Beyond Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy in its simplest definition is the smelling of vapors for health & well-being effects, howsoever gained. This article examines a cross-section of the art and proposes a future course of direction for those professionals not wishing to be tarred with an aromatherapy brush.

Of course the fragrance of a nice perfume will leave you in a better frame of mind than the smell of rotting cadavers. The general intuitive appeal of a nice smell (etc) has launched a blind universal hype on essential oils, the mainstay of aromatherapy. Over the years it has attracted a large following of uncritical persons eager to believe good news. By contrast it has produced research well beyond the scope of aromatherapy.

Much opposition has been leveled against the wild claims that border on or even cross the line of fraud. Where there’s money to be made, there is opportunism. The truth is often the first casualty.

Then there is the medical profession. They are the stalwarts to uphold and defend the medical truth. Unfortunately there is opportunity to denigrate the practice of aromatherapy for motives other than altruism, leaving academia to the rescue. Disappointingly, much academic research is in effect unavailable to the general public as good research papers can be expensive.

Deserved or otherwise, alternative medicines such as Acupuncture, Ayurveda, Chiropractic, Homeopathy, Kinesiology, Light Therapy, Phrenology, etc. have been slow to gain traction in mainstream medicine. Within each field there may be something worthwhile. There is risk of throwing the baby out with bathwater.

Aromatherapy by semantic definition is in lockstep with things smelled, the nose being solely equipped to perceive things smelled. Thus aromatherapy armoury consists solely of essential oils. “Essential” not because we can’t live without them but because essential is merely the adjective from the noun “essence” being a vapor from a liquid at a low boiling point.

This semantic deception taken together with people such as those involved in routinely claiming these potions to cure things like ADHD, arthritis, high cholesterol, lupus, asthma, migraines, cancer, fibromyalgia confuses even more. It is there, on offer, all without the rigours of scientific validation. Long Live The Placebo!

Then there are the others making ambiguous claims that leave lots of wiggleroom such as “cleanses air of negative energies”, “restoring harmony and balance between the mind and body”, “restore psychic energy flow”, “return to one’s center and chakra”. These and more have become aromatherapy’s articles of faith in some circles. Most are seen as nonsense to the mind versed in scientific methods.

Contrast these with Moss et al in the peer-reviewed paper “Aromas Of Rosemary And Lavender Essential Oils Differential Affect Cognition And Mood In Healthy Adults” where they showed the efficacy of Lavender and Rosemary oils. 144 persons took part in the study and no one was informed of the study nature. Before and after inhalation tests included 15 words to be flashed on a screen for 1 second and participants were asked to remember as many words as they could in the space of 60 seconds. More tests were done using 20 photographs enabling researchers to test recall and reaction time.

Nominal recall improved from 5.5 for the control group to 6.2 for the Rosemary and showed little change for the Lavender. Nominal reaction time improved from a score of 246 for the control group to 259 for the Lavender. Little change was reported for the Rosemary tests. They concluded that essential oils can significantly affect aspects of cognitive performance.

Worth considering is a paper by Sayorwan et al, who, using electroencephalography (EEG), measured the changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate before and after Rosemary oil inhalation by uniformed groups of subjects and controls. Their findings provided evidence that brain wave activities, autonomic nervous system responses, and mood states could all be modified with Rosemary

Aromas may well have a placebo effect and as such it is a good thing. However it is not the smell that gives essential oils their efficacy but the compounds that comprise the oils. Compounds such as Eugenol, Carvacrol, Thymol, Geraniol, and Menthol appear to stimulate while Linalool appears to calm or relax. Then there is Eugenol, a very powerful antioxidant as well. These compounds can enter the bloodstream via the olfactory system and the lungs through breathing. The bloodstream can also be fed via the skin by massage and contact patches. Other possible routes are ingestion and intravenous injections. The latter are subject to much more research than currently appears in the literature.

In conclusion, the subject of essential oils is therefore a much wider field, rich with potential discovery. Thus it is important that practitioners who prescribe the use of essential oils in their practice divest themselves of any stigma that has grown around aromatherapy. A whole new name for their practice would help to distance themselves from any hint of quackery and dogma.

