Friday, July 31, 2009

History and Criticism of Electrohomeopathy

The discipline was developed initially by Cesare Mattei (1809-1896) in the latter part of the 19th Century. Mattei, a nobleman living in a castle in the vicinity of Bolog studied natural science, anatomy, physiology, pathology, chemistry and botany. He ultimately focussed on the supposed therapeutic power of 'electricity' in botanical extracts. Massei made bold, unsupported, claims for the efficacy of his treatments including the claim that his treatments offered a non-surgical alternative to cancer.
His treatment regimens were met with scepticism by medical orthodoxy:
The electrohomeopathic system is an invention of Count Mattei who prates of "red," "blue," and "green" electricity, a theory that, in spite of its utter idiocy, has attracted a considerable following and earned a large fortune for its chief promoter.
Notwithstanding criticisms, including a challenge by the British medical establishment to the Claimed success of his cancer treatments.
electrohomeopathy (or Matteism, as it was sometimes known at the time) was embraced and by the beginning of the 20th century had adherents in Germany, France, the USA and the UK; it had been the subject of approximately 100 publications and there were three journals dedicated to it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Acupuncture Ear Staples For Weight Loss

n recent years, American acupuncturists have developed the process of acupuncture ear staples for weight loss. However, the process is not very safe and is often ineffective. In this method, instead of five points, only two points are used. Each point is placed in the upper and outer part of each ear. However, the main problem in this procedure is that the ear cartilage hardly has any resistance to infection. Unlike the needles which are placed in the skin before every treatment and removed at the end of the treatment, ear staples are left in place for several days. This can lead to permanent damage to the ear drums if the ear staples enter the ear canal. They can also cause infection in the entire ear. As a result, acupuncture ear staples are not at all recommended for weight loss.
While there is no scientific proof as to if acupuncture actually works or not, over the years, the procedure has become an accepted form of treatment for weight loss. However, if you are considering opting for acupuncture as a method of losing weight, do ensure that the practitioner you chose is a reputable and reliable one. Confirming the status of the needles, as to if they are sterilized or not, are very important. Also, enquire the cost of the treatment and how many treatments you will require before you invest into this procedure.

How Is Acupuncture Performed?

The process of acupuncture is performed as follows: The acupuncturist inserts very thin metal or stainless steel needles into the skin. These needles are inserted at specific acupuncture points in the skin. Regarding safety, the needs are all sterilized before insertion and are also of the disposable types. Do remember to enquire about the needle type and disposal methods from your doctor before you opt for the procedure. Do remember that the transmission of some highly contagious diseases such as HIV AIDS and Hepatitis B are passed on through contaminated needles. These needles are left inserted into the skin for an average of 15 to 30 minutes and the treatment generally needs to be repeated for multiple sessions for around 2-3 weeks or, depending on the weight to be lost, the treatment may even last for several months.
Before the treatment actually begins, the acupuncturist will investigate the patient's medical history, and right before the process starts, the patient's pulse will also be checked several times. It is also likely that the acupuncturist will check the individual's tongue, or examine the parts of your body which are to be treated. Only after the pre-treatment is complete will the acupuncturist determine whether or not you are fit enough to undergo the treatment.
While treating for weight loss, the acupuncture points within the ears are generally used for the treatment of weight loss and general detoxification of the body. During the procedure, the acupuncturist places five needles in each ear. Out of these five needles, four correspond to specific organs inside the body - the kidneys, the lungs, the nervous system and the liver. The fifth needle is simply placed in the ear for the relaxation of the patient. Once the acupuncture for weight loss treatment starts, the body will be stimulated to produce endorphins. Endorphins help combat the cravings for carbohydrates in the body, reduce appetite, and in cases where weight loss is related to drug abuse, then endorphins also help with withdrawal symptoms.

