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Thursday, December 25, 2008

All you need to know: Treating dry skin

Fair-skinned individuals are more likely to have dry skin, especially as they age.
To have healthy skin, a balance of oil and moisture is crucial. Skin glands secrete oil, which lubricates the surface of the skin. Moisture is the water carried to skin cells through the blood stream. The water present in skin cells keeps them youthful-looking and healthy.

Skin cells need sufficient amounts of water along with enough oil to act as a shield and prevent the excess evaporation of moisture from the top layers of the skin.

There are two types of dry skin -- simple dry skin results from a lack of natural oils and is common among women under the age of 35; complex dry skin results from the lack of both oil and moisture and is usually associated with aging.

Characterized by fine lines, brown spots, discolorations, enlarged pores, and sagging skin, complex dry skin may also stem from the damage caused by prolonged sun exposure to skin proteins -- elastin, collagen and keratin.

Dry skin tends to be dull-looking and flaky and readily develops fine lines and wrinkles. Unless some type of moisturizer or skin cream is applied, it usually feels tight and uncomfortable after washing.

Dry skin is most common on areas of the body that are exposed, such as the face and hands. Chapping and cracking especially in winter are signs of extremely dry and dehydrated skin.

Aloe vera has excellent soothing, healing and moisturizing properties.
Poor nutrition, cosmetics, excessive bathing with harsh soaps, and environmental factors -- including exposure to sun, wind and cold -- as well as chemicals can cause or aggravate dry skin. Vitamin A and B deficiencies can also contribute to the condition.

Most skins tend to become thinner and drier with age. Fair-skinned individuals are more likely to have dry skin, especially as they age.

Dry skin can also be the result of hormonal imbalance, underactive thyroid, diabetes, dermatitis, eczema and several hereditary skin conditions.

Diuretics, antispasmodics and antihistamines can also contribute to dry skin.

What to do to avoid having dry skin:

A balanced diet that includes fruits, grains, seeds, nuts, and vegetables --especially yellow and orange vegetables as they are high in beta-carotene a precursor of vitamin A -- can help prevent dry skin.

Coconut oil has skin-softening properties and prevents wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Include cod liver oil -- a good source for vitamins A and D -- in your diet. Vitamin A deficiency can cause the skin on the hands and feet to become scaly.

Sulfur helps keep the skin smooth and youthful; therefore, include in your diet plenty of sulfur-rich foods, such as onions, garlic eggs and asparagus.

To keep the skin hydrated, drink approximately 2 liters of water every day.

Try to avoid indulging in soft drinks, or eating sugar, chocolate, potato chips and other junk foods. Avoid fried foods and animal fats.

Try to avoid alcohol and caffeine as they have a diuretic effect and cause the body to lose fluids and essential minerals.

Avoid smoking and secondh and smoke. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, depriving the skin of the oxygen and nutrients it needs for good health. Smoking also involves the repetition of certain facial expressions which eventually turn into permanent wrinkles around the mouth. Smoking can also result in leathery skin.

By applying a facial mask once a week, dry cells can be removed from the skin surface, resulting in clearer and healthier-looking complexion.
Sun exposure can damage the skin and causes dryness, wrinkles, rashes and blisters. Stay out of the sun as much as possible. Always use a good sunscreen on all areas exposed to the sun.

To reduce the amount of moisture lost from the skin through evaporation, use a humidifier to humidify your environment -- particularly in winter.

Do not use very hot water when bathing or showering.

Remove dead skin cells from the face at least once a week with a loofa sponge and hot water.

To keep your skin from drying out, moisturize it after cleansing. Do not use solid, waxy moisturizing creams.

Remove dry surface skin cells and clarify the skin by using a facial mask once a week.

Fresh borage leaves have enlivening, revitalizing and nourishing properties.
Increase your water and essential fatty acid intake if your skin is dry and chapped. Lubricate and protect chapped areas from the elements.

Herbal tips for healthier skin:

Coco butter is a good skin cream which can help reduce wrinkles.

Coconut oil softens the skin and prevents wrinkles and other signs of aging.

Grapeseed oil has regenerative properties and helps control skin moisture. It is good for severe dry skin and reputedly reduces stretch marks.

RoseHip oil has regenerative properties. It helps prevent premature skin aging. It can be used to treat dry skin as well as for reducing wrinkles, stretch marks and skin discoloration.

Avocado oil is rich in Vitamin A and is beneficial for extremely dry skin.

A loofa sponge and hot water should be used to remove dead skin cells from the face at least once a week.
Castor oil is a traditional skin softener. To treat aggravated dry skin in winter, add ten drops of rosemary or sandalwood essential oil to half a cup of castor oil to make bath oil. Add one teaspoon of this mixture every time you bathe.

Sweet almond oil is rich in vitamins A and B and essential fatty acids. It is an excellent choice for softening the skin and treating eczema and dry skin.

