Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Naturopathic Medicine: An Overview

Naturopathic medicine (or naturopathy) is based on the belief that the body can heal itself naturally. Naturopathic medicine attempts to improve health, prevent disease, and treat illness by promoting the use of organic foods and exercise; encouraging a healthy, balanced lifestyle; and applying concepts and treatments from other areas of complementary medicine (such as ayurveda, homeopathy, and herbal therapies).

Naturopathy was developed in the late 1800s in the United States. Today, a licensed naturopathic doctor (ND) attends a 4-year, graduate-level naturopathic medical school and studies the same basic sciences as a medical doctor (MD). However, the ND also studies alternative approaches to therapy, such as herbal medicine, acupuncture, and bodywork.

Most traditional naturopathic physicians (naturopaths) believe in natural therapies, such as nutritional and lifestyle counseling. They generally avoid prescribing medicines or performing surgery. Some naturopaths prescribe herbal medicines, homeopathic dilutions, nutritional supplements, or perform minor surgeries. The disagreement over specific practice guidelines and licensing requirements in different states has led to some public confusion about the role of the naturopath.
What is naturopathy used for?

People use naturopathic medicine for promoting good health, preventing disease, and treating illness. Most naturopaths can treat earaches, allergies, and other common medical problems. Naturopathic medicine tries to find the underlying cause of the condition rather than focusing solely on treating symptoms. A properly trained naturopathic physician works with other health professionals, referring people to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate.
Is naturopathy safe?

Two common concerns about naturopathic medicine are the use of dietary fasting and a bias against immunization (vaccinations).

    * Talk with your medical doctor before fasting (not eating or drinking, or consuming only liquids for a period of time). Fasting can be dangerous, especially if you have a disease such as diabetes.
    * Some naturopaths do not believe that immunization is necessary. Before immunizations became available, childhood illnesses caused large numbers of deaths and long-term health problems but provided survivors with natural immunity. The benefits of immunization greatly outweigh the risks.1

Always tell your doctor if you are using an alternative therapy or if you are thinking about combining an alternative therapy with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on an alternative therapy.

Naturopathy licensing varies from state to state. Not all states require naturopaths to be licensed. Also, not all naturopathic educational programs are the same. Some schools grant degrees that are not accepted by state licensing boards. In the United States, the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) is the only agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit naturopathic programs and colleges.

Before you choose a naturopath, find out whether the person graduated from an accredited college. Also check to see whether your state has licensing laws that govern the practice of NDs. If your state licenses NDs, ask your prospective ND whether he or she is licensed.

AIDS Cured By Bone Marrow Transplant?

An American man who suffered from AIDS appears to have been cured of the disease 20 months after receiving a targeted bone marrow transplant normally used to fight leukemia, his doctors said.

While researchers — and the doctors themselves — caution that the case might be no more than a fluke, others say it may inspire a greater interest in gene therapy to fight the disease that claims 2 million lives each year. The virus has infected 33 million people worldwide.

Dr. Gero Huetter said Wedneday his 42-year-old patient, an American living in Berlin who was not identified, had been infected with the AIDS virus for more than a decade. But 20 months after undergoing a transplant of genetically selected bone marrow, he no longer shows signs of carrying the virus.

"We waited every day for a bad reading," Huetter said.

It has not come. Researchers at Berlin's Charite hospital and medical school say tests on his bone marrow, blood and other organ tissues have all been clean.

However, Dr. Andrew Badley, director of the HIV and immunology research lab at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said those tests have probably not been extensive enough.

"A lot more scrutiny from a lot of different biological samples would be required to say it's not present," Badley said.

This isn't the first time marrow transplants have been attempted for treating AIDS or HIV infection. In 1999, an article in the journal Medical Hypotheses reviewed the results of 32 attempts reported between 1982 and 1996. In two cases, HIV was apparently eradicated, the review reported.

Huetter's patient was under treatment at Charite for both AIDS and leukemia, which developed unrelated to HIV.

As Huetter — who is a hematologist, not an HIV specialist — prepared to treat the patient's leukemia with a bone marrow transplant, he recalled that some people carry a genetic mutation that seems to make them resistant to HIV infection. If the mutation, called Delta 32, is inherited from both parents, it prevents HIV from attaching itself to cells by blocking CCR5, a receptor that acts as a kind of gateway.

"I read it in 1996, coincidentally," Huetter told reporters at the medical school. "I remembered it and thought it might work."

Roughly one in 1,000 Europeans and Americans have inherited the mutation from both parents, and Huetter set out to find one such person among donors that matched the patient's marrow type. Out of a pool of 80 suitable donors, the 61st person tested carried the proper mutation.

