Thursday, July 27, 2006

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Understand What Causes Bad Breath

Most people suffer from bad breath at some time in their lives. For something so commonplace, bad breath (or halitosis) isn’t fully understood by the medical community.

Though the reasons for bad breath odor are not completely understood, most unpleasant odors are caused by food debris trapped in the mouth. It is really amazing to find as many as 400 different types of bacteria in an average mouth!

Trouble can occur when several dozen of these bacteria are allowed to flourish. Huge numbers can soon build up, or they may become genetically mutated before they reproduce in a large number.

Many species of these bacteria are usually found on the back of the tongue, where they find protection from normal mouth activity. The rough edges of our tongue usually harbor millions of bacteria, which create toxins by digesting debris, dead cells, and other residues. These toxins are harmful because they create a bad odor in the breath.

The chemical reactions – technically called anaerobic respiration -of these bacteria will accumulate residual compounds containing smelly sulfides and ammonia. These undesirable compounds often further mix with the breath to form an aerosol (spray of fine particles) further spreading the bad odor.

Other causes of chronic bad breath may be periodontitis (gum disease), diabetes, kidney failure, sinusitis, tonsilloliths, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), and a wide variety of prescription drugs.

But, as you may expect, the majority of bad breath problems begin in the mouth. As we’ve seen, bad breath originating in the mouth can be traced to a sulfur compound produced by bacteria.
Dead and dying bacterial cells release this sulfur compound, which gives the breath a bad odor.

In addition, bacterial plaque, debris and food waste accumulate on the back of the tongue. Large amounts of sulfur compounds can be produced in this area, making it a frequent site of origin for bad breath.

Teeth attract bacteria by containing plaque and debris. If not cleaned regularly and thoroughly, this can result in large accumulations of bacteria which result in bad breath.

People who have Periodontitis disease often experience bad breath because of bacteria accumulating in areas that are not cleaned easily, such as deep fissures around teeth.

If your bad breath is originating in your mouth, you will be glad to know that very effective treatment is available.

You can use commercially available breath fresheners or mouth washes for temporary relief from bad breath. However, most of them are just that and act by masking the smell producing layers of tongue, once the effect wears off, the bad breath will resurface with renewed vigor.

Using anti-bacterial mouth rinses may provide you better results in controlling bad breath.
Always avoid alcohol containing mouth rinses as alcohol is a drying agent and will worsen the problem sooner or later.

Acute bad breath may be temporarily controlled by using a hydrogen peroxide rinse in your mouth. Hydrogen peroxide at a minute concentration of 1.5% can be taken as an oral antiseptic by gargling 10 ml, for a few minutes.

Never forget to brush your teeth after meals and a regular flossing at least once in a day will remove putrefying food debris from between the teeth, especially at the gum line and rear of the tongue.

Gently cleaning the tongue surface twice daily with a tongue brush, tongue scraper or tongue cleaner will help you keep your tongue and teeth in good shape and health.

Alternatively, you can also use an inverted teaspoon to scrap the surface of your tongue. Tooth brush will not work well in scraping the back of your tongue as the bristles will not reach the back parts of your tongue. Be careful to avoid scraping the V-shaped row of taste buds found at the extreme back of the tongue. Brushing a small amount of antibacterial mouth rinse or tongue gel onto the tongue surface will further inhibit bacterial action.

Since a dry mouth can increase bacterial buildup and cause or worsen bad breath, chewing sugarless gum can help with the production of saliva, and thereby help to reduce bad breath. Some gums, toothpastes, sprays, and gels which combat dry mouth for several hours have recently been marketed over the counter.

Maintain water levels in the body by drinking several glasses of water a day. Adding lemon juice to your water is refreshing and also beneficial. Parsley is a natural breath freshener when chewed slowly, and is easy to grow at home.

Some studies have shown eating yoghurt, drinking green tea, or chewing cinnamon or sugarless cinnamon gum can also reduce bad breath.

Benefits Of The Soya Bean

Soya is one of the oldest and most nutritious foods in the world. In the 11th century BC it was primarily consumed in Northern China, spreading to the west and the U.S.A. in the middle of the 18th century and only more recently to Europe. Soya is mainly used in industry and for animal feed despite the fact that it is the third most important crop world-wide today and less than 3% is consumed by humans.

