Lower Alzheimer’s Disease Threat

Besides the heartache of observing the AD victim slide slowly downhill, caregivers are under a lot of stress and their own health is at risk. The average AD patient lives from seven to ten years after diagnosed by a physician. It is important to see a doctor as soon as symptoms are noticed as AD could mask as other afflictions.

Start Now to Maintain Your Health

Scientific research opens the possibility of following natural health tips to keep the Alzheimer’s threat away. Suggestions such as keeping an active body and mind, eating healthy, taking omega-3 fish oil capsules and being a normal weight have all been recognized in research studies.

Additional Guidelines to Outwit AD

Besides the natural health ideas noted above, research has weighed in on further courses of action to maintain a healthy lifestyle and lower your risk of AD.

  1. As appearing in the February 2005 Journal of Biological Chemistry, a research study at UCLA of rats found that the spice turmeric containing the photochemical curcumin shrinks the protein deposits that build up in the brain. (A human study is now going on.) Why? Turmeric is used extensively in Indian cooking and India has one of the lowest AD rates in the world.
  2. A 2006 research study at Vanderbilt University of 1600 people found that those who drank at least three glasses (4 oz. servings) of 100% fruit or vegetable juice per week cut their risk of dementia by 76%. Why? Polyphenols, healthy antioxidants in plants, are in the 100% juices.
  3. A 2007 research study at Columbia University reported in the Archives of Neurology found that of 965 people aged 65 or over followed for six years, those with the highest intake of folic acid had the lowest risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Why? Folic acid and vitamin B6 (food or supplements), and vitamin B12 (supplements) help to eliminate an amino acid called homocysteine which is linked to inflammation and Alzheimer’s. David Perlmutter, M.D., promotes the intake of these three B-vitamins.
  4. Appearing in the October 2005 Archives of Neurology , a 20-year research study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity at middle age were six times as likely to end up with dementia in later life than those without any of the three markers. Why? High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and being overweight put the body under stress and start a downhill spiral.
  5. A Netherlands research study announced in 2008 found that smoking increases the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 50% in people over 50 who don’t even have a genetic predisposition to the disease. Why? Smoking is an all-around bad poison for the body.

Lower the Threat of Alzheimer’s with Research

Here’s a summary based on the above research of what you can do now to try and prevent AD.

  1. Use the spice turmeric regularly in your cooking and/or take turmeric capsules.
  2. Drink 100% fruit or vegetable juice daily to get healthy antioxidants into your system.
  3. Eat a bowl of whole grain cereal every morning with its 400 mcg of folic acid, and consider taking, along with a multivitamin, B-complex vitamins.
  4. Give your body a fighting chance. Lower high blood pressure; most people can lower it naturally by exercising and watching the salt (most of it in processed food). Don’t have high cholesterol; most individuals can lower it by exercising. And don’t be overweight! Being overweight or obese, especially visceral fat in the abdomen is the gateway to many chronic illnesses. Lose weight by eating correctly and exercising.
  5. Don’t smoke.

The Bottom Line

Besides eating healthy, taking omega-3 fish oil, exercising, being a normal weight and doing mentally stimulating activities, the additional five suggestions above are also backed by research. Don’t let a bad lifestyle add up to AD in later life; start now to diminish the AD threat.

This article is for educational purposes only. Discuss lifestyle changes with your doctor and never stop taking any current medications without consulting your physician.

Understanding a Crohn’s Disease

Sufferers of Crohn’s disease deal daily with abdominal discomfort and a lot more. For the mildly afflicted there is discomfort and pain almost daily. As well there is more gas than the average person, which can be quite embarrassing. Not to mention the fact that there can be very sudden requirements to use the toilet.

Dealing with Food and Alcohol for Crohn’s Sufferers

Someone with Crohn’s disease has to constantly be aware of everything that s/he eats. Indigestion is common, even with medications. Yes, some medications make it so that the person can eat just about anything, but too much of a good thing can be not only uncomfortable, but very painful and even dangerous. Try not to serve spicy or oily foods, as these are most likely to inflame the bowels.

Most Crohn’s sufferers should not drink alcohol of any sort, although many will in small quantities. Try not to pressure someone you know who has Crohn’s to drink at all: even a toast for New Year’s or the nation’s birthday can be uncomfortable.