Before the transplant, the patient endured powerful drugs and radiation to kill off his own infected bone marrow cells and disable his immune system — a treatment fatal to between 20 and 30 percent of recipients.

He was also taken off the potent drugs used to treat his AIDS. Huetter's team feared that the drugs might interfere with the new marrow cells' survival. They risked lowering his defenses in the hopes that the new, mutated cells would reject the virus on their own.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases in the U.S., said the procedure was too costly and too dangerous to employ as a firstline cure. But he said it could inspire researchers to pursue gene therapy as a means to block or suppress HIV.

"It helps prove the concept that if somehow you can block the expression of CCR5, maybe by gene therapy, you might be able to inhibit the ability of the virus to replicate," Fauci said.

David Roth, a professor of epidemiology and international public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said gene therapy as cheap and effective as current drug treatments is in very early stages of development.

"That's a long way down the line because there may be other negative things that go with that mutation that we don't know about."

Even for the patient in Berlin, the lack of a clear understanding of exactly why his AIDS has disappeared means his future is far from certain.

"The virus is wily," Huetter said. "There could always be a resurgence."

This article is culled from associated press:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Viagra may Not Be what we think after all!

Despite all the talk about Viagra, it is as if it is not working after all.
Men who've, ahem, fallen and can't get up - even with the help of Viagra® - may want to get their testosterone levels checked. A recent study shows that in cases where men experiencing erectile difficulties fail to respond to medication, low levels of the male sex hormone may play a role.

Sildenafil, with the trade name of Viagra, helps men to achieve and maintain erections by increasing the blood flow to the penis using its vasodilator activity. While circulation problems are the number one cause of erectile difficulties, low testosterone levels can lower your sex drive and result in problems getting erections or result in erections that are not as strong as usual. What's more, if you do have low testosterone, sildenafil alone might not be enough to get the results you want. It is understandable- testorterone is even important in growing the penile muscles.

A study published in the journal BJU International assessed the effectiveness of sildenafil in 162 men who were 60 years of age or older, and found the medication to be effective at improving erections in only 47% of cases. Among the men for whom sildenafil didn't work, low testosterone was found to be one of the strongest predictors of the medication's failure. Particularly poor erectile function prior to using sildenafil and smoking were also associated with the medication's failure to work.

The study is the latest to suggest that, in cases where men have difficulties achieving erections, a wider-scale problem may be to blame. The authors of a study published in the Journal of Urology recommended that men who don't respond to sildenafil be tested for low testosterone and receive testosterone replacement if necessary.

They made the recommendation after comparing the effects of testosterone replacement used in conjunction with sildenafil versus a combination of a placebo and sildenafil on 75 men who had low testosterone levels and who previously did not respond to sildenafil alone. After four weeks, there was significant improvement in the erections of men in the testosterone replacement group in comparison to the placebo group.

Low testosterone can also affect more than your sex life. Other symptoms include low energy levels, a decrease in strength and muscle mass, increased body fat, irritability, and depression.

While this condition can be caused by injury or a number of medical conditions, testosterone levels also tend to decrease naturally as men age - by about 10% per decade after the age of 30. But just because a decrease in testosterone is a normal part of the aging process, it doesn't mean you're stuck with the symptoms associated with low testosterone.

Low testosterone can easily be diagnosed with a blood test, and there are a number of treatment options available to boost levels of this hormone and reduce your symptoms. These include a patch, which is worn around-the-clock to mimic the natural daily fluctuations of testosterone in the bloodstream, as well as testosterone pills, injections, and gel.

Sex Hormones and sexual problems

Have you ever wondered why we respond to erotic circumstances, pictures, stories, movies, voices, and even smells?. Hormones like testosterone and estrogen, are some of the  reasons for this process.

Because our mind processes sexual information in complicated ways that are currently poorly understood, we may or may not have sexual feelings or thoughts and sexual responses in our bodies when we're faced with sexual signals. Past experiences, current mood, current distractions, self-image, and emotional needs all play a role in how we respond.
Women actually need testosterone to give a "green light" to a sexual response
A small amount of testosterone appears necessary for sexual feelings and sexual response. So, as long as all the other emotional factors are showing a "green light," testosterone allows the possibility of sexual feelings.
Estrogen is made from testosterone and any woman having menstrual cycles is making estrogen. Therefore, having menstrual cycles confirms that a woman is making normal amounts of testosterone. It is true, however, that testosterone levels peak during ovulation, so women who don't ovulate, particularly in the years just before menopause, may notice that their sexual desire is somewhat less easily triggered.
Women taking birth control pills also don't ovulate because the ovaries are mostly shut down by the pill. On the other hand, the pill itself contains a progestin along with an estrogen, and the progestin is similar in some ways to testosterone. Pills vary, however, in the specific hormones used - some have progestins with more testosterone-like activity than others.
What happens to testosterone levels after menopause?
After menopause, most women continue to make enough testosterone, and don't notice any particular change in the extent of sexual thoughts, dreams or fantasies, or their ability to respond to sexual stimuli.

