Archive for March 12th, 2009

DIGGING YOUR GRAVE WITH YOUR TEETH: WHAT ARE YOU EATING?

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Some men insist on digging their graves with their teeth. Look how many diabetic men ignore recommendations for staying healthy, eat precisely the wrong food and blithely accelerate their demise.

But then, most of us do this. We know very well what we shouldn’t eat but we can’t stop ourselves. What most of us don’t know is what we should eat to protect ourselves.

Nutritional scientists are now interested in the protective role of phytochemicals, which are non-nutrient factors in food. They are plant-based chemicals and are different from macronutrients such as proteins and carbohydrates and micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

Nutritional scientists think phytochemicals may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, some cancers and other health problems like migraines and menopausal symptoms. The health-promoting use of plants has been part of food cultural folklore for centuries, and in the case of some medical conditions, phytochemicals can almost be used as pharmaceuticals. This is not surprising, as many important drugs available today were, at least initially, derived from plants. Nutritional scientists say that in the future we may be able to prevent or delay the onset of diseases by ensuring an adequate dietary intake of these non-nutrient factors.

The attractive colours, smells, flavours and textures of food might in themselves be signals of health benefits. Take carotenoids: these are natural pigments responsible for the brilliant red, orange and yellow colours of edible fruits and vegetables. Most of these have anti-oxidant, anti-cancer and immunity-boosting effects.

Colourless compounds like salicylates are found in delicious food such as grapes, dates, cherries and apricots and have an aspirin-like effect on the body, providing protection against cardiovascular disease, stroke and, probably, bowel cancer and Alzheimer’s.

There are more than 12 categories of phytochemicals, all of which have beneficial effects. If only we knew what to eat, we could munch our way into an excellent old age.

So what does an internationally acclaimed expert on nutrition eat? Mark Wahlqvist, professor of medicine at Monash University and president of the International Union of Nutrition Sciences, is in his late 50s. He has spent his life steeped in nutrition. More than 30 years ago, he married a fellow medical student who is Chinese and since then has been eating a predominantly oriental diet in the evenings. Dinners are rice based, with an emphasis on green leafy vegetables. About three nights a week there is torn and the other nights lean meat or fish. He drinks liberal quantities of Chinese tea with his evening meal and drinks little alcohol -perhaps three or four glasses of wine a week.

At home there are bowls of fresh fruit and mixed nuts that he eats freely. He says people shouldn’t be afraid of the fat in nuts because it is not bad fat and it comes with many other nutritional benefits.

Conscious of the need to increase his vegetable intake and not particularly partial to salad, he consumes lots of vegetable soup. He frequently also enjoys a peasant Greek dish based on lentils and tomatoes with his Greek neighbours. If he eats out, it is often at a Japanese restaurant.

Professor Wahlqvist starts his day with a breakfast of oat porridge, bananas and low-fat milk. If he has bread, it is soy and linseed bread without a fatty spread. He never uses spreads.

Lunch, at work, is usually whole-grain bread with tuna or salmon and vegetables and low-fat yoghurt. He walks, jogs a bit and tries to get to the gym once a week. At 182 cm, he weighs in at 90 kg and feels well.

Rather than digging, he is using his teeth to put as much distance between himself and his grave as possible.

Almost every week, somewhere in the world a new study trumpets the benefits of eating plant matter. Broccoli reduces death from heart disease in post-menopausal women; high consumption of tomatoes lowers the risk of prostate, lung and stomach cancers; broad beans and mushrooms may help prevent bowel cancer: these are just a few examples.

Always looking for short cuts, we have a tendency to try to get these plant benefits quickly, from a bottle. Instead of eating a bowl of vegetables, we take supplements and extracts. But we never get the full benefit this way. What we get in a skin, we’ll never get in a bottle.

There are two possible explanations for this. It is possible that vitamins only do their work against cancer when they are sitting in a piece of fruit next to the elusive X factor. It seems that in the body, vitamins and the X factor work together to help protect us against cancer. But we don’t know what the X factor is and so cannot add it to the vitamins in the bottles.

The other possible explanation is that vitamins have nothing to do with cancer at all, except that they hang around the same place as the X factor, or even a series of X factors. There may well be something else in fruit and vegetables that we either have not discovered or have found but have ignored that protects us against cancer. We concentrate on vitamins because that is what we know.

To get the maximum benefit from vitamins, we need to go to the right source – the greengrocer.

