Avoid Childhood Poisoning Overview

Afraid your child may have been poisoned? Follow these important steps

by Doreen Nagle

What to Look For

Fearing that your little one has been accidentally poisoned can raise the hairs on even the most laid-back parent’s neck. Arming yourself with valuable information about treatment and prevention is the best way to protect your inquisitive youngster.

Although the statistics can be frightening, every parent should know that:

According to SafeKids.org, more than 1.2 million children ages 5 and under are unintentionally poisoned each year.
While most childhood poisonings are not serious enough to require emergency medical treatment, you should always call your local Poison Control Center if you have any doubts about what your child was exposed to or ingested.
Poisonings do not occur only by ingestion (swallowing something poisonous that gets into the digestive tract). Inhalation (breathing in) or coming into contact with a toxic material through the skin can be equally harmful.Samuel Gultom
If you didn’t see your toddler eat, inhale, or touch something poisonous, but feel that she may have been poisoned, how can you tell?

Be suspicious and look for these signs: 

  • excessive drooling,
  • burns around the mouth,
  • vomiting,
  • sudden nausea,
  • acting cranking or
  • sleepy (more so than normal), or
  • complaining of burning in the throat.

Call for emergency help (911) if your child is unconscious, having difficulty breathing, convulsing, or showing other severe symptoms.

Make sure to call your local Poison Control Center if:

  • Clothing has been contaminated by a toxin. Remove the poison by putting on gloves to protect yourself.
  • The eyes or skin have come in contact with a poisonous substance. Flush the affected area with lukewarm water for 10 to 15 minutes. Use warm soapy water on skin; ask your child to continually blink if you are rinsing an eye.
  • Your child has breathed in a suspected poisonous fume. Immediately move her to fresh air or open doors and windows.
  • If your child does not display any severe symptoms, it is still a good idea to call the Poison Control Center or your pediatrician and find out how best to proceed. Be prepared to calmly relate, in as much detail as possible, what you think happened or what you saw (“I think my child swallowed some bleach. I don’t think it could have been more than a teaspoonful.”).


Here’s what you’ll need to do next:

  • Give your child’s weight, age, and any other medical condition the dispatcher needs to know.
  • Keep the container or other offending material with you while you are on the telephone. You may need to read ingredients or describe a smell, color, texture, etc.
  • Follow the directions given to you by the dispatcher exactly.
  • Ask how long it should take to see an improvement in your child. If there is no change in your child’s condition within the allotted time, call back or get the child to the emergency room.

Childproofing Tips

To prevent an accidental poisoning in your home, it’s important to be vigilantly proactive:

Always have the phone number for the Poison Control Center readily available. The universal number for Poison Control is (800) 222-1222. Make a label with this phone number for each telephone in your house.
Post this article in a prominent place so that family members, babysitters, and other in-home childcare givers and visitors know what to do in an emergency.
Keep all poisons and anything you remotely suspect of being potentially poisonous out of children’s reach.
Be sure that your home is adequately childproofed or babyproofed. Confused as to where to start? Try these ideas to get you on the road to a safer home environment:

  • Put childproof locks on cabinets, even those too high for a curious toddler to reach. Children can sometimes figure out how to open these locks.
  • Keep the following items under lock and key: pesticides, household cleaning products, drain cleaners, medications (throw out-of-date medicines away), wax, alcohol, paint, paint thinner, and adult vitamins.
  • Buy products with childproof caps and make sure you close them tightly.
  • Never store any tempting looking but harmful product near food.
  • Never induce vomiting in your child by any method unless so directed by a medical professional. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends that syrup of ipecac no longer be used at home by parents or caregivers, and that parents should not keep this in their homes.

What You Can Do

  • Teach your children not to eat mushrooms they find outside the house, such as in your backyard or in a sandbox. “Eating any mushroom collected outdoors should be considered dangerous,” says the California Poison Control System.
  • Never mix two household cleaners together until you determine if the combination could be poisonous. Did you know that the fumes from chlorine bleach mixed with ammonia or toilet bowl cleaners are toxic?
  • Keep your child away from chores where you use furniture polish, pool chlorine, oven cleaner, nail polish remover, or anything else that smells foul. If it smells bad, chances are it is a no-no. Keep windows open when using these items.
  • Ask at your local nursery which plants and plant-care products are harmful to children (and pets).
  • When you buy toddler art supplies or other child versions of adult products, be sure they are labeled non-toxic.
  • Keep all harmful or potentially harmful products in their original containers in the event you need to read the ingredients list to a medical professional. Never rely on the label’s first aid advice; it may not be accurate.
  • Help your kids understand what’s dangerous and what’s not in your house. Just as you point out electrical outlets as too dangerous to touch, do the same with potential household toxins (and just as you cap those outlets, lock cabinets, keep household cleaners out of reach, and so on). And when your child is old enough, be sure to teach her how and when to dial 911.

source : Baby Health

sponsored: Ace Maxs



Ginkgo Biloba Overview

Ginkgo biloba

Overview:
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is one of the oldest living tree species and its leaves are among the most extensively studied herbs in use today. In Europe and the United States, ginkgo supplements are among the best-selling herbal medications. It consistently ranks as a top medicine prescribed in France and Germany.

ginkgo biloba tree
Ginkgo has been used in traditional medicine to treat blood disorders and enhance memory. Scientific studies throughout the years have found evidence that supports these claims. Although not all studies agree, ginkgo may be help treat dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease) and intermittent claudication, or poor circulation in the legs. It also shows promise for enhancing memory in older adults. Laboratory studies have shown that ginkgo improves blood circulation by dilating blood vessels and reducing the stickiness of blood platelets.
Ginkgo leaves contain two types of chemicals (flavonoids and terpenoids) believed to have potent antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are substances that scavenge free radicals — compounds in the body that damage cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. Free radicals are believed to contribute to health problems including heart disease and cancer as well as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Antioxidants such as those found in ginkgo can help neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.

Plant Description:
Ginkgo biloba is the oldest living tree species. A single tree can live as long as 1,000 years and grow to a height of 120 feet. It has short branches with fan-shaped leaves and inedible fruits that produce a strong odor. The fruit contains an inner seed, and there has been a report of a human poisoning from ingesting the seed. Ginkgos are tough, hardy trees and are sometimes planted along urban streets in the United States.
Although Chinese herbal medicine has used both the ginkgo leaf and seed for thousands of years, modern research has focused on the standardized Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE), which is made from the dried green leaves. This standardized extract is highly concentrated and seems to be more effective in treating health problems (particularly circulatory ailments) than the non-standardized leaf alone.

What’s It Made Of?:
More than 40 components from the ginkgo tree have been identified, but only two are believed to act as medicine: flavonoids and terpenoids. Flavonoids are plant-based antioxidants. Laboratory and animal studies have shown that flavonoids protect the nerves, heart muscle, blood vessels, and retina from damage. Terpenoids (such as ginkgolides) improve blood flow by dilating blood vessels and reducing the stickiness of platelets.