Sometimes, however, especially with an early menopause or menopause suddenly brought on by surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy, women do notice a dramatic change. From the date of the menopause, they no longer have sexual dreams, nor do they think of stimulating themselves (masturbating), even if they did in the past. They also find it very difficult to respond to a partner, movies, a book, or indeed anything that once triggered sexual feelings and sexual thoughts. Any arousal is very slow and partial. Orgasms are much reduced in intensity or don't happen at all.
This drastic change is related to the hormonal disturbance from menopause. Women describe this change as being like "night and day" or being like "a light going out." Their bodies seem "sexually asleep" - sadly, some women say "sexually dead."
Can women with low testosterone take replacement therapy?
Yes, partial replacement of testosterone can be considered for women with an early and sudden menopause due to surgery or chemotherapy, in addition to their estrogen replacement.

For women with natural menopause, a very low level of testosterone is unusual, since the ovaries generally continue to make testosterone. Occasionally, though, it does happen - it's as if the ovaries are not there at all, even though they have not been removed by surgery or harmed by chemotherapy or radiation. In these situations, testosterone replacement may be helpful.

Estrogen also plays a role in sexual arousal
Estrogen is necessary for the genital response and probably also the breast response to sexual stimulation. Estrogen contributes to the complicated mechanism whereby the clitoris and other erectile tissue in the woman become filled with blood as the woman gets sexually aroused. If these tissues don't respond, the woman doesn't feel the sensations of warm, tingling fullness, and genital stimulation is not pleasurable. This mechanism needs a minimum amount of estrogen.
At the same time, another mechanism fills the vaginal walls with blood and triggers the inner surface of the vagina to secrete a lubricating fluid. This mechanism also needs estrogen.

Then do women need to take estrogen after menopause to help with sex?
Not necessarily. The ovaries usually continue to make testosterone after menopause and, in some women, enough of this testosterone gets made into estrogen in the body's fat cells. But for others, especially those who are particularly thin, not enough estrogen is produced from testosterone in this way. Also, some women do not have any ovary tissue left because of surgery or chemotherapy.

Some women choose to take estrogen through their skin (in a patch or gel) or by mouth to reduce their menopausal symptoms, to preserve bone density, or to prevent heart disease. Others choose to take supplemental estrogen only for the genital area, and use either a cream in the vagina or a ring that's placed high in the vagina that has to be changed every 3 months. This last option is particularly useful for women who should not have any estrogen in their system, for instance, if they've had certain breast cancers.

Prolactin and thyroid hormone are also involved in sexual function
Prolactin is a hormone made by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. In men, large amounts of prolactin often cause low sex drive. What happens in women is less clear, but high prolactin levels need to be treated anyway, because high prolactin can be associated with absent or irregular periods, or difficulty conceiving, sometimes with other symptoms such as headaches.

The correct amount of thyroid hormone is also necessary for sexual feelings and responses. Again, low or high thyroid levels need treatment in their own right and are diagnosed from other symptoms - very rarely the sexual ones. In women with underactive thyroid glands, the most common sexual symptom is lowered libido and lowered sexual response.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Anti-aging Solutions

I haven't exactly discovered the fountain of youth, but I have stumbled upon something that comes as close as possible at the moment. According to a study in the journal PLoS Medicine, it's possible to add 14 years to your life by simply adopting four easy lifestyle habits: exercising, eating lots of produce, drinking alcohol only in moderation and never, ever smoking. Not only do each of these practices help prevent heart disease, the number-one killer of American women, but each also helps send your cancer risk way, way down.

Because I'd love to become one of those little old ladies who gets written up in the local paper for celebrating her 100th birthday (while, of course, not looking a day over 75 and still skiing the black diamond trails with my great-grandkids), I'm trying my hardest to incorporate all of these habits into my everyday life.

I've been waking up a little earlier every morning to take a bike ride through the park before work. I've been eating lunch a little earlier than I used to, so I'm not absolutely starving when it's time to order my food. (I used to "forget" to eat and by 3 P.M. was so ravenous it seemed like a "nice" thing to do for myself to go foraging around the office for chocolate or anything to put in my mouth. Now I eat early and often, since I've discovered that the louder my stomach growls, the more likely I am to order a burger and fries instead of a spinach salad.)