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THE DEHYDRATED EXECUTIVE

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Without realising it, many executives regularly slip into a state of semi-dehydration. This happens particularly to those who drink moderate amounts of coffee or alcohol, smoke or travel a lot by air.

The problem with dehydration is that it is a little-recognised but potent risk factor for stroke, and highly stressed executives, who are vulnerable to stroke anyway, don’t need any extra risk.

Anything that makes the blood thicker is a risk factor for stroke. If the viscosity of the blood increases, it becomes sluggish and more predisposed to clot. Smoking thickens blood. In response to less inhaled oxygen, the body produces extra red blood cells, which in turn make the blood thicker.

Caffeine and alcohol are well-known diuretics and cause a loss of fluid. This reduces the water content of the blood and consequently thickens it. Dehydration in the dry and artificial environment of a plane is common, especially among those who take long-haul flights.

The danger of dehydration is that it can trigger the process that culminates in a stroke even in people with perfectly healthy blood vessels. Clots usually do not form inside healthy arteries because they have a high velocity of flow. Clots can form in healthy veins, however, because in veins there is relative calm.

All that is needed to start a venous thrombosis is one small precipitant. Just as a grain of sand acts as an irritant in an oyster and causes it to form a pearl, so a tiny precipitant in a vein can cause a large clot. But while it takes the oyster years to produce a pearl, a clot can form during one flight from Australia to the UK.

Once a small clot has formed there is a cascading effect and it grows rapidly. And one clot begets another: once it has formed it is recognised as an abnormality in the vessels, adjacent factors clot onto it, and so it expands.

When a well-known 60-something Sydney executive saw the size of his venous clot he was astounded. It was as long as his thumb. The man fit perfectly the description of a dehydrated executive, smoking 70 cigarettes a day, drinking 14 cups of coffee, never touching water and constantly travelling by air.

In the week before the clot declared itself, the executive had been flying to or from Melbourne every night. Early the following week he was sitting at the kitchen table at home in Sydney having a cup of coffee and chatting to his wife when he began to feel strange. ‘Wafty’ was how he described it. A few minutes later he could hear and understand everything his wife was saying but could not respond. ll couldn’t articulate or think. My thoughts wouldn’t come together and I felt my brain closing off.’

A venous clot can form anywhere in the body but in his case it had formed in the main vein draining his brain. The clot caused back pressure, which meant freshly oxygenated blood couldn’t get in to service his brain.

Suddenly, he turned the colour of liver and passed out, only to regain consciousness in the ambulance on the way to hospital.

There, he was given medication to dissolve the clot and strongly
advised to quit smoking and drinking coffee and not to fly long THE DEHYDRATED EXECUTIVE

Without realising it, many executives regularly slip into a state of semi-dehydration. This happens particularly to those who drink moderate amounts of coffee or alcohol, smoke or travel a lot by air.

The problem with dehydration is that it is a little-recognised but potent risk factor for stroke, and highly stressed executives, who are vulnerable to stroke anyway, don’t need any extra risk.

Anything that makes the blood thicker is a risk factor for stroke. If the viscosity of the blood increases, it becomes sluggish and more predisposed to clot. Smoking thickens blood. In response to less inhaled oxygen, the body produces extra red blood cells, which in turn make the blood thicker.

Caffeine and alcohol are well-known diuretics and cause a loss of fluid. This reduces the water content of the blood and consequently thickens it. Dehydration in the dry and artificial environment of a plane is common, especially among those who take long-haul flights.

The danger of dehydration is that it can trigger the process that culminates in a stroke even in people with perfectly healthy blood vessels. Clots usually do not form inside healthy arteries because they have a high velocity of flow. Clots can form in healthy veins, however, because in veins there is relative calm.

All that is needed to start a venous thrombosis is one small precipitant. Just as a grain of sand acts as an irritant in an oyster and causes it to form a pearl, so a tiny precipitant in a vein can cause a large clot. But while it takes the oyster years to produce a pearl, a clot can form during one flight from Australia to the UK.

Once a small clot has formed there is a cascading effect and it grows rapidly. And one clot begets another: once it has formed it is recognised as an abnormality in the vessels, adjacent factors clot onto it, and so it expands.

When a well-known 60-something Sydney executive saw the size of his venous clot he was astounded. It was as long as his thumb. The man fit perfectly the description of a dehydrated executive, smoking 70 cigarettes a day, drinking 14 cups of coffee, never touching water and constantly travelling by air.