The general public may well be sceptical as a result of conflicting opinions. The misnomer “essential” does not help. Volatile Oil Therapy (VOT) as a name may engender some trust especially if the practitioners of VOT confine themselves to proven effects.

Healthcare Scenario of Bangalore

HEALTH SERVICES

The health-care scenario in Bengaluru city is a mix of plenty and scarcity. A number of government bodies and schemes provide health services. In infrastructure terms, if all primary health facilities maintained by different government bodies were combined, there are likely to be enough centers to 2 Health care in Bengaluru city – need for a participatory, comprehensive health plan meet the primary care needs of the population. The city is also host to autonomous institutions with high caliber medical professionals, such as National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (NIMHANS) and the Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology. Further, like in other urban areas, a huge private sector caters to the health needs of the population.

Bengaluru is a hub for medical tourism, with super-specialty hospitals boasting state-of-the-art treatment facilities. On the other hand, the communities that particularly need public health services, such as the urban poor and working classes, are unable to access them due to the shortage of medical staff, lack of medicines and diagnostic services, high levels of corruption and the low sensitivity towards their needs. They end up using the private sector, which is an expensive option, or postpone essential health care – an even more expensive option for which the individual, family and society pay a price. There have been cases of women delivering babies at home or in auto-rickshaws as they were turned away at Maternity Homes and did not have time to reach a secondary or tertiary institution, or the resources to get there. Tertiary care is expensive even in government hospitals due to bed charges, medicines and other expenses. The result is high levels of indebtedness and health indicators among the urban poor that are almost as bad as the rural poor.

Government hospitals have a few advantages over private hospitals, which make them better and efficient for patients. This includes their facilities are affordable in cost, which is an advantage for the masses, who cannot afford expensive treatments. Best doctors are majorly found in the southern part of India. Bengaluru has a few government hospitals that make them stand out in other private ones.

In order to make health care available to the weaker sections of society Bengaluru is dotted with numerous government hospitals. Most of the government hospitals in Bengaluru are run and managed by the municipal corporation of the city. The government hospitals in Bengaluru are usually multi-specialty hospitals

Understanding Arthroscopy Surgery

Arthroscopy can be the solution to many types of arthritis and various injuries inside the joint. Also called as key hole surgery, it is the minimally invasive procedure used to examine the inside structure of the joint for the diagnosis and treatment.

The instrument used for this is called arthroscopy. The surgeons can view the area using the video monitor to diagnose and treat the joint tissues. Majorly all the joints in the body can be examined using the arthroscopy. Apart from examining the joint if any other procedure is performed using this, we call it arthroscopic surgery. This kind of surgeries requires lesser recovery times and pain. The tissue trauma will also be minimum. Because of the benefits, it offers arthroscopy is becoming essential for many orthopedic surgeries.

In the arthroscopy procedure, there is no blood loss expected and will have no or minimal complications. Only small incisions are made to examine and insert the arthroscopy. There is no need for opening the joint fully. The incisions are relatively very small and should be maintained dry for few days. And after the surgery, the patients need to stay for little time in the hospital will be recommended different exercises for strengthening the joints.

As said above, arthroscopy is considered in treating many types of arthritis like non-inflammatory and inflammatory. For example, patients with rheumatoid arthritis who have isolated joint swelling can be benefited with this by removing the inflamed joint tissue and examining it to discover any type of infections. This helps the doctors get more information where the diagnosis is difficult just by analyzing joint fluid alone for treatment.

Arthroscopy is also used for treating many knee joint injuries like ligament strains, meniscustears, posterior cruciate ligament, ligament strains etc; not only to treat knee joints and arthritis, arthroscopy is also considered to treat and examine many hips, wrist, feet, spine, ankle and elbow conditions. The arthroscopy is used to treat the wide range of sports injuries involving hips, wrists, ankles, and elbows as well.

Using arthroscopic procedures we can treat spine conditions like spinal deformity, tumors, spine trauma, spine disc herniation and degenerative discs.

The common conditions we treat using arthroscopy include shoulder dislocations, inflammation in knees, shoulders, elbows, and ankles, unstable shoulders, cartilage tears, rotator cuff tears, arthritis and shoulder joint degeneration, shoulder capsule release, cartilage tears and many more.

