Eating Fish in Infancy Lowers Eczema Risk

There is early evidence that eating fish in infancy may help protect against eczema in early childhood.

Babies in a newly published study whose diets included fish before the age of 9 months were 24% less likely to develop eczema by their first birthdays than babies who did not eat fish.

The infants were enrolled in an ongoing health study in Sweden that is following almost 17,000 children from birth though childhood.

Having a mother or sibling with eczema was the strongest risk factor for developing the allergic skin condition during the first year of life.

But the impact of early fish consumption on risk was significant, lead author Bernt Alm, MD, PhD, of Sweden's Queen Silvia Children's Hospital, tells WebMD.

"We believe this is a real risk reduction," he says. "We can't be certain of this, but the finding certainly warrants further study."

Fish, Food Allergies, and Eczema

There has been a dramatic rise in the incidence of allergic disease, including eczema, among young children over the last few decades, but the reasons for this remain largely unknown.

While it is clear that genetic predisposition plays a big part in risk, the impact of allergic foods and the timing of food introduction remain less well understood.

"Food allergies contribute to about a third of moderate to severe eczema cases in children," pediatric allergist David Fleischer, MD, of National Jewish Medical and Research Center, tells WebMD.

Allergic foods, including dairy, eggs, nuts, and seafood have been linked to the development or trigger of eczema and other allergic diseases in some studies. But others suggest a protective benefit for some of these foods.

In their latest investigation, Alm and colleagues examined dietary and allergy data from almost 5,000 children enrolled in the Swedish health study.

By the time they reached age 6 months, 14% of the infants had developed eczema. By their first birthdays, 21% had previous or current eczema.

While early fish consumption was found to protect against eczema, it did not seem to matter if the fish the young children ate contained large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

It has been suggested that omega-3 is protective against allergic disease, but several recent studies have failed to show this, Alm says.

"There seems to be something special in fish that helps protect against eczema, but we can't say what that is," he says.

Breastfeeding Not Protective

Among the other findings from the study, published online in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood:

  • No link was seen between when dairy products were introduced into the diet and eczema risk.
  • Having a furry pet in the home had no impact on risk.
  • Surprisingly, breastfeeding was found to have no significant impact on eczema risk during the first year of life.

In guidelines published early this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics called for babies at high risk for developing asthma and allergies to be exclusively breastfed for the first few months of life.

"Exclusive breastfeeding for at least four months, compared with feeding regular formula made from cow's milk, appears to help protect high-risk children against milk allergy and eczema in the first two years of life," according to the guidelines.

The group also abandoned earlier recommendations that parents delay the introduction of potentially allergic foods until after a child's first birthday.

Earlier guidelines had called for delaying the introduction of cow's milk until age 1, eggs until age 2, and tree nuts, peanuts and fish until age 3.

While Alm says his findings make a case for introducing fish into an infant's diet during the first few months of life, Fleischer does not recommend this.

He calls the newly published study is intriguing, but far from convincing.

Fleischer is currently working to develop specific food introduction guidelines for high-risk children for the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology.

"I think more studies are needed before we can make a sweeping statement that it is a good idea to give 6- or 9-month-old babies fish," he says.

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Cellulitis - information

What is cellulitis? What are symptoms of cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a spreading bacterial infection of the skin and tissues beneath the skin. Cellulitis usually begins as a small area of tenderness, swelling, and redness. As this red area begins to enlarge, the person may develop a fever—sometimes with chills and sweats—and swollen lymph nodes ("swollen glands") near the area of infected skin.

Unlike impetigo, which is a very superficial skin infection, cellulitis refers to an infection also involving the skin's deeper layers: the dermis and subcutaneous tissue. The main bacteria involved in cellulitis are Staphylococcus ("staph"), the same bacteria that cause many cases of impetigo. Occasionally, other bacteria may cause cellulitis as well.

Where does cellulitis occur?

Cellulitis may occur anywhere on the body, but the leg is the most common site of the infection (particularly in the area of the tibia or shin bone and in the foot), followed by the arm, and then the head and neck areas. In special circumstances, such as following surgery or trauma wounds, cellulitis can develop in the abdomen or chest areas. In cases of morbid obesity, it can also develop in the abdominal area.

What does cellulitis look like?

The signs of cellulitis include redness, warmth, swelling, and pain in the involved tissues. Any skin wound or ulcer that exhibits these signs may be developing cellulitis.

Other forms of noninfected inflammation may mimic cellulitis. People with poor leg circulation, for instance, often develop scaly redness on the shins and ankles; this is called "stasis dermatitis" and is often mistaken for the bacterial infection of cellulitis.

What are risk factors for cellulitis?