Soya has many nutritional advantages as it contains protein, fibre and isoflavones which have positive effects on cholesterol, bone density, menstrual and menopausal symptoms as well as preventing certain cancers. It is thought to be a wonder food by the Chinese who believe it can cure kidney disease, water retention, common colds, anaemia and leg ulcers.

Research studies by Professor Anderson in 1995 resulted in healthy heart claims as Soya was found to reduce blood cholesterol levels in many of his studies. Soya isoflavones combined with soya protein enhance blood cholesterol reductions as well as having a positive effect on menopausal women by reducing the risk of hot flushes. Improved vascular function, reduction of blood pressure, antioxidant protection of LDL cholesterol and inhibition of platelet activation are other known cardiovascular effects of Soya and its constituent isoflavones.

The recommended daily amount of soya protein by the UK Joint Health Claims Initiative in 2002 is 25g as part of a low-fat diet to help reduce cholesterol level. In orser to achieve this RDA of Soya to promote a healthy heart and reduce cholesterol it is necessary to consume three portions of a Soya based food each day. This can be easily achieved by using Soya milk on cereal each morning, adding soya milk to tea and coffee and choosing a dessert made from soya milk eg. custard or fruit smoothies yoghurt etc.,

There are many Soya cookery books available as well as the many recipes containing soya beans and tofu which already exist in Chinese cooking books. If more people included Soya into their daily diet the risk of developing Heart disease would be reduced which would have a significant impact on the incidence of mortality caused by Coronory Heart Disease today.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Healthcare in Your 40s

What you need to know about your health, preventive screenings, immunizations, what's normal, and making the "menopause transition."
By National Women's Health Resource Center.

Turning 40 is a milestone. Congratulations! No matter how your life during your 40s may differ from your girlfriends', you do have at least one important thing in common: your bodies are getting ready for the next phase, menopause.
The average age of menopause for U.S. women is 51, with most women reaching this milestone somewhere between ages 45 and 55. You're considered "menopausal" when you haven't had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months.
But before reaching this milestone, you can experience all manner of changes for a full decade before your menstrual cycle finally stops. Every part of your body is affected, from your appearance to the health of your heart and bones.Called perimenopause, or the "menopause transition," this life stage is defined by physical, emotional, and psychological changes. As your body's estrogen levels decrease, you may notice these changes:

  • Menstrual periods that are heavier or lighter, shorter or longer than you're used to

  • You may skip one or more menstrual period altogether and then have a regular period

  • Hot flashes, irritability, decreased sex drive, and problems sleeping

You're inching closer to middle age and are wiser for it, but sometimes you may wonder where the years have gone. While this turning point can be cause for celebration, it can also lead to anxiety and depression for some women. Talk to your healthcare professional if negative feelings about this life stage become overwhelming. You might find that simply establishing a healthy diet and exercise program -- and sticking to it -- will lift your spirits. If not, there are effective treatments for depression and anxiety.
Your metabolism continues to slow during the transition to menopause and your weight gradually shifts from your hips and thighs to your abdomen, shoulders, and chest. If you don't have a regular aerobic exercise and strength-training program, it's never too late to start. Talk with your healthcare professional to put together a plan that takes into account your age, health status, daily schedule, and goals. You'll improve your health, have more energy, and look your best if you maintain a healthy weight and keep your muscles well toned.
Exercise and strength training will help your bones, too. Because your body produces less estrogen as you near menopause, you're at increased risk for bone loss, which can lead to the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis. In addition to exercising, make sure you're getting enough calcium in your daily diet. Your healthcare professional can advise you if you need additional supplements or medications.
Be sure to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and cut down on "junk foods" to help keep you healthy and fit. If you drink alcohol, limit consumption to no more than one drink per day, and if you smoke, try to quit. If you're feeling stressed, find ways to relax and take time for yourself. Talk to your healthcare professional for guidance

What's Normal and What's Not?

