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evelyn de matias

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shingles

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a skin disease marked by acute rashes and inflammation. It is caused by the varicella zoster virus, which is also responsible for chickenpox. The virus remains in the body after a person contracts chickenpox as a child and manifests in adulthood as shingles. Early symptoms include headaches, fever, flu-like symptoms, and light sensitivity. These are followed by chronic paresthesia, with varying levels of pain along the body. The rashes develop usually on only one side of the body. It usually starts as itchy hives that eventually become painful blisters that bleed and may result in scarring. Shingles is not usually fatal, but it can lead to very serious complications, such as nerve paralysis and blindness. It can also cause severe reactions on specific areas of the body targeted by the virus. Fortunately, there are several practical and fast ways to effectively treat shingles.

Pain medication

Over-the-counter prescription pain medications, both in capsule and ointment form, are a quick way to treat the pain of shingles rashes. Mild pain can be treated with topical analgesics, like calamine lotion and capsaicin cream. Topical antibiotics protect the rashes from infection and prevent them from spreading to the rest of the body. Ibuprofen and aspirin also help patients manage the pain.

Antiviral medication, such as famciclovir, and valacyclovir all help to relieve the pain and reduce the duration of the rashes. Acyclovir is the most prescribed antiviral treatment for shingles patients. These medications can treat onset symptoms and prevent them from worsening. A few analgesics and antiviral drugs can also help treat the pain from the nerve damage caused by the shingles virus, known as postherpetic neuralgia.

Steroids

Steroids, namely corticosteroids, are very strong treatments against inflammation. They help deal with acute pain and prevent it from spreading. Prednisone is an oral corticosteroid that helps deal with the irritation and can reduce pain after the first two weeks of shingles. Experts recommend taking steroids with acyclovir or nucleoside analogues that prevent the virus from reproducing. Steroid injections into an area near the spinal cord can help patients deal with severe pain associated with nerve damage. They have also been known to treat post-herpetic neuralgia.

Taking care of the skin

Since shingles is primarily a skin condition, it is important to take good care of the skin in order to treat the symptoms. Proper skin care is important in improving skin condition with the disease. Keeping the skin cool is also an easy way to counter shingles. Taking cool baths or soaking the skin with a cold washcloth or cold compress will help relieve the inflammation and soothe skin rashes. Inflammation makes the skin very sensitive, thus it is recommended to use only mildly cold water as extreme temperatures can cause a lot of pain. Regular cool baths also combat skin infection. A colloidal oatmeal or starch bath is also helpful to moisturize the skin and relieve itching. Patients must also try not to scratch any irritated patches of skin to prevent symptoms from worsening.

High lysine and low arginine diet

Shingles patient’s diet should be carefully monitored. The shingles virus is affected by levels of lysine and arginine in the bloodstream. High levels of arginine tend to allow the virus to grow and reproduce, while lysine counters this and helps eliminate shingles symptoms. Lysine and arginine are amino acids that can be consumed in large amounts from food. Foods rich in lysine include any kinds of meat, fish, yogurt, cheese, eggs, milk, apples, and green beans. These foods are highly encouraged during rash outbreaks. Foods rich in arginine that must be avoided are chocolate, nuts, tomatoes, blueberries, brussels sprouts, cashews, and sugars. In addition, patients with high skin sensitivity are also advised against eating anything that may possibly trigger further irritation, such as seafood.

Spinal care

The varicella zoster virus lies dormant in the veins of the spinal cord after causing chicken pox. Shingles emerge from a spinal infection and often leads to chronic back pain. This is a common shingles symptom and adds to the pain patients already have to deal with from the skin inflammation. It is also common in the spine to become misaligned during outbreaks and this can even contribute to increasing their duration. Shingles patients are advised to regularly visit a chiropractor to help with the back pain and re-align the spine to counter the effects of the virus.

Homemade remedies

There are many homemade remedies that can help cure shingles symptoms. They are quick and easy to make and often produce results within a few weeks or even days of regular use. Mixing baking soda with water forms a paste that acts as an ointment to soothe shingles rashes. Cayenne pepper is also reported to help treat skin symptoms. Some remedies call for mixtures of crushed cayenne pepper as another makeshift paste, while others involve sprinkling the pepper onto the affected skin areas themselves and covering them with a soaked warm cloth. The combined action of the pepper and the warm cloth reduces pain and can lead to a faster recovery.