In the week before the clot declared itself, the executive had been flying to or from Melbourne every night. Early the following week he was sitting at the kitchen table at home in Sydney having a cup of coffee and chatting to his wife when he began to feel strange. ‘Wafty’ was how he described it. A few minutes later he could hear and understand everything his wife was saying but could not respond. ll couldn’t articulate or think. My thoughts wouldn’t come together and I felt my brain closing off.’

A venous clot can form anywhere in the body but in his case it had formed in the main vein draining his brain. The clot caused back pressure, which meant freshly oxygenated blood couldn’t get in to service his brain.

Suddenly, he turned the colour of liver and passed out, only to regain consciousness in the ambulance on the way to hospital.

There, he was given medication to dissolve the clot and strongly
advised to quit smoking and drinking coffee and not to fly long

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THE CONDITION THAT CAN KEEP YOU GUESSING FOR YEARS: PARKINSON’S

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Parkinson’s disease does not strike only the elderly. One Christmas Peter M.’s friends gave him a carefully wrapped box. Inside he found animal intestines, a heart, a liver and a do-it-yourself medical book. Although the gift was a practical joke, which he took in good humour, it reflected a perception shared by his friends that he was a hypochondriac and was taking his health too seriously. The gift was designed to poke fun at his hypochondria and perhaps shake him out of it. These friends could not work out why he no longer joined in their activities and often seemed tired and low in spirits.

Peter, who was then a banker, would organise outings or weekends away for a few couples only to find he didn’t have the energy to participate. I’d arrange a bushwalk, but when the lime came to go, I was too exhausted to put one foot in front of the other, so I would stay back at the cabin and read.’ He didn’t know what was wrong.

He attributed the constant ache in his shoulder and back to old sporting injuries and thought the fatigue was just part of getting old. But he was only in his 4()s! After a while he realised his left foot was dragging and his left arm didn’t swing when he walked. Rather, it kept a crooked position, almost as if his thumb was in his belt. Eventually he sought medical advice. The first thing the neurologist did was run tests to eliminate the possibility that he had a brain tumour or had suffered a stroke.

With those two knocked out, it seemed clear that Peter had Parkinson’s disease. His symptoms then – fatigue, a frozen shoulder and a dragging foot-are classic signs. He has since developed a tremor, muscle rigidity and bradykinesia – a slowness of movement that he describes as being like walking through treacle.

He was 50 at the time he was diagnosed; however, he could trace his symptoms back at least 10 years. There is a misconception that Parkinson’s is an older person’s affliction: not uncommonly, it first appears in people in their 40s. There are Australians in their 20s who have it, and it is also known to occur in juveniles. Peter continued to work for 2 years after his diagnosis. The bank would have kept him on, but the stress of travelling to the city and dealing with the media and the public, as his job required of him, was too demanding.

‘One thing a Parkinsonian can’t lake is too much stress,’ he says. ‘It makes the symptoms worse. So you learn to avoid stress. Before I was diagnosed, I was already doing tins without realising it. I would avoid social occasions that involved meeting new people, and I thought it was just a change in my attitude to life.’

A positive attitude is an enormous help in coping with the disease. If men pace themselves and know their limitations, they can still function in a limited framework i I they have the right attitude. Men with Parkinson’s can display a wide range of symptoms, but one of the more common is impaired dexterity. A conscious effort may become necessary to cope with previously simple chores. Writing may get progressively smaller and less legible. One man could trace his Parkinson’s through the gradual deterioration of his handwriting on the stubs of chequebooks.

Although the English physician lames Parkinson first described the disease in 1817, its cause is still unknown and there is still no single scientific test for it. Diagnosis is made on symptoms. Parkinson himself thought the disease might stem from rheumatism or bowel inflammation. Victorian doctors thought it resulted from sexual overindulgence. Another theory was that areas of the nervous system wore out at different times and some people just happened to wear out a specific section of the midbrain.

Over the years there have been dozens of new ‘cures’ for the disease, from blood-letting to hemlock to vibrating chairs, but none has worked.

The estimated 30 000 Australians who suffer from Parkinson’s have limited options. Drugs have helped thousands and kept them well for 5 to 10 years. In addition, surgical procedures once considered difficult and risky have now been refined and can restore quality of life to people severely affected by the side effects of long-term medication.

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SOOTHING AN IRRITABLE BOWEL

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Dr Douglas Drossman was waiting for his patient to arrive. Three times the man had cancelled, but this time he had promised to keep his appointment.

As an international expert on irritable bowel syndrome, Dr Drossman understood the reason for the cancellations.

The man, a mid-40s property tycoon, was suffering so badly from an irritable bowel that he was afraid to leave his home in the US Midwest and fly to Dr Drossman at the University of North Carolina.

