Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What Are Suicidal Thoughts? What Is Suicidal Ideation?

Suicidal thoughts, also known as suicidal ideation are thoughts about how to kill oneself, which can range from a detailed plan to a fleeting consideration and does not include the final act of killing oneself. The majority of people who experience suicidal ideation do not carry it through. Some may, however, make suicide attempts. Some suicidal ideations can be deliberately planned to fail or be discovered, while others might be carefully planned to succeed.

According to a Finnish study, over one fifth of people who successfully committed suicide had discussed their aim with a doctor or other health care professional during their last session.

USA - according to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), there are about 30,000 successful suicides in America each year, an annual incidence of 0.01%. 80% of suicides are among males. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15 to 24 year olds. Twenty per cent of all suicides are among this age group.

United Kingdom - according to the NHS (National Health Service), during the last 20 years suicide rates in the UK have been steadily dropping. In 2006 there were 5,554 successful suicides among people aged at least 15 years. 140,000 people are hospitalized annually in England and Wales after suicide attempts. Three-quarters of all UK suicides are in males, with the highest risk among those aged 25 to 34 years, followed by 35 to 44 years. After accidental death, suicide is the second most common cause of death in males aged 15 to 44.

The NHS adds that according to its research, nearly all successful suicides are among individuals with a mental illness, for example, depression. Approximately ten to fifteen per cent of patients with bipolar disorder die prematurely due to suicide. About 4% of individuals with schizophrenia die by suicide, usually not long after the onset of symptoms.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Suicidal Thoughts?

A symptom is something the patient senses and describes, while a sign is something other people, such as the doctor notice. For example, drowsiness may be a symptom while dilated pupils may be a sign.
  • Appearing to feel trapped or hopeless
  • Appearing to have an abnormal preoccupation with violence, dying and/or death
  • Being in a heightened state of anxiety
  • Being very moody
  • Changing personality
  • Changing routine
  • Changing sleeping patterns
  • Consuming (more) drugs
  • Consuming more alcohol
  • Engaging in risky behavior, such as driving carelessly or taking drugs
  • Getting affairs in order
  • Getting hold of a gun, medications, or substances that could end a life
  • Giving stuff away
  • Having depression
  • Having panic attacks
  • Impaired concentration
  • Increased self-criticism
  • Isolating oneself
  • Psychomotor agitation - such as pacing around a room, wringing one's hands, taking off clothing and putting it back on, and other such actions
  • Saying goodbye to others as if it were the last time
  • Seeming to be unable to experience pleasurable emotions from normally pleasurable life events such as eating, exercise, social interaction or sex
  • Seeming to have severe remorse
  • Talking about killing oneself, expressing regret about being alive or ever having been born
A significant number of people with suicidal ideation keep their thoughts and feelings a secret and appear to have no apparent signs.

According to Medilexicon's medical dictionary, suicide means:

" 1. The act of taking one's own life.
2. A person who commits such an act."

What are the causes of suicidal thoughts?

Suicidal ideation is a feeling people may have when they are no longer able to cope with an overwhelming situation, which could be financial, the death of somebody they love, breaking up, or a devastating/debilitating illness. There may be a feeling of bleakness and an erroneous assumption that taking their own life might be the answer. If the individual's mental state is heightened enough, suicide may seem to be the only exit.

Experts believe there may be a genetic factor associated with a higher risk of suicide. Individuals with suicidal thoughts, or those who have taken their own lives tend to have a family history of suicide or suicidal thoughts.

The most common situations or life events that might cause suicidal thoughts are grief, sexual abuse, financial problems, remorse, rejection, relationship breakup and unemployment. Certain psychiatric factors are linked to a higher risk of suicidal ideation, including:
  • Adjustment disorder
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Dissociative identity disorder
  • Gender Dysphoria (Gender Identity Disorder)
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Substance abuse
The following risk factors may have an impact on suicidal ideation probability:
  • A family history of mental illness/problems
  • A family history of substance abuse
  • A family history of violence
  • A family history of suicide
  • A feeling of hopelessness
  • A feeling of seclusion or loneliness
  • Being homosexual with no family/home support
  • Being in trouble with the law
  • Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • For children, having disciplinary, social or school problems
  • Having a problem with substance abuse
  • Having a psychiatric disorder or mental illness
  • Having tried to commit suicide before
  • Reckless or impulsive behavior
  • The possession of guns
  • Sleep deprivation


Mental illness is the most common cause of suicidal ideation and successful suicide. A significant number of mental problems, such as depression, can be successfully treated with medications and talking therapies, such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) or counseling. Individuals with a mental illness/problem should see their doctor and get treatment.

The following may help lower the risk of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts:
  • Adherence (compliance) - this means following your treatment plan, going to follow-up appointments, taking medications as instructed, etc.
  • Alcohol and illegal drugs - avoid them
  • Avoid isolation - try to stay connected to the outside world
  • Do exercise
  • Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet
  • Family - involve your family in treatment, get their support. Ask them to come along to your sessions, health care professionals can help them acquire better coping and supportive skills
  • Focus on the good things in life (talking therapies may help you achieve this)
  • Get at least 7 to 8 hours continuous sleep every 24-hour period
  • Get treatment for a mental illness
  • Means of committing suicide - get rid of guns, knives and dangerous drugs.
  • Seek out things that give you pleasure, such as being with friends/family you like
  • Self help groups - sharing the anguish and anxieties that drive you towards suicidal ideation can be relieving and comforting. You will see how others got through it. If you can support other people you may feel better about yourself and those around you
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Potassium Deficiency as a Cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis

This discussion of potassium is presented in the hope that one of its readers will consider performing an experiment establishing the effect of potassium on rheumatoid arthritis. There is no report in the literature going back to 1914 of such an experiment. Every essential nutrient should have been explored before this. In view of the way hormones which are regulated by or regulate potassium, such as cortisol and DOC are involved with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and the low whole body potassium content in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), potassium especially should have been investigated before now.

by Charles Weber, MS


Since the most serious aspect of the diarrheas is wasting potassium, cortisol has acquired the attribute of conserving potassium by moving it into the cells when cortisol declines. Cortisol (but not corticosterone) is reduced during a potassium deficiency, and this reduction accounts for many of the symptoms of RA.

Cortisol shuts down most of the copper enzymes when it declines so that excretion of copper is increased and Lysyl oxidase inhibited. These last two attributes are proposed to account for most of the mortality from aneurysms and infections during rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Thus the urgent necessity to survive during virulent diarrhea has set people up in the course of evolution for some of the worst symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis

For a more elaborate discussion of potassium physiology and nutrition see Arthritis as a Chronic Potassium Deficiency and for copper see this site.


Judging by the drastic decline of mortality in babies suffering from a virulent strain of diarrhea by potassium supplements,1 potassium loss in those diseases which force cyclic AMP to excrete water into the intestines2 must be the most serious effect of the diarrheas. I suggest that this is the reason why cortisol has acquired the attribute of moving potassium out of cells3 and therefore into the cells upon declining. It is also undoubtedly the reason why the adrenal's cortisol secretion is inhibited by low serum potassium in vitro (in the test tube) but not corticosterone.4 The body thus has a way of signaling for a decrease in cortisol secretion during a serious intestinal disease independently of ACTH. Thus the body inversely mobilizes its defenses. Endotoxin bacterial diseases force the body to secrete cortisol by increasing ACTH5 and this is probably an adaptation by the bacteria to force the body to inhibit the immune system. Glucosteroid response modifying factor (GRMF) secreted by T- cells then prevents the cortisol from having full effect on white cells other than suppresser cells6 and thus raises the set point, as does interleukin-I.6. Interleukin-I also stimulates cortisol secretion,7 as does cachectin (tumor necrosis factor).8 I suspect that this is an adaptation to provide some cortisol maintenance9 when normal ACTH production is later cut off during endotoxin attack.10 In other words, the immune system takes over its own regulation but at a higher set point. The role of GRMF has not yet been demonstrated for physiological processes. GRMF will probably prove to inhibit cortisol for most of those processes as well as the immune cells, surely at least for cortisol's various affects on potassium.

