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Natural Remedies for Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety and stress often come with an uncomfortable condition or a problem that anyone may find it difficult to deal with, but they usually go away when the...
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Is Aspirin Really Beneficial to the Heart?

A heart attack is not something that starts and ends within minutes; rather it is an ongoing event. The damage to your heart and body can be...
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How to Stop Snoring: Causes, Cures, and Remedies

Snoring is often an indicator for serious health issues, and it may even lead a snorer to severe respiratory tract, lung, heart, kidney, and brain diseases. However, these are...

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Everything You Need to Know about Botox

Over the past decades, Botox has been one of the most appreciated interventions in the beauty industry. It has been a popular aesthetic treatment, especially among the rich and famous. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Simon Cowell and many more have used it to improve their appearance.

These days Botox has become a household name; no doubt, the celebrity factor has played a big part in this. However, despite everyone knowing what it is, most people have no idea about what is it made of and how it actually works. This is especially true of those considering the procedure for the first time.

The confusion in the prospective patients about the benefits and risks of Botox is not just because of the media hype, but also due to the glut of misinformation that can be found on the Internet.

The purpose of this article is, therefore, to provide evidence based information on Botox ― and at the same time dispel some myths surrounding the procedure.

Table of Contents

What is Botox?


Botox is actually the trade name of a neurotoxin (botulinum toxin), which is made from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Injections containing this toxin mostly work by relaxing or paralyzing certain muscles or by obstructing activity of certain nerves.

The mechanism of action of botulinum neurotoxin is complex. When Botox is injected into a target area of the skin, a series of events occur within the body. As a result, a neuromuscular blocking effect is produced and the release of acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter that plays a major role in activating muscles) is inhibited. These actions ultimately result in temporary paralysis of the targeted muscle.

Botox Injection

What does Botox do?

Botox injections are efficient in minimizing unwanted facial lines such as wrinkles caused by the aging process. These injections are typically used to correct cosmetic issues such as forehead wrinkles, frown lines, and crow’s feet. They can also be used to make the jaw line appear slimmer, combat excessive sweating in the palms, feet, and underarms, and treat migraines and cervical dystonia.

Does it hurt?

Most patients compare Botox injections to acupuncture, rating it as much less painful as a traditional injection. However, there can be some mild discomfort if the procedure is applied directly to frown lines. In this case, your specialist can recommend and apply a topical anaesthetic.

Is there an age limit for Botox?

There isn't any specific age limits for those who want to take Botox injections. However, qualified professionals generally will not treat anyone under the age of 18, unless it is to treat a specific medical condition.

Wrinkles or other facial issues are major problems for older adults, as it starts to show up with ages. Individuals under 18 years of age are too young, so there is little or no chance for having facial issues like wrinkles.

There’s also not an upper age limit either. In most cases, the only difference in age is how the treatment is applied, or the amount of Botox needed for a specific condition. Outside of that, age is rarely a consideration. In fact, Botox tends to have more dramatic and visible effects on older people.

Difference between Botox treatment in men and women

  • Physiological difference. To achieve desired results, men require higher dosage of Botox as compared to women, especially around the eyes and the forehead. The main reason behind this is that there is a physiological difference between the facial muscle strength and skin thickness of men and women.
  • Aesthetic difference. Cosmetic treatments for men and women differ aesthetically. For example, most females want a pronounced arch in their eyebrow to enhance their looks. Botox treatment is more subtle in males and most of them just want to erase obvious signs of aging without giving up their distinguished appearances. Hence, different techniques of injecting Botox are employed to maintain gender specificity.

How many units of Botox are needed?

Every person is different in his/her biological setup. Depending on the individual skin characteristics, some may require more of the neurotoxin while some will need less.

If you want to take the shots, it is important for you to discuss the treatment with a qualified cosmetic surgeon. Your surgeon can best advise you of any associated risks with the treatment. Following up as required by your doctor will allow them to assess and better measure future Botox applications to achieve your desired look.

How long does it last?

In general, The results of Botox injections can take five to fourteen days to show the effects. Your eyes and forehead furrows will become noticeably reduced within a couple of days after the procedure.

Patients are advised to follow up with their doctors two to three weeks after the shot. This will allow the doctor to check results and note the effects for future treatments.