One of the most common homemade remedies is apple cider vinegar. Sprinkling ACV directly onto blisters or sores can lead to a considerable improvement in the skin condition after only 24 hours. Many patients look to apple cider vinegar as the best and fastest natural remedy for curing shingles.

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Lucid Dreaming

Lucid Dreaming

The term “lucid dream” was first used by Dutch psychiatrist Frederik Willem van Eeden. One begins to doubt reality whenever one encounters a strange phenomenon while dreaming. Oneirologist Paul Tholey described different conditions of awareness that characterize lucid dreaming. This includes a realization that a dream is occurring with the awareness of its environment and meaning, active memory functions, cognitive clarity, ability to make decisions, and awareness of personal identity.

Tholey believed that all of these conditions had to be met in a lucid dream to occur. Some skeptics state that lucid dreaming is simply an intermediate state between wakefulness and sleep. Despite of this, lucid dreams have still become a point of fascination for many cultures. The concept of becoming conscious of the dream environment is being practiced in Hinduism and Buddhism through Yoga nidra. The Senoi tribes of Malaysia also believe that lucid dreaming will bring them stronger mental health.

It is commonly believed today that dreams carry hidden deep meanings about life and many try to induce lucid dreaming in order to discover these. Some have tried looking into other sleep-related phenomena, such as REM, sleep paralysis, and out-of-body experience. A few simple techniques have been known to bring about lucid dreams.

Checking the reality of the dream

The easiest and most instant way to induce a lucid dream is to do a reality check. The dreamer must try to differentiate between the dream and reality by noticing any inconsistencies. The easiest inconsistencies to notice are the physical ones, such as being able to fly or running very slowly, as if through water. When you realize that these are not normal occurrences, you can easily know that you are in a dream instead of being in the real world. You can also look out for strange visuals, such as giant creatures or psychedelic colors. It is also possible to know you are dreaming when you get to encounter people who have been dead.

However, the difficulty with reality in dreams is that the dreamer will not normally find anything to be strange, no matter how absurd it may be. A common reality check involves always checking the time, as in dreams, numbers are often garbled or distorted and time appears to be independent of what is happening. Once dreamers realize it is a dream, they experience a dream-initiated lucid dream, which begins as a normal dream that eventually becomes lucid.

Recognizing dream signs

Dream signs are recurring occurrences unique to the dreamer. These may be certain images that always appear or physical behaviors the dreamer experiences. Some people report constantly seeing men or women they have never met before in their dreams. Dream signs are often interpreted as being important parts of the dreamer’s character. These signs serve as good reality checks as the dreamer is more familiar with such events and is more likely to acknowledge it as part of a dream. A helpful technique for recognizing dream signs is writing them down in a journal or keeping note of them. With practice, a dreamer can pinpoint dream signs with ease and quickly induce a lucid dream.

Wake-induced lucid dreaming

Lucid dreaming can often be brought about after waking up in the middle of a dream. Wake-induced lucid dreaming occurs when waking up usually after 5 or 6 hours of sleep. After waking, the dreamer must put him or herself in a state susceptible to lucid dreaming. The dreamer must think about the kind of dream he or she wants to have. Watch a movie or listen to a song and think about the images you want to see while trying to go back to sleep. This increases the likelihood that you will have a lucid dream about these images.

Another approach to wake-induced lucid dreaming involves the dreamer trying to continue the dream he or she had before waking up. They have to think about their previous dream and think about continuing it while going back to sleep. If the dreamers are able to successfully continue it, they will experience a lucid dream and may even be able to control certain aspects of the dream.

Externally-induced lucid dreaming

There are some devices that attempt to activate lucid dreaming. The dream mask detects REM and stimulates the mind while leaving the body asleep. The mask will give visual cues, such as musical tones or lights to signal to the dreamer that they are dreaming and induce a lucid dream. Dream goggles work similarly and when the dreamer is able to detect the signals, he or she will recognize the dream state.