Why Gamma Knife surgery is the best choice for treating brain tumors

Leksell Gamma Knife is the ONLY stereotactic radiosurgery system specifically approved for treating brain tumors, also known as brain metastases, based on long-term scientific proof. Here’s why leading neurosurgeons worldwide choose Gamma Knife surgery for their patients:

Accuracy is the single most
important aspect of SRS
  • Gamma Knife radiosurgery sets the bar for accuracy, with guaranteed precision that enhances physician confidence and ensures patient safety.1

  • This superior level of accuracy is due to three factors:
    1. Gamma Knife was designed specifically to provide the very best radiosurgical treatment of brain tumors
    2. The radiation source never moves during operation
    3. The patient’s head is stationary

  • When treating a target as delicate as the brain, neurosurgeons try to avoid any movement that might reduce accuracy. CyberKnife, a linear accelerator used to treat the whole body, has a continually moving arm.
Frameless neurosurgery is a myth
  • Neurosurgeons will tell you that immobilizing the target – the patient’s head – is the first step in performing any type of brain surgery. The most widely used neurosurgical head frame – called a stereotactic frame – is manufactured by Elekta, and it’s the same stereotactic frame used with Gamma Knife surgery.
  • CyberKnife claims that no head frame is required for stereotactic radiosurgery. Instead they use a claustrophobic mask that is pressed against the patient’s face for hours. And despite the constraint, their head can still move.2
Reducing excess radiation to the body
  • The Gamma Knife is designed so all radiation focuses into a single point within the brain and the shielding of the machine specifically protects the body from excess radiation.
  • Excess radiation is not well-contained in the CyberKnife design, and its treatment delivers as much as 100 times more stray radiation compared to Gamma Knife radiosurgery.3
Eliminating X-rays of the brain
  • With Gamma Knife radiosurgery, a head frame is attached with temporary placement pins and the patient has a single MRI – the preferred method of imaging the brain. There are no X-rays.
  • Because CyberKnife and other linac treatments recommend use of a face mask instead of a head frame, X-rays of the brain must be taken every two minutes during treatment to ensure the target hasn’t moved.2 These added X-rays increase radiation exposure to the patient and lengthens treatment time.
Treating the body is different from
treating the brain
  • Leksell Gamma Knife is specifically optimized for the brain. Because the head can be immobilized during Gamma Knife radiosurgery, physicians feel confident in the accuracy of their treatment and can use a single, high dose of radiation. Patients can return home the same day and resume normal activities.
  • The body and its internal organs are virtually impossible to immobilize, requiring imaging throughout a linac treatment. The physician needs constant imaging to treat with confidence and often reduces the dose and increases the number of treatment sessions to compensate.
Unmatched clinical evidence and experience
  • Gamma Knife radiosurgery has been used to treat over half a million people, with treatments documented in more than 2,000 peer-reviewed clinical papers…including one that tracks patients over a 15-year period.
  • Leksell Gamma Knife is such an established standard of care that Medicare has designated a unique authorization code for radiosurgery on the Gamma Knife.
  • CyberKnife has been in use for more than 15 years and has little or no clinical evidence for treating brain tumors.4 According to the system’s manufacturer, “the safety and effectiveness of the CyberKnife system for certain uses is not yet supported by long-term clinical data.”5
  • This lack of long-term clinical data is why insurance companies are likely to decline or deny coverage for CyberKnife treatments.

Why Do You Need B-Vitamins?

All of the B-vitamins play a role in facilitating the metabolic processes of all forms of animal life, and most have been termed coenzymes (small molecules (not proteins but sometimes vitamins) essential for the activity of some enzymes). Although B-vitamins act individually, in specific ways, the interaction of all B-vitamins ensure that one is kept healthy to grow and reproduce properly.

So although the B-vitamins are a complex, it is important to know them individually to identify any specific health needs. Additional functions of B-vitamins include the conversion of food to fuel for energy production purposes and the maintenance of healthy nervous system function. Certain B-vitamins also help to keep the cardiovascular system healthy.

Research into B-vitamins has shown that:

  1. Folic acid (B-9) reduces the risk of heart disease by lowering homocystein levels (Russell, 1996). Homocysteine is a sulphur-containing amino acid that is closely related to the essential amino acid methionine and to cysteine. Many studies have also found an association between elevated homocysteine levels and impaired cognitive performance and dementia.

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  2. Choline (may help with the treatment of bipolar disorder. Researchers at the Harvard Medical School found that, in combination with lithium, choline helps treat the devastating mental illness bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depression) (Stoll, 1996).