One of the most important of the cortisol controlled immune defenses is the mobilization of the availability of copper to the white cells, an attribute which probably arose because copper is crucial to an adequate immune defense.11 The primary way cortisol does this is by, inversely to its concentration, shutting down production of copper-containing enzymes such as Lysyl oxidase and superoxide dismutase.12 Lysyl oxidase catalyzes the formation of cross links in all connecting tissue including elastin.13 Since elastin makes up the main strength of normal blood vessels12 and has a rapid turnover, this is the most serious problem in arthritis. Ruptured aneurysms along with poor resistance to infection and heart disease are the chief terminal events in arthritis.14

The body uses ceruloplasmin to carry copper to the immune system during infection12. Probably the main reason for this development is that the copper in ceruloplasmin is not in equilibrium with the serum and so is not available to pathogens. However, ceruloplasmin is also used to carry copper to the bile for excretion15. Therefore I submit that the rise in serum ceruloplasmin in RA16 causes an increased excretion in members of a society who, even before this, were receiving less than the minimum daily requirement.


Evidence can be provided for this proposal in several ways. Arthritic people should have a lower whole body potassium content than normal people. This has been proved.17 Red blood cells have a higher potassium content than normal during RA18. This should not be taken as counter evidence because I suspect that this is an adaptation to help avoid circulatory collapse when dehydration reduces the blood volume during diarrhea.

There should be a lower concentration of potassium in blood plasma during RA. The National Health and Nutrition Survey-III has determined that of 39,695 people selected, there were 840 who said they had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Of these, 691 had their serum tested for potassium. Of that number 7.8% had less than 3.6 milliequivalents per liter, 34.7% between 3.6 and 4.0, 40.7% between 4.0 and 4.4, and 18.1% above 4.4. Only 18% appeared to be in the normal range. The samples were refrigerated and sent out to outside contract laboratories [22c]. Refrigerating blood increases the apparent amount when it is serum that is analyzed, especially if there is a delay in the analysis. In addition to that, arthritics lose potassium from the platelets as noted above. If some were misdiagnosed, had a remission since being diagnosed, or there was a longer than usual delay in analysis, it could account for the 18% seemingly normal. So this survey showed at least most arthritics low in potassium. Many others in the survey were low in potassium also. So, unless arthritis is caused by something besides a potassium deficiency and low potassium is a symptom, those other survey people would have to have had arthritis as well. I believe many people die of a potassium caused heart disease without being arthritic, so, if so, the first part of the statement must be in order. In any case, a large proportion of arthritics at least are too low for sure, some dangerously low.

There should be a lower incidence of RA among people on potassium supplementation or who eat Morton's Lite Salt (TM) or Stirling's Half and Half (TM). I know of no epidemiological study showing this. However, people who work in potash mines have a 25% lower incidence of heart disease than the surrounding population19 and heart disease is prevalent in RA. There should be a healing of RA upon starting potassium supplements. No controlled experiment has been reported which would indicate this. However there is a case history of a single arthritic brought up to 3,500 milligrams per day in order to explore the effects of various steroid hormones on the body's mineral balance.20 A total of 3,500 milligrams is about the amount an adult would obtain from unprocessed food. The subject showed consistent improvement throughout the experiment even though potassium was the only consistent change. His total body potassium slowly but consistently rose. There should be a negative correlation between high potassium-caused muscle spasms and RA, but I have no supporting data. Neither do I know of a positive correlation with eating licorice (but not licorice candy, which is made of anise seeds) grapefruit, or potassium losing diuretics, each of which increase potassium loss. There should be a negative correlation between eating acids which have an indigestible anion and RA since the hydrogen ion interferes with potassium excretion21. I know of no good experiment or epidemiologic study. However, it has been suggested from folk custom that eating vinegar22 or cherries is efficacious. The vinegar seems doubtful since it is my understanding that acetate can be metabolized by the body22a. However, it is conceivable that people on a diet high in calories do not utilize all the acetate or even much of it. In any case. RA should not be present much in people who eat predominantly vegetables instead of grains. An experiment has been performed in which RA was healed in a group of people by switching to a vegetable diet23b. Eating bananas would increase potassium somewhat, but it is only a moderate source per calorie, about the same as potatoes.

I suspect that people with rheumatoid arthritis tend to have a poorer ability to conserve or absorb potassium than other people because of damage to their kidneys by a poison such as bromine gas (as happened to me) or long term poisons in plant foods or by a mild genetic defect or by poisons excreted by pathogenic bacteria. Some bacterial infections do trigger RA. Screening some common poisons currently in food might be enlightening. Since GRMFs inhibit cortisol, it is possible that a discordance in the immune response involving GRMF in some people or some infection types (that last does happen) may accentuate RA and thus even cause an auto immune response.

If animals are used for experiments, it is futile to use rats or mice because they rely on corticosterone to regulate the immune response, not cortisol. I suspect that this developed because they have a factor in their intestinal fluid which counteracts cholera toxin.23 They also have the ability to absorb water under cyclic AMP stimulation in part of their colon24 instead of excretion of water, unlike other animals.

Since the disturbance in copper metabolism is proposed as the most serious aspect of RA, evidence for copper's effect should be possible. Supplementing with copper should remove some of the symptoms of RA. I know of no such experiment. However, it is known that Finnish men who work in copper mines have little arthritis or susceptibility to infection.25 The high milk diet along with frequent saunas may be two reasons why other Finns have one of the highest rates of arthritis in the world,26 since milk is the poorest source of copper27, p.92 and perspiration loses potassium.28 Milk has been shown to have a high statistical correlation with cardiovascular disease, said to be as great a risk as smoking,29 which disease in turn is correlated with RA. Laplanders on a meat diet have a lower rate of RA not much further north.26 The Massai of Africa have a higher rate of RA than the surrounding tribes.30, p.768 The Masai also use a lot of milk as well as very few vegetables, which vegetables would have increased potassium intake. Men who work in copper mines must have stronger tissues than other miners because the percentage of injuries which result in lost time is significantly lower31 even though injuries like eye damage and burns which are not affected by strength are part of the data. Eating a lot of shellfish or liver should reduce those symptoms related to copper deficiency since they are the richest sources, but I know of no study. The same is true of drinking acid water out of copper plumbing.

I believe that it is unwise to give cortisol to any class of people whose immune system is weak, such as arthritic people. If it is felt that cortisol should be raised in the body, why not use something relatively safe, like potassium supplements? If potassium supplements are used, be certain that vitamin B- 1 is adequate because the "wet" heart disease of beri-beri can not materialize when potassium is deficient.32 Obviously the reverse is also true for vitamin B-1 supplementation. For this reason, If the patient has heart trouble, it is very important to determine whether it is caused by vitamin B-1 or potassium.

If potassium chloride is dissolved in fruit juice it tastes good and avoids the danger to the intestines that even slow release enteric tablets may present. The chloride is the most efficacious form33. It would be better and safer yet to provide potassium from food high in potassium such as celery or bamboo shoots as Effinger proposed34. Unboiled, unfrozen, uncanned vegetables low in starch are the richest sources35. However, removing a deficiency will be slower since the potassium is not associated with chloride and would take a few weeks or months longer.

A deficiency can arise from diarrhea, processed food, reliance on grain or fatty foods35, psychic stress stimulation of aldosterone36 p.209 (which is the main regulator of potassium)37, stress stimulation of cortisol (as in an operation, for instance38), diuretics, licorice39 as well as probably grapefruit39a, profuse perspiration28, excessive vomiting40, eating sodium bicarbonate41, hyperventilating42, laxatives43, enemas44 (especially if prolonged), shock from burns or injury45, hostile or fearful emotions36, and very high or very low sodium intake46, All of these increase excretion or decrease intake of potassium and many at once would be very dangerous. and probably even lethal if prolonged.

A chronic potassium deficiency must surely cause a degenerative disease. I believe it materializes in some people as RA. If not, then what is the name of the degenerative disease which attends a potassium deficiency ? It is not hypokalemia. This is only a word which describes low serum potassium, a marker or symptom. It is about time we found such a name.
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Eggs can help you Lose Weight and Stabilize Glucose Levels

A scientific review article published in today's Journal of the American College of Nutrition supplement reports that leucine, an essential amino acid found in high quality protein like eggs, potentially provides a weight loss advantage during dieting by helping to reduce loss of lean tissue, promote loss of body fat, and stabilize blood glucose levels.