At one time the man had travelled around the country on business, enduring the bloating, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea that commonly accompany the syndrome. But unexpectedly, at a very public moment, he’d had an episode of incontinence. He’d survived the embarrassment, but when it had happened again he’d made a decision to retreat to his home and conduct all his business from there.

For 2 years he’d hardly ventured out and had eaten as little as possible. His numerous attempts to have his diarrhoea treated had failed.

To Dr Drossman, who has psychiatric as well as gastroenterological training, this man’s condition had a large psychological component. His anxiety about not being able to control his diarrhoea in public had become a problem in its own right. He had ‘catastrophised’ his condition and believed he was helpless to remedy it.

Not only did the anxiety keep him at home, but it also perpetuated the diarrhoea. The man was caught in a vicious cycle. He did, however, manage to keep the appointment with Dr Drossman and explain that once the cramping began he could not control himself for more than 2 minutes.

Dr Drossman look a behavioural approach. lie sent the man to the cinema with instructions that he sit within a 2-minute walk of the bathroom.

With reluctance, the man agreed, and was surprised to find that the proximity of the bathroom reduced his anxiety. He watched a full-length film without experiencing a single cramp. As this type of exercise was repealed and expanded, he gradually regained confidence. Eventually he gained 20 kg and was back travelling.

Psychological factors are also thought to play an important role in other gut disorders, such as reflux, inflammatory bowel disease and ulcers.

Irritable bowel syndrome, which has also been known as spastic colon, mucous colitis and nervous bowel, affects about 10 per cent of adult Australians. It can last for years and is notoriously difficult to treat because of its wide range of symptoms. While it may cause uncontrollable diarrhoea, it may also cause painful constipation. Some men seek help because their bloating and gas are affecting their work. To avoid embarrassment, they frequently have to leave meetings to relieve themselves.

While there is no universal treatment, a combination of diet modification, stress management and medication is usually used.

In China, herbal medicines have been used as a remedy for this condition for centuries. When the herbal remedies were tried on patients in Sydney, the outcome was striking. Those who received the 20-herb combination did two to three times better than those who were given a placebo.

This trial was the first placebo-controlled trial in the use of Chinese herbal medicine for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome in the world. Previous studies in China had not been performed to the same rigorous standards.

During the trial, 116 patients received treatment for 16 weeks. While 33 per cent of those on the placebo reported an improvement in their symptoms, more than 70 per cent of those receiving the herbs said they felt better.

The principles of Chinese medicine are different from those of Western pharmacology. Western practice typically involves looking for a single active ingredient, extracting it and using it as a drug. Chinese practice involves looking for the synergy among a number of ingredients. While some herbs in a combination may not act directly on the body, they may boost the function of other herbs being used.

The 20 herbs used in this instance are not easily identifiable in the West. One, for example, is the root of the white peony flower, which contains chemicals that relax smooth muscle.

There are plans for the commercial production of this 20-herb preparation.

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MEN ASLEEP: HOW REAL SLEEP KEEPS YOU THIN AND POTENT

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Benjamin Franklin was wrong. His famous maxim that ‘early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’ has no basis in fact.

While it might give early risers a sense of moral superiority, it gives them no practical advantage over those who rise late.

When epidemiologists in the UK tested the accuracy of this maxim on 1200 people, they looked at sleeping patterns and classified people as larks and owls. Those who were in bed before 11 p.m. and up before 8 a.m. were larks, while those who fell into bed after 11 p.m. and rose after 8 a.m. were owls. In terms of health, wealth and cognitive performance, the owls were no worse off than the larks.

What makes a critical difference is the quality and quantity of sleep larks and owls enjoy.

Restful sleep unbroken by heavy snoring, episodes of sleep apnoea or other nocturnal disorders can work miracles. It rests the body and allows muscles to recover from constant use during the day. It allows the metabolism to slow and the immune system to repair damage and fight infection. Sleep also triggers the secretion of growth hormone. During a good stretch, testosterone production rises too.

When sleep is fragmented and truncated over long periods, growth hormone secretion is affected. There is an established link between this hormone and obesity: as growth hormone decreases with broken sleep, the chances of gaining weight increase.

Bad sleep also affects testosterone levels. Army recruits who were deprived of sleep for an experiment displayed a marked drop in testosterone. Testosterone is an important factor in male libido. Men with low levels of this hormone have little interest in sex. They have even less interest if they are also tired and grumpy.