Medicinal Uses and Indications:
Based on studies conducted in laboratories, animals, and humans, ginkgo is used for the following:
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
Ginkgo is widely used in Europe for treating dementia. It was first used because it improves blood flow to the brain. Now further study suggests it may directly protect nerve cells that are damaged in Alzheimer’s disease. A number of studies have found that ginkgo has a positive effect on memory and thinking in people with Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia.
Clinical studies suggest that ginkgo may have the following benefits for people with Alzheimer’s disease:
• Improvement in thinking, learning, and memory (cognitive function)
• Improvement in activities of daily living
• Improvement in social behavior
• Fewer feelings of depression
Several studies have found that ginkgo may work as well as prescription Alzheimer’s medications in delaying the symptoms of dementia.
However, one of the longest and best-designed studies found ginkgo was no better than placebo in reducing Alzheimer’s symptoms. In a 2008 study, 176 people in the United Kingdom with Alzheimer’s took either ginkgo or placebo for 6 months. At the end of the study there was no difference in mental function or quality of life between the groups.
Ginkgo is sometimes suggested to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well, and some studies have suggested it might be helpful. But in 2008, a well-designed study (the GEM study) with more than 3,000 elderly participants found the ginkgo was no better than placebo in preventing dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Intermittent Claudication
Because ginkgo improves blood flow, it has been studied in people with intermittent claudication, or pain caused by reduced blood flow to the legs. People with intermittent claudication have a hard time walking without feeling extreme pain. An analysis of eight studies revealed that people taking ginkgo tend to walk about 34 meters farther than those taking placebo. In fact, ginkgo has been shown to be as effective as a prescription medication in improving pain-free walking distance. However, regular walking exercises work better than ginkgo in improving walking distance.

Glaucoma
One small study found that people with glaucoma who took 120 mg of ginkgo daily for 8 weeks had improvements in their vision.
Memory Enhancement
Ginkgo is widely touted as a “brain herb.” It has been studied to see whether it can improve memory in people with dementia, and some studies found it did help. It’s not as clear whether ginkgo helps memory in healthy people who have normal, age-related memory loss. Some studies have found slight benefits, while other studies have found no effect on memory. The most effective dose seems to be 240 mg per day. Ginkgo is commonly added to nutrition bars, soft drinks, and fruit smoothies to boost memory and enhance mental performance, although it’s unlikely that such small amounts of ginkgo would work.

Macular Degeneration
The flavonoids found in ginkgo may help stop or lessen some retinal problems — problems with the back part of the eye. Macular degeneration, often called age-related macular degeneration or ARMD, is an eye disease that affects the retina. It is a progressive, degenerative eye disease that tends to affect older adults and is the number one cause of blindness in the United States. Some studies suggest that ginkgo may help preserve vision in those with ARMD.

Tinnitus
Nerve damage and certain blood vessel disorders can lead to tinnitus — ringing, hissing, or other sound in the ears or head. Because ginkgo improves circulation, it has been studied to see whether it can treat tinnitus. A few poorly designed studies found it might reduce the loudness of the sound. However, a well-designed study including 1,121 people with tinnitus found that ginkgo was no better than placebo in relieving tinnitus symptoms. In general, tinnitus is a very difficult problem to treat.
Raynaud’ s Phenomenon
One well-designed study found that people with Raynaud’ s phenomenon who took ginkgo over a 10-week period had fewer symptoms than those who took placebo. More studies are needed.

ginkgo biloba leaf
Available Forms:
• Standardized extracts containing 24 – 32% flavonoids (also known as flavone glycosides or heterosides) and 6 – 12% terpenoids (triterpene lactones)
• Capsules
• Tablets
• Liquid extracts (tinctures, fluid extracts, glycerites)
• Dried leaf for teas
How to Take It:
Pediatric
Ginkgo is not generally used in children.
Adult
Initial results often take 4 – 6 weeks, but should grow stronger beyond that period.
Memory impairment and cardiovascular function: Generally, 120 mg daily in divided doses, standardized to contain 24 – 32% flavone glycosides (flavonoids or heterosides) and 6 – 12% triterpene lactones (terpenoids). If more serious dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is present, up to 240 mg daily, in 2 or 3 divided doses, may be necessary.
Intermittent claudication: 120 – 240 mg per day
Precautions:
The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain components that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a health care provider qualified in the field of botanical medicine.
Ginkgo usually has few side effects. In a few cases, stomach upset, headaches, skin reactions, and dizziness were reported.
There have been a number of reports of internal bleeding in people who take ginkgo. However, it’ s not clear whether the bleeding was due to ginkgo or some other reasons, such as a combination of ginkgo and blood-thinning drugs. Researchers aren’ t sure, because different studies have found different results. You should ask your doctor before taking ginkgo if you also take blood-thinning drugs.
If you take ginkgo, you should stop taking it at least 36 hours before surgery or dental procedures due to the risk of bleeding. Tell your doctor or dentist that you take ginkgo.
People who have epilepsy should not take ginkgo, because there is concern that it might cause seizures.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take ginkgo.
People who have diabetes should ask their doctor before taking ginkgo.
Do not eat Ginkgo biloba fruit or seed.

Possible Interactions:
Ginkgo may interact with some prescription and non-prescription medications. If you are taking any of the following medications, you should not use ginkgo without first talking to your health care provider:
Medications metabolized by the liver — Ginkgo can interact with some medications that are processed through the liver. If you take any prescription medications, ask your doctor before taking ginkgo.
Seizure medications (anticonvulsants) — High doses of ginkgo could make drugs to control seizures, such as carbamazepine (Tegretol) or valproic acid (Depakote), less effective.
Antidepressants — Taking ginkgo along with a kind of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may increase the risk of serotonin syndrome, a potentially fatal condition. Ginkgo may strengthen both the good and bad effects of antidepressant medications known as MAOIs, such as phenelzine (Nardil). SSRIs include:
• Citalopram (Celexa)
• Escitalopram (Lexapro)
• Fluoxetine (Prozac)
• Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
• Paroxetine (Paxil)
• Sertraline (Zoloft)
Medications for high blood pressure — Ginkgo may lower blood pressure, so taking it with blood pressure medications may cause blood pressure to drop too low. There has been a report of an interaction between ginkgo and nifedipine (Procardia), a calcium channel blocker used for blood pressure and arrhythmias.
Blood-thinning medications — Ginkgo may raise the risk of bleeding, especially if you take blood-thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), and aspirin.
Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) — Like ginkgo, the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) ibuprofen also raises the risk of bleeding. There has been bleeding in the brain reported when using a ginkgo product and ibuprofen.
Medications to lower blood sugar — Ginkgo may raise or lower insulin levels and blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, you should not use ginkgo without first talking to your doctor.
Cylosporine — Ginkgo biloba may help protect the cells of the body during treatment with the drug cyclosporine, which suppresses the immune system.
Thiazide diuretics (water pills) — There is one report of a person who took a thiazide diuretic and ginkgo developing high blood pressure. If you take thiazide diuretics, ask your doctor before taking ginkgo.
Trazodone — There is one report of an elderly Alzheimer’s patient going into a coma after taking ginkgo and trazodone (Desyrel), an antidepressant medication.
Alternative Names:
Fossil tree; Kew tree; Maiden hair tree
• Reviewed last on: 12/13/2010
• Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

Source: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/ginkgo-biloba-000247.htm#ixzz2FevfiMcd
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Sammy Page Stephan Page



Asian Ginseng

Asian Ginseng

This fact sheet provides basic information about the herb Asian ginseng—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Asian ginseng is native to China and Korea and has been used in various systems of medicine for many centuries. Asian ginseng is one of several types of true ginseng (another is American ginseng, Panax quinquefolius). An herb called Siberian ginseng or eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is not a true ginseng.

Common Names—Asian ginseng, ginseng, Chinese ginseng, Korean ginseng, Asiatic ginseng Latin Name—Panax ginseng What It Is Used For Treatment claims for Asian ginseng are numerous and include the use of the herb to support overall health and boost the immune system.