In another paper published in the JACN supplement, research shows that two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, may significantly reduce the risk of cataract and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

In the research, eggs are cited as an important dietary source of leucine as well as lutein and zeaxanthin and, in the case of the latter two, research shows lutein and zeaxanthin in eggs to be more bioavailable than from other food sources.

High Quality Protein Promotes Weight Loss

"We found that increasing high-quality protein in the diet, like that found in eggs, dairy products and meats, provides a metabolic advantage due to a high content of the branched chain amino acid (BCAA) leucine," says article author Donald K. Layman, Ph.D., Professor of Nutrition, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. According to Layman, both the amount of high quality protein consumed, as well as the time of day it is consumed, may play an important role in weight loss.

Layman found that unlike other essential amino acids, leucine plays several key roles in metabolism. "Leucine is key to the metabolic advantage of a higher protein diet because of its unique roles in regulation of muscle protein synthesis and insulin signaling," says Layman.

According to his research, eating more protein rich foods like eggs and limiting carbohydrates helps burn body fat and control hunger and cravings, leading to weight loss.

When limiting calories, Layman recommends daily intake of protein above 1.5 g/kg of body weight (or above 102 grams of protein daily for a 150-pound person); whereas the current Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for protein is about half that, set at 0.8 g/kg of body weight (or 55 grams of protein daily for a 150-pound person).

Layman's research also suggests that increased use of high quality protein at breakfast, in particular, maybe important for the weight loss advantage of a higher protein diet. In a 10-week study, Layman showed that eating a high quality protein breakfast while losing weight helps maintain lean muscle mass, which is critical to long-term weight loss and maintenance.

The study, which investigated the efficacy of two 1,700-calorie weight loss diets among women aged 45 to 57 years, found that women who ate the higher protein breakfast foods including eggs, low fat dairy and lean meats (containing 10 grams leucine daily) lost slightly more weight, but of the weight lost, nearly twice as much was fat compared to those eating a carbohydrate rich breakfast (containing 5 grams leucine daily).

According to Layman, the findings may provide hope to those battling obesity, which has been linked to increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases.

Eggs Promote Eye Health

Also published in today's JACN supplement is a review paper discussing two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, and the protective role they play in reducing the risk of cataract and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

"Lutein and zeaxanthin, are concentrated in the macular region of the retina and the eye lens, where they protect the eye from harmful ultraviolet light," says article author Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D., Professor of Nutrition and Senior Scientist at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

Blumberg says studies have shown that diets rich in lutein may cut the risk of cataracts by up to 20 percent and age-related macular degeneration by up to 40 percent. Although broccoli, kale and other dark green leafy vegetables are good sources of lutein, one egg yolk provides approximately 200 micrograms of lutein, and studies have shown that lutein from eggs is 200 to 300 percent more bioavailable than lutein from vegetable sources.

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world and affect more than 20 million Americans age 65 and older. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause among seniors of irreversible blindness in the United States.

In addition, a number of preliminary studies have found that lutein is available in both breast milk and the umbilical cord plasma. This suggests that mothers transfer lutein to their fetuses and newborns, providing them with this beneficial antioxidant. Future studies should continue investigating the potential beneficial role of lutein and maternal nutrition.

The December 2004 JACN Supplement contains proceedings from the First International Scientific Symposium on Eggs and Human Health: Transition from Restrictions to Recommendations, sponsored by the Egg Nutrition Center.

SOURCE Egg Nutrition Center
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Part of the Brain that allows us to Dream

The (brain) stuff of which dreams are made

A grand tradition in the study of the brain is to wait for disaster to strike. The functional map of the brain--identifying which areas underlie movement, different senses or emotions, memory, and so on--has largely been filled in by observing which functions were eliminated or changed with injuries or strokes to focal areas of the brain.

In a study published September 10, 2004, in the online edition of the Annals of Neurology, scientists describe a patient who lost all dreaming, and very little else, following a stroke in one distinct region of the brain, suggesting that this area is crucial for the generation of dreams.

"How dreams are generated, and what purpose they might serve, are completely open questions at this point. These results describe for the first time in detail the extent of lesion necessary to produce loss of dreaming in the absence of other neurological deficits. As such, they offer a target for further study of the localization of dreaming," said author Claudio L. Bassetti, M.D., of the Department of Neurology at the University Hospital of Zurich in Switzerland.

These unique scientific observations began with an unfortunate event: a stroke suffered by a 73-year-old woman. When blood flow was disrupted to a relatively small area deep in the back part of her brain, she lost a number of brain functions.

Most of these disabilities were related to vision, which was not unexpected, since one of the brain functions localized to this area of the brain is the processing of visual information.

Fortunately, within a few days of the stroke, the visual problems had gone away. But a new symptom emerged: The patient stopped dreaming.

Such loss of dreaming--along with visual disturbances--following damage to a specific part of the brain goes by the name Charcot-Wilbrand syndrome, named for the eminent neurologists Jean-Martin Charcot and Hermann Wilbrand, who first described it in the 1880s.

The syndrome is quite rare, especially cases that lack symptoms other than dream loss. Bassetti, then at the University of Bern, and his colleague Matthias Bischof, M.D, realized that this woman's misfortune might provide valuable answers to the localization of dreaming in the brain.

For six weeks following the stroke, the researchers studied the patient's brain waves as she slept. They found no disruptions in her sleep cycle. The fact that REM sleep continued normally was significant, because dreaming and REM sleep occur together, though research has pointed to different brain systems underlying the two. These results appear to confirm that dreaming and REM sleep are driven by independent brain systems.

Before the stroke, the patient recalled, she had experienced dreams three to four times a week. She now reported no dreams, even when awakened during REM sleep.

With time, some dreaming function did return. A year after the stroke, she experienced occasional dreams, but no more than one per week. The dreams were of a reduced vividness and intensity compared to before the stroke.

With MRI scans, Bischof and Bassetti determined that the stroke had damaged areas located deep in the back half of the brain. Recent research has shown that some of this region is involved in the visual processing of faces and landmarks, as well as the processing of emotions and visual memories, a logical set of functions for a brain area that would generate or control dreams.

"Further conclusions about this brain area and its role in dreams will require more studies analyzing dream changes in patients with brain damage," said Bassetti.

Article: "Total Dream Loss: A Distinct Neuropsychological Dysfunction after Bilateral PCA Stroke," by Matthias Bischof and Claudio L. Bassetti, Annals of Neurology; Published Online: September 10, 2004 (DOI: 10.1002/ana.20246).

The Annals of Neurology, the preeminent neurological journal worldwide, is published by the American Neurological Association, the world's oldest and most prestigious neurological association. The 1,400 members of the ANA--selected from among the most respected academic neurologists and neuroscientists in North America and other countries--are devoted to furthering the understanding and treatment of nervous system disorders. For more information, visit
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Neborns Laugh in their Sleep say Japanese researchers

Newborns laugh in their sleep say researchers from the University of the Sacred Heart and the Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University (both in Japan).

Babies were previously believed not to be able to laugh until they were older than four months, but the research found newborn infants began laughing as early as 17 days after their birth.

The survey's findings are thought to indicate that babies begin to develop both emotions and means of expressing those emotions at a much earlier age than previously believed.

The universities plan to release the findings at a symposium held by the Child Research Net Laboratory in Kyoto next Saturday and Sunday.

With parental cooperation, researchers videotaped six babies from four to 87 days old as they slept.

One baby girl laughed out of the corner of her mouth when she was 17 days old and four other babies also laughed one to four times in their first or second month of life, the researchers said.

Babies are known to smile without making sounds immediately after birth, but as it is also believed to be a cramp in the muscles of the face, it is hard to link such smiles to emotion.

What a 17-day-old baby finds funny remains unknown, but Kiyobumi Kawakami, a professor of psychology at University of the Sacred Heart, said that the baby was probably developing emotions.

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Libido Drug to increase Sex drive in Men

Scientists have created a drug which enhances a man's sex drive.

The drug is specifically aimed at men who experience impotence (erectile dysfunction).

It is not the same as Viagra. Called PT-141, it does not target the symptoms of impotence. Rather, it increases the man's libido - sex drive.

The drug should be administered 30 minutes before sex. The person sprays it into his nose.