Olive oil is an ideal moisturizing oil used for treating dry and chapped skin.

Topically applied aloe vera has excellent soothing, healing and moisturizing properties.

Calendula and comfrey have skin-softening properties. Comfrey can reduce redness and soothe irritated skin.

Avocado oil is rich in Vitamin A and is good for treating extremely dry skin.
Fresh borage leaves are considered to have enlivening, revitalizing and nourishing properties. To prepare borage tea, make an infusion of borage leaves and flowers in boiling water.

Chamomile tea can be used to soothe several skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema.

Spraying on Lavender water as a body mist throughout the day can help replenish lost moisture. To make lavender water, add a few drops of lavender essential oil to half a cup of distilled water or make an infusion of fresh lavender leaves and flowers.
courtesy : By Hedieh Ghavidel  presstv, Tehran

Saturday, December 20, 2008

1 daripada 4,000 bayi alami penyakit ganjil

Rare Disorders

Rare disorders including those of genetic origin, are life threatening of chronically debilitating diseases which are of such low prevalence that special combined efforts are needed to address them. As a guide, low prevalence is taken as a prevalence of less than 1 per 4000 in the community.


Penyakit ganjil atau "jarang dijumpai" kini melanda satu dalam 4,000 bayi yang dilahirkan di negara ini, kata penasihat penyakit genetik Hospital Universiti Malaya, Dr Juliana Lee.

Terdapat beribu-ribu jenis penyakit ganjil dan ubat untuk merawatnya sukar didapati atau terlalu mahal, tambahnya.

"Antara penyakit jarang jumpa ialah tulang rapuh, distrofi otot Duchenne (DMD), Sindrom Prader-Wille (PWS), dan penyakit metabolik," katanya kepada Bernama hari ini.

Beliau berkata penyakit jarang jumpa merupakan penyakit genetik yang boleh mengakibatkan kematian atau membantutkan pertumbuhan kanak-kanak daripada segi fizikal dan mental.

"Susahnya penyakit ini selalunya tidak dapat dikesan pada awal kelahiran.

"Ada penyakit yang hanya dapat dikesan setelah kanak-kanak itu berumur empat atau lima tahun, contohnya penyakit PWS, apabila kanak-kanak terbabit membesar dan mengalami defek pada otot dan fungsi badan yang lain, sehingga terpaksa menggunakan kerusi roda," Juliana dipetik berkata.

Menurut agensi berita itu lagi, dalam kebanyakan kes, ramai pesakit terutamanya kanak-kanak meninggal dunia akibat kelewatan mengesan penyakit dan mendapatkan rawatan yang sewajarnya.

Persatuan Penyakit Jarang Jumpa Malaysia (Malaysian Rare Disorders Society) berusaha meningkatkan kesedaran ibu bapa dan malah doktor agar lebih peka terhadap sebarang simptom ganjil pada bayi yang baru dilahirkan.

Presidennya Datuk Hatijah Ayob berkata persatuan itu ditubuhkan pada 2004 untuk mengumpulkan ibu bapa yang mengalami masalah menjaga bayi sedemikian yang memerlukan sokongan dan khidmat nasihat.

Orang ramai boleh melayari laman web bagi mendapatkan maklumat lanjut.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Attention & Learning Disorders

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sometimes called attention deficit disorder (ADD), involves hyperactivity, difficulty paying attention and a tendency to act impulsively. Learning disorders involve problems with writing, math or reading (the best known of which is dyslexia). Oppositional defiant disorder is a related condition in which children oppose authority.
ADHD: Fast Facts

Reviewed By: Steven A. King, M.D.
  • ADHD is an acronym for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

  • ADHD is a set of chronic conditions marked by an inability to pay attention, hyperactivity and a tendency to engage in impulsive acts.

  • Children with ADHD often struggle academically and may have difficulty establishing friendships and other relationships. As a result, they may develop poor self-esteem.

  • There are three different forms of ADHD that affect children: predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive/impulsive and combined.

  • Predominantly inattentive ADHD is marked by difficulty paying attention.

  • Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive ADHD is marked by difficulty controlling behavior.

  • Combined ADHD combines symptoms of the other two forms of ADHD.

  • Combined ADHD is the most common form of ADHD.

  • Between 3 and 5 percent of school-aged children - or about 2 million children in the United States - have ADHD, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

  • Boys are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, but the condition affects girls as well.

  • The exact cause of ADHD remains unknown.

  • Scientists now believe that changes in brain structure are a leading cause of ADHD.

  • Heredity also appears to play a role in the development of ADHD.

  • Poor parenting or disruptions at home or school cannot cause ADHD, although they may exacerbate the condition.

  • Diagnosis of AHD usually involves a variety of tests and interviews with parents, teachers and other adults who can describe the child's behavior.

  • Medications called psychostimulant drugs are the most common treatment for ADHD and appear to be extremely effective.