The effects of Botox injections are not permanent; hence, recipients require repeated shots to retain the effects. By about the third month only 50% of the treatment effects will still be visible. Within 4 months that will drop to 20%, and by 6 months, there will be no visible changes.

To maintain the effects, you may require to take the shots at least 2-3 times a year.

The downtime and appearance right after treatment

For most patients, how they will look immediately after the procedure is their primary concern.

Right after a shot, the muscles around the injected area will be temporarily paralyzed. This temporary paralyzing effect will make you unable to frown, squint your eyes or raise your eyebrows. Hence, makeup should not be worn for at least three hours following a Botox treatment.

Some people may notice tiny red spots around the injected area, but these quickly fade away. In most cases, they’re gone by the time you get home.

Botox and fillers: Is there a difference?

Many people just assume that all outpatient cosmetic procedures are more or less the same, when in fact they are quite different. The most common two are Botox and Dermal Fillers, and both of which are used for aesthetic purposes on an outpatient basis.

Botox is a small injection that removes wrinkles, while Dermal Fillers are a more invasive procedure that involves injecting artificial fillers under the skin. The differences, however, not end there. Botox has many uses over and above the aesthetic ones. Also, new research is being carried out with regards to using Botox for headaches and migraines, asthma and even weight loss.

Dermal Fillers, while also used for cosmetic procedures, are completely different. They’re a gel-like substance that is injected under the skin, either filling it in and stretching it tight, or reshaping it altogether. The most common procedure is lip injections, which women around the world use to increase the size of their lips.

Side effects of Botox

The most common side effect of Botox injections is a 24-hour headache. About 10% of first time patients will experience this. Other side effects include mild bruising, and less commonly, a slightly droopy appearance. These are mild side effects, and generally short term. If you have any concerns, simply contact your specialist. That’s what they’re there for.

Is there anything to worry about?

Botox and Dermal Fillers are usually considered risk free, although there are considerations unique to each individual, which should be discussed with a qualified medical professional.

For Botox injections, improper treatment can cause undesirable facial expressions. In particular, the eyelids and eyebrows can droop. While this is rare, and clears up relatively quickly in most cases, no one wants to walk down the aisle looking like they’re asleep.

Because of this, if you’re considering Botox for a special event such as an engagement, wedding, or business meeting, it should be done at least two weeks before the big date. In fact, the more advance time you plan, the better it will be.

As for Dermal Fillers, generally speaking, the worst that can happen is an infection. In this case, antibiotics are used. Obviously the desired change in appearance won’t likely be achieved.

A more serious concern, though rare, is that the fillers may interfere with blood vessels in the skin, possibly causing scans, or scarring. These are rare occurrences, but they are considerations when looking into cosmetic procedures.

Does Botox work

Yes, 90% of the time, it is successful in treating wrinkles and facial creases! However, the efficacy of Botox depends on a number factors, including the recipient’s unique anatomy, recipient’s goals, the dosage given and choice of cosmetic surgeon.
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Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

IBS symptomIrritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that you can’t diagnose with conventional diagnosis. It is a condition that is often identified only by the symptoms you’re experiencing. The symptoms you may experience include prolonged abdominal pain or uneasiness associated with rectal evacuation, an uncomfortable feeling of fullness (bloating), symptoms of gas, changes in bowel habits (constipation, diarrhea, or alternating), and features of disordered defecation.

IBS can greatly upset the function of your GI tract. However, unlike ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, it doesn't cause any structural abnormalities. For this reason, it does not pose a significant physical danger to your body and does not harm the bowel tissues or increase the risk of developing cancer.

Signs and Symptoms

IBS has no organic cause. It can affect anyone at any age, but women are more likely to have it than men are. It is more common in individuals younger than 45 years.