I've been unwinding after work with one really amazing glass of red wine, not two so-so glasses of moderately cheap white, or sometimes three glasses like I used to back in the days of letting stress be my driver instead of my best instincts. And I'm proud to say that I quit cigarettes years ago, and though it was the hardest thing I have ever done physically, I am also the most proud of it, and you will be too, once you've quit for good. (And you will thank yourself! Smoking is directly linked to cancer of, well, basically everything: the lungs, cervix, colon, mouth, nasal cavity, throat, lip, bladder, pancreas, kidney and stomach. Hello! So not worth it!)

And there's one other healthy habit that wasn't mentioned in that particular how-to-live-longer study, but that I've also recently added to my repertoire of Things to Do Today to Help Ensure That My 100th Birthday Party Rocks. (If I say it here, I figure it might help me stick with it longer.) Deep breath--I'm cutting back on caffeine. For someone who keeps a full pot of coffee on her kitchen counter at all times, this is a very big deal!

Of course, I've known all along that too much caffeine can cause j-j-j-jitters, anxiety and sleeplessness, but I've also recently learned that some experts think it may also increase your risk of esophageal cancer. Why? Excessive caffeine can trigger chronic reflux, which is a risk factor for cancer of the esophagus. So, while I'm not totally giving up on my Starbucks, the next time I'm there, I'll order a tall, rather than a Venti (or whatever fancy synonym they use for extra-large). Who knows? Doing so might help me sleep better, for more reasons than one.

Lipossuction and Effects and Our Health

Treatment Overview

Liposuction removes fat from your body using suction. Traditional liposuction is called nontumescent liposuction—small, thin blunt-tipped tubes (cannula) are inserted through tiny incisions in the skin. Fat is suctioned out through these tubes as the doctor moves the tubes around under the skin to target specific fat deposits.


In recent years, improved techniques have made liposuction safer, easier, and less painful. These newer techniques include

    * Tumescent liposuction. This is considered the safest and most effective liposuction technique, with the quickest recovery time. First, you are given a local anesthetic to numb the area of your body where the tube will be inserted. Next, a large amount of an anesthetic solution containing lidocaine and epinephrine is injected into the fatty tissue before traditional liposuction is performed. The solution makes the fat expand and become firmer, which allows the tubes to move more smoothly under the skin. It also causes the blood vessels to temporarily shrink (vasoconstriction), which greatly reduces blood loss during the procedure. With the large volume of anesthetic solution injected, tumescent liposuction may not require general anesthesia (which makes you sleep through the procedure) and thus does not carry some of the risks of traditional liposuction. It also reduces bruising, swelling, and pain after the procedure.

    * Ultrasound-assisted (ultrasonic) liposuction. This newer technique uses energy created by ultrasound to liquefy the fat before it is removed. The tubes move more smoothly under the skin after the fat has been liquefied, so this technique may be particularly helpful in areas where the fat is very firm or fibrous—such as the sides, the back, male breasts, and the area around the navel—or when removing large amounts of fat. Ultrasound-assisted liposuction may take 2 to 4 hours longer than traditional or tumescent liposuction.

Liposuction is usually done as an outpatient procedure in a properly equipped doctor's office, ambulatory surgery center, or hospital. In general, it does not require an overnight hospital stay unless a large volume of fat is being removed. However, liposuction of large areas of the body should only be done in a hospital or licensed surgical center.2Local anesthesia is used in some cases, and you may or may not be given a sedative to help you relax. If traditional (nontumescent) liposuction is being done, or if a large area or volume of fat is being treated, general anesthesia or deep sedation with a local anesthetic may be used.

What To Expect After Treatment

After the procedure, the area of the body that was treated is firmly wrapped to help reduce swelling, bruising, and pain. Elastic bandages and tape, support hose (such as those used to treat varicose veins), a special girdle, or another type of firm-fitting garment may be used, depending on which part of the body was treated. You may have to wear the compression garment or wrap for 3 to 4 weeks. Expect a lot of bruising and swelling for at least the first 7 to 10 days.

If you have had tumescent liposuction, fluid may drain from the incision sites for several days. In some cases, you may be given antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection.

Most people are able to get up and move around as soon as the treatment is finished and after the effects of the anesthesia and any sedation have worn off. You can return to normal activities as soon as you feel comfortable, although this may take several days to a few weeks. Most people can return to work within a few days. Recovery may take longer if large areas were treated.
Why It Is Done

The main purpose of liposuction is to reshape one or more areas of your body, not to reduce body weight. Liposuction is typically used on "problem" areas that have not responded well to diet and exercise. These areas are often on the outer thighs and hips on women and the waist and back on men. The face, neck, abdomen, back, buttocks, legs, and upper arms are all commonly treated areas.