  • Psychotherapy is also helpful, particularly in children who are diagnosed with other disorders associated with ADHD.

  • Specialized learning techniques can help children with ADHD to perform better in school.

  • Parents can help their children to better deal with ADHD by providing additional structure to the child's life and making expectations clear.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Darwin's legacy

Friday, October 31, 2008

Rights of a child

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tobacco-based vaccine to treat cancer

Tue, 22 Jul 2008 21:49:46

American scientists have suggested that a new tobacco-based cancer vaccine can help treat deadly malignancies in the near future.

According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the drug improves the body's immune response, assisting it in fighting tumor cells.

Findings suggest that the drug has shown promising results in treating patients suffering from follicular B-cell lymphoma, a chronic and incurable disease, without any significant side effects.

In the new method, tumor-target genes were cloned from each patient and injected into a virus which naturally attacks tobacco plants. Thereafter, the tobacco plant becomes a 'protein production factor' for producing an antibody chemical.

The study shows that as tumoral cells have specific target genes, each plant can be used to make a personalized vaccine for different patients.

Stanford University Medical Center researchers believe that the vaccine is unsuitable for preventative purposes.

They said that compared to the animal-derived vaccines, the plant-based drug is more effective in improving immune responses and can also be produced quicker and cheaper without the common infection risks associated with animal cells.


More from BBC

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some Mothers do 've 'em - G6PD

1. On Paracetemol (Calpol/Brufen)

Zachary Gassoumis came up with the following responses based primarily on two websites:

Substance to avoid

Drugs & Foodstuff to avoid

1) Paracetamol (a.k.a. acetaminophen) is a low-risk contraindicated substance. I have personally used it in the past without disastrous results, but you should try to avoid this and all other NSAIDs as much as possible.


2) I have never read anything to suggest that nuts are unsafe. But take note that the peanut (a.k.a. groundnut) is actually a legume, not a nut, and is therefore contraindicated for people with G6PD deficiency.

3.Chocolate beans 4.Green beans 5.Chick peas 6.Lentils 7.Legumes

3-7) All legumes are contraindicated for G6PD deficients - see website below for a fairly comprehensive list.

Legumes etc

8. Vitamin C (or oranges/lemons)

8) Natural vitamin C as found in oranges and lemons is perfectly safe, but the synthetic form found in most vitamins (called ascorbic acid) is contraindicated.

9. Folic acid

9) The same is true for folic acid. The natural form (folate) is perfectly safe and found in fruits and vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables). The synthetic form, folic acid, can be hazardous to people with G6PD deficiency - just like most synthetic drugs.

Courtesy : Zachary Gassoumis

Monday, June 23, 2008

'MCKK should be in league of its own'

the Malay College Kuala Kangsar - the Big School

"I am fully aware of the importance of quality, the importance of the education standard in the college be upgraded into world standard so that the tradition of churning out credible national leaders can be continued and the capacity to produce outstanding national heroes at the international arena can be realised," the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, said at the MCKK speech day and prize presentation. . . . . read more c/w comments.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Indian baby 'back from the dead'

BBC News - Thursday, 19 June 2008

Dr Merchant said that the 30-year-old mother of the child - who was seven months pregnant - suffered life threatening convulsions and high blood pressure over the weekend, which required powerful medicines.

He said that that the doctors believed that the baby - who was limp at birth - had no heart beat and no pulse.

But later, when the effect of medicines wore off, Dr Merchant said that the baby "showed attempts to breathe". . . . full news.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Higher education loan no longer tied to savings account

Tuesday June 10, 2008 MYT 10:04:40 PM – StarOnline

PETALING JAYA: The Government will not enforce the minimum savings requirement that was previously compulsory for anyone wanting to obtain a loan from the National Higher Education Fund Corporation.

Previously, parents needed to open a National Education Savings Scheme (SSPN) account in order to qualify for the loan.

“To ease the burden on students wanting to obtain a study loan, the Government has decided that the ruling on compulsory savings would not be enforced this year.

“Those wanting to take a loan need only have a minimum of RM20 in their SSPN account to apply for the loan,” Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said in a statement Tuesday.

Under the minimum savings ruling enforced on Jan 1 this year, parents with a monthly household income of less than RM2,000 must have deposited at least RM500 in their SSPN account to qualify for a loan.

Parents who earn more than RM2,000 monthly must have saved up at least RM3,000.

The SSPN was established in 2004 and was aimed at encouraging parents to save for their children’s education.

The main advantage of the SSPN was that the Government provided a matching grant of up to RM10,000 for parents who earned less than RM2,000 monthly.

Other benefits of the SSPN, which is administered by the corporation, included yearly dividends that were tax-exempt.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Be patient

30-05-2008 10:56:15 AM

MY four-year-old daughter is an introvert. I notice she has problems making friends with other children.

She refuses to go to kindergarten. I have tried sending her to two different kindergartens and a social development class.