Traditional and modern uses of ginseng include:

* Improving the health of people recovering from illness

* Increasing a sense of well-being and stamina, and improving both mental and physical performance

* Treating erectile dysfunction, hepatitis C, and symptoms related to menopause

* Lowering blood glucose and controlling blood pressure How It Is Used The root of Asian ginseng contains active chemical components called ginsenosides (or panaxosides) that are thought to be responsible for the herb’s medicinal properties.The root is dried and used to make tablets or capsules, extracts, and teas, as well as creams or other preparations for external use.

Samuel Gultom - Ginseng

What the Science Says

* Some studies have shown that Asian ginseng may lower blood glucose.Other studies indicate possible beneficial effects on immune function.

* To date, research results on Asian ginseng are not conclusive enough to prove health claims associated with the herb. Only a handful of large clinical trials on Asian ginseng have been conducted.

* Most studies have been small or have had flaws in design and reporting.

* Some claims for health benefits have been based only on studies conducted in animals.

* NCCAM supports studies to better understand the use of Asian ginseng. Areas of recent NCCAM-funded research include Asian ginseng’s interactions with other herbs and drugs and the herb’s potential to treat chronic lung infection, impaired glucose tolerance, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Side Effects and Cautions

* When taken by mouth, ginseng is usually well tolerated. Some sources suggest that its use be limited to 3 months because of concerns about the development of side effects.

* The most common side effects are headaches and sleep and gastrointestinal problems.

* Asian ginseng can cause allergic reactions.

* There have been reports of breast tenderness, menstrual irregularities, and high bloodpressure associated with Asian ginseng products, but these products’ components were not analyzed, so effects may have been due to another herb or drug in the product.

* Asian ginseng may lower levels of blood sugar; this effect may be seen more in people withdiabetes. Therefore, people with diabetes should use extra caution with Asian ginseng, especially if they are using medicines to lower blood sugar or taking other herbs, such as bitter melon and fenugreek, that are also thought to lower blood sugar.

* Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

Sources

Ginseng, Asian (Panax ginseng). In: Coates P, Blackman M, Cragg G, et al., eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary supplements.New York, NY: Marcel Dekker; 2005:265-277. Ginseng, Panax. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Accessed at http://www.naturaldatabase.com on July 2, 2007. Ginseng. Natural Standard Database Web site. Accessed at http://www.naturalstandard.com on June 28, 2007. Ginseng root. In: Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckman J, eds. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2000:170-177. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Hepatitis C and Complementary and Alternative Medicine: 2003 Update. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Web site. Accessed at http://nccam.nih.gov/health/hepatitisc/ on July 9, 2007. For More Information Visit the NCCAM Web site at nccam.nih.gov and view: • What’s in the Bottle? An Introduction to Dietary Supplements at nccam.nih.gov/health/bottle/ • Herbal Supplements: Consider Safety, Too at nccam.nih.gov/health/supplement-safety/ NCCAM Clearinghouse Toll-free in the U.S.: 1-888-644-6226 TTY (for deaf and hard-of-hearing callers): 1-866-464-3615 E-mail: info@nccam.nih.gov CAM on PubMed Web site: nccam.nih.gov/camonpubmed/ NIH Office of Dietary Supplements Web site: www.ods.od.nih.gov NIH National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus Ginseng Listing: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-ginseng.html This publication is not copyrighted and is in the public domain. Duplication is encouraged.



Vitamin

Vitamins are essential nutrients that contribute to a healthy life. Although most people get all the vitamins they need from the foods they eat, millions of people worldwide take supplemental vitamins as part of their health regimen.

Why Buy Vitamins?

There are many good reasons to consider taking vitamin supplements, such as over-the-counter multivitamins. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), a doctor may recommend that you take them:

  • for certain health problems
  • if you eat a vegetarian or vegan diet
  • if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Vitamin Facts

Your body uses vitamins for a variety of biological processes, including growth, digestion, and nerve function. There are 13 vitamins that the body absolutely needs: vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate). AAFP cites two categories of vitamins.

  • Water-soluble vitamins are easily absorbed by the body, which doesn’t store large amounts. The kidneys remove those vitamins that are not needed.
  • Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed into the body with the use of bile acids, which are fluids used to absorb fat. The body stores these for use as needed.

Develop a Vitamin Strategy

It is important for consumers to have an overall strategy for how they will achieve adequate vitamin intakes. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advises that nutrient needs be met primarily through consuming foods, with supplementation suggested for certain sensitive populations.

These guidelines, published by the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), provide science-based advice to promote health and to reduce risk for chronic diseases through diet and physical activity. They form the basis for federal food, nutrition education, and information programs.

Barbara Schneeman, Ph.D., Director of FDA’s Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements, says, “The Guidelines emphasize that supplements may be useful when they fill a specific identified nutrient gap that cannot or is not otherwise being met by the individual’s intake of food.” She adds, “An important point made in the guidelines is that nutrient supplements are not a substitute for a healthful diet.”

Special Nutrient Needs

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, many people consume more calories than they need without taking in recommended amounts of a number of nutrients. The Guidelines warn that there are numerous nutrients—including vitamins—for which low dietary intake may be a cause of concern. These nutrients are:

  • calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, and vitamins A (as carotenoids), C, and E (for adults)
  • calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E (for children and adolescents)
  • vitamin B-12, iron, folic acid, and vitamins E and D (for specific population groups).

Regarding the use of vitamin supplements, the Dietary guidelines include the following:

  • Consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages within and among the basic food groups. At the same time, choose foods that limit the intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt, and alcohol.
  • Meet recommended nutrient intakes within energy needs by adopting a balanced eating pattern, such as one of those recommended in the USDA Food Guide or the National Institute of Health’s Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan.
  • If you’re over age 50, consume vitamin B-12 in its crystalline form, which is found in fortified foods or supplements.
  • If you’re a woman of childbearing age who may become pregnant, eat foods high in heme-iron and/or consume iron-rich plant foods or iron-fortified foods with an iron-absorption enhancer, such as foods high in vitamin C.
  • If you’re a woman of childbearing age who may become pregnant or is in the first trimester of pregnancy, consume adequate synthetic folic acid daily (from fortified foods or supplements) in addition to food forms of folate from a varied diet.
  • If you are an older adult, have dark skin, or are exposed to insufficient ultraviolet band radiation (such as sunlight), consume extra vitamin D from vitamin D-fortified foods and/or supplements.

How Vitamins are Regulated

Vitamin products are regulated by FDA as “Dietary Supplements.” The law defines dietary supplements, in part, as products taken by mouth that contain a “dietary ingredient” intended to supplement the diet.

Listed in the “dietary ingredient” category are not only vitamins, but minerals, botanicals products, amino acids, and substances such as enzymes, microbial probiotics, and metabolites. Dietary supplements can also be extracts or concentrates, and may be found in many forms. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 requires that all such products be labeled as dietary supplements.

In June 2007, FDA established dietary supplement “current Good Manufacturing Practice” (cGMP) regulations requiring that manufacturers evaluate their products through testing identity, purity, strength, and composition.

Risks of Overdoing It

As is the case with all dietary supplements, the decision to use supplemental vitamins should not be taken lightly, says Vasilios Frankos, Ph.D., Director of FDA’s Division of Dietary Supplement Programs.

“Vitamins are not dangerous unless you get too much of them,” he says. “More is not necessarily better with supplements, especially if you take fat-soluble vitamins.” For some vitamins and minerals, the National Academy of Sciences has established upper limits of intake (ULs) that it recommends not be exceeded during any given day.