Helping Accommodate the Average Crohn’s Sufferer

Accommodating someone at home or in the workplace is also appreciated. At home there are sometimes issues with “bathroom hogging”, especially in a house with teenagers. The person with Crohn’s must make sure that everyone understands that sometimes there can be extreme urgency in getting to the bathroom. And support from all adults in the house is required for this! At the workplace, make sure that offices are located within reasonable distance of a washroom. It can be quite difficult to get across a 16,000 square foot office in a hurry. And there is nothing more embarrassing than not making it in time!

Understanding Minor Embarrassments

It’s not uncommon to see someone with a bowel disorder clutch the stomach and wince, even when there is no apparent cause. This is an indication of gas or inflammation that is causing pain or discomfort. It is sometimes hard to ignore, but many sufferers would prefer that those around them simply act normal when this occurs. Flatulence is another embarrassing side effect of the Crohn’s disease. While this is harder to ignore, comments about it are often taken as rude or at least make the sufferer uncomfortable, as there really is nothing that can be done if the medications do not make it go away. And some sufferers do not take their medications regularly because they are very expensive. This can be an issue, too.

Thyroid Disease Triggers: What To Avoid

Most thyroid disorders are autoimmune in nature. Even if thyroid hormone imbalances initially are triggered by iodine deficiency or excess, the immune system responds by producing thyroid antibodies. Thyroid antibodies, depending on their nature, can destroy thyroid tissue or stimulate it to produce excess thyroid hormone.

Thryoglobulin antibodies destroy thyroid tissue in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis; blocking TSH receptor antibodies lead to atrophic thyroiditis by preventing pituitary stimulation, and stimulating TSH receptor antibodies (TSI, thyroid stimulating immunoglobulins) cause Graves’ hyperthyroidism by ordering thyroid cells to produce excess hormone. Thyroid peroxidase antibodies result from thyroid inflammation and lead to a persistence of this inflammation.

Besides iodine, a number of other factors such as pesticides, toxins, goitrogenic foods, viruses, and low selenium levels, have been discovered to impact thyroid function. To date, ionizing radiation is the only known trigger for thyroid cancer. Researchers reporting in Environmental Health Perspectives (Brown 2003) emphasize that that the thyroid gland along with breast tissue and bone marrow, is especially vulnerable to ionizing radiation, including radioiodine.

Iodine and Thyroid Hormone

Iodine is necessary for the production of thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone is formed when iodine combines with the amino acid tyrosine. However, the thyroid gland can’t distinguish iodine from radioiodine, and it absorbs radioiodine easily. The World Health Organization estimated in 2003 that 740 million people worldwide suffer from iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency is particularly prevalent in undeveloped countries without access to ocean fish, kelp and sea salt or where foods that block iodine (goitrogens), such as cassava and millet, are excessively consumed. In contrast, 57% of people in the developing world regularly use iodized salt and commonly receive excess amounts of an unnatural form of iodine that has aluminum added to prevent caking.

Iodine deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism and iodine excess can lead to hyperthyroidism. The effects of iodine excess can be transient such as those seen in mini-epidemics of Graves’ disease caused by meat contaminated with thyroid hormone. Chronic iodine excess or deficiency can, as mentioned, trigger the immune system to produce antibodies that lead to autoimmune thyroid disease.

Endocrine Disruptors and Thyroid Health

A number of chemicals including fluoride can displace iodine molecules and disrupt normal endocrine function. Even very subtle reductions in circulating levels of thyroxine (T4), which may not result in altered laboratory values, can affect physiological processes.

This is especially important during fetal development when low thyroxine levels are characterized by small stature, low birth weight, and vision and motor disturbances. Some neurodevelopmental problems such as extreme mental retardation and deaf-mutism can result when the fetus is not provided with adequate thyroid hormone. Children of hypothyroid mothers, even with treatment, have a higher than normal incidence of difficulties with spatial, perception, memory, language and other skills.

Endocrine disruptors include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and related compounds such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), the fungicidal ethylenebisdithiocarbamate (EBDCs), dioxin and perchlorate. Further complicating matters, each of these compounds may have subtypes or congeners that have weaker, stronger or no disruptive endocrine actions. Recent evidence shows a clear association between Agent Orange and the development of Graves’ disease. In addition the EBDC fungicides sprayed on many plants including root and leafy vegetables and cereal grains have been known since the 1960s to cause goiter and inhibit iodine uptake. Perchlorate is common in drinking water in the southwestern United States as a contaminant from missile and rocket fuel.