They were all futile attempts because she cried and was unco-operative, even though the teachers and kids were nice to her.

Two weeks ago, I sent her to a kindergarten which is within walking distance from our house. I thought she might feel more confident as home is just around the corner. But I was mistaken. After three days, she started crying and shouting. She refused to go to school.

I do not know how to encourage her to join a preschool and mix with other children. I would like her to be more sociable. When I take her to the playground, especially to the slide which she loves most, she will wait until all the other kids have left. Only then will she play on the slide. When other kids come over to join in, she would stop playing and stand by the corner quietly.

I am concerned about this negative behaviour that I see in her.

How do I encourage my daughter to socialise with other children? How do I influence her to love going to school? –

Concerned Mother

Parents worry when their children do not behave as expected. If the parents are extroverts, they may feel uneasy about their children's introvert behaviour. They do not understand why their children prefer to play alone and struggle to remain in groups.

Being shy is hardly a weakness in a child. Your daughter needs more time and patience to adjust in a group.

She may be more observant and cautious in a social setting. When a child is an introvert, she is turned off by large groups and prefers one-to-one contact. This does not mean that she will not learn to participate in group play. You can help her get used to being with other people by having her play with one child at a time.

Before sending her to kindergarten, survey the possibility of setting up play dates with children from her class.

Introverts tend to internalise their thoughts and intentions more than extroverts. They can be imaginative and have stimulating ideas. Unlike their extroverted peers, they don’t blurt out everything; they tend to share their ideas when the time is right for them. They are not anti-social.

To encourage your child to socialise, you must first respect and understand her need for time alone. She will not be the live wire of the group but her quiet nature can have a calming effect on others. Your good intentions can backfire if you constantly push her to play with others.

Accept her behaviour when she stands on the sideline and watch others play. She feels better when she knows you support her unconditionally.

Later when you are alone with her, ask her about her observations. The more she shares with you her findings, the more familiar she gets with the art of socialising.

She will know what are the expectations in a group and how she should behave to be accepted. This will help her to gain courage to join others at the next playground visit. Many four-year-olds find it difficult to transition from home to school. They worry about being away from home and having to deal with strangers.

They are afraid that they may never see their mum and dad again when they are away in school. They have to overcome this fear before they can be happy in school. Before enrolling in a school, take your daughter for a few visits. Let her indicate her readiness before you sign up. Do not be in a hurry to enrol her. Her perception is different from yours. Let her feel secure first before you send her off to school.

Courtesy : RUTH LIEW - mSTAR Online

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Preventing Diabetes With Diet And Exercise

In a Diabetes Special Issue of The Lancet, researchers demonstrate that group-based lifestyle interventions of diet and exercise for a period of six years may prevent or delay diabetes for up to 14 years following the intervention. It is not clear, however, that lifestyle interventions also reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality.

There have been several major clinical trials in various countries that have demonstrated how people with impaired glucose tolerances can reduce their likelihood of diabetes due to lifestyle interventions. Researchers, though, still have questions regarding the length of time after intervention that the strategies remain effective. To investigate this issue, Professor Guangwei Li, (China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Beijing, China), Dr Ping Zhang (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA), and colleagues conducted the China Da Qing Diabetes Prevention Outcome Study (CDQDPOS) - analyzing 20 years of patient follow-up data.

The patients who participated in the study all had impaired glucose tolerance and came from 33 clinics in China. In 1986, the researchers randomly assigned the patients to one of three lifestyle intervention groups (diet, exercise, or diet and exercise) or to the control group. Over a period of six years (until 1992), the patients experienced active intervention, and a 2006 follow-up provided data that would be used to assess the interventions' long-term effects on main outcomes such as diabetes incidence, CVD incidence and mortality, and all-cause mortality.

During the active intervention period, the combined lifestyle intervention group had a 51% reduction in incidence of diabetes compared to participants in the control group. Over the whole 20-year period, this effect was reduced to 43%. Intervention participants had an average annual incidence of new diabetes diagnoses of 7%, compared an 11% rate for control participants. After 20 years, 80% of those in the intervention group had diabetes and 93% of the control group did; intervention group participants suffered 3.6 fewer years with the disease than control group participants. The researchers, however, did not find a significant difference between the intervention and control groups when measuring the rates of first CVD events, CVD mortality and all-cause mortality.

"This study has shown that, in Chinese people with impaired glucose tolerance, group-based interventions targeting lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise produce a durable and long-lasting reduction in incidence of type 2 diabetes...Since around 3 million excess deaths a year are attributable to diabetes worldwide, lifestyle interventions seem to be a justifiable public-health action both in developed and developing nations," conclude the authors.