(For more information, visit http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=6432#toc)

source : Everyday Health



Laugh Is A Better Medicine

I always laughs,,,even I enjoy it… My Dad always tell me that laugh is a better medicine,,,so if I laughs,,I’ve got a better medicine.. It will strenght my heart, and give me a fresh simulation in my body.. Well,, I lauhghs louder and fell free for my self,, after all I am just a little baby..

Of course I am crying too,,, that’s natural isn’t it… nothing wrong with crying… at night, that the time I used to cry… there are so many reason to make me cry,,, pissing, bite by ant, mosquito or when I feel sad if I haven’t found my parent beside me,,,

He,, he,, he,,, fell free at any time by laughing…………….

Laughter is the universal language that symbolizes joy or happiness and often a response to something amusing. The expression of laughter can range from sounds of loud vocal outburst to quiet chuckles that involve facial and bodily movement. Is there good medicine in laughter? If you are spiritual, you may have read in Proverbs 17:22 that: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed or angry spirit dries up the bones”

How can you cheer an angry person? Case Situation: You have a wife who is angry, or mad, to the point that she refuses to talk, (my wife has been this angry on some occasions). If you are concerned about the social and health consequences of her anger, making her laugh might be the best medicine to loosen tension and initiate the dialogue that would erase the anger and later restore health for the family. What can you do in the above case situation? Try the “incongruity theory of laughter”; which states that people laugh when they observe things appear together, that do not normally go well together. Example: with the angry wife, the “incongruity theory of laughter can be applied like this: in a surprise mood, show-up at the dinner table wearing her nightgown (if it fits) and insist on keeping it on till the end of the dinner; – husband in wife’s nightgown! two things that are not expected together. This will likely generate a big laugh. Based on the same theory, you may also try this: put a piece of masking tape over your reading glasses, walk to the dinner table and pretend to read an interesting newspaper article to your angry wife, and children if applicable (masking tape over reading glasses- two things that normally do not appear or expected together; this can also generate a big laugh or chuckle that can loosen the angry wife’s tension. You should thereafter discuss the cause of the anger, and lo and behold, will reap the emotional-health benefit of laughter.

How does laughter lead to good health? Laughter helps us release negative emotions, which when held inside may cause biochemical changes that produce illness. Situations that stimulate laughter differ from one culture to another; hence situation and event that produce laughter in one culture might be offensive in another culture.

Are there interesting research findings about laughter? Yes!, and here is a list: less than 20% of laughter is related to jokes; people are more likely to laugh in groups than when alone; women laugh more often than men; most laughter is in the context of regular conversation, rather than in attempts to stimulate laughs; Speakers laugh more than listeners; males are leading producers of humor; females are the leading laughers; laughter produces activities in cells that attacks viruses and tumor cells, hence frequent laughers are healthier than frequent frowners; it takes 72 muscles to frown and 14 to laugh, hence laughers look younger than frowners; bad feelings lead to bad habits, people with bad feelings frown more and laugh less; people who look at the bright side of things, laugh more often and are healthier; laughing is contagious; those who laugh or smile, make others laugh or smile.

What are other benefits of laugher? Reduction of stress hormones and stress-like symptoms; decrease risk for blood clots, heart attack and stroke; improve immune system to fight off infections; lowered blood pressure and prevention of hypertension; improves respiration, due to the large volume of air exchanged in the laughing process (it is an internal workout); prevention of life-threatening illnesses, and improved circulation which enables the body to look healthier and younger.

What are social and psychological health benefits of laughter? Laughter is a social glue (improves bonding), those who laugh more attract more friends in their lives; improves communications and closeness (people like to be around those who can make them laugh, since laughing lubricates conversation); serves as channel for harmless release of emotions; provides other perspectives in tough times, and increases socialization and enhances communication

How can you make yourself to laugh more often? Practice the three Rs:

  1. Remind yourself to look for something humorous in your life and from others;
  2. Remember the humor when it occurs; and
  3. Retell what happened to someone else.

Individuals who are more relaxed and spontaneous, laugh more, cause the most laughs, are more creative, and often have more friends; they are also healthier, live longer, and also more likely to have healthier marriages. Note: Situations that produce laughter differ from culture to culture, hence as you practice the three Rs, to enjoy “the good medicine” in laughter, try to be culturally sensitive, and never, never make fun of others by laughing at them.

The “Good Medicine” in Laughter
by Youmasu J. Siewe, Ph.D, MPH.

Samuel Gultom and Nathan

Sammy Page

Laughter is a key component of a happy life and it has powerful physical and mental benefits. No matter what you’re facing, you can learn to laugh and benefit from its healing ways.

Funny movies, sitcoms, cute toddlers, and a good friend’s jokes can all offer one of the most powerful, natural stress relievers out there: laughter. “I think one of the best things is that laughter increases your sense of humor,” says Lynda Tourloukis, a certified laughter teacher based in Park Ridge, Ill. A motivational speaker and life coach, Tourloukis says she became interested in the healing benefits of laughter after she and her husband spent a weekend chuckling and guffawing at a seminar offered by the Humor Project, an organization that focuses on “the positive power of humor.” Now she trains other laughter teachers and has become a personal laughter advocate.

The Benefits of Laughter
The benefits of a good laugh are wide-ranging and can include protection from emotional issues like depression and improving the health of your heart. Here’s what experts know about the health benefits of laughter:

  • Mental health benefits. Although you probably can’t laugh off depression, one of the many benefits of laughter and a sense of humor is that they buffer you against the negatives of life that could lead to depression. As an added bonus, studies show that people who use humor to fight stress also feel less lonely and more positive about themselves.
  • Physical benefits. Although we can’t yet say that a certain number of laughs every day will keep the doctor away, studies show that people who say they laugh a lot also tend to be in good health and generally feel well. Laughter is also one of the most commonly used complementary therapies among cancer patients, who find that one of the benefits of laughter is an improved quality of life.
  • Heart health benefits. Laughter could be healthy for your heart, too. Some research shows that when you laugh, there is an increase in oxygen-rich blood flow in your body, possibly due to the release of endorphins, which create a chemical rush that counters negative feelings and stress. Activities that increase endorphins include a good workout and listening to music you love, and laughter deserves its place on the list with these other stress busters.

Building Laughter Into Your Life
Loving the benefits of laughter but don’t feel like laughing? Sometimes you have to make a conscious effort to laugh. If you’re facing tough times such as a tight budget, work stress, or an illness like cancer, it may help to learn techniques to bring the benefits of laughter into your life. You can try the old stand-by recommendations:

  • Rent a funny movie, read a funny book, or watch a funny sitcom.
  • Spend time with an amusing buddy.
  • Look on the light side: Go places that help you remember good times that have made you laugh in the past.

Or you can join the “laughter movement” to learn about the benefits of laughter while fighting stress:

  • Practice laughter yoga. This specialized combination of yoga breathing techniques and exhalation creates a self-induced “laugh” that provides all the benefits of laughter rooted in humor. You can include this practice in your day by adding a little “ha ha ha” when you shake hands or introduce yourself — to fellow laughter fans, of course! Check out Laughter Yoga International for more information.
  • Find a laughter group. “It’s always my recommendation to get together with other people to laugh. It’s a little hard to laugh alone, unless you have practiced it,” Tourloukis says. At Laughter Yoga International you can search over 6,000 social laughter clubs around the world to find one closest to you.
  • Have a “woohoo!” Tourloukis hosts a free daily laughter call that is only 20 minutes long and ends with a laugh-inducing “woohoo!” But she says anytime you look at the clock, if it’s 20 minutes past the hour, your own “Woohoo!” will help bring a smile to your face.

