February 6, 2017

Mercury is a common environmental contaminant, and many of us are unknowingly predisposed to mercury toxicity. It is the most poisonous, non-radioactive, naturally occurring substance on our planet. There is no safe level of mercury because even one atom of it in the body is doing some harm to it.

Mercury exists in three forms: elemental mercury, inorganic mercury compounds (primarily mercuric chloride), and organic mercury compounds (primarily methyl mercury). All forms of mercury are quite toxic, and each form exhibits different health effects. These forms of mercury differ in their degree of toxicity and in their effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, and on lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes.

All humans are exposed to some level of mercury. Most people are exposed to low levels of mercury, often through chronic exposure (continuous or intermittent long term contact). However, some people are exposed to high levels of mercury, including acute exposure (exposure occurring over a short period of time, often less than a day). An example of acute exposure would be mercury exposure due to an industrial accident.

Forms of Mercury

  • Elemental mercury or metallic mercury is the element in its pure, ‘un-combined’ form. It is a shiny, silver-white metal that is liquid at room temperature, but is rarely found in this form in nature. If not sealed off, mercury slowly evaporates into the air, forming a vapour. The quantity of vapour formed increases as temperatures rise. Elemental mercury is traditionally used in thermometers and some electrical switches.

 

  • Inorganic mercury compounds or mercury salts, more commonly found in nature, include mercuric sulphide (HgS), mercuric oxide (HgO) and mercuric chloride (HgCl2). Most of these are white powders or crystals, except for mercuric sulphide which is red and turns black after exposure to light. Some mercury salts, such as mercury chloride, also form vapour, but they stay in the air for a shorter time than elemental mercury because they are more soluble in water and more reactive.

 

  • Organic mercury is formed when mercury combines with carbon and other elements. Examples of organic mercury compounds are dimethylmercury, phenylmercuric acetate and methylmercuric chloride. The form most commonly found in the environment is methylmercury.

Sources of Mercury

Mercury can enter the body through the lungs, through food and water, and by direct physical contact.

  • Dental Amalgams – Commonly used silver amalgam dental fillings contain about 50 percent mercury. Older dental fillings may contain higher amounts. There is increasing evidence that mercury is leached from dental amalgam and that mercury can vaporize from fillings. Fillings which crack can also be a source of mercury toxicity. Silver amalgam fillings also generate negative electrical potentials in the mouth which can detrimentally affect one’s health status. There are alternatives to silver amalgam fillings, including gold alloys and composite quartz-resin materials.
  • Large Fish – The concentration of mercury in fish varies directly with the size of the fish, inasmuch as mercury is more concentrated at each step upward as one goes up the food chain. Tuna and swordfish are the most common fish contaminated with mercury. Most swordfish are kept off the market today for this reason. Albacore tuna has been found to be safer than the larger species of tuna. While fish contain selenium, which helps to neutralize the toxic effects of mercury, we do not recommend eating tuna fish more than twice a week, due to mercury contamination.
  • Water Supplies – Mercury in industrial waste is a common water contaminant. Mercury used in fungicides and slimicides easily finds its way into water supplies. Sewage sludge is commonly contaminated with mercury.
  • Seeds Treated With Mercurial Fungicides – Mercury is commonly used as a treatment to prevent fungal growth on seeds.
  • Medications – Because of its bacteriostatic properties, mercury is a common ingredient in antiseptics (Mercurochrome, Merthiolate) and contact lens solution. Mercury is also found in the thiazide diuretics and in some hemorrhoid medications.
  • Congenital Mercury Toxicity – Methylmercury easily crosses the placenta into the growing fetus. Other mercurial compounds pass with less ease. Mercury compounds can also be transferred through breast milk to nursing babies. Levels in breast milk are about five percent of those of blood. It is believed that fetuses are the group most susceptible to mercury toxicity. Infants excrete mercury more slowly than adults.
  • Other – Mercury is widely used in industry and in a variety of products, e.g., felt, fungicides, algicides used in swimming pools, adhesives, floor waxes, fabric softeners, slimicides, and in the production of chlorine.