Dr Jaana Lindström (National Public Health Institute, Helsinki and University of Helsinki, Finland) and Professor Matti Uusitupa (University of Kuopio, Finland) write in an accompanying editorial that, "We propose that lifestyle intervention should start much earlier, when people are normoglycaemic, to achieve true primary prevention of type 2 diabetes and its main consequence, cardiovascular disease. In this regard, both population-based strategies and those targeted at high-risk groups should be applied."

rate icon Editor's Choice
Main Category: Diabetes
Also Included In: Nutrition / Diet; Obesity / Weight Loss / Fitness
Article Date: 23 May 2008 - 0:00 PDT

Monday, May 26, 2008

81 recognized as suicide victims from overwork in 2007

TOKYO — A record of 81 people were recognized as suicide victims due to mental disorders from overwork. . more.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Counseling Gaza's traumatized children

As George Bush concludes his trip to the Middle East in another effort to revive talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Gaza, the small, overcrowded strip of land slides ever deeper into economic catastrophe. Another in The Guardian's film series about life in Gaza, multimedia reporter Clancy Chassay meets those counseling the area's traumatized children

Friday, May 16, 2008

India to America: Eat Less, Fatties

Fast food is on the rise in Bangalore, where the economy is booming

Uriel Sinai / Getty Images

Bush's wording was perhaps simplistic, a point U.S. diplomats have been at pains to rectify as they try to dampen the food fight between the two countries. But Bush was not completely wrong, either. There's no doubt that China and India's growing middle classes are consuming more and different types of food. As people get richer they tend to eat more meat and dairy products, for instance, and that's exactly what's happening in China and India. . read more

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Report Says Basic Medical Care Could Save Lives of 6 Million Children a Year

06 May 2008

A new report says the lives of millions of young children could be saved each year if basic medical care and medicine are made available to the poor. Douglas Bakshian has more from Manila.

The report by the U.S. organization Save the Children says about 10 million children die every year from easily preventable and treatable diseases. About six million of those could be saved with basic services. . . . read more

Monday, May 5, 2008

Malaysia plans women travel curbs

Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Sunday, 4 May 2008 12:57 UK

Malaysian women walk through a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur (file photo)
The proposal has been criticised as impractical and regress

Women's groups in Malaysia have reacted angrily to proposed government restrictions on women travelling abroad on their own.

State media say the plan would require women to obtain written consent from their families or employers.

The Malaysian foreign minister said the move would prevent single women being used by gangs to smuggle drugs.

The proposal follows a review of criminal cases where women had been jailed abroad.


Foreign Minister Rais Yatim said 90% of cases where Malaysian women had been jailed by foreign courts involved drugs.

He told the New Sunday Times newspaper that a compulsory letter of consent to travel alone would enable women's families to make sure they were not being tricked by drug smuggling gangs.

"Many of these women (who travel alone) leave the country on the pretext of work or attending courses and seminars," he said.

"With this declaration, we will know for sure where and for what she is travelling overseas," he said.

Women's groups have expressed outrage at the plan.

The National Council for Women's Organisations said it would infringe women's rights.

Another group, Sisters in Islam, said the proposal was totally ridiculous and regressive, and assumed that women were less capable than men of making their own decisions.

Campaigners have pointed out that letters of permission to travel would be very easy to forge.

In recent years the influence of hardline Islamic groups has been increasing in Malaysia, but it is unclear whether this proposal has any religious motive.

Friday, May 2, 2008

A Blood Test To Predict Menopause

That's what scientists in the Netherlands have done. Reporting in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, they report that a simple blood test, for a hormone called anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), could help women predict when they will enter menopause, and therefore how to set their fertility timetable. "Predicting menopause itself might not be that interesting," admits Dr. Jeroen van Disseldorp, lead author of the study and a fertility specialist at University Medical Center Utrecht. "But menopause is associated with fertility. So, predicting menopause might become more and more important in the future as women continue to delay childbearing." . . . . . read more

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Caffeine and Pregnancy: How Risky?

A pregnant woman sips coffee at the office.

Several studies suggest a link between caffeine consumption and risk of miscarriage. But the cause and effect has never been clear: does caffeine increase a woman's risk of miscarrying, or do women who are already at low risk for miscarriage tend not to drink caffeine? . . . . read more

1 in 4 U.S. Toddlers Improperly Vaccinated

"If children receive vaccines too close together or too early, they're not as likely to be protected, and if you have a lot of that, then you're more likely to have disease outbreaks," Luman said.

One reason for lack of strict adherence to the vaccine schedule may be a fading consciousness among today's parents of what these immunizations are protecting children against. Frenck said he remembers seeing a childhood friend in an iron lung, the result of polio.

"It scared me to death," he said. "Kids these days, and probably most adults, don't even known what an iron lung is -- and that's because of immunization." . . . . read more

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Alternative medicine: Basil

Wed, 16 Jan 2008 22:04:07
By Patricia Khashayar, MD., Press TV, Tehran

Since ancient times, basil has been used to treat diabetes, asthma, heart problems, inflammatory diseases and respiratory ailments.