Some cases of cellulitis appear in areas where the skin has broken open, such as the skin near ulcers or surgical wounds. Many times, however, cellulitis occurs where there has been no break in the skin at all, such as with chronic leg swelling (edema).

People who have diabetes or conditions that compromise the function of the immune system (for example, HIV/AIDS or those receiving chemotherapy or drugs that depress the immune system) are particularly prone to developing cellulitis.

Conditions that reduce the circulation of blood in the veins or that reduce circulation of the lymphatic fluid (such as venous insufficiency, obesity, pregnancy, or surgeries) also increase the risk of developing cellulitis.

What causes cellulitis?

The majority of cases of cellulitis are caused by either staph (Staphylococcus) or strep (Streptococcus) bacteria.

Staph (Staphylococcus aureus) is the most common bacteria that causes cellulitis. There is a growing incidence of community-acquired infections due to methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), a particularly dangerous form of this bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics and is more difficult to treat.

Strep (usually group A or B Streptococcus) is also a common cause of cellulitis. A form of rather superficial cellulitis caused by strep is called erysipelas; it is characterized by spreading hot, bright red circumscribed area on the skin with a sharp raised border. The so-called "flesh-eating bacteria" are, in fact, also a strain of strep that can sometimes rapidly destroy tissues.

Cellulitis can be caused by many other types of bacteria. In children under 6 years of age, H. flu (Hemophilus influenzae) bacteria can cause cellulitis, especially on the face, arms, and upper torso. Cellulitis from a dog or cat bite or scratch may be caused by the Pasteurella multocida bacteria, which has a very short incubation period of only four to 24 hours. Aeromonas hydrophilia, Vibrio vulnificus, and other bacteria are causes of cellulitis that develops after exposure to freshwater or seawater. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is another type of bacteria that can cause cellulitis, typically after a puncture wound.

Is cellulitis contagious?

Cellulitis is not contagious because it is an infection of the skin's deeper layers (the dermis and subcutaneous tissue), and the skin's top layer (the epidermis) provides a cover over the infection. In this regard, cellulitis is different from impetigo, in which there is a very superficial skin infection that can be contagious.

How is cellulitis treated?

First, it is crucial for the doctor to distinguish whether or not the inflammation is due to an infection. The history and physical exam can provide clues in this regard, as can sometimes an elevated white blood cell count. A culture for bacteria may also be of value, but in many cases of cellulitis, the concentration of bacteria may be low and cultures fail to demonstrate the causative organism.

When it is difficult or impossible to distinguish whether or not the inflammation is due to an infection, doctors sometimes treat with antibiotics just to be sure. If the condition does not respond, it may need to be addressed by different methods dealing with types of inflammation that are not infected. For example, if the inflammation is thought to be due to an autoimmune disorder, treatment may be with a corticosteroid.

Antibiotics, such as derivatives of penicillin or other types of antibiotics that are effective against the responsible bacteria, are used to treat cellulitis. If the bacteria turn out to be resistant to the chosen antibiotics or in patients who are allergic to penicillin, other appropriate antibiotics can be substituted. In many cases, treatment requires the administration of intravenous antibiotics in a hospital setting, since oral antibiotics may not always provide sufficient penetration of the injury to be effective. In certain cases, intravenous antibiotics can be administered at home.

In all cases, physicians choose a treatment based upon many factors, including the location and extent of the infection, the type of bacteria causing the infection, and the overall health status of the patient.

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Asbestos - How bad it can be

Asbestos Symptoms: Late Indicators

Asbestos symptoms refer to the changes in the body that indicate some type of serious diseases caused by exposure to asbestos particles. Awareness about asbestos symptoms is important because danger of asbestos exposure affects about 1.3 million people every year. Individuals employed in the railroad, factory, shipyard, automobile, construction and building industries in last six decades are at the risk of developing asbestos symptoms. Most unfortunate aspect of the asbestos related diseases is that the asbestos symptoms may lie dormant in the body for decades. This long latency period does not let the victim or his family knows about the existence of the disease. Asbestos symptoms might appear after 20-50 years of exposure. No study so far has come out with convincing evidence to show the effects of different amount and different duration of exposure to asbestos particles. Although individuals who have been exposed to asbestos for a longer time are more susceptible to asbestos related diseases, yet there are instances when patients developed serious disease with only a few months exposure. When exposed to asbestos, individuals either inhale or ingest the asbestos fibers. Natural destination of these fibers after inhalation is lungs while the ingested asbestos fibers take the route of digestive system. Therefore, asbestos symptoms start appearing in either lungs or digestive system. However, in some cases asbestos symptoms may appear in other organs also. Asbestos symptoms may be the indicators of cancerous and non- cancerous type of asbestos diseases. Asbestosis is a non-cancerous type of asbestos disease. This disease has asbestos symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain and persistent cough. Ignorance of these symptoms may lead to serious disability or even death. Mesothelioma is cancerous type of asbestos disease. Pleural mesothelioma affects the lining of lungs known as pleural membrane. Peritoneal mesothelioma shows its affect on the lining of organs of abdomen known as peritoneal membrane. Shortness of breath, persistent cough, chest pain and building up of fluids in the lungs are some symptoms of pleural mesothelioma. Asbestos symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma are weight loss, nausea, difficulty in bowel movements, foot swelling, anemia and building up of fluid in abdomen. In rare cases, fever and night sweating may also appear as asbestos symptoms. People suffering from asbestos symptoms can file lawsuits against the persons and organizations for causing asbestos exposure. These Asbestos lawsuits can help the victims of asbestos symptoms to recover the damages for medical expenses, loss of income, lost earning capacity, pain and psychological sufferings.