The genuine value of sleep can be seen clearly in the consequences of sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation is a well-known form of human torture. It breaks people mentally and then it breaks them physically. I deprived of sleep, animals develop skin rashes and immune problems, lose weight and are unable to control their body temperature. Ultimately, it can lead to premature death: rats, for example, will die after 40 days of severe sleep deprivation.

It would be unethical to subject humans to long-term sleep I deprivation in order to study its consequences, but shorter studies have shown that the first effects on humans of sleep deprivation are psychological. Initially, people become irritable. Later, they start displaying cognitive impairment and their executive and higher-order functions deteriorate. Next their memory slips, their visual-spatial perception is affected and they begin taking more risks and making more mistakes than usual.

Biologically, their ability to control their blood-sugar level is compromised and their sensitivity to insulin increases. Immune function, blood pressure and heart disease can also be adversely affected by lack of sleep.

Snoring disrupts sleep and increases men’s risk of heart attacks, and sleep apnoea intensifies this risk. Severe apnoea, which causes sleepers to stop breathing for a few seconds repeatedly throughout the night, can put extreme stress on the heart. Men who stop breathing between ten and fourteen times an hour during sleep have a risk of heart disease more than four times higher than that of the general population.

There is increasing evidence that sleep apnoea is linked to hypertension and an increased loss in brain cells, resulting in early senility.

Men suffering sleep apnoea may wake with a headache or feeling as if they had too much to drink the night before. As the day progresses they feel sleepy, can’t concentrate, yawn a lot and have difficulty finishing sentences. There are treatments for apnoea (mentioned in the section ‘Quieter Sleep’ on p. 23), just as there are things you can do yourself to improve your chances of getting better sleep.

Go to bed and get up at regular times.

Maintain sleep hygiene by ensuring you have a comfortable bed and a dark, quiet room that is the right temperature.

Create calm: avoid conflict before sleep, and don’t work or watch TV in bed.

Avoid things that interfere with sleep, such as evening caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and rich foods.

Watch your liquid intake before bed: a full bladder will wake you.

Exercise (but not strenuously) late in the evening: taking a

gentle walk 1 or 2 hours before bedtime can be productive.

Establish a bedtime routine: help yourself to get into the mood for sleep by bathing, brushing your teeth, setting the alarm etc.

Men who struggle to fall asleep and who walk the floors at night should be aware that eventually they will collapse into sleep. The human drive for sleep is so strong that it is impossible to keep a person fully awake and alert for more than 3 or 4 days.

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DIFFERENT TYPES OF CANCER

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Cancers are divided into two large groups: sarcomas and carcinomas. Sarcomas usually affect the bones and muscles, and are apt to grow rapidly and be very destructive. The carcinomas make up the majority of the cancers of the breast, stomach, lungs, uterus, skin, and tongue.

Fortunately, most cancers grow at first only in the site where they originated. Even then, the cancer may invade the neighbouring cells and tissues, and perhaps destroy valuable structures. However, it becomes far more dangerous when it spreads, or sets up new growths, in other parts of the body. The new cancer is called a metastasis or metastatic lesion. A cancer can spread from the kidney to the bones, or from the lungs to the brain, apparently by way of the bloodstream.

When cancer enters this stage, it becomes very difficult to cure. Yet, in some instances, it can still be held in check. For example, widespread metastases from a cancer of the prostate gland have been cleared up and kept under control for many years by surgery and the administration of certain hormones.

Obviously, the time when cancer can best be cured is in the early period of its growth, before it destroys neighbouring tissues or spreads to other parts of the body.

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SICKNESS IN INFANTS AND CHILDREN: CHICKENPOX

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

This is a virus disease. Chickenpox and measles are the most highly contagious and therefore the most common diseases of childhood.

First, pimples break out, usually beginning on the chest. Then the pimples become blisters that dry into scabs. The blisters break out in series, one after another. The main danger lies in the fact that the blisters itch, and they may become infected by scratching. To ease the child’s itching, place him in a cold bath to which two or three handfuls of starch have been added. Because you will be unable to prevent a certain amount of scratching, keep your child’s hands clean by washing them several times a day, and keep his nails cut short.

Call the doctor if the child appears really sick or has a fever. This is mainly a precaution to rule out smallpox or other serious diseases. Most cases of chickenpox are mild and require no special treatment except bed rest and plenty of fluids during the feverish stage. Once the scabs arc gone, it is not necessary to isolate the child.