In addition to osteoporosis, your risk for certain diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, increases as you get older. Some health conditions occur more often in certain families, and you may be nearing the age at which a parent developed a disease or disorder. That doesn't mean that you will develop the same problem, but it's more important than ever to have regular medical checkups and basic screening tests, including a pelvic exam, mammogram, cholesterol test, and possibly others, with the advice of your healthcare professional.
Don't forget to keep your family medical history up to date. Your healthcare professional should have a copy and you should keep one in a safe place. This important document should include your personal medical history, illnesses of relatives, and the age at which family members were diagnosed with medical problems.Your skin may be showing the signs of aging, especially if you've spent a lot time in the sun without sunscreen. Some women experience changes in skin color or pigmentation, which result in brownish "age spots" or "liver spots." Moles may be more plentiful now, and facial wrinkles, too. Check in with a dermatologist if you notice any skin changes or growths. Always wear sun protection to help reduce your risk of skin cancer and to prevent further damage to your aging skin.
You may also notice that your vision is changing. You may need corrective lenses or glasses to sharpen your vision. Many people in their 40s find they need bifocals for reading and distance vision. And your sense of smell may be less keen in your mid-40s.
It's always a good idea to ask your healthcare professional about any physical or emotional changes you may be experiencing. Some are typical to this life stage, while others may need more serious consideration.

Preventive Health Screenings

Continue the positive health habits you have already established, including regular visits to your healthcare professional for preventive health screenings. If you are at high risk or have a family history of health problems, or you have serious medical conditions, you'll need additional screenings and checkups beyond the basic recommendations listed here:

Pap test for cervical cancer: If you've had three Pap tests in a row with normal results, you should continue your Pap test screening every one to three years. Exception: if you have risk factors such as multiple sex partners, a weakened immune system, DES exposure in utero, or HIV infection, you should continue to have a Pap test every year. Testing for the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is associated with cervical cancer, is an option for women age 30 and older. But if both your Pap test and your HPV test are negative, you won't need another HPV test for three years. Ask your healthcare professional for more information.

You typically will have a pelvic exam and clinical breast exam at this screening appointment. Remember: don't confuse your annual or semi-annual Pap test with a gynecologic examination. The American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends a gynecologic examination, including a pelvic exam, annually.

Sexually transmitted infection (STIs): If you have a history of chlamydia or other sexually transmitted infections, or you or your partner have had multiple sex partners, ask your healthcare professional about whether you need to be screened for STIs, including gonorrhea and HIV.

Clinical breast exam. Have this exam every year. Your doctor or other healthcare professional will examine your breasts for any abnormalities. This exam often is part of the annual gynecologic examination. Many healthcare professionals also suggest doing a breast self-examination each month. For instruction on proper breast self-exam techniques, talk with your healthcare professional or visit

Mammography: Beginning at age 40, you should be screened for breast cancer with mammography every year.

Blood pressure test for hypertension: Have your blood pressure taken every one to two years.

Cholesterol: Have your blood cholesterol tested every five years or more frequently if you have risk factors for heart disease.

Diabetes blood glucose (sugar) test: Have this test every three years beginning at age 45.
Weight: "Obesity screening" is now considered a preventive checkup. Ask your healthcare professional for more information on healthy weight guidelines or weight-management strategies.

Thyroid test (TSH): Recommendations vary. The American Thyroid Association recommends having a TSH screening test at age 35 and then once every five years. The American Academy of Family Physicians does not recommend screening patients before age 60. And the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force states that there's not enough evidence to recommend for or against thyroid screening in adults. Ask your healthcare professional for guidance.

Dental exam: Visit the dentist regularly. Checkups can detect early signs of oral health problems and bone loss. Professional tooth cleaning is also important for preventing oral problems and should be done regularly.

Complete eye exam: Every two to four years beginning at age 40. Exception: If you have vision problems, family history of eye problems, history of an eye injury, or diabetes, you should be seen more frequently by an eye-care specialist.

Skin exam for skin cancer: Examine your skin once a month for changes, such as moles that change color, shape or size, and ask your healthcare professional how often you should have your skin examined by a medical professional.

Bone mineral density exam/bone mass measurement: At age 40, only if you are at increased risk for osteoporosis or low bone density because of using certain medications; have a disease or condition known to be associated with bone loss; or if you have recently broken a bone under certain circumstances.


Tetanus: You should receive tetanus booster shots every 10 years.