Any day is a good day to start laughing more, but if you need a more significant date to get started with this goal, pencil it in for the first Sunday of May, World Laughter Day.

Source : Madeline Vann, MPH
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How TV Affects Our Kids

Samuel Gultom  Always Watching Cartoon

Samuel Gultom Always Watching Cartoon

Most kids plug into the world of television long before they enter school. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF):

* two-thirds of infants and toddlers watch a screen an average of 2 hours a day
* kids under age 6 watch an average of about 2 hours of screen media a day, primarily TV and videos or DVDs
* kids and teens 8 to 18 years spend nearly 4 hours a day in front of a TV screen and almost 2 additional hours on the computer (outside of schoolwork) and playing video games

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids under 2 years old not watch any TV and that those older than 2 watch no more than 1 to 2 hours a day of quality programming.

The first 2 years of life are considered a critical time for brain development. TV and other electronic media can get in the way of exploring, playing, and interacting with parents and others, which encourages learning and healthy physical and social development.

As kids get older, too much screen time can interfere with activities such as being physically active, reading, doing homework, playing with friends, and spending time with family.

Of course, television, in moderation, can be a good thing: Preschoolers can get help learning the alphabet on public television, grade schoolers can learn about wildlife on nature shows, and parents can keep up with current events on the evening news. No doubt about it — TV can be an excellent educator and entertainer.

But despite its advantages, too much television can be detrimental:

* Children who consistently spend more than 4 hours per day watching TV are more likely to be overweight.
* Kids who view violent acts are more likely to show aggressive behavior but also fear that the world is scary and that something bad will happen to them.
* TV characters often depict risky behaviors, such as smoking and drinking, and also reinforce gender-role and racial stereotypes.

Children’s advocates are divided when it comes to solutions. Although many urge for more hours per week of educational programming, others assert that no TV is the best solution. And some say it’s better for parents to control the use of TV and to teach kids that it’s for occasional entertainment, not for constant escapism.

That’s why it’s so important for you to monitor the content of TV programming and set viewing limits to ensure that your kids don’t spend too much time watching TV.

Violence

To give you perspective on just how much violence kids see on TV, consider this: The average American child will witness 200,000 violent acts on television by age 18. Kids may become desensitized to violence and more aggressive. TV violence sometimes begs for imitation because violence is often promoted as a fun and effective way to get what you want.

Many violent acts are perpetrated by the “good guys,” whom kids have been taught to emulate. Even though kids are taught by their parents that it’s not right to hit, television says it’s OK to bite, hit, or kick if you’re the good guy. This can lead to confusion when kids try to understand the difference between right and wrong. And even the “bad guys” on TV aren’t always held responsible or punished for their actions.

Young kids are particularly frightened by scary and violent images. Simply telling kids that those images aren’t real won’t console them, because they can’t yet distinguish between fantasy and reality. Behavior problems, nightmares and difficulty sleeping may be a consequence of exposure to media violence.

Older kids can also be frightened by violent depictions, whether those images appear on fictional shows, the news, or reality-based shows. Reasoning with kids this age will help them, so it’s important to provide reassuring and honest information to help ease fears. However, consider not letting your kids view programs that they may find frightening.

Risky Behaviors

TV is full of programs and commercials that depict risky behaviors such as sex and substance abuse as cool, fun, and exciting. And often, there’s no discussion about the consequences of drinking alcohol, doing drugs, smoking cigarettes, and having premarital sex.

For example, studies have shown that teens who watch lots of sexual content on TV are more likely to initiate intercourse or participate in other sexual activities earlier than peers who don’t watch sexually explicit shows.

Alcohol ads on TV have actually increased over the last few years and more underage kids are being exposed to them than ever. A recent study by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) found that youth exposure to alcohol ads on TV increased by 30% from 2001 to 2006.

And although they’ve banned cigarette ads on television, kids and teens can still see plenty of people smoking on programs and movies airing on TV. This kind of “product placement” makes behaviors like smoking and drinking alcohol seem acceptable. In fact, kids who watch 5 or more hours of TV per day are far more likely to begin smoking cigarettes than those who watch less than the recommended 2 hours a day.

Obesity

Health experts have long linked excessive TV-watching to obesity — a significant health problem today. While watching TV, kids are inactive and tend to snack. They’re also bombarded with ads that encourage them to eat unhealthy foods such as potato chips and empty-calorie soft drinks that often become preferred snack foods.

Studies have shown that decreasing the amount of TV kids watched led to less weight gain and lower body mass index (BMI — a measurement derived from someone’s weight and height).

Commercials

According to the AAP, kids in the United States see 40,000 commercials each year. From the junk food and toy advertisements during Saturday morning cartoons to the appealing promos on the backs of cereal boxes, marketing messages inundate kids of all ages. And to them, everything looks ideal — like something they simply have to have. It all sounds so appealing — often, so much better than it really is.

Under the age of 8 years, most kids don’t understand that commercials are for selling a product. Children 6 years and under are unable to distinguish program content from commercials, especially if their favorite character is promoting the product. Even older kids may need to be reminded of the purpose of advertising.

Of course, it’s nearly impossible to eliminate all exposure to marketing messages. You can certainly turn off the TV or at least limit kids’ watching time, but they’ll still see and hear advertisements for the latest gizmos and must-haves at every turn.

But what you can do is teach kids to be savvy consumers by talking about the products advertised on TV. Ask thought-provoking questions like, “What do you like about that?,” “Do you think it’s really as good as it looks in that ad?,” and “Do you think that’s a healthy choice?”

Explain, when kids ask for products advertised, that commercials and other ads are designed to make people want things they don’t necessarily need. And these ads are often meant to make us think that these products will make us happier somehow. Talking to kids about what things are like in reality can help put things into perspective.

To limit kids’ exposure to TV commercials, the AAP recommends that you:

  • Have your kids watch public television stations (some programs are sponsored — or “brought to you” — by various companies, although the products they sell are rarely shown).
  • Record programs — without the commercials.
  • Buy or rent children’s videos or DVDs.

TV and Baloon

TV and Baloon

Understanding TV Ratings and the V-Chip

Two ways you can help monitor what your kids watch are:

  1. TV Parental Guidelines. Modeled after the movie rating system, this is an age-group rating system developed for TV programs. These ratings are listed in television guides, TV listings in your local newspaper, and on the screen in your cable program guide. They also appear in the upper left-hand corner of the screen during the first 15 seconds of TV programs. But not all channels offer the rating system. For those that do, the ratings are:
    • TV-Y: suitable for all children
    • TV-Y7: directed toward kids 7 years and older (kids who are able to distinguish between make-believe and reality); may contain “mild fantasy violence or comedic violence” that may scare younger kids
    • TV-Y7-FV: fantasy violence may be more intense in these programs than others in the TV-Y7 rating
    • TV-G: suitable for a general audience; not directed specifically toward kids, but contains little to no violence, sexual dialogue or content, or strong language
    • TV-PG: parental guidance suggested; may contain an inappropriate theme for younger kids and contains one or more of the following: moderate violence (V), some sexual situations (S), occasional strong language (L), and some suggestive dialogue (D)
    • TV-14: parents strongly cautioned — suitable for only kids over the age of 14; contains one or more of the following: intense violence (V), intense sexual situations (S), strong language (L), and intensely suggestive dialogue
    • TV-MA: designed for adults and may be unsuitable for kids under 17; contains one or more of the following: graphic violence (V), strong sexual activity (S), and/or crude language (L)
  2. V-chip (V is for “violence”). This technology lets you block TV programs and movies you don’t want your kids to see. All new TV sets that have screens of 13″ or more now have internal V-chips, and set-top boxes are available for TVs made before 2000. The V-chip allows you to program your TV to display only appropriately rated shows — blocking out other, more mature shows.
    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires that V-chips in new TVs recognize the TV Parental Guidelines and the age-group rating system and block those programs that don’t adhere to these standards.