IBS causes various symptoms, which vary from person to person. Symptoms are most often attributable to the functional problems of the intestines. That means symptoms will result from a problem with how the intestine function or work. Some people with IBS are more severely affected than others. However, only a small number of individuals have severe symptoms.
symptom of IBS

Common symptoms of IBS include:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping in the lower belly, which may be relieved by passing stools (feces) or wind. The pain may come and go in episodes and may worse after eating. In addition, the pain may be linked to a change in bowel movements.
  • Bloating and swelling of the stomach may occur infrequently. Sometimes, a crampy abdominal pain may come with the feeling of abdominal distension. An unusually excessive gas may be passed.
  • Abnormal stool frequency and appearance may occur from time to time. Some people may have bowel movements more often (diarrhea with greater than three pass out per day) than usual, and some may have less often (constipation with less than three defecations per week) than usual. The stool forms may vary in size or consistency. Sometimes the stools may appear less solid and more watery, and sometimes they may be harder, smaller, and lumpier. At times, mucus may also pass with stools.
  • Abnormal bowel movement patterns may also accompany with the above symptoms. Occasionally, people with IBS may feel an urgent need to go to the toilet, or feel that they haven't fully emptied their bowels.

Diagnosis

There are no definite tests to diagnose IBS. Doctors often check for specific symptom criteria that are typical for the condition. When they are met, it is considered that IBS is present in the diagnosed person. The criteria include:
  • The patient has had persistent abdominal pain or uneasiness for at least 3 days a month in the last 3 months associated with a change in bowel movements and in stool frequency and appearance.
  • The patient has recurrent bloating, tension or hardness in the stomach.
  • The patient has no other diseases or injuries that could cause same type of symptoms.
  • The patient's overall quality of life is impaired.
In addition, the doctors will take a complete medical history of the patient and may run some tests to exclude the possibility of other diseases. A stool test is often performed to check the evidence of bleeding. Additional testing is not usually required. However, the doctor may include some other tests if certain findings during the evaluation lead to alarming signs of other medical conditions. The doctor may also run other diagnostic procedures such as blood tests, x-rays, and colonoscopy to screen for other problems.

Conventional Treatment

IBS is a chronic condition that needs long-term care. The economic impact of IBS is also significant. Studies suggest that it accounts for high medical costs and indirect expenses, including excessive absenteeism from work/school and increased rates of physician visits. Treatment of IBS includes lifestyle and food style changes, medications, and counseling.

As the causes of irritable bowel syndrome are still unidentified, conventional treatment of IBS usually focuses on the relief of symptoms using medications. A number of different medicines can help prevent the predominant set of symptoms from interfering with a patient's daily activities. These include:

1. Antispasmodics, such as dicyclomine (Bentyl), hyoscyamine (Levsin), and mebeverine (Colofac), help ease colon muscle spasms and relieve abdominal (stomach) pain. However, these medications are often prescribed for IBS patients have bouts of diarrhea, but not for people coping with constipation. Studies suggest antispasmodics may worsen symptoms of constipation and may cause other complications.

2. Antimotility agents, such as diphenoxylate (Lomotil) and loperamide (Imodium), can help relieve diarrhea. Although a number of antimotility medicines are available in the market, but, for IBS, loperamide is the highly recommended of all due to its low side effects. Loperamide works by slowing the bowel movements through the large intestine. This action slackens the frequency of stool passing and allows more time to improve stool consistency.

3. Fiber supplements, such as methylcellulose (Citrucel) or psyllium (Metamucil), help relieve constipation if associated with IBS symptoms. They help move stools through the intestines and improve bowel movement. Physicians often recommend them when increasing dietary fiber is unsuccessful.

4. Osmotic laxatives, such as lactulose, polyethylene glycol, or milk of magnesia, may be prescribed if fiber supplements don't help lessen constipation associated with IBS symptoms. Laxatives work in different ways. They make the stools softer by increasing intestinal fluid, so that stools can pass out more easily. However, it is reported that laxatives may cause an obstruction in the GI tract. Therefore, people with IBS-related constipation should consume plenty of fluids while taking an osmotic laxative.

5. Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), have been reported to relieve stomach pain and cramping with low doses. Although a higher incidence of psychological disorders, such as depression and anxiety, is often found in people with IBS, but these medications can be used in IBS patients without mental illnesses, as they can provide pharmacological effects independent of any antidepressant effect. Antidepressants are often prescribed if persistent IBS symptoms have not been relieved by other medications.