Botanical: Ocymum basilicum
Family: N.O. Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Synonym: Basilic, basilikum, basilienkraut, tulsi, albahaca, sweet basil


It is native to warm, tropical climates such as Central Africa and Southeast Asia.


Basil is a perennial low-growing herb with light green, silky leaves. Its big white-colored flowers are arranged in terminal spikes.

There are over 60 varieties of basil, each with a specific flavor.

Part Used Medicinally:

Leafy tops.


Basil is an excellent source of dietary fiber, manganese, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and vitamin A, C and K.

It contains high concentrations of carotenoids like beta carotene which are converted to vitamin A in the body. Beta carotene has more benefits than vitamin A alone, and is known to be a powerful antioxidant.

The different scents of various basils are attributed to different essential oils.

Medicinal Uses:

Basil is a traditional treatment for headaches, coughs, diarrhea, constipation, warts, worms, and kidney malfunctions.

Basil has sedative, diuretic, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic and cough-relieving properties and is therefore used to treat coughs, colds, and pharyngeal inflammations.

It is also used as a remedy for chronic gastritis, stomachaches, bronchitis, fever and renal ailments.

Like other aromatic plants such as fennel and tarragon, basil contains estragole, a known carcinogen and teratogen.

Basil's flavonoids protect the cell structures as well as chromosomes against radiation, oxygen-based damage and unwanted bacterial growth.

Its essential oil is believed to be effective in treating special pathogenic bacterial species resistant to antibiotics.

Scientists suggest adding basil and thyme to foods particularly uncooked ones like salads, helps fight against Shigella and the diarrhea secondary to it.

The eugenol component of basil's volatile oils has cyclooxygenase inhibiting enzyme similar to anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

Basil is also a good source of magnesium, which promotes cardiovascular health. It relaxes muscles and blood vessels thereby improving blood flow. It also reduces the risk of irregular heart rhythms.

It can also help stress management.

Basil is a natural beta-carotene source and prevents blood vessel damage and cholesterol build-up. By slowing down the atherosclerosis process it prevents heart attacks and strokes.

Basil is a good remedy for inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel conditions.

By enhancing insulin secretion basil leaves help control blood sugar levels in diabetics.

Basil leaf tea is good for fatigue, insomnia, seizure, painful menstruation and helps treat ringworms.

Fresh basil leaf extract is used to threat insect bites.

Gargling basil leaf tea will help relieve sore gums.

Basil seed has antibacterial and laxative effects.


Diabetics should consult a physician before using basil.

Sweet basil oil has possible carcinogenic effects and should not be used.


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Friday, January 18, 2008

FDA: Cold Medicines Too Risky for Tots

Updated 10 hours 21 minutes ago

(AP) - Parents may be left with only love and lots of liquid to give their sniffling babies and toddlers now that the government is declaring over-the-counter cough and cold medicines too risky for tots. The Food and Drug Administration was issuing that warning Thursday to parents of children under 2.

It's a move expected for months: Drug companies last October quit selling dozens of versions of nonprescription cold remedies targeted specifically to babies and toddlers. That month, the FDA's scientific advisers also voted that the drugs don't work in small children and shouldn't be used in preschoolers, either _ anyone under age 6.

The FDA still hasn't decided if OTC decongestants, antihistamines and cough suppressants are appropriate for older children, officials told The Associated Press. Expect a decision on that by spring, the deadline necessary to notify manufacturers before they begin production for next fall's cold season.

For now, FDA's first official ruling focuses on youngsters under 2, warning that "serious and potentially life-threatening side effects can occur."

FDA is worried that parents haven't gotten that message despite all the publicity last fall. They may still have infant-targeted drugs at home, or they may buy drugs meant for older children to give to tots instead, said Dr. Charles Ganley, FDA's nonprescription drugs chief.

"We still have a concern," Ganley said. "It falls out of people's consciousness. We're still in the middle of cold season right now."

Ganley was particularly struck by recent surveys that suggest many parents don't believe OTC remedies could pose a problem, especially if they've given them to an older child without harm.

Thursday's move is a good first step, said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Baltimore's health commissioner. He petitioned the FDA last year to end use of nonprescription cold remedies by children under 6, a move backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The reason: There's no evidence that these oral drugs actually ease cold symptoms in children so young _ some studies suggest they do no good at all. And while serious side effects are fairly rare, they do occur. Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year reported that more than 1,500 babies and toddlers wound up in emergency rooms over a two-year period because of the drugs.

"It's one thing if you're curing cancer, but we're talking about a self-limiting illness," said Sharfstein. "If there's really no evidence of benefit, you don't want to risk the rare problem. Then you're left with tragedy that you can't justify."

Specialists are back to recommending old-fashioned steps, such as plenty of fluids and rest, saline drops to loosen stuffy noses, and humidifiers while sleeping.

Why is this an issue now? Child versions of cold remedies came on the market decades ago, when scientists thought that what worked in adults would automatically work in children. Scientists today know that is not always the case.