For many, the rating system and V-chip may be valuable tools. But there is some concern that the system may be worse than no system at all. For example, research shows that preteen and teen boys are more likely to want to see a program if it’s rated MA (mature audience) than if it’s PG (parental guidance suggested). And parents may rely too heavily on these tools and stop monitoring what their kids are watching.

Also, broadcast news, sports, and commercials aren’t rated, although they often present depictions of violence and sexuality. The rating system also doesn’t satisfy some family advocates who complain that they fail to give enough information about a program’s content to allow parents to make informed decisions about whether a show is appropriate for their child.

So even if you’ve used the V-chip to program your TV or a show features the age-group ratings, it’s still important to preview shows to determine whether they’re appropriate for your child and turn off the TV if they’re not.

Teaching Good TV Habits

Here are some practical ways to make TV-viewing more productive in your home:

  • Limit the number of TV-watching hours:
    • Stock the room in which you have your TV with plenty of other non-screen entertainment (books, kids’ magazines, toys, puzzles, board games, etc.) to encourage kids to do something other than watch the tube.
    • Keep TVs out of bedrooms.
    • Turn the TV off during meals.
    • Don’t allow kids to watch TV while doing homework.
    • Treat TV as a privilege to be earned — not a right. Establish and enforce family TV viewing rules, such as TV is allowed only after chores and homework are completed.
  • Try a weekday ban. Schoolwork, sports activities, and job responsibilities make it tough to find extra family time during the week. Record weekday shows or save TV time for weekends and you’ll have more family togetherness time to spend on meals, games, physical activity, and reading during the week.
  • Set a good example by limiting your own TV viewing.
  • Check the TV listings and program reviews ahead of time for programs your family can watch together (i.e., developmentally appropriate and nonviolent programs that reinforce your family’s values). Choose shows that foster interest and learning in hobbies and education (reading, science, etc.).
  • Preview programs before your kids watch them.
  • Come up with a family TV schedule that you all agree upon each week. Then, post the schedule in a visible area (e.g., on the refrigerator) so that everyone knows which programs are OK to watch and when. And make sure to turn off the TV when the “scheduled” program is over instead of channel surfing.
  • Watch TV together. If you can’t sit through the whole program, at least watch the first few minutes to assess the tone and appropriateness, then check in throughout the show.
  • Talk to kids about what they see on TV and share your own beliefs and values. If something you don’t approve of appears on the screen, you can turn off the TV, then use the opportunity to ask thought-provoking questions such as, “Do you think it was OK when those men got in that fight? What else could they have done? What would you have done?” Or, “What do you think about how those teenagers were acting at that party? Do you think what they were doing was wrong?” If certain people or characters are mistreated or discriminated against, talk about why it’s important to treat everyone fairly, despite their differences. You can use TV to explain confusing situations and express your feelings about difficult topics (sex, love, drugs, alcohol, smoking, work, behavior, family life).
  • Talk to other parents, your doctor, and teachers about their TV-watching policies and kid-friendly programs they’d recommend.
  • Offer fun alternatives to television. If your kids want to watch TV but you want to turn off the tube, suggest that you all play a board game, start a game of hide and seek, play outside, read, work on crafts or hobbies, or listen and dance to music. The possibilities for fun without the tube are endless — so turn off the TV and enjoy the quality time together.

source : KidHealth

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Regards,

Samuel Gultom
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SPIRULINA

What Is Spirulina

In its commercial use, the common name, Spirulina, refers to the dried biomass of the cyanobacterium, Arthrospira platensis, and is a whole product of biological origin. The source strain, cultivated by producers in the United States was obtained from the University of Texas at Austin Algae Culture Collection (UTEX). This strain, designated UTEX 1926, was originally isolated from an alkaline salt flat near Del Mar, California, by R. Lewin in 1969.
In its taxonomic use, Spirulina is a name used to describe mainly two species of Cyanobacteria, A. platensis and A. maxima, that are commonly used as food, dietary supplement, and feed supplement. These and other Arthrospira species were once classified by Geitler who combined all species forming helical trichomes into a  single genus, Spirulina. Before Geitler, Gomont had in fact placed the two genera as separate on the basis of the presence of septa or divisions in the trichomes, the Spirulina species being without septa and the Arthrospira species with septa. Recent
detailed studies of morphological, physiological, and biochemical examination of representatives of these genera have shown that these two genera are distinctively different and that the edible forms commonly referred to as Spirulina platensis have little in common with other much smaller species such as Spirulina major. This distinction has also been borne out by results from the complete sequence of the 16S rRNA gene and the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) between the 16S and 23S rRNA genes determined for two Arthrospira strains and one Spirulina strain showing that
the two Arthrospira strains formed a close cluster distant from the Spirulina strain.

The various Arthrospira species found in nature and in culture collection appear to be very closely related. Scheldeman et al. carried out an ARDRA (Amplified Ribosomal DNARestriction Analysis on the ITS of 37 cultivated clonal strains from four continents. The data showed that all these strains were closely related. Only two different major restriction patterns were discernible defining two clusters, I and II, with two strains from cluster I falling in a small subcluster. No clear relationship could be observed between this division into two clusters and the geographic
origin of the strains, their designation in the culture collection, or their morphology.
Subsequent studies by Baurain et al., using amplification and determination of the full ITS, also showed a remarkable conservation of the ITS sequences of 21 of the 37 Arthrospira clonal strains from the four continents and assigned to four different species (A. platensis, A. maxima, A. fusiformis, A. indica) in the culture collections.
Using 28 morphological characters or character states, Mühling et al. have also found these strains to be grouped into two loose clusters. It is therefore evident that these strains are very closely related and the assignment of binomial is therefore difficult at this stage of our knowledge of their taxonomy. It should be pointed out that the name Spirulina is used commonly as a name of commerce and will continue to be used since many companies have devoted a lot of
money in the marketing of Arthrospira with the trade name of Spirulina.

This page will use these names interchangeably with the understanding that all the edible forms that are under commercial cultivation and sold as “Spirulina” actually belong to the Genus Arthrospira. The botanical nomenclature is also used often because Spirulina and Arthrospira are considered plants (blue-green algae) by botanists who look at the photosynthetic ability of these organisms as a major determinant of their classification. However, the most recent comprehensive treatise on the subject identifies Arthrospira as follows:

Phylum BX. Cyanobacteria
Subsection III. (formerly Order Oscillatoriales)
Form-genus I. Arthrospira

Morphological Features

Arthrospira (Spirulina) species show great plasticity in morphology. This is attributed to environmental factors like temperature and other physical and chemical factors and possibly also due to genetic change. In nature and in culture, Arthrospira forms helical trichomes of varying size and degree of coiling from tightly coiled morphology to an
even straight uncoiled form. The trichomes in Arthrospira species show distinct transverse cross-walls under the light microscope. The filaments are solitary and reproduce by binary fission. The cells of the trichomes are broader than long and the width can vary from 3 to 12 μm though it can reach 16 μm occasionally. The cell organization
is that of a typical prokaryote with a lack of membrane-bound organelles.