Hepatitis A: Recommended for adults who live, work, or travel in areas where Hepatitis A is endemic and periodic outbreaks occur, or users of injection or street drugs, military personnel, institutionalized persons, and those working in those institutions.

Hepatitis B: All pregnant women should be screened for Hepatitis B at their first prenatal visit. This immunization is recommended for persons who are injection drug users and their sexual partners; anyone with a history of multiple sexual partners in the previous six months or who has recently acquired a sexually transmitted disease; recipients of certain drug products; individuals with a health-related job with frequent exposure to blood or blood products; and travelers to countries where hepatitis B virus (HBV) is high.

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What is Autism?

It is a developmental disability that results in
A. Qualitative impairments in reciprocal social interaction:

  1. Marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate social interaction
  2. Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level.
  3. Lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with others.
  4. Lack of socio-emotional reciprocity.

B. Qualitative impairments in communication:

  1. A delay in, or total lack of the development of spoken language (not accompanied by an attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communication such as gesture or mime).
  2. Marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others despite adequate speech.
  3. Stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language.
  4. Lack of varied spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level.

C. Restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interest, or activity:

  1. Encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest, abnormal either in intensity or focus.
  2. An apparently compulsive adherence to specific nonfunctional routines or rituals.
  3. Stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g. hand or finger flapping, or twisting, or complex whole body movements).
  4. Persistent preoccupation with parts of objects.

Symptoms of Autism

These are the symptoms:

  • stand-offish manner
  • inappropriate laughing
  • echolalic
  • no fear of real dangers
  • apparent insensitivity to pain
  • difficulty mixing with other children
  • adverse to cuddling
  • sustained odd play
  • crying tantrums - extreme
  • distress for no discernible reason
  • indicates needs by gesture
  • acts as deaf
  • unusual eye contact
  • resists normal teaching methods
  • spin objects
  • inappropriate attachment to objects
  • uneven gross / fine motor skills
  • resists change in routine
  • marked physical overactivity or extreme passitivity

Who is affected?

  • Autism is 4 times more common in males than in females.
  • Research shows that the incidence of autism roughly reflects ethnic compositions of the sample population taken.
  • It is not a problem associated with "poor-parenting".
  • The disorder is genetically linked.
  • The actual cause(s) of autism is not yet known.


Why we should be concerned

  • Autism is a life-long condition. It affects every aspect of the person's life. There is no cure.
  • One in every 500 children born today has a typical autism.
  • One in every 110 children has a disorder within the autistic spectrum. (NAS-UK)
  • In US, the demand for such services rose by 556 percent during the 90's. (Newsweek - July 2000)
  • Compared with other disabilities, it is estimated that the net growth in the number of persons with autism is about 3 percent greater each year. - Findings by the Department of Developmental Services, State of California, March 01, 1999.
  • In Malaysia, persons with autism are referred to NASOM by Government hospitals and private practitioners. We have experience a 30% increase in our intake for the past 3 years. Yet our waiting list gets longer every day.
  • The additional life-long cost to society is estimated to be £ 3 million per person within the autism spectrum disorder. - The Mental Health Foundation UK, April 2000.

Outcomes of children with Autism

  • Gillberg & Steffenberg (1987 - Sweden) - only 1 out of 23 persons was fully self supporting.
  • Kobayashi (1992 - Japan) - out of 170 studied, 43 were self employed, none married, 20% had epilepsy, 47 had serious behavior problems, 4 died from self injury and other medical condition.
  • Goode, Rutter & Howlin (1997 - UK) - 40% in the group of 75 lived in sheltered communities, 10 in long stay hospitals, 7 were employed, 2/3 attended day or residential centres, 2/3 reported having no friends at all. 1 married but later divorced.
  • Mental Health Foundation, UK - Currently, sixty percent of children with typical autism will grow up to be dependent on adults in all aspects of life. Just below ten percent of children diagnosed with autism do very well in adult life. Without support there is an increased risk of depression, alcohol problems, and suicide in adolescence.

The aim of treatment and therapy programs is to help persons with autism to function as "near-normal" as possible. Although past experience shows that some will continue to be dependant on long term supportive services, we must not let go of our vision to help these individuals to lead a fulfilling life.