Arthroscopy surgery is generally performed by orthopedic surgeons. Even though it is a low risk surgery it is highly recommended to get it done by the expert surgeons for the speedy recovery and complete results. So considering arthroscopy over traditional surgery to treat any of the above conditions will assure the patients less pain, minimal complications and faster recovery.

Hernia Treatment Without Surgery Is Becoming Widespread

Generally, hernia requires surgery. But, these days, hernia treatment without surgery is becoming widespread. Yoga hernia exercises are useful for hernia treatment without surgery because it is found that over 30% hernia surgery patients end up with pain and discomfort afterwards. Inserting a foreign net can cause complications later in your 30 to 40 years of post-operation life. Instead of immediate surgery, you can try out gentle yogic stretching in static and dynamic form. This is good for gradually strengthening weak abdominal muscles as it supplies abundant amount of oxygenated blood that nourishes, activates, tones and strengthens. This in turn improves muscle tensile strength which prevent displacement of internal organs. Exercising as a solution for hernia will also safeguard that the hernia does not recur in adjacent area.

You can ask a physical therapist for guidance on exercises that fit your unique condition as patient education & training are key factors in the overall process of physiotherapy treatment. Hernia treatment without surgery will need 1 to 3 months of committed effort and patience to heal.

Piles

Piles are usually inflamed and swollen collections of tissue in the anal area. They can be of any sizes and may be internal or external. Piles are usually caused by increased pressure in the lower rectum. The blood vessels around the anus and in the rectum generally stretch under pressure and may swell, thus forming piles. The symptoms of piles are:

  • Hard stool and constipation,
  • Diarrhea and frequent bowel movements.

Doctors usually diagnose piles after carrying out some physical examinations like digital rectal examination or colonoscopy.

In most cases, piles dissolve on their own without the need for any treatment. But, some piles become severe. Read on to discover some piles treatment that will help significantly to reduce the discomfort and itching.

  1. Diet – Diet change is a must to keep the stools regular and soft. This means you need to eat more fiber, such as fruit and vegetables or bran-based breakfast cereals. You should increase water consumption.
  2. Body weight – Exercising and losing weight help in reducing the severity of piles.
  3. Medicines – Over-the-counter medicines like painkillers, ointments, creams, and pads help to soothe redness and swelling around the anus. Corticosteroids medicines can reduce inflammation and pain. Laxatives are prescribed if a person with piles suffers from constipation.
  4. Surgery – An elastic band is placed around the base of the pile, cutting off its blood supply. In sclerotherapy, medicine is injected to make the hemorrhoid shrink. Infrared coagulation is a device that is used to burn the hemorrhoid tissue. The excess tissue that is causing the bleeding can be surgically removed. Hemorrhoid stapling is done to block the blood flow to the hemorrhoid tissue. Laser surgery is the latest technique for treating piles.

So, multi specialty hospitals have well known doctors for piles treatment where you can get yourself completely cured.

A Hernia Is a Very Painful Disease and If It Goes Into the Last Stage, It Has to Be Operated

A hernia is a very painful disease and if it goes into the last stage, it has to be operated. There are many patients who prefer to go for surgery instead of continuing with the medication because it helps cure fast.

However, there is a different alternative to surgeries and it is becoming more and more popular among hernia patients. Technology has advanced in every possible way in the health section and doctors have come up with amazing solutions to make sure that you can get hernia treatment without surgery. This treatment involves controlling your diet plan, starting an exercise program and also wearing garments that would help heal a hernia. In fact, there are similar cures for piles treatment that doctors have come up with up in the recent time. But, what is it that will help you cure a hernia without having to go for the traumatic surgery? Let’s find out.

A systematic diet

One of the most important parts of treating a hernia without surgery is to have a good diet plan. Just like you have a diet chart when you want to lose weight, similarly there is a specific diet plan when you have hernia. However, it is important that you follow the diet religiously in order to quicken the process of recovery. Foods that are rich in fiber would be ideal for this situation. In addition to fiber rich foods, you should also include lots and lots of fresh vegetables and fruits. Since hernia patients lack minerals and vitamins in their body, it is essential that you eat food that are rich in vitamins and minerals and also zinc. All these will combine together to make collagen so that your skin gets the right amount of protein. A primary concern for hernia patients is their weak collagen content due to which the hernia occurs in the first place.