Low doses of TCAs, such as imipramine and amitriptyline, have shown to work best when abdominal pain and diarrhea are the main symptoms. However, TCAs are not advised for IBS patients who have bouts of constipation, because they may worsen constipation. SSRIs, such as fluoxetine and paroxetine, are occasionally used for IBS. They can help reduce pain and bloating sensations as well as facilitate intestinal transport and secretions. Studies suggest SSRIs are better for patients with IBS associated constipation and depression.

6. Rifaximin, a semisynthetic antibiotic derived from rifamycin, is occasionally prescribed for IBS patients to eliminate intestinal bacteria and reduce abdominal bloating. This drug is used in IBS treatment because of its poor oral bioavailability. After oral intake, only a little of the drug is absorbed into the blood and most of the drug stays in the gut. Experts believe rifaximin may help relieve symptoms of diarrhea in an IBS patient if there is an overgrowth of bacteria in the intestine.
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Exposure Risk: Is Mercury in Dental Amalgam Actually Safe?

Dental Amalgam Filling
amalgam filling

About This Article
First of all, I need to apologize for writing this article, because I'm not a dentist! But I've a good reason behind writing this! A few days back, I had an appointment with my dentist, and after examining my wisdom teeth, he suggested amalgam fillings. Curiously, I later googled about dental amalgam and found many controversial comments about its safety. So, I decided to dig dipper! After researching in Pubmed about its side effects, I found that some very vital information are missing in the Wikipedia and other trusted sources. So, I finally took the decision to write up an article.
In normal conditions, when patients are told about a treatment option, the first thing they ask is whether it is safe. In the same way, if your dentist is suggesting a dental amalgam, you are probably wondering if it is safe or not. Accordingly, this article is written to answer this question, and other concerns that you might have about amalgam fillings.

What is Dental Amalgam?

Dental amalgam is a type of dental filling that seals the cavity resulted from tooth decay. An amalgam usually includes a combination of metals, but it is mainly made of four components: silver, mercury, copper and tin. However, some amalgam fillings also contain a small amount of zinc, indium or palladium. Liquid (elemental) mercury accounts roughly 50% of an amalgam filling; it helps bind other ingredients together.

Read: Four Wisdom Tooth Impactions and What They Mean

Potential Risks

Like any other product, it is the ingredients that determine whether a certain product is safe or not. Before you decide to get amalgam fillings, it is essential that you have a basic understanding about their ingredients, particularly the mercury that is contained in them.

According to experts, mercury is one of the most toxic, harmful substances to health and the environment. It is a very powerful neurotoxin and if used in large quantities, it has been known to cause neurological issues and kidney failure. It is linked to conditions like mental disorders, auto immune diseases and chronic illnesses among others. As a result, many experts and dentists are not willing to use these elements to their patients.

Dental Amalgam Controversy

The safety of dental amalgam is a bit controversial. And, the biggest question and controversy over amalgam fillings revolve around the fact that they contain mercury. While supporters claim them to be safe and effective, critics argue that they're risky because they may result mercury poisoning. The regulatory bodies in different countries also have mixed views about amalgam fillings. For example, while the FDA still considers dental amalgam safe for adults and children (age six years and above), in countries like Sweden, Denmark and Norway, the use of amalgam fillings has already been banned.

Therefore, despite the controversy and debate about mercury use, the real question that you should be asking is whether the mercury in amalgam fillings is that harmful. In other words, are the quantities of mercury in the fillings enough to cause such serious side effects and conditions?

Experimental studies done to answer this question have found that dental amalgam releases mercury in the form of a vapor. Although it is not confirmed that whether this vapor can cause serious side effects, but there is no doubt that your lungs can inhale and absorb it. In addition, studies done on animals have indicated that amalgam fillings in pregnant and lactating women may lead the fetus and neonates to unwanted risk of mercury exposure.
An Interesting Fact
It was revealed in 2006 that over 76% of people in the United States of America did not know of the dangers or contents of amalgam fillings. This goes to show that not many people are concerned about what their health professionals are giving them. Many people are not even bothered to know what is contained in the fillings in their teeth.

Conclusion

The debate over the safety of dental amalgam can be traced all the way back to when the fillings were first introduced. You should, therefore, take comfort in the fact that you are not the first person to question the safety of amalgam fillings and will probably not be the last. However, I think the best way to answer this question is by asking another.