In fact, FDA never formally allowed infant-targeted cold remedies in the first place; Ganley said they evolved through a legal loophole.

But the FDA is investigating an even bigger question: Are OTC cold remedies safe and effective for children under 12? The agency's advisers last fall called for no use just by the under-6 crowd, but did recommend more research to determine the medicines' effects in children overall.

The drug industry says these medicines are used 3.8 billion times a year in treating children's cough and cold symptoms and are safe for those over 2.

Health groups acknowledge that while low doses of cold medicine don't usually endanger an individual child, the bigger risk is unintentional overdose. For example, the same ingredients are in multiple products, so using more than one for different symptoms can quickly add up. Also, children's medicines are supposed to be measured with the dropper or measuring cap that comes with each product, not an inaccurate kitchen teaspoon.

An internal FDA working group has a February deadline to recommend to agency leaders any action for 2- to 11-year-olds, Ganley said. The goal is a spring announcement.

Meanwhile, the FDA's advice for children over 2:

_If you try these drugs, carefully follow label directions.

_Avoid giving a child more than one product. If you do, make sure they don't contain some of the same or similar ingredients.

_Understand that these drugs only treat symptoms. Colds are viruses, and the drugs will not make them go away any faster.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Twins separated at birth met and married

LONDON (Reuters) - A couple discovered after they had married that they were twins who had been split up at birth and adopted by separate families, according to a member of Britain's House of Lords.

British peer David Alton recounted the story to parliament last month to support his argument that artificially conceived children should be told who their biological parents are.

Alton said he had heard the story of the separated twins from a High Court judge who had dealt with the case.

"This did not involve in vitro fertilization: It involved the normal birth of twins who were separated at birth and adopted by separate parents," said Alton, an independent member of the Lords. "They were never told that they were twins."

"They met later in life and felt an inevitable attraction, and the judge had to deal with the consequences of the marriage that they entered into and all the issues of their separation," he said.

"I suspect that it will be a matter of litigation in the future if we do not make information of this kind available to children who have been donor-conceived," he said.

Alton could not immediately be reached for comment and no further information was available about the twins or where they were from.

"I think it's a very tragic story for the people involved," said Pam Hodgkins, head of a group that helps adults affected by adoption.

"It is a lesson that we need to learn and apply to the situation of donor-conceived children," she told Sky News.

"Whilst ... nowadays it would be most unusual for siblings to be separated ... the risk of secrecy affecting the lives of people born as a result of egg and sperm donation is exactly the same as the risks that have affected adopted people in the past," she said.

(Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Stephen Addison)

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

ADHD: a childhood psychological disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a childhood psychological disorder characterized by persistent hyperactivity-impulsivity.

ADHD children are hyperactive; they have difficulty sitting still and controlling their physical activity. Their impulsiveness and lack of self-control creates annoyance and exhaustion which can cause many problems especially in school.

These children tend to encounter academic problems, because not only does their condition erode their ability to concentrate and focus on the tasks at hand, but it also wears down their capability to integrate in social and academic settings.

This may lead to inability to organize work and to pay attention to lessons. These children distract other children in class as well.

ADHD Children have a very low threshold for sensory stimuli such as noise, touch and visual cues. Over exposure to such cues can result in dramatic behavior changes including giddiness or aggressiveness.

About 4% of the general population is affected by ADHD; boys are six times more likely to be affected. ADHD reportedly continues into adulthood in approximately 40% to 60% of the cases.

ADHD and ADD (attention deficit disorder) are generally thought to be two different conditions, but in fact, they are interchangeably used to refer to the same condition.


Although the exact cause of ADHD is still unclear, biological factors seem to constitute the root cause of the disorder. Brain chemical imbalances are responsible for the majority of the symptoms exhibited by an ADHD child.

Genetic predisposition is another risk factor for developing the disorder.

Close family members of ADHD children are at a four-fold higher risk of having this medical condition; the incidence of the disorder is also reportedly higher in identical twins compared with non-identical ones or siblings.

However, no scientific research has yet specified chromosomes contributing to the development of this condition has not yet been identified in any.

Antenatal or postnatal brain injuries altering cerebral function can also give rise to the ADHD symptoms. Furthermore, any exposure to drugs, alcohol or radiation during cerebral development phase of the fetus may cause ADHD.

Certain postnatal infectious diseases such as meningitis or encephalitis can affect the brain tissue and thereby changing the process by which the brain sends signals and, ultimately, result in the manifestation of these symptoms.

Food additives and refined sugar, lead poisoning and ineffective parenting are amongst other factors responsible for the development of ADHD symptoms.


Attention deficit disorder is the condition which surfaces before the age of seven and causes extensive disruption in school, social and family life.

ADHD symptoms are grouped into three major categories: hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention.