It is a copy of melanocyte-stimulating hormone.

In clinical trials, researchers say it has been effective in 70% of volunteers.

If all goes according to plan this drug should be on the market in the year 2008.

Plans are also in the pipeline to experiment with a cocktail that would include Viagra and PT-141. This may help men who do not respond to any treatment available today.

The manufacturers also said that they are planning to test a new drug that may increase a woman's sex drive.
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The truth about Anabolic Steroids

At school they're called roids, juice, gym candy, pumpers, stackers, weight trainers or hype. They're anabolic steroids and they can hurt you.

Looking cool can be very important. Some things like cool clothes and hair styles are great. Messing with your body is not cool.

Performance enhancing drugs, like steroids, were at first used by athletes to improve their athletic abilities and provide them with an advantage in their competitive sport. However in recent years, young people, like you, have been taking these man-made substances.

Steroid use is dangerous and can lead to serious medical and psychological complications. It is important that you understand the consequences of taking steroids.

What are anabolic steroids?

Anabolic steroids are synthetic or man-made substances related to testosterone. Testosterone is the male sex hormone that is responsible for the growth of bones and muscles, and for the development of masculine features such as, facial hair and a deeper voice.

It also increases muscle mass and muscle strength. Although it may take a little longer, you can get the same effects by following a supervised and safe weight training program and good nutrition.

Steroids are controlled substances, available by prescription and are used to treat specific medical conditions. It is not illegal to possess steroids for personal use, but possession for trafficking is illegal.

Since steroids are illegal to get without a doctor's prescription, this has resulted in a widespread black market supply of steroids. Steroids obtained through illegal means may be counterfeit (not the same as you would get from a doctor) and possibly impure.

Steroids are taken by mouth as tablets or capsules, by injection into muscles, or as gels or creams that are rubbed into the skin. Doses taken by people who abuse steroids can be up to 100 times greater than doses used for treating medical conditions.

Who uses steroids?

Steroid users are not necessarily just professional athletes. You may be thinking of using steroids to change the way you look, and 'bulk up' or build muscle to help you feel better about yourself. You may be thinking that you can become more popular and get more respect and sex appeal.

About 83,000 young Canadians, mostly young men, between the ages of 11 and 18 report using steroids at least once.

Of those young Canadians who use steroids, about half use steroids to improve their performance in sports; almost as many use steroids to change their physical appearance.

Most steroid users are male, white, middle class and age 14 or older. The majority are involved in a regular physical activity or fitness/weight training program.

Women between the ages of 11 and 18 are less likely to use steroids. It's mainly a male issue.

Do you know the side effects of using steroids?

Steroids have dangerous side effects. However, many of the consequences don't appear until much later. If you are relying on advice from other users and friends, they may not know or tell you about the dangers.

Steroids affect the way you look:

Severe acne (pimples) of face and body

Hair loss

In teenagers, steroids can stop bones from growing, so you may not grow to your full height

In girls, steroids may cause masculine features like more body hair, smaller breasts, deeper voice, and larger clitoris

Breast enlargement in boys

Steroids affect your sex drive:

In boys, steroids can shrink your testicles and cause impotence (can't get it up)

In girls, you can have irregular periods

Steroids can affect your personality:

'Roid rage' where you may become more aggressive or violent, and have bursts of anger


mood swings

being tired

Steroids can threaten your life:

If you inject steroids and share needles or vials, you can become infected with Hepatitis B and C, and HIV (AIDS)

Damage to liver and liver cancer

Damage to kidneys

High blood pressure

High cholesterol leading to higher chance of getting a heart attack or stroke What can you do instead of taking steroids?

Even though steroids increase the size of your muscles, they can damage your health.

You can talk to your gym teachers and/or coaches to get information about nutrition, exercise, and other training techniques for improving performance. You can ask your teachers and/or coaches to talk to other young people about the dangers of using steroids.

You can feel good about yourself based on other things, not just your physical appearance. You should be proud of your talents, achievements, abilities, intelligence, sense of humor, etc.

It may take you longer, but you can get fit and build muscle without using steroids. You can feel proud of yourself by setting goals and achieving them without the use of steroids.
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What Is The Vegetarian Diet? What Are The Benefits Of A Vegetarian Diet?

The term vegetarian generally means a person who does not consume animal products; this includes land and sea animals. Most vegetarians generally do consume eggs and dairy products (milk products). Somebody who does not consume any animal protein at all, not even eggs, dairy, or honey, is a vegan. Some people call themselves vegetarians, but they consume fish. According to Medilexicon`s medical dictionary a vegetarian is "One whose diet is restricted to foods of vegetable origin, excluding primarily animal meats". The dictionary also has the following terms:
  • Lacto vegetarian
  • Fruitarian vegetarian
  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarian
  • Living food diet vegetarian
  • Ovo-vegetarian
  • Pescovegetarian
  • Semi-vegetarian

The four main types of vegetarians are:

  • Lacto-vegetarians - they consume dairy products, but no eggs. Most do consume honey.
  • Ovo-vegetarians - they consume eggs, but no dairy. Most do consume honey.
  • Lacto-ovovegetarians - they consume eggs and dairy. Most do consume honey.
  • Vegans - only consume plant-based foods (no dairy, eggs or honey)
In this article, vegetarian refers only to people who do not consume protein of animal origin (not even fish or seafood), with the exception of eggs, dairy and honey - Lacto-ovovegetarians.

Virtually all vegetarian and/or vegan societies and associations do not accept the term "semi-vegetarian", in the same way a doctor will not accept the term "a bit pregnant".

A short history of vegetarianism

According to Wikipedia, the earliest records of vegetarianism come from the 6th century B.C., in India, Greece and the Greek civilization in Southern Italy. In all these cases vegetarianism was closely linked to a desire not to harm animals. In India this peace towards animals was called ahimsa and was a common lifestyle among religious people and philosophers. The conversion to Christianity of the Roman Empire virtually eliminated all traces of vegetarianism from Europe. Many orders of monks in medieval Europe either banned or limited meat consumption as a gesture of personal sacrifice or abstinence - however, none of them shunned fish. It was not until the 19th and 20th centuries that vegetarianism started to get a foothold again in Western society.

The Vegetarian Society was formed in England in 1847; equivalent societies soon followed in Germany, the Netherlands and other European countries. During the 20th century vegetarianism caught on swiftly throughout Western society. People´s motivations were for ethical, environmental, or economic reasons - and sometimes a combination or two or three reasons. Approximately 70% of the world´s lacto-vegetarians are in India, it is estimated. Approximately 20% to 42% of India´s population is vegetarian.

What are the benefits of being a vegetarian?

Until a few years ago, the benefits of vegetarianism were more anecdotal than clinically proven. However, over the last couple of decades several studies have indicated that a person who adopts a vegetarian diet will:
  • Have a lower body weight - one study carried out by Cancer Research UK, found that those who continue eating meat will carry on putting on more weight over a five year period, compared to those who switched over to vegetarianism. The study found that vegans put on even less weight as they get older, compared to vegetarians and meat eaters. The study looked at 22,000 meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians, and vegans.

  • Have better cholesterol levels - scientists at the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital demonstrated that a vegetarian diet made up of specific plant foods can lower cholesterol as effectively as a drug treatment. The study, published in the July 23 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, compared a diet of known cholesterol-lowering, vegetarian foods to a standard cholesterol-reducing drug called lovastatin. The diet reduced levels of LDL - the 'bad' cholesterol known to cause clogging in coronary arteries - in participants by almost 29%, compared to a 30.9% decrease in the lovastatin participants. The diet consisted of a combination of nuts (almonds), soy proteins, viscous fiber (high-fiber) foods such as oats and barley and a special margarine with plant sterols (found in leafy green vegetables and vegetable oils).

  • Live longer - several studies have shown that vegetarians have a much lower risk of becoming obese, developing diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. All these conditions and diseases reduce one´s life expectancy (see the list of related articles below).

  • Have a lower risk of developing cancer - several studies have shown a reduced risk of developing many different types of cancer among vegetarians, compared to meat eaters. A recent study carried out by UK researchers, working on the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Oxford (EPIC-Oxford) found that vegetarians had a significantly lower overall risk of developing cancer, compared to meat eaters. The study also found, however, that vegetarians have a higher risk of developing cancer of the colon.