Who is at increased risk for developing mesothelioma?

Since the late 1800's Asbestos has been mined and used commercially. The use of Asbestos dramatically increased during World War II and since the early 1940's millions of Americans have been exposed to asbestos dust working within industries where initally the risks were not known. There has been widespread exposure to Asbestos by workers within shipyards, mines and mills, producers of asbestos products, workers in the heating and construction industries, and other tradespeople and an increase risk of deveolping mesothelioma has been the result. .

Today, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets limits for acceptable levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace. By contrast, the British Government's Health and Safety executive (HSE) states formally that any threshold for mesothelioma must be at a very low level and it is widely agreed that if any such threshold does exists at all, then it cannot currently be quantified. For practical purposes, therefore, HSE does not assume that any such threshold exists. People who work with asbestos wear personal protective equipment to lower their risk of exposure.

The risk of asbestos-related disease increases with heavier exposure to asbestos and longer exposure time. However, some individuals with only brief exposures have developed mesothelioma. On the other hand, not all workers who are heavily exposed develop asbestos-related diseases. Family members and others living with asbestos workers have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma, and possibly other asbestos-related diseases. This risk may be the result of exposure to asbestos dust brought home on the clothing and hair of asbestos workers.

To reduce the chance of exposing family members to asbestos fibers, asbestos workers are usually required to shower and change their clothing before leaving the workplace.
The combination of smoking and asbestos exposure significantly increases a person's risk of developing cancer of the air passageways in the lung. The Kent brand of cigarettes used asbestos in its filters for the first few years of production in the 1950s and some cases of mesothelioma have resulted. Smoking current cigarettes does not appear to increase the risk of mesothelioma.

There is no curative treatment. Close monitoring (routine X-rays or even pleural biopsy) for mesothelioma is mandated. Oxygen therapy at home is often necessary to relieve the shortness of breath. Supportive treatment of symptoms includes respiratory treatments to remove secretions from the lungs by postural drainage, chest percussion, and vibration. Aerosol medications to thin secretions may be prescribed

Causes of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer in the general population. However, in individuals that were exposed to asbestos, it is not as rare. That's because the only known, established cause of Mesothelioma is asbestos. There are experts that have speculated on other causes. There are incidences of Mesothelioma with no known asbestos exposure. However, that does not mean that there was no exposure. The right questions have to be asked. The person asking the question has to be familiar with the uses and applications of the asbestos products. There are many examples where inadequate occupational histories were taken and potential exposures were not investigated.

Asbestos the single largest cause. Asbestos has actually been in use for centuries and has been the cause of a number of ailments and diseases, including the deadly cancer Mesothelioma. The word Asbestos literally means inextinguishable and this name was given to this mineral by the ancient Greeks. The Greeks gave it this name because of its amazing fireproof qualities, although they also noted the harmful effects that asbestos had upon workers.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is soft and flexible, and has been widely used for many years for a variety of things. The modern use for this mineral is for insulation, and it has been used in a wide range of items and structures, from ceilings and walls to toasters and hairdryers. This mineral became popular during the industrial revolution as an effective and safe form of insulation - safe in that it was fireproof, but certainly not safe in any other sense. Although the risks involved in using and working with asbestos had been observed several hundred years earlier, these risks were not taken into account when asbestos became widely used for insulation.

It was not until the 1900s that the facts regarding the risks involved to workers began to re-emerge. An English physician carried out a post-mortem on a man who had worked with asbestos for many years, and he found traces of fibers and dust in the man's lungs. The doctor stated that the man had died due to his exposure to this mineral. Over the next twenty or so years professionals in many countries began to notice the fact that disease, illness and death was uncommonly high amongst asbestos workers.

In the mid 1920s, an English doctor made the first diagnosis of asbestosis, and this was followed by a study, which showed that 25% of English asbestos workers showed signs of a related lung disease. Laws were then stepped up in England to provide better ventilation and more protection to workers who were regularly exposed to asbestos. Other countries slowly followed these steps over the next decade.