People exercise for various reasons, but for those who have a hernia, there are also exercises that helps to cure a hernia and prevent patients from undergoing a surgery. The exercises meant for hernia patients are mainly muscle exercises because the abdominal muscles have to be strained in order to cure the hernia. The main target area would be the muscles that lie just below the 6 pack. As those muscles are strained higher towards your stomach, the chances of curing your hernia increases. The most ideal exercise in this case would be Pilates as they directly deal with the abdominal muscles and will not only cure a hernia, but will also prevent it from growing any further.

Change in attire

That is the reason why many companies have come up with abdominal belts and pants that can keep your abdominal muscles tight. This in turn will help in ensuring that the hernia is prevented from getting worse.

A Detailed Insight on Symptoms of Piles

This condition is classified into two types which are:

  • Internal Piles: The internal piles occur within the rectum are not painful due to lack of sensing nerves. At times, it collapses and protrudes outside anal sphincter, which appears like moist pads of skin. This prolapsed haemorrhoids and can be treated with laser surgery for piles.
  • External Piles: The external piles are present in the anus and thus can be more uncomfortable. When this prolapses outside (due to the movement of stool) they become visible. Blood clots occur on them, leading to a painful stage known as thrombosis. When the external piles get thromboses it turns from pink to blue and could even bleed.

What Are The Causes of Piles?

An individual at any age can be the victim of piles. It is a common diseases, that affects over 50% of the people at some point or the other. However, they are usually seen during pregnancy or elderly age, when the haemorrhoids become weak. No matter what the cause behind this condition might be, getting the best piles treatment is of utmost importance.

The four situations that increases the chance of developing piles include:

  • Chronic Constipation
  • Ageing
  • Hereditary factors and
  • Pregnancy

In chronic constipation, excess pressure is applied on the rectum making the veins push against the wall of anus, resulting into feeble and weak anus muscles. This ruptures the haemorrhoids which bleeds making stools even tougher to eject. It is often accompanied with pain and sensitivity. In case of ageing, the tissues present across the lining area get less supportive and affect the haemorrhoids veins.

Similarly, in pregnancy the pressure of baby lying in the anus and rectum breaks the veins and causes piles. Other than that, in certain cases people have inherited weakness at the anal region that makes them prone to this condition.

Know More About the Symptoms of Piles

It must be noted that the symptoms of pile do vary and is influenced by the cause and nature of the condition.

Some of the common signs that are often faced by people are:

  • A feeling of hard lump at the anus region. It is usually coagulated blood that is often seen in external piles.
  • Bright red blood comes out after bowel movement
  • Discharge of mucus when bowels pas
  • A feeling of having full bowel, even after going to the toilet
  • Area around the anus turns sore and red and
  • Itchiness and inflammation at the affected area

A good practice is to consult with a doctor immediately when you come across at least two or more signs of piles.

Analysis to Next Generation Sequencing Technology

With the development of science, traditional Sanger sequencing has failed to meet new requirements of low cost, high throughput and fast in speed.

Recent years, with the discovery and promotion of second-generation sequencing technology, the gene sequencing speed has increased greatly while achieving a substantial decline in costs, making large-scale application of genome sequencing possible. Now, the cost of personal whole genome sequencing is about 5,000$, and is expected to decreased to less than $ 1,000 in the next few years.

The rapid development of sequencing technology will promote the massive accumulation of DNA sequencing data, accompanied by the accumulation of the corresponding individual diseases, signs and other data at the same time. When we accumulate enough data, how to understand these data will be critical. On the micro level, generations of molecular biologists’ studying the effects of apparent biological traits genes exert on utilizing technologies like gene knockout have made breakthroughs in many crucial aspects. On the macro level, statistics and other data analysis techniques are introduced to study the relationship between gene sequences and biological phenotype. The accumulation of basic scientific research gradually brings breakthroughs in clinical applications.

There are now two types of clinical applications mainly, one aims at disease screening of ordinary people. It infers people’s future risks of getting cancer by measuring the known genes associated with a disease loci. The other aims at the diagnosis cancer and other deadly diseases. It finds in a series of drugs or plans the most effective one for certain patients by testing the loci of certain genes.