  • Have a lower risk of developing several diseases - see the list of related articles below. In them are mentioned several diseases and conditions that a meat eater is more likely to develop, compared to a vegetarian.
Vegetarian food is generally lower in fat, especially saturated fats, and much higher in fiber, than animal based foods. However, a vegetarian, like a meat eater, has to watch his/her intake of calories, snack foods, refined carbohydrates, whole milk dairy products, and non-meat junk foods.

How do I become a vegetarian?

It is possible to make the jump in one go; to go into it cold turkey. Most people find that a gradual change into vegetarianism works better for two reasons. 1. Any change that is gradually introduced tends to become more of a lifestyle and long term move. 2. Some people find that sudden changes to their eating patterns may have unpleasant consequences for their digestive systems, such as irritable bowel, diarrhea, etc.

A gradual change could include increasing your intake of vegetables, fruits, legumes (beans, lentils), and whole grains, while cutting down on your intake on meats.

The American Dietetic Association has these tips for people who want to adopt vegetarianism:
  • Select whole grain products - whole wheat bread, wild/brown rice, whole grain cereals
  • Make sure your diet is varied
  • Choose low or non fat dairy products (if you wish to continue consuming dairy)
  • Do not eat more than three or four egg yolks per week (some studies are disputing this, suggesting there should be no limit)
  • Plan ahead when you go shopping
  • Read the food labels carefully when you are out shopping
  • Find out where your specialist stores are
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Health Effects of Smoking are more Dangerous than thought

While smoking has long been linked to an array of health problems, recent research shows that the harmful habit is worse than previously known: A new report from the U.S. surgeon general found that smoking causes diseases in almost every organ of the human body.

Released in late May, "The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General," cites more than 1,600 scientific articles on the health effects of smoking. In addition to the well-known effects of smoking, such as lung, mouth and esophageal cancers, the new report found that smoking is conclusively linked to leukemia, cataracts and pneumonia as well as cancers of the pancreas, cervix and kidneys. Other complications linked to smoking in the report included diabetes complications, hip fractures and reproductive complications.

"The toxins from cigarette smoke can go everywhere the blood flows," said U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, MD, MPH, FACS. "I'm hoping this new information will help motivate people to quit smoking and convince young people not to start in the first place."

The new report was released on the anniversary of the historic 1964 surgeon general's report on smoking, which was the first to draw widespread attention to the dangers of tobacco use. While U.S. smoking rates have notably dropped since the publication of the first report - 42 percent of the public smoked in 1964 versus 22.5 percent of adults today - the practice still leads to 440,000 U.S. deaths each year.

More than 12 million Americans have died from smoking since the 1964 report, and another 25 million Americans alive today are expected to die of a smoking-related illness, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Among the report's other conclusions was that low-tar or low-nicotine cigarettes are not healthier than regular cigarettes.

Despite the damaging effects of tobacco use, quitting smoking has immediate and long-term effects such as improved circulation and a drop in heart rate, the report found. Even quitting late in life can have positive effects: Giving up tobacco at age 65 can reduce a smoker's risk of dying of related disease by 50 percent.

The scientific articles cited in the report are featured in a new online interactive database that is available via the surgeon general's Web site at The database will be updated as new studies are published.

Legislation introduced

The surgeon general report findings came as courts, legislators and advocates stepped up their attention to tobacco control in recent months.

In Washington, D.C., legislators from both sides of the political table embraced new legislation that would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco products.

While such legislation has been proposed in previous sessions of Congress, the new bills, introduced in May, are notable in that they were introduced by Republicans and Democrats in both congressional chambers. In the House, H.R. 4433 was introduced by Reps. Tom Davis, R-Va., and Henry Waxman, D-Calif., while in the Senate, S. 2461 was introduced by Sens. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

The bills would provide FDA with the authority for actions such as prohibiting unsubstantiated health claims, requiring changes in the composition of tobacco products to make them less harmful and protecting children from tobacco marketing. A June poll by the Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids found that 69 percent of respondents favored passing legislation that would provide regulation authority to FDA.

"Many consumers, including smokers, are surprised to learn that no federal agency has the authority to require tobacco companies to list the ingredients that are in their products - things like trace amounts of arsenic, formaldehyde and ammonia," DeWine said. "No federal agency has the authority to inspect tobacco manufacturers - how the cigarette and smokeless tobacco products are made, whether the manufacturers' machines and equipment are clean."

FDA regulation of tobacco is supported by health and tobacco control advocates, including APHA, which has long had policy on the books specifically calling for such a move. APHA also supports measures that would provide incentives to tobacco farmers to switch to other crops, such as a tobacco industry-financed buyout of such farmers.
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How much Water do We Need?

Just how much water do we really need? The answer may depend on our age

BETHESDA, MD (USA) - Just how much water does each of us really need? Not to swim in, or diet with. Not to respond to marketing claims, or counter salty foods or to cope with dry environments.

Many swear by the advice that for proper body hydration, 64 oz of water should be consumed each day. Other scientists and researchers disagree with that long held belief, recommending that one should only consume water 'when thirsty.'

Why should we be concerned? For one, water shortages may be the next great crisis faced by a planet with limited natural resources and exploding population growth. In March 2003, the United Nations issued a report stating that more than 2.7 billion people will face severe water shortages by the year 2025 if the world continues consuming water at the same rate.

Wars have erupted over water rights; famine and mass starvation have resulted from climate changes that have turned gardens into deserts. Soon we will all be concerned about how much water we really need.

There is no question that water is vital to the body's overall health. We use water for transporting nutrients and wastes, lubrication, temperature regulation, and tissue structure maintenance.

In addition, plentiful fluid consumption may be protective against diverse medical conditions, including kidney stones, constipation, colorectal cancer, premalignant adenomatous polyps, and bladder cancer.

Water deprivation results in life-threatening dehydration within a few days. Loss of body water exceeding five percent of body weight leads to decreased endurance, culminating in heat exhaustion. Older vs. younger individuals have been shown to have a higher risk of developing dehydration than younger adults, which may be attributed to decreased total body water (TBW) with age, impaired renal fluid conservation, and physiological hypodipsia or insensible thirst.

Despite the physiological importance of water to life, little is known about water intake and excretion patterns in free-living individuals, because fluid intake, particularly from noncaloric, nonalcoholic, and noncaffeinated beverages is poorly documented.

The 1977-1978 National Food Consumption Survey is one of the few sources of information on water intake, but the data are limited by unaccounted for water found in foods and the use of a single 24-hour dietary recall.

Moreover, nonquantitative intake from water fountains and the likelihood that many people consume fluids with little thought leads to underreporting.

One method that does not depend on self-reported intake is the use of hydrogen-labeled water turnover, a method used by comparative animal physiologists for decades to objectively measure water turnover in wild animals.

The procedure begins with a bolus administration of isotopically labeled water, such as nonradioactive 2H oxide. Within two to three hours, this tracer equilibrates with body water and provides a measure of the volume of the TBW pool.

The labeled water is then excreted from the body through all routes of water loss and is diluted by unlabeled water through all routes of input.

The time course of labeled water dilution provides a measure of water turnover (input and output) per unit of time.

A New Study

A new study combined data from two studies in healthy, free-living American adults across a broad age range to which 2H-labeled water was administered to measure total energy expenditure (TEE) using the doubly labeled water (DLW) technique. In one of these studies, two 24-hour urine collections were made from many of these same participants using p-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) to confirm completeness.

The data obtained are among the first objective assessment of water turnover in American adults and provide documentation of both the average and range of water input and urine production.

This study, 'Water Turnover in 458 American Adults 40-79 Years of Age,' is a collaborative effort by Aarthi Raman and Dale A. Schoeller from the Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI; from divisions of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, are Amy F. Subar and Richard P. Troiano (Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, Applied Research Program); Arthur Schatzkin, (Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, Nutritional Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute); Tamara Harris and Douglas Bauer (National Institute on Aging); and James E. Everhart (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases). Additional participants include Shiela A. Bingham, at the MRC-Dunn Human Nutrition Unit, Cambridge, United Kingdom; Anne B. Newman, at the Division of Geriatric Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; and Frances A. Tylavsky from the Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Tennessee, Memphis, TN. Their findings appear in the February 2004 issue of the American Journal of Physiology--Renal Physiology.