Liposuction is sometimes used in combination with other cosmetic surgery procedures, such as a "tummy tuck" (abdominoplasty), breast reduction, or face-lift.

Liposuction may also be used to treat certain medical conditions, including:

    * Benign fatty tumors (lipomas).
    * Abnormal enlargement of the male breasts (gynecomastia or pseudogynecomastia).
    * Problems with metabolism of fat in the body (lipodystrophy).
    * Excessive sweating in the armpit area (axillary hyperhidrosis).

Liposuction is not used to treat obesity. It will not get rid of cellulite or stretch marks.
How Well It Works

Liposuction is usually very effective at removing fat deposits in small areas. But if you regain weight after having liposuction, the fatty bulges that were removed are likely to return.

Some improvement in body contour is usually noticeable right after surgery, and improvement may continue for several weeks or even months as the swelling goes away. The full effects of having liposuction may not be visible for several months to a year.

Liposuction generally does not tighten the skin over the treated area. After fat has been removed, the skin around the area may be somewhat loose. It may take up to 6 months for the skin to tighten around the treated area. Some people's skin is very elastic and retracts more quickly than other people's skin. Younger skin tends to have greater elasticity than older skin.

People who expect liposuction to help them lose weight are usually disappointed.

Liposuction performed by an experienced doctor in a properly equipped facility is usually safe. Having more than one area treated, or having a very large area treated, may increase the risk of complications during or after the procedure. Tumescent liposuction is considered the safest technique.3

Common side effects of liposuction include:

    * Temporary swelling, bruising, soreness, and numbness in and around the treated areas. Tumescent liposuction minimizes these effects in comparison to traditional liposuction.
    * Irritation and minor scarring around the incision sites where the cannulas were inserted.
    * Baggy or rippling skin. The skin will usually tighten and retract after a few months. In some people, however, the skin may remain somewhat loose.

Less common side effects include:

    * Permanent color changes in the skin.
    * Uneven skin surface over the treated area.
    * Damage to the nerves and skin. The heat generated during ultrasonic liposuction may burn the skin or damage the tissue under the skin.

Dangerous complications

Although death is very rare with liposuction, it can happen. If you are having a large amount of fat removed, are obese, or have health problems, your risks go up. You will be watched closely for several hours or overnight after a liposuction. Staying in the hospital is sometimes best.2 Possible complications include:

    * Excessive blood and fluid loss, leading to shock. This is extremely unlikely with the tumescent and ultrasonic techniques, because they usually result in very little blood loss.
    * Fat clots or blood clots, which may travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism) and become life-threatening.
    * Buildup of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema). This is most likely to occur with tumescent liposuction, during which a large volume of fluid may be injected into the body.
    * Infection. In some cases, antibiotics may be given before or after liposuction to help prevent infection.
    * Toxic reaction to the injected solution (lidocaine toxicity).

Liposuction should not be done in people with severe heart problems, blood-clotting disorders (such as thrombophilia, a disorder in which the blood clots easily or excessively), or during pregnancy.1
What To Think About

Liposuction should be done only by a doctor who has special training in liposuction and surgery of the skin and in how to respond to complications during surgery. You will also be at less risk for complications if liposuction is not done at the same time as other cosmetic procedures.1

If you are trying to lose weight, liposuction is not a substitute for exercise and a balanced diet. In fact, most cosmetic surgeons agree that the best candidates for liposuction are healthy people who are at or close to a healthy weight but who have stubborn fat deposits that do not respond to exercise. The results of liposuction can be long-lasting if you exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, and maintain a healthy weight after the procedure. When people gain weight after having liposuction, the fatty bulges that were removed often return.

Semont and Epley maneuvers for vertigo

The Semont and modified Epley maneuvers are exercises used to treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). They are done with the assistance of a health professional or physical therapist. A single 10- to 15-minute session usually is all that is needed.
Related Articles

    * Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) - Other Treatment
    * Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) - Home Treatment

» More treatment Articles

When your head is firmly moved into different positions, the calcium crystal (canalith) debris causing vertigo will slip out of the semicircular canal into an area of the inner ear where it will no longer cause symptoms. Two maneuvers have been used successfully: the Semont maneuver and the modified Epley maneuver.

The Semont maneuver is performed as follows:

    * You are seated, and the health professional turns your head 45 degrees horizontally toward the unaffected ear.
    * The health professional tilts you 105 degrees so that you are lying on the side of the affected ear with your head hanging and your nose pointed upward. You remain in this position for 3 minutes. The debris should move to the apex of the canal.
    * The health professional then moves you quickly through the seated position, holding your head in place, until you are lying on the side of the affected ear with your nose pointed to the ground. You remain in this position for 3 minutes. The debris should move toward the exit of the canal.
    * The health professional then slowly moves you back to the seated position. The debris should fall into the utricle of the canal, where it will not cause vertigo.