This protection was slow to be implemented and did not prove all that effective. Although asbestos manufacturers and companies that used the mineral were now aware of these studies and the risks involved to workers, they continued to use asbestos widely, exposing many workers to the hazards associated with it. These employees continued to work with asbestos, totally oblivious of the harm that it was capable of causing. Asbestos continued to be widely used until the mid-seventies, by which time many workers has been exposed and were already unknowingly affected by what we now know as Mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma - An Introduction

What is Mesothelium? To understand Mesothelioma let us first understand what mesothelium is. The mesothelium is a membrane that covers & protects most of the internal organs of the body, the mesothelium is composed of two layers of cells, one layer immediately surrounds the organ the other forms a sac like covering around it. The mesothelium membrane produces a lubricating fluid that is released between these layers, allowing moving organs such as the beating heart and lungs to slide easily against adjacent structures.

The mesothelium is called by different names, depending on where it is located in the body. For e.g. the peritoneum is the mesothelial tissue that covers most of the organs in the abdominal cavity. The pericardium covers and protects the heart. The pleura is the membrane that surrounds the lungs and lines the wall of the chest cavity. The mesothelial tissue surrounding the male internal reproductive organs is called the tunica vaginalis testis. The tunica serosa uteri covers the internal reproductive organs in women.

What is Mesothelioma? Now the next question that arises is what is Mesothelioma? Mesothelioma or the cancer of the mesothelium is a disease in which cells of the mesothelium become abnormal and divide without control or order. They can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs. Cancerous cells can also spread called metastasizing from their original place to other parts of the body. Most cases of Mesothelioma begin in the pleura or peritoneum, i.e. the lining surrounding the chest and the lungs. In malignant Mesothelioma, which is a rare form of cancer, the cancerous or malignant cells are found in the sac lining the chest (the pleura), the lining of the abdominal cavity (the peritoneum) or the lining around the heart (the pericardium).

How do you get Mesothelioma? The single largest cause of Mesothelioma is working with asbestos; it is a major risk factor for Mesothelioma. A history of asbestos exposure at work is reported in about 70 percent to 80 percent of all cases. However, there have been cases where Mesothelioma has been reported in some individuals without any known exposure to asbestos. Most people with malignant Mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they breathed asbestos. Others have been exposed to asbestos in a household environment, often without their knowledge.

What is Asbestos? Asbestos is the name of a group of minerals that occur naturally as masses of strong, flexible fibers that can be separated into thin threads and woven. Asbestos has been widely used in many industrial products, including cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles, and insulation. If tiny asbestos particles float in the air, especially during the manufacturing process, they may be inhaled or swallowed, and can cause serious health problems. In addition to Mesothelioma, exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer, asbestosis (a non cancerous, chronic lung ailment), and other cancers, such as those of the larynx and kidney. The risk of asbestos-related disease increases with heavier exposure to asbestos and longer exposure time. There is some evidence that family members and others living with asbestos workers have an increased risk of developing Mesothelioma, and possibly other asbestos-related diseases. This risk may be the result of exposure to asbestos dust brought home on the clothing and hair of asbestos workers.

Mesothelioma Fact - Alarming Truth
Lately many people have been looking for mesothelioma fact and information. The startling mesothelioma fact is that Mesothelioma Cancer is a rare cancer but every year about 2,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States and this number has been continuously increasing for the past 20 years. Initially mesothelioma was recognized as a tumor of the pleura, peritoneum and pericardium. Later on, the doctors studied the fact linking mesothelioma cancers to asbestos exposure. J.C.Wagner wrote the first on mesothelioma by, and emphasized its linkage to asbestos exposure in about 32 cases of workers in the "Asbestos Hills" in South Africa.

Thereon the fact about relationship between mesothelioma and asbestos exposure was confirmed in different research studies around the world. Mesothelioma is caused because of asbestos exposure and inhalation of asbestos particles. Asbestos was widely used in industrial and manufacturing processes and building materials. Construction materials such as cement, tiles, roofing shingles, pipes, insulating material and many more, contained asbestos materials. The shocking mesothelioma fact is that almost all American buildings constructed before 1970s contain asbestos material that could pose risk for the occupants.

Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation has released a fact that, though since 1970s the protections against asbestos exposure have been in place, the mesothelioma would take 30 to 50 years to be noticed. This is because mesothelioma cancer and other asbestos diseases have a high latency rate. The asbestos particles can lie dormant in the human body for 30-50 years before manifesting as mesothelioma cancers.

Mesothelioma cancers are of two main types. In pleural mesothelioma, the cancer cells are found in the sac lining the chest and the peritoneal mesothelioma is found in the lining of the abdominal cavity. There are rare instances of mesothelioma of the lining of hearts and testicles. Mesothelioma is more prevalent in men than in women.