Despite recent interest in water intake, few data are available on water metabolism in adults. To determine the average and range of usual water intake, urine output, and total body water, the researchers administered 2H oxide to 458 noninstitutionalized 40- to 79-yr-old adults living in temperate climates.

Urine was collected in a subset of individuals (n = 280) to measure 24-hour urine production using p-aminobenzoic acid to ensure complete collection. Preformed water intake was calculated from isotopic turnover and corrected for metabolic water and insensible water absorption from humidity.


Preformed water intake, which is water from beverages and food moisture, averaged 3.0 l (liters)/day in men (range: 1.4-7.7 l/day) and 2.5 l/day in women (range: 1.2-4.6 l/day). Preformed water intake was lower in the 70-79 age group (2.8 l/day) than in 40- to 49-yr-old men, and was lower in older age group (2.3 l/day) than in 40- to 49- and 50- to 59-year-old women. Urine production averaged 2.2 l/day in men (range: 0.6-4.9 l/day) and 2.2 l/day in women (0.9-6.0 l/day).

Other results indicated no age-related differences in women, but men 60-69 years old had significantly higher urine output than 40- to 49- and 50- to 59-year-old men.

Additionally, only the 70- to 79-year-old age group included sufficient blacks for a racial analysis. Blacks in this age group showed significantly lower preformed water intake than did whites. Whites had significantly higher water turnover rates than blacks as well.


These results demonstrate that water turnover is highly variable among individuals and that little of the variance is explained by anthropometric parameters.

A key aim of this research was to test whether the elderly had low intakes of water that might predispose them to chronic dehydration. The results found that, on average, the oldest group of individuals had a preformed water intake that was 98 percent of the younger group of individuals when expressed per kilocalorie of energy expended.

There was no evidence of dehydration in the 70- to 79-year-old group, despite the majority of the individuals having intakes less than the commonly used suggestion of eight 8-oz glasses of water each day.

Furthermore, recommendations to increase fluid intake to eight 8-oz glasses of water in the elderly may not be prudent because the elderly have an elevated risk of overhydration due to the weakened physiological movement of water through the system.

Instead, the researchers suggest that fluid intake for the elderly be increased during periods of acute thermal stress. Source: February 2004 edition of the American Journal of Physiology--Renal Physiology.

The American Physiological Society (APS) was founded in 1887 to foster basic and applied science, much of it relating to human health. The Bethesda, MD-based Society has more than 10,000 members and publishes 3,800 articles in its 14 peer-reviewed journals every year.
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Essential Tips on Hygiene

Wash your hands. OK, this isn't a housecleaning technique. But it's worth mentioning, because it's the single most important way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

We all should know the importance of washing after using the toilet, yet less than 50 percent of people actually do it -- and almost no one does it properly. Wash for 30 to 45 seconds, scrubbing between fingers and under nails. It's even a good idea to lather, rinse and repeat.

Don't multitask. People often use the same sponge or cloth to clean everything in the kitchen -- the counter, the dishes, the cutting board, etc. ``I've seen people use it on their kids to wipe their faces,'' said one microbiologist.

To prevent cross-contamination. Use a different implement for each cleaning task in the kitchen and bathroom. Disinfect cutting boards after each use.

Replace the sponge frequently. Sponges and scrubbers provide the warm, moist conditions and trapped food particles on which bacteria thrive. The bacteria can multiply, increasing from a few to millions in a matter of hours.

You should keep a sponge (for use in the kitchen) no longer than a week. Between uses, clean it with an antibacterial cleaning product and let it dry. Look for thinner sponges, which dry faster.

Empty the vacuum. Dangerous organisms such as salmonella could be multiplying in your vacuum cleaner bag, waiting to be released into the air every time you vacuum. Empty the collection bag at least monthly, or switch to a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which reduces airborne pollution.

Disinfect the garbage can (dustbin/wastebin). Germs that grow in your garbage can don't always stay there. It's common for a plastic liner to leak, allowing waste to collect in the bottom of the can (bin). Then when someone empties the container, the person typically sets the bag on a surface such as the floor, a counter or a chair, spreading the bacteria to that surface as well as his or her hands.

To stem bacteria growth, clean and disinfect the garbage can (dustbin) weekly, and use antibacterial garbage bags (bin bags). If there's no visible gunk in the container, a spray of Lysol should suffice.

Clean the can opener. That little bit of juice or food left on the blade after you open a can invites bacteria growth. Washing or even just rinsing the opener after you use it will prevent problems.

Change the towels. The average person sloughs off 1 million skin cells an hour. Bath towels harbor (harbour) those cells and their bacteria, and can serve as a terry-clothpetrie dish if they're folded and left in a damp bathroom. Hang towels unfolded to let them air dry, and replacing them with clean towels after three uses.

Protect your toothbrush. Every time a toilet is flushed, fecal matter and bacteria spray 20 feet in the air. Keep your toothbrush out of the line of fire by storing it in a drawer, cabinet or other enclosed place.

You should also sanitize your toothbrush daily by rinsing it with peroxide or mouthwash. Yes, the germs on your toothbrush are your own, but they can multiply to enormous numbers between uses.
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Using Hand Sanitizer Stops Germs from Spreading

Stomach bug going around your home? You might want to reach for hand sanitizer, suggests research being presented at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).

Families that used alcohol-based hand sanitizer gel had a 59 percent reduction in the spread of gastrointestinal illnesses compared with families that didn't use sanitizer, according to a Harvard Medical School study.

"This is the first randomized trial to show that hand sanitizer reduces the spread of germs in the home," said Thomas J. Sandora, MD, MPH, an assistant in medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children's Hospital Boston and instructor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. "Using hand sanitizers is an excellent method for hand hygiene and can be an alternative to soap and water, particularly when a sink isn't convenient."

Hand sanitizers are used without water. They are not cleaning agents, and don't remove surface dirt. Washing with soap and water is necessary to remove visible soil, said Dr. Sandora.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends routine use of alcohol-based sanitizers by healthcare workers, noting that, compared to soap and water, alcohol-based sanitizers are easier and quicker to use, and cause less skin irritation. The sanitizers also are very effective at reducing germs on the skin, according to CDC.

The Healthy Hands, Healthy Families study included 292 families with at least one child in day care who were tracked for five months: 155 were provided with hand sanitizer and hand hygiene educational materials, and 137 were not given sanitizer and were provided only with materials about basic nutrition. Those provided sanitizer were told to place bottles of it around the house including in the bathroom, kitchen and baby's room and to apply it to their hands after using the toilet, before preparing food, after diaper changes and at other appropriate times. Investigators called the families every other week to record how much of the sanitizer they had used.

Investigators also recorded reports of a gastrointestinal and respiratory illness in the families. When a family member came home with a gastrointestinal bug, families that used the sanitizer had a 59 percent decrease in the illnesses spreading to others in the home. Although there was no significant decrease in the spreading of respiratory illnesses among the families that used sanitizer, researchers found families that used greater amounts of the sanitizer were less likely to pass around those types of illnesses.

"We believe hand sanitizer reduces the transmission of the cold and other respiratory illnesses in the home, too, although the evidence wasn't as strong as it was for stopping the spread of gastrointestinal illnesses," said Dr. Sandora. "We think that's probably because people were more diligent about using the sanitizer after a gastrointestinal-related incident, such as using the bathroom or vomiting, than after a respiratory incident, such as nose-wiping or sneezing.

"The families seemed very willing to use the sanitizer," he said. "It's widely available in stores, but is not being used in most homes."

Available in a squeeze bottle or pump, sanitizer gel is alcohol-based and is used without water. A dime-sized amount of hand sanitizer should be poured on the hands and rubbed over all surfaces until dry. Effective hand-washing with soap and water involves scrubbing the fronts and backs of the hands and between the fingers for about 10 to 15 seconds.

Hand sanitizer differs from antibacterial soap. Antibacterial soap must be used with water, and is marketed as having the ability to kill bacteria. However, research has shown that while antibacterial soap does reduce bacteria and other microbes, it is no more effective at doing so than non-antibacterial soap.