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  3. Vitamin B-6 (Pyroxidine) can alleviate morning sickness in pregnant women (Vutyavanich,1995).

  4. Supplementation with B-vitamin riboflavin has been shown to repair DNA damage thus serving to enhance cognition in older populations (Chen, 1996).

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  5. Vitamin B-12 has also been shown to enhance cognition (particularly in older populations). In fact, as many as 42% of elderly people have a deficiency in B-12, which is often mistaken as a natural sign of aging.

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As shown, the main benefits of vitamin-B intake include cardiovascular and nervous system health, energy production and mental well-being. However, to fully appreciate the many functions the entire B-complex helps to govern, a review of all 12 B-vitamins is in order.

  1. Thiamin (B-1): Thiamin helps with the conversion of nutrients to energy and, in particular, enhances mental function and mood. Grains, wheat-germ, nuts and seeds are high in thiamine.

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  2. Riboflavin (B-2): Riboflavin is another key B-vitamin responsible for helping with nutrient conversion to energy. It also plays a major role in red blood cell manufacturing. Higher energy, as a result of B-2 intake, leads to improved hmmune system integrity, respiratory and digestive system health. Milk and cheese are high riboflavin foods.

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  3. Niacin (B-3): Niacin contributes in over 50 metabolic processes and therefore is one of the most important of the B-vitamins. The main functions of niacin are hormone manufacturing, detoxification, cholesterol regulation and energy production. Niacin can be obtained in two ways: directly from foods or through protein break-down. Tryptophan is one key amino acid responsible for niacin production. If one eats enough protein they will get enough tryptophan and will produce half of the niacin they need. The rest will be obtained directly through niacin-rich food intake. Niacin-rich foods include, beef liver, chicken tuna and milk.

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  4. Pantothenic acid (B-5): One of the less auspicious B-vitamins, pantothenic acid plays a supporting role in energy and hormone production, and red-blood-cell manufacturing. It can be obtained easily through the a well-balanced diet.

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  5. Pyroxidine (B-6): A very important amino acid in terms of protein building and therefore particularly important for bodybuilders. Pyroxidine works to transform amino acids into more than 5,000 proteins, and, in addition helps to make 60 different enzymes which assist our bodies biologic functions. Additional functions of pyroxidine include the assisting of a strong immune system and a healthy heart, and the management of depression. A pyridoxine deficiency can cause certain skin disorders, neuropathy (abnormal nervous system function), confusion, poor coordination and insomnia. Pyroxidine is abundant in many of the foods we eat. Major sources include liver, brown rice, fish and whole-grain cereals.

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  6. Biotin (B-7): Biotin also helps with nutrient conversion to energy and protein conversion. A biotin deficiency might be found in one who eats a large quantity of raw egg whites. The whites contain a substance called avidin which has a biotin binding function. A lack of biotin may also cause hair loss. The addition of biotin may enhance hair growth if the hair loss is a result of a biotin deficiency, not a genetic trait. Biotin is found in significant quantities in beef liver, egg yolks, nuts, and whole grains.

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  7. Folic acid (B-9): Folic acid is important for reproductive health (it can prevent birth defects) in addition to energy production and appetite, mood and sleep. It also assists cell replacement and cardiovascular health. Major sources of folic acid are beef and chicken liver, lentils, kidney beans and chick-peas.

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  8. Cobalamin (B-12): As with the other B-vitamins cobalamin helps to ensure nutrient conversion to energy. Cobalamin also assists with energy production in the sense that it helps to keep red-blood-cells healthy, thus enhancing their ability to carry oxygen and nutrients around the body. All of the cells of the immune system require cobalamin to function optimally. A deficiency of cobalamin will cause pernicious amenia, which results in weakness, numbness of the extremities, and fever. Unless cobalamin combines with what is termed intrinsic factor (a mucoprotein contained in the stomach) it cannot be absorbed or used properly. This problem is sometimes observed in strict vegetarians. Major sources include liver, beef, egg yolk, poultry and milk.