Awareness about mesothelioma facts is also helpful in having awareness about symptoms of mesothelioma. This information helps in early detection and timely treatment of disease. Chest pain that is caused by cancer itself or shortness of breath, abdominal pain and swelling, cough, fatigue and unexplained weight loss are some possible symptoms of mesothelioma cancers.

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How to Loose Weight

Here are five simple food swaps that can help you lose more than 10 pounds in the next six weeks.

1. Stick to one serving of cereal. For most people, a typical pour of breakfast cereal is equal to two servings. If you're trying to lose weight, trim calories by accurately measuring one serving into your bowl (usually that means ¾ - 1 cup, however, cereal serving sizes vary so you must regularly check the package labeling on your favorite brands and varieties).

For those who eat a daily bowl of breakfast cereal, follow my lead, and you'll save about 150 calories by cutting back on cereal and at least 50 calories in extra milk every morning. That's 8,400 calories saved and 2.5 pounds lost at the end of six weeks!

2. Skip your late night snack. We all feel the need to munch in the evening, and although a p.m. snack can be perfectly appropriate (diet-friendly p.m. snacks should not exceed 150 calories), for many people, the evening tends to be the time of day we blow it on calorie overload - comfort food central; ice cream, cookies, potato chips, popcorn and more!

On average, people gobble down way more than 250 calories after 8 p.m. Exercise some willpower and skip your nighttime snack altogether. Sip an herbal tea, floss/brush your teeth and close down the kitchen for the evening. You'll save at least 250 calories each day and after six weeks, you'll have cut 10,500 calories and dropped three whole pounds!

3. Scratch the butter/margarine. Cut out a total of one tablespoon of regular butter or margarine from your toast, veggies, potatoes, dinner rolls, etc. each day. At 100 calories per tablespoon, you'll save 4,200 calories and drop over one pound in six weeks. What if you can't give up the butter or margarine? At least switch to a soft tub spread that says "reduced fat" and "trans-fat free" on the label - it's half the calories of the full fat versions, so you'll still drop over ½ pound.

4. Lose the mayo and cheese on your sandwich Omit the slice of cheese and mayonnaise on your sandwich (use mustard instead - only five calories per teaspoon) and you'll save about 200 calories per sandwich. If you eat a sandwich a day, you'll end up saving 8,400 calories and find yourself 2.5 pounds lighter after just six weeks.

5. Delete the extras: It's amazing how much extra food we can munch on without realizing it - a grab of this/that off our kid's plate, an extra packet of ketchup or salad dressing, a bite of your co-worker's dessert... before you know it, you've consumed an extra 800 calories!

Be super mindful and delete the "extras" and you'll be able to trim a significant amount of calories off your weekly total. Also, pay attention to your beverages (alcohol included) - as well as what's going into your coffee and tea. By trimming 1000 extra calories off each week (about 150 per day), you'll save a total of 6000 calories and drop 1.75 pounds at the end of six weeks!

Follow all five tips and you'll potentially lose more than 10 pounds at the end of six short weeks. Here's the math: 2.5 pounds + 3 pounds + 1 pound + 2.5 pounds + 1.75 pound = 10+ pounds lost!

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Inexpensive Health Tips

By using inexpensive colour therapy principles, as suggested by the renowned naturopath, Dr. K.C. Garg (of Delhi, India), one could prevent and/or cure several diseases. One should take green, brown and blue coloured glass bottles, fill them up with drinking water and expose them to direct sunlight for six hours. After bringing the contents of these bottles to room temperature, continued consumption of this charged water would be of great advantage to patients of a large number of diseases.
Some of these diseases are:

Contents of GREEN bottle to be taken before meals: Purifies blood; Removes infection; Removes mild fever; Typhoid; Chicken pox; Cataract; Burning of eyes; Skin diseases; Septic conditions; Ringworm; Piles; Constipation

Contents of BROWN bottle to be taken after meals: Cough and cold; Acidity; Sinus; Arthritis; Bed-wetting; Indigestion; Pain during Menses; Low Blood Pressure; Diabetes.

Contents of BLUE bottle to be taken at other times: High fever; Headache; Bleeding of gums; Toothache; Earache; Nervousness; Dry skin; Insomnia; Ulcers.

Dr. Garg also says that to stay fit and healthy one should have only upto 20 per cent of acidic diet (tea, coffee, fried food, oily dishes, junk food etc.) and the rest should be alkaline in nature ( Lemon water with honey, Mango/Banana shake, seasonal fruits, carrots, turnips, radish, tomato,vegetable soup, finely chopped dates boiled in milk etc.)