Keeping a dream journal

Keeping a dream journal will help in recognizing dream signs and remembering dreams. It is best to write down about your dreams immediately after waking in case they are forgotten. Writing down the details and common themes of a dream while trying to interpret its meaning will allow the dreamer to understand his or her dreams better. When keeping a dream journal, make sure to place it where you can easily reach for it when you wake up. Because dreams fade quickly in our memory, you should be able to grab the details immediately and write them down before you completely forget some part of it.

Make sure to note the date when your dream occurs. Details like the environment, sounds, object, emotion, and characters of your dreams should be noted too. If you think you can sketch your dream, the better. You don't have to be an artist to do this. The only purpose for sketching your dreams is to help you retain the images later for easy visualization. Writing down the major events in your life can also be a good way to correlate your dream to reality. Lucid dreams may be showing some symbols about your subconscious.

You can master how to induce a lucid dream with practice. You can learn different skills for lucid dreaming here!

Lipoma

When you feel a lump growing between the skin and the muscle tissue layer, you may have a lipoma. A lipoma is a fatty tissue that is soft and moves when you put a pressure on it. This lump of fatty tissue is most of the time not bothersome and can be left alone. They commonly appear on the chest, upper thigh, upper arm, the armpits and the neck. They may appear on the other parts of the body as well. Lipomas are the most common non-cancerous soft tissue lumps that usually grow and become more apparent during the middle age. Most of the time, rarely will you need to cure lipoma, but when you want to remove it, there are different forms of treatments available including natural cures.

What causes lipoma?

Lipomas are not cancerous cells and they usually appear without known reasons. Medical researchers believe that this is an inherited condition and may be triggered by soft tissue injuries, however, there is no any accurate clinical study to support this theory. Because a lipoma is harmless, it does not require treatment. But when lipomas form lumps that can be bothersome, some may opt to have them removed. While they grow very slowly, it can involve a progressive growth of the fatty tissue of up to a few centimeters that can be unsightly. Although rarely one has several lipoma growths, individuals with the condition called familial multiple lipomatosis have the tendency to have several lumps that may require its removal.

What does a lipoma looks like

Lipomas are small, harmless and not painful lumps that appear on the skin. They feel like a dough when pressed on the skin. They can grow between one and three centimeters. They usually grow very slowly but when they grow bigger, they become noticeable, especially when they appear on the neck, upper arms and thighs. While the majority of people find lipomas harmless, in certain instances it can cause pain, especially when it grows bigger and press on the nearby nerves. Diagnosing lipomas is not difficult. By its appearance alone, one can tell it is a lipoma by a simple physical examination.

Finding the lipoma cure and treatment

Rarely do people find the need to treat a lipoma. However, when they increase in size, they can become unsightly and apparent. Lipomas that grow unusually bigger may require further examination and diagnosis by your doctor to make sure that it is not a cancerous cellular growth. The decision on whether you need to find a cure and treatment for lipoma may be influenced by different factors. This includes when your lipoma becomes tender and bothersome, such as when it starts to press on a nerve, or when it drains pus or a foul odor and it interferes with movement.

The most common form of lipoma removal is by cosmetic surgery. In certain instances, when your lipoma is unusually big in size, your doctor may order a tissue sample to take the tissues for biopsy. An MRI or CT scan may be required when the fatty tissues appear to be embedded deeper. When a lipoma forms cancerous cells, it is a condition called liposarcomas and they fatty tissue usually are not moveable unlike the lipomas. Aside from surgery, liposuction may also be warranted in removing the fatty lump or a steroid injection may be indicated to shrink the fatty tissue growth.

Natural lipoma treatment

If you want to cure lipoma without the risks of side effects that come with synthetic drugs and invasive procedures, there are natural cures available.

Turmeric

Also known as curcumin, turmeric is an herbal medicine that can cure lipomas naturally. The curcumin is a substance that can help shrink the fatty lumps on the skin. It is applied topically as a mask by mixing the turmeric powder with an olive oil to create a paste. While the turmeric treatment is often applied in lumps that form among dogs, it is also effective in humans too. Make sure to cover the paste with a bandage or a clean cloth because the yellowish color of the paste can cause dyeing on your clothing.