Evolutionary History

The cyanobacteria are believed to have evolved 3.5 billion years ago. Fossils discovered in the 3.5-Ga-old Apex chert in northwestern Western Australia bear filamentous cyanobacteria with strikingly similar morphologies to  resent-day filamentous cyanobacteria (Oscillatoriacea). The occurrence of aerobic respiration and oxygenic photosynthesis, photosynthetic carbon dioxide fixation like that of extant cyanobacteria, cell division more similar to the extant cyanobacterial and recent rRNA analyses showing that the Oscillatoriacea are among the earliest evolved also lend further evidence to the fossil record. Arthrospira belongs to the Class Oscillatoriacea and therefore has a very old lineage. Despite their old lineage, the fossil cyanobacteria are morphologically very similar to their extant forms, suggesting a slow evolutionary process.
The cyanobacteria are the first group of bacteria that evolved that could fix atmospheric carbon dioxide into organic carbon compounds using water as an electron donor and thereby evolving oxygen. We owe the present oxygen-rich environment partially to the millions of years of photosynthetic activity by Cyanaobacteria that made it possible for other life forms that are oxygen dependent to evolve. Indeed it is this same ability to fix carbon dioxide and produce organic matter that we are  presently utilizing in the mass cultivation of these organisms for food.

Distribution In Nature

Species of the genus Arthrospira have been isolated from alkaline brackish and saline waters in tropical and subtropical regions. Among the various species included in the genus Arthrospira, A. platensis is the most widely distributed and is mainly found in Africa but also in Asia. Arthrospira maxima is believed to be found in California and
Mexico. It should be noted that the taxonomic distinction between these two species is based mainly on ultrastructural and morphological differences, some of which are hardly a distinctive feature in view of the morphological elasticity of these species under different growth and stress conditions. The recent 16s rRNA sequence data on 52 strains collected from various regions have revealed only two clusters with species from the various geographical areas represented in both clusters.

History Of Human Use As Food

Algae, especially the macroalgae, have been used as food since prehistoric times and still play a prominent role in the food traditions of many countries, particularly in Asia. The use of microalgae as food is fairly recent. Jasby cites numerous examples of traditional use of microalgae as food spanning over four continents though the majority of the cases are from Asia as in the case of seaweeds or macroalgae.
The first recorded history of the use of Arthrospira (Spirulina) as food comes from Bernal Diaz del Castillo, a member of Hernan Cortez’s troops who reported in 1521 that Spirulina maxima (A. maxima) was harvested from Lake Texcoco, dried, and sold for human consumption in a Tenochtitlan (today Mexico City) market. Bernal Diaz de Castillo described what he saw in the market as “… small cakes made from some sort of a ooze which they get out of the great lake, and from which they make a bread having a flavor something like cheese.” A few years later a Franciscan friar, Bernardino da Sahagun, described the food, then called Tecuitlatl, as “neither grass nor earth, rather like hay … of clear blue color … .” There was no mention of Tecuitlatl after the sixteenth century, though perhaps not surprisingly, the first commercial production of Spirulina started in Lake Texcoco in the 1970s. An interesting description of the
history of Spirulina during the Aztec civilization is given by Farrar.
The present Republic of Chad in Africa, about 10,000 km away from Lake Texcoco, provides additional evidence for the use of Spirulina as food. People have probably being using it for centuries, though it is not clear exactly since when. The recent historical evidence goes back to 1940 when the French phycologist, Dangeard published a paper about a cake called “dihe” and consumed by people of the Kanembu tribe, near Lake Chad in Africa. This report, which stayed unnoticed until the 1960s, described dihe as “a true filamentous, spiral shaped blue alga.” The alga described
was Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis that was also known to Dangeard to grow abundantly in the East African Rift Valley lakes where they represented the main source of food for the lesser flamingoes. Dihe was rediscovered 25 years later in 1966 by J. Leonard, who was attracted by a “curious substance green bluish, sold as dried biscuits” around Fort Lamy. Leonard confirmed that dihe was composed almost exclusively of dried mats of S. platensis (A. platensis). It was collected from the waters of the alkaline lakes in the Kanem area, northeast of Lake Chad. Arthrospira
still makes a large portion of the daily protein diet of the Kanembu tribe in the Lake Chad area and contributes significantly to the local economy. It was at about the same time that the French Petroleum Institute got interested in some samples of Spirulina (S. maxima) that grew abundantly in Lake Texcoco near Mexico City. The subsequent studies by the French group culminated in the establishment of the first commercial production of Spirulina in the world in the 1970s.

Spirulina Production: Nature To Nature

Most of the information that is used to grow Spirulina in outdoor culture is derived from observations made on natural blooms of these algae in natural lakes. Of special significance is their adaptation to highly alkaline (up to 400 meq/l) and very high pH (up to 11) of tropical and subtropical regions of the world. This harsh chemical environment
essentially prohibits the growth of other algae. It is therefore not uncommon to find almost unialgal populations of Arthrospira in these lakes. The crater lakes around the Great African Rift Valley are good examples of these. These lakes support high-standing crops of Spirulina (up to 2.0 g Chl a l−1) and support huge populations
of flamingoes . It is estimated that adult and juvenile flamingoes consume on the average about 66 g of Spirulina per day on a dry weight basis. This means that the whole flamingo population, about a million individuals at the time, extracted 50–94% of the daily primary production or 0.4–0.6% of the algal biomass.
The productivity of these natural ecosystems has not been studied to any great extent. However, there have been some studies looking into photosynthetic productivity (Belay, unpublished). On the basis of these studies some of these soda lakes are among the most productive natural systems. The photosynthetic productivity
reported for these lakes is the highest ever recorded for any natural systems and are comparable to those observed in some waste treatment ponds or mass culture facilities. The values of 43–57 g m−2 d−1 recorded by Talling for Lake Arenguadie in Ethiopia are among the highest ever recorded for natural systems. Comparable
values have also been recorded recently for this same lake (Belay, unpublished).
The high productivity of these soda lakes is a result of (a) high algal contents in the euphotic zone, (b) high photosynthetic capacity favored by high temperature, and (c) a surplus of dissolved inorganic phosphate and an especially huge reserve of CO2. Maximal photosynthetic rates (mg C l−1 h−1) and photosynthetic efficiency
(mg C [mg Chl a]−1 h−1) obtained at light saturation in a continuous culture replete with nutrients were comparable to those obtained in these highly productive lakes.23 Aerial biomass concentrations (mg Chl a m−2) for Lakes Arenguadie and Kilole have been found to be close to the maximum possible on theoretical grounds
(180–300 mg Chl a m−2).

Source : Spirulina In Human Nutrition and Health, CRC Press


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Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids

A mother’s weight may have lasting effects not just on her own health but on the respiratory health of her children as well.

“Children with asthmatic parents are at an increased risk of asthma if the mother is overweight before pregnancy,” said H.A. Smit, head of the department of prevention and health services research at the National Institute of Public Health and Environment in the Netherlands.

In fact, Smith and his fellow researchers found that the risk of asthma is 65 percent higher among the offspring of overweight mothers if one or both of the child’s parents have a history of the disease.

Smit was to present the findings Tuesday at the American Thoracic Society’s annual meeting in San Diego.

As many as 20 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma, about 9 million of them children, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Despite advances in treatment, asthma is still responsible for about 5,000 deaths each year in the United States, it says.

Not all children born to parents with asthma go on to develop the airway disease. That happens about 40 percent of the time, the academy reports.

Because the exact causes of asthma are not clear, researchers have looked at a number of factors that might contribute to its development, including maternal smoking, the child’s environment and more.