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Helpful Tips on Eye Care

With so many of us spending lots of time in front of the computer every day it comes to no surprise that research is showing a rise in visual problems. What can one do? First, it’s important to find out how you can protect your eyes through eye health exams and by making a few minor changes in your computer viewing habits.

Here are some helpful Eye Care Tips -

Positioning is everything

Correct positioning of your computer, keyboard and typing copy is essential. Your screen should be positioned about an arm’s length from your eyes and 20 degrees below eye level. Consider foot and wrist rests for added comfort.

Lighting can make all the difference

Room lighting should be diffuse, not direct, to reduce glare and reflections from your screen. Look into an internal or external glare screen and be sure to set your colour, contrast and brightness levels to suit you.

A little extra help for your glasses

Anti-reflective coatings on the lenses of your glasses can be applied by your optometrist to reduce discomfort and to ease reduced vision from bright and/or flickering light sources such as VDTs and fluorescent lights. And don’t forget, your doctor of optometry can talk to you about eyeglasses designed specifically for people who use computers a lot.

Take time out, our 20-20-20 rule

Step I :-
After every 20 minutes of looking into the computer screen, turn your
head and try to look at any object placed at least 20 feet away. This
changes the focal length of your eyes, a must-do for the tired eyes.

Step II :-
Try and blink your eyes for 20 times in succession, to moisten them.

Step III :-
Time permitting of course, one should walk 20 paces after every 20 minutes
of sitting in one particular posture. Helps blood circulation for the entire body.

It’s all in the blinking

Did you know that on average we blink 12 times per minute? But wait, did you know that when we’re on the computer we only blink 5 times per minute? That can add up to dry eyes. Relieve the discomfort by using artificial tear drops or gels and remember to blink!


Sit straight at your workstation and rub your palms against each other till you feel them warm. The warmth of your palms helps soothe and relax tired eyes. Then, lightly cup your eyes with your palms and relax for 60 seconds. Count the seconds in your mind. Repeat this exercise two to three times whenever your eyes feel tired, or as often as you want. While palming, you can either rest your elbows on your desk or keep away from the desk and cup your eyes. Both ways are fine.

Splash water on your face

During breaks, splash water on your face while closing your eyes. This has an overall relaxing effect and helps you feel refreshed.

Use tea bags

Keep two used tea bags in the refrigerator before you leave for work. Once you are home, place the tea bags on your eyes for a few minutes as you relax. This not only soothes tired eyes, but also reduces puffiness.

Eat healthy

Incorporate Vitamins A, C, and E on a daily basis; eat citrus fruits, green leafy veggies, tomatoes, spinach, poultry and dairy products. Pack a box of chopped carrots, cucumber and fresh fruits and munch in-between meals at the office.

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Aspartame Safe or Not

If a product is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and composed of natural ingredients, would you assume it is safe to consume?

If the same product is an artificial sweetener, would you assume it helps control your weight?

Millions of people use aspartame, the artificial sweetener known as NutraSweet™, with these assumptions in mind.

Aspartame can be found in thousands of products such as:

  • instant breakfasts
  • breath mints
  • cereals
  • sugar-free chewing gum
  • cocoa mixes
  • coffee beverages
  • frozen desserts
  • gelatin desserts
  • juice beverages
  • laxatives
  • multivitamins
  • milk drinks
  • pharmaceuticals and supplements, including over-the-counter medicines
  • shake mixes
  • soft drinks
  • tabletop sweeteners
  • tea beverages
  • instant teas and coffees
  • topping mixes
  • wine coolers
  • yogurt

However, aspartame's tainted history of approval and potentially toxic ingredients cast serious doubt on the safety of this sugar substitute. Furthermore, aspartame may actually increase your appetite (Farber 52).

While the FDA approval may signal the green light for safe consumption, 85 percent of all complaints registered with the FDA are for adverse reactions to aspartame, including five reported deaths. A closer look at the unscientific studies, suspicious approval methods, and its harmful ingredients, reveal the hidden dangers of this artificial sweetener. In reality, aspartame poses a public health threat.

Ailments Resulting From Aspartame

The components of aspartame can lead to a wide variety of ailments. Some of these problems occur gradually while others are immediate, acute reactions.

A few of the many disorders associated with aspartame include the following:

  • Birth Defects

A study funded by Monsanto to study possible birth defects caused by consuming aspartame was cut off after preliminary data showed damaging information about aspartame. Additionally, in the book, While Waiting: A Prenatal Guidebook, it is stated that aspartame is suspected of causing brain damage in sensitive individuals. A fetus may be at risk for these effects. Some researchers have suggested that high doses of aspartame may be associated with problems ranging from dizziness and subtle brain changes to mental retardation.