Are you willing to take the chance?

If there is a slightest chance that you could be exposed to mercury, there is no reason why you should take the risk. Remember that when the fillings are placed, they are supposed to stay in your teeth for some time, which means increased and prolonged exposure to mercury!

Image Source: By Kauzio (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
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Helpful Medicines That You Should Carry While Traveling

A typical drug store
pharmacist explaining prescription

Sudden sicknesses are very common to human life. You may be completely healthy and fit with a full-functioning immune system, but you may feel sick all of a sudden, because a disease or condition often doesn't attack with easily identifiable symptoms. So, if you are traveling to a place far from your home, you should keep a few medications for some common conditions, so that you can avoid unwanted discomforts. These include:

Motion Sickness

Motion sickness is one of the common conditions that you may experience while travelling in a car, train, airplane or boat. It is a disturbance of the balance-sensing system (inner ear, eyes and sensory nerves) that is caused by repeated motion. It usually develops with a feeling of unwell, sweating, headache and/or dizziness, and is quickly followed by nausea and/or vomiting. Children between 5 and 12 years of age, women, older adults and people with a migraine problem are mostly affected by motion sickness.

To avoid the discomforts of a sudden motion sickness, you should keep an antiemetic drug, such as prochlorperazine maleate (Stemetil) or ondansetron (Zofran), and a general pain killer, such as paracetamol, in your bag.

Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is another common but very distressing problem that you may get while travelling. It is often caused by eating contaminated food, and its symptoms include nausea, vomiting, intestinal discomfort and/or diarrhea. The symptoms either can start within a few hours after eating the contaminated food or may delay from a few days to several weeks.

To cope with food poisoning while travelling, you should keep zinc tablets and some sachets of oral rehydration solution (ORS), so that you can maintain the fluid and electrolyte balance. However, if your condition gets more severe, you may need to take antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), and anti-emetics to reduce the length of time you are sick.

Allergic Reaction

Allergic reactions are common. If you have moderate to high allergic sensitivity, you may suddenly caught up with sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, red eyes and sinus pressures while travelling. And this can make your journey worse. Therefore, as a precautionary measure, it is better to carry an antihistamine, such as ketotifen (Zaditor) or cetirizine (Zyrtec), in the bag to cope with a mild reaction.

General Acidity

Acidity is a very common problem that can occur at anytime, anywhere. You never know when your stomach will produce excess acid and you'll feel gastric inflammation. So, as a preventive measure, you should keep either antacids (e.g. aluminum hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide gel/suspension) or a proton pump inhibitor, such as omeprazole (Prilosec), while travelling.

Disclaimer

Being a pharmacist, it is my responsibility to inform you that you must consult with a GP or pharmacist before keeping any of the medicines I have mentioned in the above post. You never know in which medication you may be hypersensitive to. In addition, I have no idea or knowledge about your medical history, so please consult with your doctor first.

Image Source: Rhoda Baer, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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What Are Co-occurring Disorders?

substance dependence
Substance dependence

Co-occurring disorders (COD), also known as dual diagnosis, is a condition in which people develop both substance dependence and psychological disorders at the same time, and vice versa. However, it's not that a patient with COD only have two disorders at the same time. They may have one or more disorders associated with the substance use and one or more conditions related to the mental health.
Some Quick Facts
  • Co-occurring disorders affect approximately 8.9 million Americans annually; however, only 7.4% of them receive proper treatment.
  • Almost 75% of substance abusers have at least one serious psychological disorder.
  • About 29% of mental health patients have a current or previous substance use problem.

How Co-occurring Disorders Occur?

Substance abuse causes chemical imbalances in the brain. Nearly all addictive substances, either directly or indirectly, over stimulate the brain's reward system by increasing the level of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger that is naturally produced by the brain) located in the regions of brain that are responsible for emotion, motivation, movement, and feelings of joy.

Moreover, many drugs have similarities in chemical structures with neurotransmitters. These drugs send abnormal messages to the nervous system by fooling the brain's receptors and activating unwanted nerve cells. This abnormal activation of nerve cells eventually prevents the brain's normal recycling process by releasing the neurotransmitters abnormally.