Causes

Mercury toxicity may occur when you are exposed to toxic amounts of mercury due to:

  • Breathing airborne mercury vapors
  • Eating contaminated food, especially fish or shellfish—Larger and older fish tend to have the highest levels of mercury.
  • Drinking water contaminated with mercury (rare)
  • Practicing religious or folk medicine rituals that include mercury

Metallic mercury can be found in consumer products, such as fluorescent light bulbs, batteries, thermostats, and old thermometers. Mercury, combined with other elements, is also found in some types of dental fillings. Research has not shown that this type of filling is harmful to people. Although thimerosol is no longer used in vaccines in the United States, the mercury-containing compound is still used in some countries. Research has not shown that it is harmful to people.

Symptoms of Mercury Toxicity

Respiratory System

Up to 80% of inhaled mercury vapour is absorbed through the lungs. From here it travels to all the other tissues and organs of the body in the circulation, but particularly concentrates within the kidney, liver and brain. Effects and symptoms include –

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Breathlessness
  • Persistent cough and
  • Bad breath

Changes in mood

Mercury is also known to have profound effects upon mood including –

  • Fears
  • Anxieties
  • Irritability
  • Fits of anger
  • Panic attacks
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of self-confidence
  • Withdrawal
  • Being easily embarrassed
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Feeling easily discouraged
  • A loss of sense of humour and
  • Life seems an endless, joyless struggle

Effects on Mental Health

  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • A persistent death wish
  • Suicide attempts
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders
  • Manic-Depressive Disorder
  • Panic disorders and
  • Schizophrenia spectrum disorders

Compromised cognitive function

Mercury is both highly neurophilic (which means that it binds tightly to nerves) and highly lipophilic (which means that it binds tightly to fats). When distributed around the body in the circulation it is absorbed into the nerve endings that regulate all the functions of the body (the autonomic nervous system). From there it slowly tracks up the nerves into the central nervous system, in what is known as retrograde axonal transport. Mercury can produce a host of mental, emotional, and behavioural changes and what are considered ‘psychiatric’ disorders by disrupting neurotransmitters, interfering with endocrine gland function and hormones and causing destruction of nervous pathways.

  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty multitasking
  • Difficulty finding words
  • A lack of initiative
  • An inability to concentrate
  • An inability to make decisions and
  • Lack of motivation

Reproductive and sexual function

Mercury is also recognized to collect in the reproductive organs in both men and women where it can cause a variety of disorders including infertility. Symptoms include –

  • A low or non-existent libido
  • Precocious or late puberty and
  • Infertility

In women, the effects of mercury on reproductive function include –

  • Heavy, missed or irregular periods
  • Severe period pains
  • Pre-menstrual tension (PMT)
  • Miscarriages and
  • Still births

In men, mercury accumulates in the reproductive organs and particularly the testes causing –

  • Impotence
  • Premature ejaculation and
  • Low sperm count, defective sperm and sperm with poor motility

 

Peripheral nervous system symptoms

The profound disruption of nerve structure and function leads to difficulty with motor nerve function including –

  • Difficulty articulating words
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Clumsiness
  • Difficulty doing fine tasks such as typing or adding numbers on a calculator
  • Tremors
  • Ticks and twitches (especially of the face and eyes)
  • A loss of coordination and
  • Restless legs

The cardiovascular system

In particular, mercury seems to collect in the heart muscle and valves and has been found at 22,000X the levels found in the blood. Mercury is strongly associated with elevated levels of homocysteine and cholesterol and heart attacks.

It also causes red blood cells to rupture and replaces the iron in haemoglobin so that the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood can be reduced by half. Mercury also causes a weakening in the walls of the small blood vessels leading to a reduced blood supply to the organs and tissues. The cardiovascular symptoms of mercury poisoning include –

  • Heart palpitations
  • An irregular heart beat
  • Angina or chest pain
  • A racing heart beat
  • Either an abnormally slow or rapid heart rate
  • Low or high blood pressure
  • Frequently feeling faint
  • Elevated blood cholesterol and homocysteine levels and
  • Easy bleeding and bruising.