  • Cancer (Brain Cancer)

In 1981, an FDA statistician stated that the brain tumor data on aspartame was so "worrisome" that he could not recommend approval of NutraSweet.(14)

In a two-year study conducted by the manufacturer of aspartame, twelve of 320 rats fed a normal diet and aspartame developed brain tumors while none of the control rats developed tumors, and five of the twelve tumors were in rats given a low dose of aspartame.(15)

The approval of aspartame was a violation of the Delaney Amendment, which was supposed to prevent cancer-causing substances such as methanol (formaldehye) and DKP from entering our food supply. A late FDA toxicologist testified before the U.S. Congress that aspartame was capable of producing brain tumors. This made it illegal for the FDA to set an allowable daily intake at any level. He stated in his testimony that Searle's studies were "to a large extent unreliable" and that "at least one of those studies has established beyond any reasonable doubt that aspartame is capable of inducing brain tumors in experimental animals … " He concluded his testimony by asking, "What is the reason for the apparent refusal by the FDA to invoke for this food additive the so-called Delaney Amendment to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act? … And if the FDA itself elects to violate the law, who is left to protect the health of the public?"(16)

In the mid-1970s it was discovered that the manufacturer of aspartame falsified studies in several ways. One of the techniques used was to cut tumors out of test animals and put them back in the study. Another technique used to falsify the studies was to list animals that had actually died as surviving the study. Thus, the data on brain tumors was likely worse than discussed above. In addition, a former employee of the manufacturer of aspartame told the FDA on July 13, 1977 that the particles of DKP were so large that the rats could discriminate between the DKP and their normal diet.(12)

  • Diabetes

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is actually recommending this chemical poison to persons with diabetes, but according to research conducted by a diabetes specialist, aspartame: 1) Leads to the precipitation of clinical diabetes. 2) Causes poorer diabetic control in diabetics on insulin or oral drugs. 3) Leads to the aggravation of diabetic complications such as retinopathy, cataracts, neuropathy and gastroparesis. 4) Causes convulsions.

In a statement concerning the use of products containing aspartame by persons with diabetes and hypoglycemia, the researchers says:

"Unfortunately, many patients in my practice, and others seen in consultation, developed serious metabolic, neurologic and other complications that could be specifically attributed to using aspartame products. This was evidenced by the loss of diabetic control, the intensification of hypoglycemia, the occurrence of presumed 'insulin reactions' (including convulsions) that proved to be aspartame reactions, and the precipitation, aggravation or simulation of diabetic complications (especially impaired vision and neuropathy) while using these products … Dramatic improvement of such features after avoiding aspartame, and the prompt predictable recurrence of these problems when the patient resumed aspartame products, knowingly or inadvertently."

Another researcher stated that excitotoxins such as those found in aspartame can precipitate diabetes in persons who are genetically susceptible to the disease.(5)

  • Emotional Disorders

In a double blind study of the effects of aspartame on persons with mood disorders, findings showed a large increase in serious symptoms for persons taking aspartame. Since some of the symptoms were so serious, the Institutional Review Board had to stop the study. Three of the participants had said that they had been "poisoned" by aspartame. Researchers concluded that "individuals with mood disorders are particularly sensitive to this artificial sweetener; its use in this population should be discouraged."(18) One researcher stated about aspartame, "I know it causes seizures. I'm convinced also that it definitely causes behavioral changes. I'm very angry that this substance is on the market. I personally question the reliability and validity of any studies funded by the NutraSweet Company."(19)

Additionally, there are numerous reported cases of low brain serotonin levels, depression and other emotional disorders that have been linked to aspartame and often are relieved by stopping the intake of aspartame.

  • Epilepsy/Seizures

With the large and growing number of seizures caused by aspartame, it is sad to see that the Epilepsy Foundation is promoting the "safety" of aspartame. At Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 80 people who had suffered seizures after ingesting aspartame were surveyed. Community Nutrition Institute concluded the following about the survey:

"These 80 cases meet the FDA's own definition of an imminent hazard to the public health, which requires the FDA to expeditiously remove a product from the market."

Both the Air Force's magazine, Flying Safety, and the Navy's magazine, Navy Physiology, published articles warning about the many dangers of aspartame including the cumulative delirious effects of methanol and the greater likelihood of birth defects. The articles note that the ingestion of aspartame can make pilots more susceptible to seizures and vertigo. Twenty articles sounding warnings about ingesting aspartame while flying have also appeared in the National Business Aircraft Association Digest (NBAA Digest 1993), Aviation Medical Bulletin (1988), The Aviation Consumer (1988), Canadian General Aviation News (1990), Pacific Flyer (1988), General Aviation News (1989), Aviation Safety Digest (1989), and Plane & Pilot (1990) and a paper warning about aspartame was presented at the 57th Annual Meeting of the Aerospace Medical Association (Gaffney 1986).