Overall, substance abuse has a profound impact on an addict, as it alters the person's brain in fundamental ways, disrupting the normal hierarchy of desires and needs and substituting them with new priorities associated with buying and using abusive substances. As a result, the addict develops mental and emotional problems. However, substance dependence isn't always the culprit behind COD; in many cases, the opposite may happen. That means a mental health condition can also lead to COD.

Diagnosis

Co-occurring disorders are usually diagnosed when an individual is confirmed with at least one disorder of each type (substance abuse and mental health disorders), independent of the other. That means that COD are not merely a bunch of symptoms arising as a result of one disorder. The symptoms of both the type must be detected in the suspected individual. However, it is often hard to say that which type the patient may experience first. Sometimes the mental disorder can play a significant role to lead a person in abusing alcohol or drugs, and sometimes the substance abuse problem can lead to mental disorders.

Signs and Symptoms

There are no specific signs and symptoms to diagnose COD. The signs and symptoms include those relating to both substance abuse and psychological disorders.

Common mental health disorders observed in people with COD include:
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Compulsive gambling
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Manic depressive disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Emotional intensity disorder
  • Sexual and eating disorders
  • Dissocial personality disorder
In addition to the symptoms of mental health disorder and substance dependence, individuals with COD are reported to involve in a variety of associated problems, including family problems, financial crisis, social disintegration, incarceration, homelessness, sexual and physical harassment, violence, suicide, serious medical illnesses and hospitalizations.

Image source: Kaushik Narasimhan, CC-BY-2.0, via Flickr
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What Are Mobility Aids?

picture of a rollatorDisability doesn't mean inability or illness. It is something that some people are born with and others just develop it due to serious medical injuries, conditions and even age.

At any stage in your lifetime, you may also unfortunately develop a disability: The reason could be an impairment or activity limitation. However, becoming disabled doesn't mean that your life will be stuck in a rut. Like a normal human being, a disable person can also learn, play, work as well as enjoy a full, healthy live.

Fortunately, with the advances in science and technology, disability devices and mobility aids have also improved, and are making everyday life more easier for disabled people. These devices are not only helping people with disabilities in becoming self-regulated but also making it less likely that they would struggle to fit in society.

Also, the price of these devices is very reasonable, and you can buy these at anywhere you want.

So What Exactly Mobility Aids are?

Mobility aids are devices that are designed to assist a physically disabled person being more mobile without any help from others. By using these specially designed medical devices, people with mobility impairment can perform their daily work, and even can continue a professional job.

Hundreds of companies across the globe are now producing these specially designed medical supplies. These companies study the needs of people with mobility impairment and manufacture these products accordingly to provide maximum level of comfort with ease.

Also, most of the equipment are completely customized devices, specially designed to suit every person with disability – from children to elderly one.

Popular Mobility Equipment

Today, a wide range of mobility aids is available in the market to help people in need. Some of the popular mobility aids include walkers or walking sticks, walking frames, elbow crutches, traditional wheelchairs, electric wheelchairs, mobility scooters and medical scooters.

Walkers or Walking Frames

picture of a rollator

Walkers or walking frames are designed to provide an additional support to disabled children or senior people who are unable to maintain their body balance or stability while walking. These mobility tools have been found very handy, helpful for individuals who are recovering from a back or leg injury.

Crutches

Crutch training at school

Crutches are the most oldest mobility tool that is still in use today. This mobility aid tool helps to transfer our body’s weight from the legs to the upper part. Disabled people often use crutches to help support their legs and maintain body balance.

Wheelchairs

Electric-powered wheelchair Belize1
A Wheelchair is a specially designed mobility aid that helps ease walking difficulties. Disabled children or elderly people who are unable to walk or move due to serious medical condition, injury or disability often use wheelchairs to ease their walking difficulties. There are two types of wheelchairs: manual or traditional and electric wheelchairs.

The manual wheelchairs are manufactured with simple design. Any occupant can move these devices turning the rear wheels. Users of these wheelchairs often find handles behind their seat to push, and move on.

The electric wheelchair provides more independence and comfort to disabled people. Users of these wheelchairs don’t require using their hands to turn the rear wheels. An electric wheelchair is battery powered, so all an user need to do is pushing the "go" button.