It may present itself as excessive fidgeting or squirming, difficulty in following instructions, shifting activities, uttering answers to questions, difficulty in maintaining attention, excessive talking, engaging in dangerous activities, inability to wait for ones turn, easily being distracted, and the inability to sit still.

There is a great likelihood that ADHD children experience a range of other nervous system disorders including learning disabilities, tic disorders (Tourrette's syndrome), motor control delays (reduced coordination), language difficulties, depression, autism, anxiety, conduct disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive disorder (OCD), and oppositional-defiant disorder.


There are no specific blood tests, brain activity exams, or scans for diagnosing ADHD. Diagnosis is primarily made based on the patient's symptoms.

Questionnaires completed by a child's teachers or parents are used to help the specialist decide whether or not the problematic behavior needs treatment.


The parents of ADHD children should be assured that their child's condition is not their fault; they should also be told that these children are as capable as their peers and after receiving appropriate help they can lead successful, happy, and productive lives.

Successful medical treatment must be accompanied by non-drug approaches including supportive counseling and psychiatric or psychological help. In other words, ADHD treatment is a combination of medical therapy along with familial, educational, and social changes.

Low doses of psychostimulants such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) or dextroamphetamine are prescribed to alleviate the symptoms and filter out unnecessary distractions.

The drugs have shown an 80%effectiveness in ADHD children; they enable children to pay more attention, concentrate, and to be less impulsive.

Several minor side effects have been reported for these drugs; all of which can be controlled through adjusting the administered doses.

The major concern for the parents of ADHD children is that their children will become dependent on the drug and will not be able to lead a successful life without medication.

Researchers have found no evidence supporting any physical or psychological dependency following the use of such drugs.

Children with comorbid conditions or disorders, such as autism or depression, may require an alternative drug.

A variety of parental training methods such as effective child behavior management methods, classroom behavior modification methods, and academic intervention schemes (special educational placement), have all yielded positive results.

Furthermore, employing behavioral techniques such as behavior modification and cognitive behavioral therapy can bring dramatic improvements even in the absence of medical therapy.

Some studies suggest changing the regular diet can treat ADHD individuals; however, there is no reliable and strong scientific evidence to support of such claims.

Thu, 10 Jan 2008 19:53:52
By Said Pournaghash Ph.D.,
Press TV, Tehran -

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Supplements 'raise death rate by 5%'

by Nigel Hawkes, Health Editor

Vitamin pills commonly taken by millions of people are doing them more harm than good, an analysis of the evidence has concluded.

Three supplements — vitamins A and E and beta carotene — appear to increase death rates among those taking them. Vitamin C and selenium have no effect.

The results, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, suggest that money spent on vitamin supplements is wasted. In response, the British Heart Foundation said people should not take supplements but should concentrate instead on eating a healthy diet.

The new study is a meta-analysis; a procedure in which many earlier studies are collected together. It was carried out by a team led by Goran Bjelakovic, of Copenhagen University Hospital, and colleagues, using methods developed by the Cochrane Collaboration, the leading international group specialising in the analysis of what works in medicine.

Supporters of vitamin supplements, which are consumed regularly by up to ten million Britons, believe these can act as antioxidants, preventing highly active oxygen radicals in the body-damaging molecules such as cholesterol causing heart disease. The theory seemed plausible, and some initial trial results appeared to lend it support. But as better trials were done different results emerged. The Copenhagen team considered 68 randomised control trials, involving 232,606 people, and published by October 2005. Of these, they rate 47 trials as being of the best quality, with the rest more prone to bias of one sort or another.

Taking only the 47 low-bias trials, involving 180,938 people, they found that supplements as a whole increased the death rate by 5 per cent. When the supplements were taken separately, beta carotene increased death rates by 7 per cent, vitamin A by 16 per cent, and vitamin E by 4 per cent. Vitamin C gave contradictory results, but when given singly or in combination with other vitamins in good-quality trials, increased the death rate by 6 per cent.

Selenium was the only supplement to emerge with any credit. It appears to cut death rates by 10 per cent when given on its own or with other supplements in high-quality trials, but the result is not statistically significant. The team concludes: "Our findings contradict the findings of observational studies claiming that antioxidants improve health."

They say there are several possible explanations. One is that oxidative stress is not the cause of conditions such as heart disease for which it has been blamed, but may be a consequence of such conditions.

Alternatively, by eliminating free radicals we may interfere with essential defensive mechanisms. But the team adds that they examined only the use of synthetic vitamins, and their findings should not be translated to fruit and vegetables.

Ann Walker, of the Health Supplements Information Service, a body funded by the industry, said that the study combined the results of trials on two different classes of people: those with no known ill-health, and those already suffering from conditions such as heart disease. "The results of these mixed-sample metaanalyses are worthless," she said.

Ellen Mason, a cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "There are good scientific reasons for believing that antioxidant supplements might protect against heart disease but a number of clinical trials have failed to provide any robust evidence in favour of this"

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Fleeing Somalia's fighting - 18 Dec 07

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