Sage

This plant is considered to be effective in reducing the size of a lipoma. Sage has a natural affinity to fat cells and when it is applied on the skin, it can help in naturally dissolving the fatty tissues. Herbalists believe that the fatty tissues formed in lipomas are caused by a fluid imbalance in the body and sage is effective in bringing the fluid balance in the body thereby helping in the prevention of lipoma growths.

Thuja from the cedar family

This herbal cure is commonly used in the homeopathic treatment for lipomas. The plant extract is mixed with water and then applied on the affected area up to three times a day. Thuja is usually used as an adjunctive treatment for lipoma along with other natural ways of treating it such as dietary changes.

Dietary changes

Your diet can also influence the risks of developing a lipoma. The lump is formed by fatty tissue growths and you can reduce the risk by cutting down your fat intake in your diet. Eating less or without fats can help prevent the growth of fat tissues. Try to replace fatty foods with fruits and vegetables and avoid processed foods and those with artificial flavorings.

If you want to learn more about the effective ways on how to cure lipoma naturally, click here!

Muscle Diseases

A new study by scientists from the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute has discovered a revolutionary way to generate new muscles. The results of the study, published in the medical journal Nature Medicine, revealed the technique of repairing damaged muscles by promoting tissue repair. The scientists also discovered a way to create a readily replenished store of muscle stem cells, which could facilitate continuous muscle repair. The technique could help treat patients with degenerative muscle diseases, as well as those who have suffered severe muscular damage. It could also help weakening muscular conditions in the elderly and those physically debilitated by illness. The results of this study could end up revolutionizing the health care system.

Muscle repair cycle

There are two key processes behind a muscle repair. The muscle can become damaged in several ways, from physical injuries to degenerative diseases. When this occurs, the damaged cells are replaced by satellite cells, also known as muscle stem cells, that mature into skeletal muscle cells. These cells are able to join together to create a new muscle fiber. The next process involves replenishing the store of satellite cells. When a muscle is healthy and undamaged, the satellite cells lie in a quiescent state in the basement membrane of the epithelium. When a muscle becomes damaged, these cells are activated and begin dividing to form a transit amplifying pool where the differentiated stem cells are selected from. Chronic muscle damage could overly exhaust these stores and disrupt the muscle regeneration cycle. This will lead to a continuing state of muscle deterioration.

The role of the STAT3 protein

The scientists discovered that the key to creating a sustainable pool of satellite cells lies in the STAT3 protein. The STAT3 protein is a member of the signal transducer and transcription family, which mediates growth and differentiation in cells. This protein, activated by the STAT gene, mediates satellite cell differentiation. Alternating cycles of inhibition of the STAT3 protein can lead to a sustainable pool of stem cells that can be activated to repair single or multiple cases of muscle damage. The research tested STAT3 inhibition on mice and were able to successfully control satellite cell differentiation and replication. Controlling the STAT3 protein will work like a light switch, turning it on when muscle repair is required and turning it off when the muscles are in good condition.

Potential treatment for patients with muscle deterioration

The results of this study are very promising for patients with muscle disease. As of now, there is no definitive form of treatment for muscular deterioration. This new procedure presents a potential cure that could completely repair damaged muscles and restore their function. It could cure diseases like muscular dystrophy, which is one of the largest groups of degenerative diseases. With intensive physical therapy, it may also be able to treat paralysis. It could combat the debilitating effects of old age and diseases like cancer and give patients renewed physical strength. STAT3 inhibition could provide complete cures for conditions that once presented lifelong crippling symptoms.

Impact on the medical community

This procedure also has a very positive impact on the healthcare system and on medical practitioners. It opens up a new area of study into the physiological effects of protein cycles. This could lead to further similar treatments being discovered in the future. Aside from working on skeletal muscles, this process may be able to facilitate neuromuscular repair, which could in turn be able to treat illnesses like Parkinson’s disease that cause impaired motor function. Repair and restoration of all types of muscles would revolutionize the whole of medical treatment in general.

Idelalisib

Idelalisib for blood cancer treatment

Research into blood cancer treatment has discovered a new treatment that targets the very production of tumorous cells. Idelalisib is a new medical drug that has been approved by the FDA as an effective and reliable medication. It is manufactured in tablet form by Gilead Sciences under the commercial name Zydelig.