Mobility Scooters

EvRider Royal 4 Mobility Scooter
A mobility scooter is somewhat similar to an electric wheelchair, but its design and configuration is just like a motor scooter. The purpose of this mobility vehicle is also quite similar to an electric wheelchair. However, this mobility vehicle is particularly useful for those who can stand up, sit and walk a few steps without any support, but are greatly suffering with systemic or whole-body disabling medical conditions, for example arthritis, obesity, coronary or lung issues, etc.

Image Source:
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The Science of Addiction: How Drugs Affect the Brain

addiction and brain
addiction and brain

For centuries, the theory behind drug addiction was labored in the fogs of awkward myths and misconceptions. Drug abusers were then depicted as individuals with lack of morality and willpower, not as patients with a chronic brain disease.

Thanks to advances in scientific research. Drug addiction is now established as a disease that affects both brain and behavior. Revolutionary advances in neuroscience have revolutionized the views and understandings of drug addiction by scientists, enabling them to the development of newer approaches to the prevention and treatment.

Even with these advances in neuroscience, still there are many who live with the traditional set of beliefs about drug addiction, and don't understand how drugs change the brain over time. This article is written to cover that knowledge gap by providing scientific information about how the brain responds to addictive drugs and how drugs change the normal functioning of the brain.

The human brain is wired in a way that it can repeat life-sustaining activities by linking those activities with pleasure or reward. When any one does an action that satisfies a need or fulfills a desire, the brain's reward circuit is activated to produce pleasure feelings. The brain then records the action, making it a highly desired experience that needs to be performed again and again.

No one takes a drug intending to develop an addiction. Most often, people are caught in its snare because all drugs of abuse stimulate the same reward circuit. However, addictive drugs affect the brain much more intensely than natural rewards, such as eating, bonding, and sex. Di Chiara and Imperato (1988) suggested that drugs of abuse could release up to 10 times the amount of dopamine -- a neurotransmitter that regulates motivating behavior and feelings of pleasure -- that natural rewards produce.

Within a few minutes after entering the body, drugs cause significant changes in the brain's reward system by overstimulating the circuit with dopamine. The euphoric effects that the brain gets because of elevated dopamine levels strongly reinforce the behavior of drug use, and create the motivation for users to do it again.

To bring the overwhelming surges of dopamine in a manageable level, the brain adjusts by reducing normal dopamine activity. The brain's reward circuit, as a result, becomes less responsive to the abused drug. Consequently, the user's ability to feel any pleasure is also lessened, so he/she will need more of the substance next time to create a dopamine flood.

Continued use of addictive drugs has long-term effects on the brain's pleasure and reward system. Imaging studies on drug addicts have provided strong evidence of physical changes in brain regions that are connected to motivation, learning, decision-making, memory, and self-control. Hyman and Malenka (2001) suggested that these changes could be at the structural, cellular, molecular, and genomic levels.

Once the users start using the drug repeatedly, their reward circuit become increasingly desensitized. As a result, they need more high doses of the drug to bring dopamine levels up to normal. Eventually, they experience a loss of control over their drug use and develop a compulsive a drug-seeking behavior.

Over time, these changes outweigh the brain's normal hierarchy of needs and desires and substitute those with new priorities connected to drug seeking and using. Finally, everything that once held value in a user's life, such as job, family, and friends, are hijacked to the intense impulses for taking drugs. A drug user then turns into a drug addict.

Reference

Di Chiara G, & Imperato A (1988). Drugs abused by humans preferentially increase synaptic dopamine concentrations in the mesolimbic system of freely moving rats. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 85 (14), 5274-8 PMID: 2899326

Hyman SE, & Malenka RC (2001). Addiction and the brain: the neurobiology of compulsion and its persistence. Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 2 (10), 695-703 PMID: 11584307

Image source: Don Hankins, CC-BY-2.0, via Flickr
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About Me



Welcome to Medical-Reference. My name is Imtiaz Ibne Alam. I'm a pharmacist and a freelance medical writer with 7+ years of experience in the health care industry.

I started this blog back in 2011 with an aim of making inaccessible medical information more accessible to general people. I don't know how far I'm successful in doing so, but I always give my best to debunk complex medical or scientific data and shearing those in a clear, concise way with my words.

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