Data from BBC research shows that total global gene sequencing market increased from $ 7.941million in 2007 to $ 4.5 billion in 2013, and will reach $ 11.7 billion in the year of 2018 with the CAGR up to 21.2%.

Currently, the market of de novo sequence platform is mainly taken by several major manufacturers, including the Illumina, Ion Torrent / Life Technologies (was the acquisition of Thermo Fisher in 2014), 454 Life Sciences / Roche, etc.

Under such a circumstance, the next generation sequencing technology (second-generation sequencing) appears. As an emerging industry, the next-generation sequencing technology can be applied in clinical testing like antibody discovery, health industry, industrial and agricultural use of gene-oriented study as well as scientific research and development.

To stimulate the next generation sequencing market, we need to start by investing more small and medium size industry focusing on this field.

Glomerulonephritis: How to Diagnose and Prevent It at Various Levels

Glomerulonephritis is an inflammation of the glomeruli in the kidney. The glomeruli is constellation of small blood vessels in the kidney that act as a filter to remove excess fluid, electrolytes and nitrogenous wastes from the blood into the urine.

It is divided into:

  • Acute Glomerulonephritis- The symptoms develop suddenly.
  • Chronic Glomerulonephritis- The symptoms develop gradually.
  • In glomerulonephritis, the glomeruli lose their filtering capacity thus blood proteins and red cells are excreted in the urine in various quantities depending on the severity of the glomerular damage.

DIAGNOSIS OF GLOMERULONEPHRITIS

Accurate diagnosis is essential in the successful treatment of glomerulonephritis.

Diagnosis is highly dependent on the clarity of symptoms, examination and investigation findings.

SYMPTOMS

  • Passage of coca-colored urine due to the presence of red blood cells in the urine. This is called haematuria.
  • Passage of foamy urine due to excess amount of proteins in the urine. This is called proteinuria.
  • Presence of peri-orbital and ankle swelling.

EXAMINATION FINDINGS

  • Peri-orbital and pedal edema.

· Elevated blood pressure.

INVESTIGATIONS

  • Urinalysis-This reveals diagnostic findings such as red blood cells, casts, white blood cells and proteins in the urine.
  • Blood test- Blood level of electrolytes, urea and creatinine. This is mainly done to assess the extent of kidney damage.
  • Radiological imaging tests-This is done usually when the blood tests suggest some level of kidney damage. E.g Renal scan or abdominal CT scan is done.
  • Kidney biopsy- This entails using a clinical procedure to extract some pieces of kidney tissues for microscopic examination. This is the only test that confirms glomerulonephritis.

TREATMENT

This is based on the following principles:

  • Treat underlying health conditions quickly.
  • Use of corticosteroids to reduce the degree of inflammation and immunological responses.
  • Dialysis- This is used for individuals with acute kidney injury or kidney failure.
  • Anti-hypertensives such as ACEI, ARBs- This is used to control hypertension in some selected individuals.

PREVENTION STRATEGIES

There are 3 levels of prevention namely: primary, secondary and tertiary.

PRIMARY PREVENTION

The aim of this is to prevent the onset of glomerulonephritis.

It entails the following:

  • Throat swab should be done for suspected bacteria cause of sore throat. If streptococcus is suspected, oral penicillin should be commenced as soon as possible.
  • Prompt treatment of individuals with bacteria endocarditis.

SECONDARY PREVENTION

This involves early diagnosis and prompt treatment of glomerulonephritis.

It specifically entails the following:

  • Routine urinalysis to be done periodically for individuals at risk of streptococci infections and for individuals greater than 40 years.
  • Periodic monitoring of blood urea and creatinine levels should be done for individuals with compromised kidney function.

TERTIARY PREVENTION

This involves activities and interventions put in place for individuals with glomerulonephritis from developing complications such as kidney failure and to reduce the disease progression.

  • Optimal control of co-morbidities like hypertension and diabetes mellitus.
  • Reduce intake of high protein diet.
  • Restrict salt intake.
  • Cessation of smoking.
  • Regular clinic follow up by a Nephrologist.

Finally, glomerulonephritis is a very lethal kidney disease of which the onset and progression can be prevented if an individual adheres to the activities in the various levels of prevention highlighted above.