The modified Epley maneuver is performed as follows:

    * You are seated, and the health professional turns your head 45 degrees horizontally toward the affected ear. You should hold the health professional’s arms for support.
    * The health professional tilts you backward to a horizontal position with your head kept in place at a 45-degree turn, hanging. An attack of vertigo is likely as the debris moves toward the apex of the canal. You are held in this position until the vertigo stops, usually within a minute.
    * The health professional turns your head 90 degrees toward the unaffected ear. The health professional then rolls you onto the side of the unaffected ear, so that you are now looking at the floor. The debris should move in the canal again, possibly provoking another attack of vertigo. You should remain in this position until the vertigo stops, usually within a minute.
    * The health professional helps you back to a seated position. Then the health professional tilts your head down 30 degrees, which allows the debris to fall into the utricle of the canal where it will not cause vertigo.

Sometimes these maneuvers are performed while you wear a vibrating headband. The vibration can help move the debris into an area of the inner ear where it will not affect balance.
What To Expect After Treatment

The Semont and modified Epley maneuvers may improve or cure benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) with only one treatment. Some people need multiple treatments.
Why It Is Done

Semont and modified Epley maneuvers are used to treat BPPV.
How Well It Works

Most people are free of vertigo associated with BPPV after one or two treatments using the Semont maneuver.

Studies suggest that the modified Epley procedure is a safe, effective way to treat BPPV. There are no long-term studies of this treatment, so experts don't know whether it keeps BPPV from coming back.1

There are no significant risks associated with this treatment.
What To Think About

The Semont and modified Epley maneuvers are about as effective as the other treatments for BPPV, such as exercises (for example, Brandt-Daroff exercise) that help speed up compensation by the brain. When these maneuvers work, they can relieve symptoms of vertigo quickly.

Hearing aids- What are they?


A hearing aid makes sounds louder (amplifies). While hearing aids may amplify some types of sounds more than others, at this time they cannot be made or programmed to amplify only one type of sound, such as a voice. Hearing aids do not restore normal hearing, but they may help people with hearing loss function and communicate more easily.

What should I do if I think I need a hearing aid?

If you think you have a hearing problem and are thinking about getting a hearing aid, see your doctor. If your doctor thinks you may need a hearing aid, another type of specialist (audiologist) can help determine what type of hearing aid will work best for you. The audiologist will pick a hearing aid based on the type and how much hearing loss you have and other factors. He or she can help you learn how to get the most out of your hearing aid. In general, it usually is better to wear hearing aids in both ears, even if the hearing loss in the ears is not equal.

You also need to consider cost. Hearing aids can be expensive, and they are not always covered by insurance. Be sure to ask about a return policy, in case you are not satisfied with the hearing aid, and any warranties.

What are the different types of hearing aids?

Hearing aids differ in how they look, their size, where they are placed in the ear, and how much they can amplify sounds. All hearing aids consist of:

  • A microphone, to pick up sound.
  • An amplifier, to make the sound louder.
  • A speaker, to deliver the sound into the ear.
  • Batteries, to power the hearing aid.

The size of a hearing aid is not a good indicator of its sound quality.

There are three major types of hearing aids:

  • Analog adjustable hearing aids are made based on your hearing tests. They amplify both speech and other sounds in the same amount. Your doctor has some flexibility in adjusting them to fit your hearing, and you generally control loudness. These are the least expensive type of hearing aids.
  • Analog programmable hearing aids contain a computer chip that your doctor can program to take into account your hearing loss and how you respond to louder sounds. They can be programmed for different hearing environments, such as a one-on-one conversation or a dinner party in a restaurant. You change hearing programs by using a remote control.
  • Digital programmable hearing aids can analyze the hearing environment and adjust to the sound. They allow more flexibility in programming than analog hearing aids. They are the most advanced and the most expensive type of hearing aid.

You can wear hearing aids behind the ear, in the outer ear, or in the ear canal. Most newer models fit in the ear or ear canal. See a picture of the types of hearing aids.

  • All parts of a behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid are found in a case that fits behind the ear. The case is connected to a plastic ear mold that fits inside the outer ear. BTE hearing aids are used for all degrees of hearing loss, especially very severe hearing loss. They may be better for children because of safety and growth reasons. Poorly fitting BTE ear molds or a buildup of earwax may cause a whistling sound (feedback).
  • All parts of an in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid are found in a case that fits in the outer part of the ear. It can be used by people with mild to severe hearing loss. ITE hearing aids can be used with other hearing devices, such as a telecoil that improves hearing during phone calls. ITE hearing aids can be damaged by earwax and fluid draining from the ear, and their small size may be difficult for some people to handle. Children do not usually use them because the case must be replaced as the child grows.
  • All parts of an in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid are found in a case that fits partly or completely into the ear canal. ITC hearing aids are used by people with mild to moderate hearing loss. They are made to fit the shape and the size of your ear canal. They can be damaged by earwax and fluid draining from the ear, and their small size may be difficult for some people to handle. They are not recommended for children.