Dental Symptoms

Mercury also collects in very high concentrations in the jaw bones and the soft tissues of the mouth. This is a result of it being a heavy metal that literally sinks to the bottom of each body compartment including the jaws and pelvis and the fact that mercury is driven into the tissues of the mouth which act as a cathode to the anode of the amalgam fillings.

Mixing gold and amalgam restorations in the mouth is also recognised to increase the amount of mercury vapour given off several fold and placing gold crowns over amalgam cores particularly drives mercury into the surrounding bone.

  • Bleeding gums
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Mouth ulcers
  • A metallic taste
  • Excessive salivation
  • A loss of the sense of taste
  • A burning, red, inflamed mouth
  • ‘Bald’ patches on the tongue or cheeks (includes geographical tongue) and
  • Dark spots on gums (‘amalgam tattoos’)

Effects on Ears

  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo
  • Poor balance
  • Tinnitus (ringing or whining noises in the ears)
  • Pain in the ear canals
  • Poor hearing and deafness and
  • Difficulty interpreting what you hear.

Endocrine System

Symptoms of mercury poisoning in the endocrine system include:

  • Hypoglycaemia and dysglycaemia (low and poorly controlled blood sugar respectively)
  • Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland)
  • Hypoadrenalism (under-functioning adrenal glands)
  • Constant fatigue (adrenal and thyroid gland exhaustion) and
  • A poor physiological response to stress.

Skin Hair and Nails

  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Dry skin
  • Peeling or flaking skin on the hands, feet and face
  • A puffy face
  • Red, flaky skin around the eyes
  • Thick, red skin on hands & feet
  • Pricking, stabbing, fizzing or crawling sensations in the skin (vermiculation)
  • Very itchy rashes
  • Eczema and psoriasis
  • Excessive perspiration
  • An inability to sweat or
  • Night sweats
  • Loss of axillary, pubic, body or head hair
  • Greying of hair
  • Dry, thin, wiry, dull hair and
  • Weak, flaky nails that split and tear easily

Nose

  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Poor sense of smell
  • Chronic or recurrent rhinitis
  • Nasal congestion
  • A persistently sore throat and
  • Chronic tonsillitis

Eyesight

  • Intermittent visual blurring
  • Deteriorating peripheral vision or ‘tunnel’ vision
  • Bulging eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty focussing
  • Poor colour vision
  • Poor night vision and
  • Difficulty moving the eyes

Immune System

  • Chronic, recurrent or frequent infections.
  • Chronic or recurrent yeast infections – Mercury actively promotes the overgrowth of yeasts such as Candida albicans causing thrush, ‘jock’ itch and athlete’s foot.
  • The development of allergies and sensitivities – Mercury alters the ratios of T-helper cells to T-suppressor cells so that the immune response is turned on more readily but not terminated, leading the immune system to over-react to a wide variety of foods and chemicals.
  • Autoimmune diseases – Mercury binds to proteins on the surface of the cells of the body (the histocompatibility complex), leading the immune system to identify them as being foreign and initiating one of the 100 or more autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, scleroderma or Hashimoto thyroiditis.
  • Various cancers – The undermining of the immune response and in particular the disabling of the natural killer cells leads to the development of one of the most prevalent immune deficiency disease of all: cancer.
  • Water retention (especially of the legs) and
  • Swollen lymph nodes (especially in the neck).

Digestive System

  • The development of food sensitivities and intolerances
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Constipation and/or diarrhoea
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Malabsorption
  • Leaky gut
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Nausea and
  • Heartburn

Others

  • A profound exhaustion and fatigue (chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia)
  • Low body temperature
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Unexplained changes in weight
  • Changes in appetite
  • Excessive thirst
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Anaemia
  • Difficulty getting to sleep
  • Early waking
  • Insomnia and
  • Sleepiness during the day

Complications

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
  • Colitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism and
  • Cancer

Treatment

Posted in ENVIRONMENTAL
February 3, 2017

Lead poisoning is a medical condition that occurs when people are exposed to lead compounds through inhalation, swallowing and in rare cases, through the skin.

