eaten away. Some believe if you rub lemon juice or lemon peels on your teeth it will help to whiten them. The acid in the lemon can pull the calcium from the teeth and cause tooth decay to occur much faster.