Disposable hearing aids that you use for a short period of time are now available. They last for 30 to 60 days. They may be an option for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.

Will it be hard to adjust to a hearing aid?

It may take from several weeks to months for you to get used to your hearing aid. You may find that:

  • Your hearing aid makes all sounds louder, and you may hear sounds you have not heard for a long time. Your own voice probably will sound very loud, and background noises—such as rustling newspapers, clinking silverware, and other voices—may bother you. You will have to learn to filter out unwanted sounds.
  • Your hearing changes as your situation changes. How your hearing aid works will be different when talking quietly to a friend or spouse, enjoying a family dinner, or attending a presentation with a large group of people. In each situation you will have to learn how to adjust your listening.
  • Your hearing aid is uncomfortable. It will feel odd in your ear at first and may cause some pain and tenderness in the ear canal. Do not feel you have to wear it 24 hours a day.

Here are some general tips to help you adjust to your new hearing aid.

  • Talk to your audiologist about how long to wear your hearing aid. When you first get it, your audiologist often will recommend that you wear it 2 to 3 times a day, for 30 to 60 minutes at a time. Gradually increase the time you wear it. Overloading yourself with new sounds may result in fatigue and discomfort.
  • When you first get your hearing aid, try to talk to only one person at a time, in a quiet room. This helps you adjust to the louder sounds without distractions.
  • Wear your hearing aid even if you are alone. This is a good time to get used to hearing and filtering out background noise.
  • To get used to your own voice, read aloud to yourself. Your voice is louder because it is closer to the hearing aid's microphone.
  • Adjust your hearing aid when your environment changes. For example, in meetings, sit close to the speaker so that you will be able to see him or her. Try sitting in different parts of a room until you find the spot that is best for your hearing. Change the volume of your hearing aid when necessary.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Aromatherapy Essential Oils Extraction Method

Distillation Method:

The vast majority of true essential oils are produced by distillation. There are different processes used, however. In all of them, water is heated to produce steam, which carries the most volatile chemicals of the aromatic material with it. The steam is then chilled (in a condenser) and the resulting distillate is collected. The Essential Oil will normally float on top of the Hydrosol (the distilled water component) and may be separated off.

Steam Distillation

True Steam distillation uses an outside source of steam which pipes the steam into the distillation unit, sometimes at high pressure. The steam passes through the aromatic material, and exits into the condenser.


The botanicals are fully submerged in water, producing a "soup", the steam of which contains the aromatic plant molecules. This is the most ancient method of distillation and the most versatile. It's the method most often used in primitive countries. The risk, of course, is that the still can run dry, or be overheated, burning the aromatics and resulting in an EO with a burnt smell. Hydrodistillation seems to work best for powders (ie, spice powders, ground wood, etc.) and very tough materials like roots, wood, or nuts.

Water & steam distillation

A water and steam distillation arrangement can be compared to a kitchen steamer basket, with the botanicals supported in a "basket" over boiling water, thus exposing the plant material only to the rising steam vapors. This is the best method for distilling leafy materials, but doesn't work well for woods, roots, seeds, etc.

For this process plants are placed into a vat of warm vegetable oil which causes the plant cells to rupture, causing the absorption of the essential oils. The vat is then agitated for several days. The resulting oil is filtered and bottled, and is ready for use as a massage medium. Examples of macerated oils are calendula, carrot and hypericum.

Essential oils are the concentrated essence of plant material widely used in aromatherapy. They are droplets of water-like fluid contained in the leaves, stems, bark, flowers, roots and/or fruits of different plants, and give the plant its unique scent....

Absolutes and Concretes: Solvent Extraction

Very delicate aromatics, Jasmine, Linden Blossom, etc. can not survive the process of distillation. To capture their magical aromas, a process of solvent extraction is used.

An extracting unit is loaded with perforated trays of blossoms. The blossoms are washed repeatedly with a solvent (usually hexane.) The solvent dissolves all extractable matter from the plant which includes non-aromatic waxes, pigments and highly volatile aromatic molecules. The solution containing both solvent and dissolvable plant material is filtered and the filtrate subjected to low pressure distillation to recover the solvent for further use. The remaining waxy mass is what is called the concrete and it contains in the case of J. grandiflorum as much as 55% of the volatile oil.