Bringing Scientific Rigor to Medical Research Using Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology applied to medical research can improve trust in science by creating an unchangeable, time stamped record of the research findings. Blockchain technology, invented by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, ensures that transactions entered into a ledger cannot be changed with time. As applied to the cryptocurrency bitcoin (BTC), the result is a monetary system that, cannot be manipulated by a centralized government because it creates a permanent and accurate record of all transactions. The strength of the system comes from its use of a distributed database as compared to current monetary systems that require a centralized database such as is used by credit card companies and banks. Applying this same technology to medical research increases trust in the results because just like bitcoin, the transactions (scientific data collected) are permanently archived in an unchangeable, immutable manner.

The exchange of money, just like the conduct of medical research, requires a high level of trust. Money in the past has generated this trust through government regulations and central bank oversight. Medical research in the past has attempted to create high levels of trust through peer review conducted by reputable medical journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine. Both methods of generating trust rely on a trusted central authority, either the government or a medical journal. As such, both methods are highly susceptible to fraud via corruption or innocent errors of the centralized authority. This has led to widespread distrust in medical research. Bitcoin operates differently, because it sets up a method of relying on a distributed network based upon a mathematical algorithm, rather than centralized authority susceptible to human error.

Financial transactions require perhaps the highest level of trust. People need to know that all transactions recorded in the ledger be entirely accurate and totally resistant to being changed in the future. Because blockchain technology as implemented in bitcoin has earned this trust, bitcoin has become a widely used store of value with a market capitalization of over $100 billion USD. When other cryptocurrencies are considered, the total trust in blockchain based financial systems exceeds $250 billion USD. Similarly, health care professionals need to be able to trust that data obtained from medical research is both completely accurate and completely immutable. Physicians need to know that medical research isn’t plagiarized or fraudulent in any way. Blockchain technology has made bitcoin a trusted, global currency. In the same way, blockchain based medical research will greatly increase trust in the results and as a result, improved medical care.

Aging Does Not Have to Mean Decreased Quality of Life Thanks to Holistic Medicine

One unavoidable facet of the human condition is the progression of time and the correlating health changes that go along with the passage of time. Those who are aging typically face conditions that weaken the body and reduce the quality of life as the years add up. There are various holistic approaches that can help these individuals tone their bodies and improve their quality of life again. These approaches avoid the prescribed medications of functional medicine and focus on other treatments that utilize natural compounds and therapy focused on movement and invigoration.

Healthy Eating Habits

Fruits and vegetables are important to help the body stay fit and operate as it should. Eating organic is a big boost to the body’s efforts to maintain strong muscles and healthy skin. Making sure to include the right amount of Vitamins C, D, E and K as well as Vitamin A will keep the body functioning as it should and help individuals enjoy their remaining years.

Supplements

Holistic medicine believes that providing the body with the natural compounds it needs, the body’s capabilities return to what they were in the individual’s younger years. It is important to take supplements rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants in order to help the body complete processes as it should.

Skin Care Taken Seriously

The first step is to minimize sun exposure and also cut down on the amount of chemicals the skin is exposed to on a regular basis. Next, it is important to use topical vitamin C and moisturizers to help the skin stay supple and healthy.

The aged look of skin can be addressed and reduced, provided you utilize the right products and don’t -buy into the promises from make-up or cleansers that are sold for profit and not for the true benefit of the consumers.

Exercise and Sleep Can Mean the Difference

It is important to get enough sleep and make sure to take proper care of teeth and gums. This allows the body to handle illness and any pain or discomfort as it should, rather than having the focus diverted to these issues or the energy available reduced due to lack of sleep.

For those who want to stay healthy, it is important to fit in some exercise, even if it is a regularly scheduled walk. The body needs the exercise to help burn fats and process certain compounds to remove them from the system.

Functional medicine revolves around a specified pain or condition, the diagnosis of said illness and prescriptions meant to resolve or at minimum keep the issue at bay. For those who want to feel healthy and avoid taking too many prescriptions, it is wise to turn to the holistic option to evaluate the potential answers for the condition the sufferer deals with on a daily basis. The prognosis may be better, and the sufferer may get more immediate resolution to the problem. A happy ending using natural solutions can be within reach quickly. Functional medicine has its place, but holistic medicine is an undervalued resource for those with chronic conditions.