Yoga: Slim Bodies, Strong Minds

Huffing and puffing your way through yet another aerobics class in an effort to lose weight? Feeling cranky because you're starving yourself? Don't lose hope. Yoga may be just what you're looking for.

This ancient discipline might not give you a whippet-thin body, but it might give you the disciplne and peace of mind to think about your eating habits in a new light.

"When you practice the asanas [postures] of yoga, you gain more respect for your body," says New York yoga instructor Anita Goa. "The key element of yoga is breathing. When we learn how to breathe properly -- when we are more aware of our breathing -- we are able to connect our mind and our body."

Goa says yoga gives us control over our mind, and when we have that control, we consciously ask ourselves, "Is this good for me?" In other words, "Do I really need this piece of pizza?"

"When we get to know our body, we automatically want to choose food that's good for us," says Goa.

Many people approach yoga as a form of exercise, says Anne O'Brien, a yoga instructor in Sonoma, Calif., but they soon find that yoga offers a deeper connection to their own body.

"After you take a yoga class, you feel so good that it carries through to the rest of your life and you wind up incorporating it into your lifestyle," she says. "You find that you're not doing yoga because you have to do it to lose weight, but you want to do it because it feels good."

In addition to "nourishing your soul" so that you want to eatt what's good for you, yoga has actual physiological benefits as well, Goa says. The various postures are good for your digestive and elimination systems, helping to speed food through the body. And the different poses, with names such as adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog), navasana (boat pose), and virabhadrasana (warrior pose), strengthen and tone your muscles. And as you probably know by now, muscle burns calories better than fat does.

Changing Your Lifestyle

Michael A. Taylor, MD, medical editor of Yoga Journal magazine, and a gynecologic oncologist in Carmichael, Calif., cautions that yoga itself will not do the trick in helping you lose unwanted pounds.

"When people are looking for a magic bullet, they're looking for one bullet, one thing that will change their life," he says. "Yoga isn't a magic bullet ... but it does offer the benefit of a change in philosophy and lifestyle."

If you take up yoga purely to lose weight, you may be disappointed, Taylor says. "It's when you become involved with the whole lifestyle process -- that's where yoga fits in."

Even if you're less than svelte, you can join a yoga class. "Not all yogis are thin," Taylor says. "Anyone can do yoga: older people, physically disabled people, overweight people."

What you need to do, however, is know your body's physical limitations -- and make sure that your instructor knows them as well, Taylor advises. "Correct guidance is important," he says. "When beginning the yoga process, it's important to be aware of your own limitations -- to rest when you need to rest, for example -- but it's also important to tell the instructor so that he or she can work with your individual situation."

In a yoga class, it's not important what you look like, Taylor adds. "The image of their body may concern people who want to lose weight, but in class, you're in your own space. You learn not to judge yourself or others, and this creates a safe environment."

Beginning yoga classes also focus less on postures and more on becoming aware of your body and learning how it moves, Taylor says. "You're really learning, from the very beginning, to nurture and take care of yourself."

Something for Everyone

If the poses are difficult for you, modifications can always be made. If you have a hard time bending, for example, you can start off doing the postures in a chair or even on your bed. Many yoga postures can also be done with props, like bolsters or blocks, so that you don't have to bend as far.

"Yoga isn't a magic bullet ... but it does offer the benefit of a change in philosophy and lifestyle."

If you're still shy about joining a class, there are several yoga videos designed for the more round-bodied. In fact, one series is called just that: Yoga for Round Bodies. Yoga Conditioning for Weight Loss, Gentle Yoga with Naomi, and The Healing Path of Yoga are all suggested by Yoga Journal as good videos to get you started. (As with any form of exercise though, especially if you've been less than active in recent years, get your doctor's approval first.)

As you progress in the practice of yoga, you'll find that it becomes a way of life that will influence every aspect of your life, including what you eat, say yoga experts. "It doesn't happen quickly," Goa says. "But instead of feeling that you're restricting yourself, as you frequently do when you're dieting, you begin to feel better about yourself and you begin to make better choices about what you eat. You become picky about what you're putting in your body.

"Yoga teaches mindfulness and awareness," Goa adds. "It will help you find your natural body."