Immune Stimulants and Thyroid Health

Exposure to allergens, infectious agents and toxins stimulates the immune system. Over time with chronic exposure to allergens or toxins, including aspartame and cigarette smoke, or inadequate treatment, the immune system becomes ineffective and fails to launch a normal immune response. Unable to gauge clear threats, the immune system targets the body’s own tissues and cells, triggering autoimmune thyroid disorders. For instance, ingestion of gluten by individuals with gluten sensitivity can stimulate the development of thyroid antibodies and autoimmune thyroid disease. In these cases, a gluten free diet can reduce levels of autoantibodies that contribute to both thyroid disease and gluten sensitivity.

Iatrogenic Contributions

Iatrogenic refers to effects caused by medical treatments and diagnostic tests or physicians. Various medications and treatments can adversely affect thyroid function. Iodine contrast dyes cause excess accumulations of iodine in fatty tissues that can cause transient episodes of hyperthyroidism lasting several months. Drugs such as interferon and interleukin used for hepatitis, malignancies and certain autoimmune diseases, can trigger the development of various autoimmune disorders, most notably autoimmune thyroid disorders and diabetes.

Amoebiasis: Signs And Symptoms Of The Disease

Amoebiasis is a common infection occurring in the gastrointestinal tract of humans. It is caused by a parasite known as Entamoeba Histolytica. Entamoeba Histolytica often burrows deep into the walls of the intestines, causing infections and abscesses. From the intestinal walls, it can travel to the spleen, liver, and all other essential parts of the body, thereby causing further infection.

Amoebiasis can lead to more serious complications if not given immediate treatment. Therefore, it is imperative to seek medical assistance if the presence of this disease is suspected in a person. A person who has this disease may feel a number of symptoms but in some cases, the condition can be asymptomatic, where no symptoms are felt at all.

Signs That a Person May Have Amoebiasis

The symptoms of amoebiasis may range from mild to severe. Not all people that have this disease may show signs of the infection but when symptoms do appear, they may take in a variety of forms, including the following:

  • Vomiting: This may be an indication of severe infection in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Diarrhea: Persons with mild amoebiasis may pass stool at least three to eight times a day. The stool may be soft with specks of mucus and blood.
  • Bloody stools: This is an indication of chronic or more severe amoebiasis. Usually, individuals may pass bloody, liquid stools of at least 10 to 20 times per day.
  • Abdominal pain
  • sudden weight loss
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Fatigue: This can result due to the loss of a lot of liquid in the body.
  • Intestinal gas
  • Rectal pain during movement of bowel

How Long Will the Symptoms of Amoebiasis Last?

The duration of symptoms may differ from person to person but usually, signs may develop and may manifest themselves in people for days and even weeks. While some people may be lucky enough not to feel any adverse symptoms at all, some may suffer greatly from the onset of the disease. Some people with asymptomatic amoebiasis may carry the disease for a number of years before they may finally succumb to the effects of the infection.

Amoebiasis Can Lead to Complications

People with amoebiasis may not only suffer from the primary symptoms of the disease. Without proper treatment, the disease can lead to certain severe complications. There are several complications of amoebiasis that may arise and these include liver abscess, lung abscess, and brain abscess. These complications are often characterized by the presence of pus in the liver, lung, and the brain.

Amoebiasis Can Be Misdiagnosed

There are instances that the attending physician may commit a mistake in diagnosing the real condition of a patient showing the various symptoms of amoebiasis. Misdiagnosis is a common occurrence as the symptoms may also be signs of other diseases. At times, the misdiagnosis may be committed because of wrong information provided by the patient, misleading laboratory tests, and partly because of mistakes committed by the attending doctor.

Due to misdiagnosis of amoebiasis, a person may not be provided with proper treatment at the most possible time. In the process, the individual may likely suffer more from the infection. There are two forms of misdiagnosis. One is that the condition may be mistaken for another type of disease. The second may deal with what type of amoebiasis is present. To avoid the consequences of misdiagnosis, it may be advisable to seek a second opinion.

Everything You Should Know About Lasik Eye Surgery

LASIK , or “laser assisted in situ keratomileusis”, is not a specific procedure, it is a category of refractive surgeries. Often misspelled or mispronounced as “lasic” or “lasix,” there are multiple types of LASIK surgeries. Only a qualified LASIK surgeon can determine the feasibility of a specific procedure for a specific patient.

What is LASIK Surgery?

LASIK surgery is eye surgery, performed by laser, which allows correction of vision problems. The surgery is not appropriate for all patients. In all LASIK procedures, the vision correction results from a removal or reshaping of some portion of the cornea in the eye. There are five major types of LASIK, each of which may be suitable for different patients.