Co-authors of a paper on the topic being presented by Dr. Sandora are: Elsie M. Taveras, Mei-Chiung Shih, Elissa A. Resnick, Grace M. Lee, Dennis Ross-Degnan and Donald A. Goldmann.

IDSA is an organization of physicians, scientists and other health care professionals dedicated to promoting human health through excellence in infectious diseases research, education, prevention and patient care. Major programs of IDSA include publication of two journals, The Journal of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Infectious Diseases, an Annual Meeting, awards and fellowships, public policy and advocacy, practice guidelines and other membership services. The Society, which has 7,500 members, was founded in 1963 and is headquartered in Alexandria, Va.
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What Should I Eat During Pregnancy?

Most women want to eat the best foods during pregnancy to ensure that their babies develop healthily, and to stay at the right weight. But, with so many stories in the media about what to eat and what to avoid, it can be tricky to know what your diet should include. So here's the low down on eating well during pregnancy.

A healthy start

Ideally, you've been preparing for pregnancy by cutting down on alcohol and eating a varied and balanced diet for a few months and taking folic acid supplements. But if your pregnancy has come as a surprise, don't worry. It is not too late to give your baby the best possible nourishment for growing.

In general, the same healthy eating rules apply during pregnancy as at any other time, so eat regular, balanced meals according to the proportions below:1

-- Bread, other cereals and potatoes. These foods should make up the main part (70 per cent) of your diet. Whenever possible, choose wholegrain varieties because these contain more fibre, vitamins and minerals

-- Fruit and vegetables. These include fresh, frozen and tinned varieties, salad vegetables, beans and lentils, dried fruit and fruit juice. Eat at least five portions per day (but fruit juice only counts as one portion however much you drink)

-- Meat, fish and alternatives. Alternatives include eggs, nuts, pulses (such as beans, lentils and chickpeas) and vegetable protein. These are a source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Try to eat two or three servings per day

-- Milk and dairy products. These are a source of calcium and protein. Try to eat two or three servings per day, choosing the lower fat versions

-- Foods containing fat and sugar. These should be kept to a minimum, but the occasional bar of chocolate, in the context of a healthy diet, won't do you or your baby any harm

Am I eating for two?

Not when it comes to amounts, unfortunately. Pregnancy is not a licence to start eating second helpings of chocolate cake and stuff yourself with other high-fat, high-sugar foods. If you do, you'll end up putting on too much weight, which may be hard to shift after you've had your baby. A woman of normal weight doesn't actually need any extra calories during the first six months of pregnancy.1 This is because the body becomes more efficient at absorbing and using the nutrients from food.2 And for the last three months, the baby only adds an extra 200 kilocalories to your requirement.1 That's about four apples, or two pieces of bread.

Weight gain

If you've been on a strict calorie-counting diet, now is the time to come off it. It is best not to try to lose weight while you are pregnant, unless your doctor advises you to do so. The recommended calorie intake is roughly 2000 kcal/day until the last three months of your pregnancy.2

The Department of Health advises pregnant women to eat according to their appetite, and to keep an eye on weight gain. If you are the correct weight for your height, with a normal body mass index (BMI), you should put on around 11.4-15.9 kg during pregnancy. If you are underweight, with a BMI of less than 19.8, you should gain more weight than average (up to 18.2kg), and if you are overweight, with a BMI of more than 26, you should gain less (6.8-11.4kg).3

Nourishment for two

Although you are not eating for two in terms of calories, it is true that you need to eat for two in terms of nutrients. You are responsible for providing the right nourishment for your growing baby through what you eat. So as well as sticking to a balanced diet, there are certain nutrients that are particularly important for the baby to grow. This is even more important if you are on a special diet, for example if you are a vegetarian. The box shows what these are, why they are important and which foods you should include to make sure you are getting enough of them.
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Muscle Relaxant Flexeril 5 mg as effective alone as with Ibuprofen

Data Suggests Taken Alone As Effective As When Taken In Combination With Ibuprofen - Large scale community-based study shows NSAID offers no additional benefit to muscle relaxant in treatment of acute pain and muscle spasm of the back or neck

More is not necessarily better when it comes to treating acute muscle pain and spasm of the back or neck, suggest results from the first community-based trial to evaluate the benefits of adding a non-steroidal anti inflammatory (NSAID) to treatment with a commonly prescribed muscle relaxant. According to the study, the muscle relaxant FLEXERIL 5 mg (cyclobenzaprine HCl), taken three times a day, is as effective alone as when taken in combination with ibuprofen at over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription doses.

More than 770 adult back and neck pain and muscle spasm sufferers at multiple community-based sites throughout the United States completed the randomized, multi-center, open-label one-week study, which compared thrice-daily treatment with FLEXERIL 5 mg alone or in combination with ibuprofen at over-the-counter (1,200 mg/day) or prescription doses (2,400 mg/day). Researchers shared results of the trial today at the 2004 Scientific Assembly of the American College of Emergency Physicians. A final report, including full data on all endpoints, will be completed soon.

"In clinical practice, acute muscle pain with spasm is often treated with an non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) alone or in combination with a muscle relaxant," explained Martin Childers, D.O., Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, School of Medicine, University of Missouri-Columbia. :The data from this study indicates that the addition of ibuprofen offers no further pain relief compared to taking FLEXERIL 5 mg alone."

About the Study

Men and women between 18 and 65 years of age with acute muscle pain with spasm of the neck or back of up to 14 days participated in the seven-day study conducted by more than 100 physicians. Patients self-reported pain intensity and muscle spasm intensity at baseline and after three and seven days of randomized treatment of FLEXERIL 5 mg three-times-a-day alone or in combination therapy with over-the-counter ibuprofen 400 mg three times a day (tid) or prescription dose ibuprofen 800 mg tid.

Results showed that all three treatments had statistically significant improvements for both spasm and pain from baseline after three and seven days of therapy. Additionally, the changes from baseline were significantly greater after one week of therapy than after three days for all three treatments for spasm and pain. This treatment duration finding was expected and consistent with previous studies. There were no statistically significant differences among the groups.

The types of adverse events observed in this study were consistent with the known safety profiles of these medications.

About FLEXERIL 5 mg

FLEXERIL 5 mg should be used for relief of painful muscle spasm along with rest and physical therapy. It should only be used for short periods of time, usually two-three weeks. FLEXERIL 5 mg is a prescription medicine and should not be taken by patients who have had a recent heart attack or have heart disease. It should not be used by people with an overactive thyroid or who are currently or have recently used MAOIs. Use of FLEXERIL 5 mg with MAOIs can result in serious health complications.

FLEXERIL 5 mg may enhance the effects of alcohol and other medicines that work on the central nervous system. In clinical studies the most common side effects were drowsiness, dry mouth and fatigue. For more information about FLEXERIL 5 mg, including full U.S. Prescribing Information, visit or call 1-888-440-7903.

Previously published data demonstrates that the 5 mg and 10 mg strengths of FLEXERIL are comparable in their ability to provide clinically significant relief from the pain of acute musculoskeletal spasm of the back and neck, although patients taking FLEXERIL 5 mg report significantly less drowsiness than patients taking the 10 mg tablet.
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Is too much Soy Bad for Men?

While soy may be beneficial to women in a variety of ways, research in monkeys suggests that it could have an adverse effect on the behavior of men, according to researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

Reporting in the current issue of the scientific journal Hormones and Behavior, the researchers found that in male monkeys, "long-term consumption of a diet rich in soy isoflavones can have marked influences on patterns of aggression and social behavior." Isoflavones are a naturally occurring plant estrogen in soy protein.

"Although considerable attention has been directed at the potentially beneficial effects of isoflavones in reducing the risk of various cancers, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and postmenopausal symptoms, less effort has been invested in characterizing neurobehavioral effects," according to the study.

People have the concept that soy is only beneficial, said Jay R. Kaplan, Ph.D., professor of comparative medicine and anthropology, one of the investigators. "There is the thought that what is good for some is good for all and more is better."

But this research points out that not only does the dose make a difference, but so does the sex of the consumer, Kaplan said, adding that the study is consistent with emerging literature showing that soy can have a negative impact on the behavior of male rodents. Previous studies have shown no difference in aggression in females given large doses of soy, Kaplan said.