Smit’s study sought to assess whether a mother’s weight before pregnancy could affect a child’s risk for asthma. The study included nearly 4,000 children, who were followed from birth to 8 years of age.

The mothers in the study averaged 30 years old, and almost 21 percent were overweight — which the researchers defined as have a body mass index higher than 25 — before becoming pregnant.

Children were considered to have asthma if their parents reported that they’d had at least one attack of wheezing or shortness of breath or had needed inhaled corticosteroids in the previous year. About 14 percent of the children had asthma by age 8.

The researchers adjusted the data to account for confounding factors, such as maternal education, mode of delivery, maternal smoking during pregnancy, duration of breast-feeding, birth weight and the child’s current weight, according to Smit.

Although they found no association between maternal weight in children born to parents without asthma, children born to parents with asthma who also had an overweight mother had a 65 percent increased risk of developing asthma.

Though the study was not designed to determine why being overweight might affect a child’s risk for asthma, Smit theorized that inflammation could be the connection between the conditions. That’s because obesity can encourage inflammation, and inflammation is at the root of asthma.

Dr. Jennifer Appleyard, chief of allergy and immunology at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, said that “we don’t know exactly what causes or contributes to asthma, but it does look like there are some things that occur in utero that could affect the child later.”

But, she said, it may not be the fact that mothers are overweight. It could be something that they’re eating that’s affecting their children. It’s just not clear from this study, she said, adding that that more research needs to be done.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on the causes of asthma.

Source: Everyday Health
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Handling Stress in the New Millennium

Communicating with friends, family, and professionals, as well as making healthy lifestyle choices, will help allay anxiety. So will realizing that you are not alone in feeling stressed.

Though we may go about our everyday lives in different ways, we all have one thing in common — stress. Whether it is the anxiety of work, family, finances, or personal fulfillment, too much stress can lead to serious physical and mental health problems.

When challenges arise, you can prevent stresses from taking their toll on your health by following simple, positive ways of coping. Here are some tips from mental health experts for dealing with the everyday issues that arise in these turbulent times:

  • Plan ahead. Lay out a strategy for what you would do if you were laid off or if you found you couldn’t pay your mortgage or other bills. “It’s always better to have a plan,” says Edward M. Hallowell, MD, author of Connecting/Worry in the Workplace, and CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked and About to Snap! and founder of the Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health in Sudbury, Mass. “Even if the plan doesn’t work, it makes you feel more in control. The worst kind of stress is when you feel you have no control. Having a plan to deal with whatever the issue is makes you feel less vulnerable.”
  • Talk it out. Never worry alone, Dr. Hallowell says. “Hold onto your human connections. Stay in touch with your friends and family. Stay in touch with the people you can confide in and brainstorm solutions for your troubles with them.” Becoming isolated will only make matters worse, he says. Najavits adds that joining support groups, either online or in person, may help you focus on what you can do about your situation and see what has worked for others.
  • Get a reality check. Make sure you get all the facts, Hallowell says. Very often, peoples’ worries are based on misinformation or rumors and gossip. You may be worrying over nothing. Go to the source and get the information you need to make solid decisions.
  • Live a healthy lifestyle. Many people drown their sorrows in food or unhealthy behaviors such as drinking or smoking. Some people lose sleep when they’re distraught, Hallowell says, but it is important to get enough sleep. Eating right and getting regular physical exercise can go a long way in relieving daily stress, Najavits agrees.
  • Reflect on your situation. In addition to talking with others, look within, Najavits says. “Try to get a sense of what’s behind your feelings. If you’re feeling angry, hopeless, panicky, or anxious, ask yourself, ‘How did I get here?’ Own up to what you did and what you had no control over. If you figure out what got you where you are, you can begin to look forward and figure out what to do next.”
  • Find faith. Studies have shown that daily prayer and/or meditation can be major stress reducers, Hallowell says.
  • Seek out professionals. If it’s money matters that have you up nights, you may need the advice of credit counselors or financial planners. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your emotions, you might want to speak to a psychologist or psychiatrist who can help you through your difficult time.

Many people are feeling stressed by the news of the day and the challenges of modern life. But you can prevent family and workplace stresses from taking their toll on you if you follow simple, yet healthy ways of coping. Most importantly, communicate with those who can help you.

“At the top of the list is the human connection,” Hallowell says. “You always come up with better ideas and you feel more balanced if you hold onto relationships and make sure you talk about what’s on your mind.”

This section created and produced exclusively by the editorial staff of EverydayHealth.com. © 2009 EverydayHealth.com; all rights reserved.

Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH


Herbal Medicine Products

Echinacea

Echinacea is widely used throughout Europe for the prevention and treatment of colds and other upper respiratory tract infections. A recent Cochrane review of 16 clinical trials has reported that the overall results suggest that some products may have an effect greater than placebo, but that overall the results were inconclusive

Garlic

Numerous studies and systematic reviews have investigated the effects of garlic preparations in lowering raised serum cholesterol concentrations (see Garlic). Generally, the studies report beneficial results for garlic. However the evidence at present is insufficient to recommend garlic as routine treatment for hypercholesterolaemia. One of the major problems in assessing the evidence available on garlic is the wide variation in the chemical composition of the products available, compared with fresh garlic. Further controlled studies are needed using standardised preparations to investigate efficacy in reducing serum lipids, blood pressure, platelet aggregation and antimicrobial activity (see Garlic).

Ginger

Some clinical studies have reported ginger to be an effective prophylactic against motion sickness, although subsequent studies have found ginger to be ineffective (see Ginger).

Ginkgo

Ginkgo is widely used in France and Germany in authorised herbal medicinal products for the treatment of circulatory insufficiencies (peripheral and cerebral). Currently, no licensed herbal medicinal products containing ginkgo are available in the UK.

Several systematic reviews have been carried out analysing the available evidence on the effects of ginkgo in cerebral insufficiency, dementia, tinnitus and intermittent claudication (see Ginkgo). Overall the results suggest some beneficial effects, but further studies are needed.

Ginseng

Ginseng is widely renowned for its adaptogenic properties in Eastern countries, where it is used to help the body cope with stress and fatigue, and to promote recovery from illness or imbalance such as hypertension or hypoglycaemia. Generally, it is only recommended to be used for certain individuals with specific illnesses. By comparison, in the UK, ginseng is mainly self–administered and taken in the form of tablets or capsules containing dried extracts of the root. Ginseng products available in the UK are sold as food supplements, often in combination with vitamins and minerals. A wealth of research describing a wide range of pharmacological activities, particularly on the hypothalamic and pituitary regions of the brain, has been documented for ginseng (see Ginseng, Eleutherococcus).

Saw palmetto

Saw palmetto is widely used in Europe, particularly in Germany, for symptoms associated with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). In the UK, saw palmetto is licensed in a number of products for the symptomatic relief of short–term, male urinary discomfort. Results of clinical trials indicate that saw palmetto is a potential agent for the symptomatic treatment of BPH (see Saw Palmetto).

Valerian

Valerian is widely used in Europe for nervous tension and for promoting sleep. The therapeutic indications proposed by the EMEA HMPWP include relief of temporary, mild nervous tension and temporary difficulty in falling asleep.(19) A systematic review of randomised, double–blind, placebo–controlled trials of valerian reported inconsistencies in methodology between studies, and that the evidence for efficacy was inconclusive (see Valerian). It is unclear whether the active principles in valerian are associated with the volatile oil, the iridoid components termed valepotriates or with some other, as yet unidentified, group of constituents.

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