A hotline was even set up for pilots suffering from acute reactions to aspartame ingestion. Over 600 pilots have reported symptoms including some who have reported suffering grand mal seizures in the cockpit due to aspartame.(21)

Why don't we hear about these things?

The reason many people do not hear about serious reactions to aspartame is twofold: 1) Lack of awareness by the general population. Aspartame-caused diseases are not reported in the newspapers like plane crashes. This is because these incidents occur one at a time in thousands of different locations across the United States. 2) Most people do not associate their symptoms with the long-term use of aspartame. For the people who have killed a significant percentage of their brain cells and thereby caused a chronic illness, there is no way that they would normally associate such an illness with aspartame consumption.

How aspartame was approved is a lesson in how chemical and pharmaceutical companies can manipulate government agencies such as the FDA, "bribe" organizations such as the American Dietetic Association, and flood the scientific community with flawed and fraudulent industry-sponsored studies funded by the makers of aspartame.

Erik Millstone, a researcher at the Science Policy Research Unit of Sussex University has compiled thousands of pages of evidence, some of which have been obtained using the freedom of information act 23, showing: 1. Laboratory tests were faked and dangers were concealed. 2. Tumors were removed from animals and animals that had died were "restored to life" in laboratory records. 3. False and misleading statements were made to the FDA. 4. The two US Attorneys given the task of bringing fraud charges against the aspartame manufacturer took positions with the manufacturer's law firm, letting the statute of limitations run out. 5. The Commissioner of the FDA overruled the objections of the FDA's own scientific board of inquiry. Shortly after that decision, he took a position with Burson-Marsteller, the firm in charge of public relations for G.D. Searle.

A Public Board of Inquiry (PBOI) was conducted in 1980. There were three scientists who reviewed the objections of Olney and Turner to the approval of aspartame. They voted unanimously against aspartame's approval. The FDA Commissioner, Dr Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr. then created a 5-person Scientific Commission to review the PBOI findings. After it became clear that the Commission would uphold the PBOI's decision by a vote of 3 to 2, another person was added to the Commission, creating a deadlocked vote. This allowed the FDA Commissioner to break the deadlock and approve aspartame for dry goods in 1981. Dr Jacqueline Verrett, the Senior Scientist in an FDA Bureau of Foods review team created in August 1977 to review the Bressler Report (a report that detailed G.D. Searle's abuses during the pre-approval testing) said: "It was pretty obvious that somewhere along the line, the bureau officials were working up to a whitewash." In 1987, Verrett testified before the US Senate stating that the experiments conducted by Searle were a "disaster." She stated that her team was instructed not to comment on or be concerned with the overall validity of the studies. She stated that questions about birth defects have not been answered. She continued her testimony by discussing the fact that DKP has been shown to increase uterine polyps and change blood cholesterol and that increasing the temperature of the product leads to an increase in production of DKP.(13)

Revolving Doors

The FDA and the manufacturers of aspartame have had a revolving door of employment for many years. In addition to the FDA Commissioner and two US Attorneys leaving to take positions with companies connected with G.D. Searle, four other FDA officials connected with the approval of aspartame took positions connected with the NutraSweet industry between 1979 and 1982 including the Deputy FDA Commissioner, the Special Assistant to the FDA Commissioner, the Associate Director of the Bureau of Foods and Toxicology and the Attorney involved with the Public Board of Inquiry.(24)

It is important to realize that this type of revolving-door activity has been going on for decades. The Townsend Letter for Doctors (11/92) reported on a study revealing that 37 of 49 top FDA officials who left the FDA took positions with companies they had regulated. They also reported that over 150 FDA officials owned stock in drug companies they were assigned to manage. Many organizations and universities receive large sums of money from companies connected to the NutraSweet Association, a group of companies promoting the use of aspartame. In January 1993, the American Dietetic Association received a US$75,000 grant from the NutraSweet Company. The American Dietetic Association has stated that the NutraSweet Company writes their "Facts" sheets.(25)

What is the FDA doing to protect the consumer from the dangers of aspartame?

Less than nothing.

In 1992, the FDA approved aspartame for use in malt beverages, breakfast cereals, and refrigerated puddings and fillings. In 1993 the FDA approved aspartame for use in hard and soft candies, non-alcoholic favored beverages, tea beverages, fruit juices and concentrates, baked goods and baking mixes, and frostings, toppings and fillings for baked goods.

In 1991, the FDA banned the importation of stevia. The powder of this leaf has been used for hundreds of years as an alternative sweetener. It is used widely in Japan with no adverse effects. Scientists involved in reviewing stevia have declared it to be safe for human consumption--something that has been well known in many parts of the world where it is not banned. Some people believe that stevia was banned to keep the product from taking hold in the United States and cutting into sales of aspartame.(26)




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