Idelalisib inhibits the function of the enzyme phosphoinositide 3-kinase delta, which plays an important role in controlling cellular growth and metabolism. This protein also has many active receptors for malignant B-cells and also fuels their growth. The drug suppresses the activity of PI3K delta, blocking tumorous B-cell growth, as well as cellular pathways that could promote the growth of tumors. Research into the effects of idelalisib treatment of different types of blood cancer has revealed positive and promising results.

Proven effective against several types of blood cancers 

Idelalisib tablets have proven successful in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL), follicular B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (FL), and indolent non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (iNHL). For CLL, idelalisib is prescribed along with rituximab, which also targets harmful B cells. Research has shown the treatment produced as much as a 70% increase in overall survival in relapsed CLL patients who could no longer undergo chemotherapy. Patients were also reported to have lived as long as 10 months without their disease worsening, which is twice as long as their health would have lasted without the treatment. They claimed their cancer appeared to have melted away.

Similar positive effects have also been reported for SLL and FL. Clinical trials have shown that 54% of FL patients and 58% of SLL patients experienced partial or complete disappearance of their cancers. In iNHL patients, up to 57% have claimed that their tumors have shrunk to half of their original size. As with CLL, iNHL idelalisib treatment is also supplemented with rituximab.

 Less harmful effect than chemotherapies

While there are still many safety precautions advised for taking the drug, especially while pregnant or if the patient has any pre-existing health conditions, idelalisib treatment is still arguably less damaging to the immune system than chemotherapy. Aside from the irreversible damage to the immune system, chemotherapy can also cause myelosupression, bone marrow failure, and may even lead to the formation of more cancers.

The common side effects of idelalisib are skin irritation, cough, fever, and diarrhea. The most serious reactions include anaphylaxis, liver problems, pneumonitis, and perforations in the intestines. Both chemotherapy and idelalisib can produce serious health problems, however, the side effects chemotherapy can produce are much more permanent. Chemotherapy also leaves the patient feeling weak and drained during treatment. Medical experts are starting to change their recommended treatment for blood cancers to idelalisib for its effectiveness and safer use.

Less risky than invasive treatments

Aside of chemotherapy, another blood cancer treatment is blood transfusion. There are multiple risks associated with transfusion, such as acute immune and delayed hemolytic reactions against the transfused blood cells. The patient could also contract infections, such as hepatitis, sepsis, and HIV. Another treatment is a bone marrow transplant, which presents similar risks. The graft cells could attack its host and lead to graft versus host disease. Infection is also always a risk with transplants. Idelalisib does not present any of these risks, as it is a non-invasive treatment and will not lead to infection or adverse reactions to foreign cells. It is administered in a much simpler manner and with considerably less risk.

Provides treatment for patients unfit for chemotherapy

 The bodies of many cancer patients who have relapsed after previous therapy are often too weak to continue with chemotherapy. Idelalisib is a safer mode of treatment for such patients and is less likely to further weaken their damaged immune systems. The successful trials performed for CLL, SLL, and FL were all conducted on patients undergoing relapse. In addition, because it is taken orally, it can be administered for longer periods. Idelalisib is also the recommended treatment for patients with previous health conditions or co-morbidities, as their bodies would also be too weak for chemotherapy.

More accessible treatment for more patients

Once it has been distributed to global pharmaceutical companies, idelalisib will be the most readily available and accessible treatment for blood cancer. It is less costly than invasive surgeries or radiation therapy, helping people with the illness to sustain their regular treatment in an affordable means. Idelalisib is also a less intimidating form of treatment for patients, as many would undoubtedly be hesitant to undergo chemotherapy or surgery. It provides treatment to a larger number of patients too.

A new area of study into more potential cancer treatments

Studies on the chemical function of idelalisib have opened a new area of interest for medical researchers. More experiments have gone underway to develop new PI3K delta inhibitor drugs to develop new kinds of treatment for most blood cancers and other kinds of cancer as well. Perifosine acts as an inhibitor and is being studied for its potential effects on colon cancer and multiple myeloma. BEZ235 is an organic PI3K delta inhibitor that is also being studied as a possible cancer treatment, and has shown promising results against lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma. Similar substances to idelalisib have also proven effective against indolent non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This research into PI3K delta inhibitors may result in more effective and safer treatments for all cancer patients.