The study was done over 15 months with adult male monkeys who were divided into three groups and fed different amounts and types of protein. One group had about 125 mg of isoflavones a day. The second group had half that amount, and the third group's protein came from milk and animal sources.

"In the monkeys fed the higher amounts of isoflavones, frequencies of intense aggressive and submissive behavior were elevated," according to the study. "In addition, the proportion of time spent by these monkeys in physical contact with other monkeys was reduced by 68 percent, time spent in proximity to other monkeys was reduced 50 percent and time spent alone was increased 30 percent."

Isoflavone levels of 125 mg per day are higher than amounts consumed by many Asians, who typically eat more soy than other populations. But, the isoflavone levels are comparable to levels found in many dietary supplements sold in the United States.

The FDA approved a statement in 1999 that said, "25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease." Soy sales have grown from $940 million in 1990 to a projected $4 billion this year. Kaplan said that soy is the most widely used botanical by pre- and postmenopausal women.

"To the best of our knowledge, the present study may be the first to demonstrate that long-term consumption of isoflavones can alter patterns of agonistic and social behavior in primates," the researchers reported. "The present findings suggest that careful attention will be required to balance beneficial and potentially adverse effects."

Other researchers in the study included Michael R. Adams, D.V.M., professor of pathology, and Thomas C. Register, Ph.D., associate professor of pathology, at Wake Forest Baptist, as well as two researchers from Lehigh University's Department of Biological Sciences.

The research was funded by NIH grants and a grant from the HF Guggenheim Foundation.

About Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center: Wake Forest Baptist is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University School of Medicine. It is licensed to operate 1,282 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of "America's Best Hospitals" by U.S. News & World Report.
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Salt (sodium chloride), what it is and how it affects your health

-- Sodium is a component of salt. 2.5 grams of salt provides 1 gram of sodium.

-- Although salt is the major source of sodium in our food, sodium is also a component of other ingredients, such as sodium bicarbonate used in baking and monosodium glutamate used as a flavour enhancer.

-- Too much sodium in the diet can lead to health problems. It is one of the risk factors that contribute towards high blood pressure (hypertension), which substantially increases the risk of developing heart disease or stroke.

-- In the UK, most people are eating more salt than is good for their health and a reduction in average intake to 6 grams (which is equivalent to 2.5 g of sodium) per day has been recommended. Population targets have also been set for children.

-- By law, when information is provided on food labels, it has to be given as sodium. However, some manufacturers also express this information as a salt equivalent. Either way, labels can be used to gauge the amount of sodium present in various foods and to select lower sodium options.

Salt is the common name for sodium chloride. There are about 2.5 grams of sodium in 6 grams of salt. Whilst sodium and chloride are essential in the diet in small amounts, there is rarely any likelihood of shortage but in the case of sodium, too much can lead to health problems.

Functions in the body

Small amounts of sodium are essential for health. All body fluids contain sodium, including blood, and it has an important function in maintaining fluid balance within the body. In this context, it is important that the body is able to regulate the level of sodium in the blood. Sodium is also necessary in generating electrical impulses in nerve and muscle and in generating gradients across cells to enable uptake of nutrients.

As excess salt in the diet is readily absorbed; control of sodium in the blood is achieved by excretion through the kidneys into the urine. There is also variable loss though sweat. Salt requirements are closely related to water requirements, and in extreme circumstances too low an intake results in muscular cramps. This can occur after strenuous exercise or in hot climates. People suffering from kidney disease and very young infants cannot tolerate high sodium intakes because their kidneys cannot excrete the excess. For this reason, salt should never be added to any foods for young babies.

Sources of sodium

Sodium is present in additives such as monosodium glutamate (a flavour enhancer), sodium saccharin (a sweetener), sodium nitrite (a preservative), sodium ascorbate (an antioxidant) and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and in some medicinal products e.g. antacids. But most sodium in the diet comes from salt.

Sodium and chloride levels are comparatively low in all foods which have not been processed. However, salt has been used as a preservative and a flavouring agent for centuries. It is also used as a colour developer, binder, texturiser and fermentation control agent (e.g. in bread making). For these reasons, it is added to foods such as ham, sausages, bacon and other meat products, smoked fish and meats, canned vegetables, most butter, margarine and spreads, cheese, bread, savoury snack foods and some breakfast cereals.

In the UK, about 75% of the salt in the diet comes from processed foods. The salt added when cooking or at the table contributes a further 10-15% and naturally occurring salt (it is found naturally in most foods) represents the remaining 10-15%.

The health implications of excess sodium intake

The average sodium intake amongst adults in the UK is 3.7 grams per day (equivalent to 9.5 grams or around 2 tsp of salt) and is well above the amount needed to maintain normal functions in a temperate climate. The RNI (recommended nutrient intake) for sodium is only 1.6 grams per day.

Too much sodium in the diet has been associated with an increased risk of developing stomach cancer and adverse effects on the kidney if there is some underlying abnormality. It is also one of the dietary and lifestyle factors that have been linked to high blood pressure or hypertension. Whilst hypertension is often symptomless, it increases the risk of conditions such as heart disease and stroke. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Study has shown the most effective diet to prevent or treat high blood pressure to be one that is low in fat and sodium and includes low fat dairy products (a source of calcium), as well as fruit and vegetables (a source of potassium). This emphasises the importance of improving the whole diet rather than focusing on any individual nutrient. Other lifestyle factors, such as being physically active, not smoking and maintaining a healthy body weight are also important in preventing hypertension.
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Grapefruit and Weight Loss

The grapefruit diet is not a myth. That's what a new study by the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at Scripps Clinic confirmed. Researchers there found that the simple act of adding grapefruit and grapefruit juice to one's diet can result in weight loss.

The 12-week pilot study, led by Dr. Ken Fujioka, monitored weight and metabolic factors, such as insulin secretion, of the 100 men and women who participated in the Scripps Clinic 'Grapefruit Diet' study.

On average, participants who ate half a grapefruit with each meal lost 3.6 pounds, while those who drank a serving of grapefruit juice three times a day lost 3.3 pounds. However, many patients in the study lost more than 10 pounds.

'For years people have talked about the grapefruit diet, and some even swear by it, but now, we have data that grapefruit helps weight loss,' said Dr. Fujioka, principal researcher at the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at Scripps Clinic.

'Our study participants maintained their daily eating habits and slightly enhanced their exercise routine; the only dietary change was the intake of Florida grapefruit and grapefruit juice.'

Additionally, the research indicates a physiological link between grapefruit and insulin, as it relates to weight management. The researchers speculate that the chemical properties of grapefruit reduce insulin levels and encourage weight loss.

The importance of this link lies with the hormone's weight management function. While not its primary function, insulin assists with the regulation of fat metabolism.

Therefore, the smaller the insulin spike after a meal, the more efficiently the body processes food for use as energy and the less it's stored as fat in the body. Grapefruit may possess unique chemical properties that reduce insulin levels which promotes weight loss.

Obesity continues to plague the American public and the health system.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 64 percent of U.S. adults are considered overweight or obese. Overweight or obese people stand a greater likelihood of developing life-altering and/or life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, arthritis, liver problems, and many others.

'Our study shows grapefruit can play a vital role in overall health and wellness, and in battling America's ever-growing obesity epidemic,' stated Dr. Fujioka.

'Whether it's the properties of grapefruit or its ability to satiate appetites, grapefruit appeared to help with weight loss and decreased insulin levels leading to better health. It's good the 'Grapefruit Diet' never lost its popularity among the public.'

The study linking grapefruit and grapefruit juice consumption to weight loss continues to broaden the health benefits associated with this citrus product.

Founded in 1924, Scripps Clinic is a multi-specialty, outpatient care facility caring for patients at multiple locations throughout San Diego County, California including Torrey Pines, Del Mar, Encinitas, La Jolla, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho San Diego, San Diego, and Santee.

Scripps Clinic and its physicians are world-renown for research-driven care and medical specialty expertise and is an operating unit of Scripps Health, a not-for-profit, community-based health care delivery network that includes more than 2,600 affiliated physicians, five acute-care hospitals, home health care and associated support services.

Scripps Health is one of the largest health care organizations in San Diego County, drawing from the expertise of more than 10,000 health care professionals.
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