Custom Wavefront LASIK

In this form of laser eye surgery, special three-dimensional measurements of the eye are used to map out resurfacing the laser will perform. This is referred to as “custom” because of the highly individualized results that are not easily replicated with normal corrective procedures. Use of this type of LASIK can result in excellent vision correction with a reduced risk of negative effects.

Epi-LASIK

During this procedure, a flap is cut into the upper layer of the cornea. A laser is then used to shape the cornea in the area where the flap has been lifted. After the procedure is completed, the flap is returned to its original position to allow the cornea to heal. Patients undergoing this form of surgery will likely wear contacts for the first few days after the procedure to allow the cornea to heal properly.

IntraLase LASIK

This form of laser eye surgery uses two different lasers during the surgery. Instead of creating a flap using traditional methods of cutting the flap, the corneal flap is created by a second type of laser. The use of this type of laser reduces potential complications involving the corneal flap, but this procedure may not be appropriate for all patients.

PresbyLASIK

This is an advanced laser vision correction surgery which allows custom vision adjustments for seeing at varying distances. Sometimes called “multifocal” LASIK, this surgery is used to allow an eye surgeon to correct vision in part of the eye for distance, while another portion of the eye is adjusted for near vision.

Things to Consider Before Having Laser Vision Correction Surgery

The decision to have laser eye surgery should not be taken lightly. While rare, there is a possibility of severe complications. Discounted surgery rates should be carefully researched and regarded as suspicious until the patient is sure that the doctor is well trained and the lasers are properly maintained.

Health Checks As A Tool Of Project Management

Using “critical friends” to review the state of a project is an inexpensive way of avoiding major problems. Project reviews and their documentation is a useful part of the project management process that starts with the Project Proposal and its formal approval.

When and Where Should a Project be Reviewed?

All projects have a lifecycle for example an IT project may go through initiate, design, build, test and implement stages. There should be a formal decision to move to the next stage and release the finance. As part of that decision it may be useful to have a health check performed to validate the scope and plans are still valid and the project is on a sound footing.

There is a clear need for a project health check if there are known problems or the project sponsor feels exposed and uncertain about the viability or status of the project.

A change of project sponsor or manager would also be a good time to trigger a health check. In any case a new project manager, coming in with fresh eyes, should conduct her own project review modelled along these lines.

How to Health Check a Project

The coverage and contents of a project review or health check should examine in particular the following key areas:

  • Project Business Case and Approval – Has it been formally approved by senior management and key stakeholders? Does it represent the business need and is it aligned with corporate strategy? Is the scope under proper change control to stop creep?
  • Business Sponsorship – Is there a clear business sponsor who champions the project and is responsible for achievement of the business benefits? Does the sponsor challenge the project team assumptions and plans?
  • Governance – Are formal processes in place to manage the project in line with corporate standards in place and used effectively? These should include processes to manage quality, risk, change, dependencies, suppliers and escalation of issues.
  • Project Plans and Milestones – Should be realistic with appropriate contingency identified with a baseline plan subject to change control to maintain project management discipline. Have basic quantitative checks of project viability been made and documented?
  • Resources and Functional Capability – A key test is whether the project have the resources it needs. This should include consideration of both management and technical capability, staffing numbers and skills, infrastructure and budget.
  • Stakeholders and Users – Stakeholders should be properly engaged and managed. Their roles should be clearly defined especially with regard to decision making or advice. Is appropriate information being made available to those stakeholders who need to be kept informed; is there a communication plan being operated?
  • External Factors – Finally the health check should consider the impact and the project team’s awareness of external factors. This might include, amongst others, regulatory changes, competition, social, political, economic and environmental matters.

Value of a Critical Friend

“Critical friends” should be experienced project managers and may have a specialist background to enable them to quickly evaluate the project. It helps if “critical friends” are aware of the business context but they should be independent of the project being reviewed.

Such reviewers will provide an alternative view of all aspects of the project, scope and processes that will allow them to provide a supportive challenge to the project manager, business sponsor and other key project management staff.

A key test should be how well the project sponsor and manager understand the challenge they face. Are they on top of the task and have the skills and capability to deliver the project objectives.

Recommendations and Action Plan

The final documentation may be a formal report but the most important element is the recommendation section. From that the project manager and business sponsor should agree an action plan to address the recommendations and when and how that action plan should be monitored. The recommendations will be used in any subsequent health checks or aa part of the governance process.

Even on a very large project a small team should be able to undertake a project review in a day or three. It is time well spent as it provides fresh insight and also cause the project management to stand back and reassess the state of the project.