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METHODS OF BIRTH CONTROL: THE ORAL CONTRACEPTIVE PILL

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

The ‘pill’ was developed in the 1950′s as a new approach to the prevention of conception. The rhythm method avoids conception. The pessaries and condom prevent the sperm and egg from meeting. But the ‘pill’ is a means of preventing ovulation, thus making conception impossible. This method of birth control became possible when scientists developed certain chemicals that behave like the hormone that controls the release of the egg from the ovary.

Here is how the ‘pill’ is taken: On the fifth day of the menstrual cycle, the woman takes the first one. She continues for 20 consecutive days. One to three days after she has taken the last tablet, menstruation begins, and the count begins again. It is of the greatest importance to start taking the pills on schedule and not to miss even one day.

If you are considering using this method of preventing pregnancy, you must ,do so under the close supervision of your doctor. The ‘pill’ may have long-term adverse effects, and is not recommended for women who have had blood clots, cancer, or liver disorders.

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GERMS: OTHER SOURCES OF INFECTIONS

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Venereal diseases

Venereal diseases are spread mainly by sexual intercourse. The two main venereal diseases are syphilis and gonorrhoea.

Insect bites

Bites of insects are a source of infection because insects carry germs either in their mouths or in their excrement. An insect bite makes a tiny break in the skin, like the puncture of a hypodermic needle.

Malaria and yellow fever are carried by certain mosquitoes. If you visit areas where malaria exists, protect yourself against mosquitoes. Use a salve with an odour that repels them, and arrange mosquito netting over your bed. There is no immunization against malaria.

Animal bites

Any animal bite that breaks the skin should be thoroughly washed with soap and water and cleansed or cauterized by a doctor.

Rabies (hydrophobia), a virus disease that affects the brain and nervous system, comes from the bite of infected dogs and other domestic and wild animals that harbour the virus in their saliva. If the animal is infected, the person bitten must receive the Pasteur treatment or the new serum to prevent rabies, which is an inevitably fatal disease.

Due to the geographical isolation of Australia and New Zealand, plus stringent animal quarantine regulations, both countries have been kept free from this viral disease.

Wounds and scratches

All cuts, wounds, and scratches are potential entrances for infections. They should be washed with soap and water.

One of the most serious dangers from wounds and deep scratches is tetanus (lockjaw). The tetanus germ is commonly found in the soil and wherever there are horses, cows, and manure. It is also found in the dust of city streets. A deep puncture by a nail is serious. Many people think it is the rust of the nail that causes trouble, but that is not true. The danger lies in the germs that may be on the nail.

The best preventive against tetanus is immunization by toxoid. A series of three toxoid injections followed by a fourth about a year later, with booster shots at four-year intervals, provides the best possible protection against this serious disease.

For the person who has not been immunized with toxoid, deep wounds or scratches require tetanus antitoxin (TAT). Some people suffer unpleasant reactions to TAT. For this reason, doctors always test for possible sensitivity to the horse serum with which TAT is made. Recently, TAT made from human serum has become available.

Take reasonable precautions

I hope that after reading this chapter, you will take sensible precautions against possible infections. Make it a habit not to drink out of glasses or use towels that others have used, to stay away from sneezers, and to keep yourself and your house clean.

What about a household disinfectant such as Lysol, mixed in the proper proportions? Personally, I feel that there is danger of using such disinfectants as a substitute for cleanliness rather than as an aid to cleanliness. Sprinkling a little around makes everything smell so antiseptic that there is a strong temptation to go easy on the soap and water and elbow grease!

If you take reasonable precautions to keep germs away, you will find that there is enough room in the world for you to get along and stay healthy in spite of them.

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CARE OF THE BODY’S INDIVIDUAL PARTS: KIDNEYS

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

The kidneys are two organs located deep in the abdomen at about the level of the lowest ribs. By means of more than a million tiny, separate filters, they filter out and remove from the blood the urea and other waste materials it contains. These they excrete in the urine. They also regulate the volume of fluid and the concentration of minerals in the body. When a person drinks a large amount of fluid, the kidneys excrete the excess, but in hot weather, when extra fluid is lost via sweat, the kidneys excrete smaller amounts of urine.

Your kidneys do not need to be ‘flushed’ or ‘stimulated’ or any of the things that patent medicines claim to do. Trouble in the kidneys can cause pain in the lower back, and this symptom, together with changes in the urine, should always be reported to a doctor.

Some of the causes of kidney stones (renal calculi) are beyond our control, but preventing or curing infections will help to keep them from forming. Another thing you can do to prevent the formation of stones is to see that you drink sufficient water to have an adequate flow of urine.

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