The concentrated concretes are processed further to remove the waxy materials which dilute the pure essential oil. To prepare the absolute from the concrete, the waxy concrete is warmed and stirred with alcohol (usually ethanol.). During the heating and stirring process the concrete breaks up into minute globules. Since the aromatic molecules are more soluble in alcohol than is the wax an efficient separation of the two takes place. But along with the aromatic molecules a certain amount of wax also becomes dissolved and this can only be removed by agitating and freezing the solution at very low temperatures (around -30 degrees F) In this way most of the wax precipitates out. As a final precaution the purified solution is cold filtered leaving only the wax-free material (the absolute.)

This solvent extraction actually yields three usable products; first the concrete (as in rose concrete, my favorite solid perfume), the precious absolutes, and the floral waxes, for addition to candles, thickening creams and lotions as a softly floral scented alternative to beeswax.

The process of enffleurage also yields an absolute, although this method is virtually obsolete nowadays. Enffleurage and solvent extraction are similar methods, except the latter replaces the use of fats with that of a solvent, such as hexane. It is very time consuming and labor intensive and, therefore, highly expensive. Formerly this was the main method of extraction for delicate flowers such as jasmine which continue to produce perfume even after they have been picked. It involves the use of purified odorless cold fat which is spread over sheets of glass mounted in large rectangular wooden frames. Flowers are strewn upon this layer of fat which absorbs the essential oil. After approximately a day the flowers are removed to be replaced by fresh flowers. The process is repeated many times - even beyond months - until the fat is saturated.

Carbon Dioxide Extraction

When CO2 (carbon dioxide) is subjected to high pressure, the gas turns into liquid. This liquid CO2 can be used as a very inert, safe, "liquid solvent." which will extract the aromatic molecules in a process similar to that used to extract absolutes (above.) The advantage, of course, is that no solvent residue remains, since at normal pressure and temperature, the CO2 simply reverts to a gas and evaporates.

CO2 extraction has given us essences of some aromatics that don't yield essential oils, Rose Hip Seed, and Calendula, for examples. In my experience (or opinion!) if the same essential oil is available both as a steam distilled EO and a CO2 extracted essence, the CO2 seems to have a richer, more intense scent, since more of the aromatic chemicals are released through this process. For more details of this process and the different types of CO2 extracts .

Cold Pressing

We are all familiar with the spray of orange essential oil that can be released by scoring or zesting the skin of the fruit. The cold pressed citrus oils are commercial produced just this way, by machines which score the rind and capture the resulting oil. Although many citrus oils are also produced by steam distillation, they seem to lack the vibrancy of the cold pressed oils.

To yield an absolute the aromatic plant material (flowers, leaves, etc.) is extracted by hydrocarbon solvents such as benzene or hexane. The plant material is covered with the solvent and slowly heated to dissolve the aromatic molecules. The solvent extracts the odour and then the solvent is filtered off to produce a 'concrete'. A concrete is a solid, wax-like substance containing about 50 per cent wax and 50 per cent volatile oil such as jasmine.
To obtain the absolute the concrete is mixed with pure alcohol to dissolve out the aromatic molecules, and then chilled. This mixture is filtered to eliminate waste products and to separate out insoluble waxes. The alcohol is evaporated off gently under vacuum. The thick, viscous, colored liquid known as the absolute is left behind.


This extraction method uses a new type of benign gaseous solvents. In the late 1980s Dr. Peter Wilde first recognized the unique properties of these solvents for the extraction of aromatic oils and biologically active components from plant materials, for use in the food, pharmaceutical, aromatherapy and perfume industries. "Florasol" (R134a), is the solvent upon which the process is based

Extraction occurs at or below ambient temperatures; hence there is no thermal degradation of the products. The extraction process utilizes the selectivity of the solvent and produces a free flowing clear oil free of waxes.

At the current time, the sole US distributor of Dr. Wilde's Florasols is The Essential Oil Company. However, we are researching a source for bulk Florasols at a more appealing price.

Solvent extraction can also be used for gums and resins to produce resinoids. Resins are the solid/semi-solid substances which exude naturally from a tree or plant that has been damaged. Commercially, resins are obtained by cutting into the bark or stem, and the gum-like substance hardens once it is exposed to the air.
The natural resinous material is extracted with a hydrocarbon solvent such as petroleum ether, hexane or alcohol. These solvents are then filtered off and subsequently removed by distillation. A resinoid remains where a hydrocarbon solvent has been used (e.g. benzoin resinoid). Resinoids are often employed by the perfume manufacturers as fixatives to prolong the aroma of a fragrance (as are concretes).