Lead is ubiquitous in human environment, because of its excellent physic-chemical properties, low cost and easy workability and is widely used in many industrial and domestic activities, however lead is toxic. It is a colorless, tasteless and odorless metal and is used in variety of products and materials, like, paint, pipes, batteries, chemical compounds, glassware, toys, etc. When lead is absorbed into the body, it can cause serious damage to vital organs like the brain, kidneys, nerves, and blood cells. Lead poisoning is especially harmful to children under the age of six.

How does Lead poisoning works?

Lead mimics biologically helpful minerals such as calcium, iron, and zinc. Most lead settles in the bone, interfering with the production of red blood cells (leading to anemia). It also interferes with the absorption of calcium, which is required for strong bones, muscles, healthy muscle contraction, and blood vessel function. Lead poisoning is much more serious when children are exposed to lead. Since their bodies are not fully developed, lead poisoning can cause:

  • Brain, liver, and kidney damage
  • Slowed development
  • Learning or behavior problems
  • Lowered intellect or IQ
  • Hearing loss
  • Restlessness

Where is lead found? / Causes

Lead poisoning occurs when lead is ingested. It can also be caused by breathing in dust that contains lead. You cannot smell or taste lead. It is not visible to the naked eye.

Lead used to be common in house paint and gasoline in the United States. These products are not produced with lead any longer. However, lead is still present everywhere. It is especially found in older houses.

Studies suggest that more than 3 million workers in the United States are at risk for toxic lead exposure.

Lead is found in:

  • Lead is found in paints. Lead paint is very dangerous when it is being stripped or sanded. These actions release fine lead dust into the air. Infants and children have the highest risk of lead poisoning. Small children often swallow paint chips or dust from lead-based paint.
  • Toys and furniture painted before 1976
  • Painted toys and decorations made outside the U.S.
  • Lead bullets, fishing sinkers, curtain weights
  • Plumbing, pipes, and faucets. Lead can be found in drinking water in homes containing pipes that were connected with lead solder. Although new building codes require lead-free solder, lead is still found in some modern faucets.
  • Soil contaminated by decades of car exhaust or years of house paint scrapings. Lead is more common in soil near highways and houses.
  • Hobbies involving soldering, stained glass, jewelry making, pottery glazing, and miniature lead figures
  • Children’s paint sets and art supplies
  • Pewter pitchers and dinnerware
  • Storage batteries

Sources of Lead

  • Air pollution
  • Automobile exhaust
  • Canned fruit juices
  • Car batteries
  • Ceramics
  • Crayons
  • Dyes
  • Hair coloring
  • Insecticides
  • Lead based paint
  • Leaded Gasoline
  • Mascara
  • Old plumbing
  • Pottery
  • Scrap metal
  • Smelting of lead
  • Soil
  • Textiles
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Water pollution

The effects of lead are the same whether it enters the body through breathing or swallowing. The main target in the body for lead toxicity is the nervous system. Long-term, and high-level exposure of adults to lead can cause brain and kidney damage. High-level lead exposure in men and women can affect their reproductive health. A pregnant woman’s exposure to lead can increase her risk for delivering her baby early, and for having a small baby. Children are more vulnerable to lead poisoning than adults because their nervous systems are still developing.

Children’s bodies absorb more of the lead they take in than adult bodies. Babies and small children can swallow or breathe in lead from contaminated dirt, dust, or sand while they play on the ground or floor. These activities make it easier for children to be exposed because the dirt or dust on their hands, toys, or other items may contain lead. Children are also more sensitive to the effects of lead than adults. Even at low levels of exposure, lead can affect a child’s learning, behavior and growth.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Lead poisoning may include –

  • In General –
    • Blood lead over 10 µg/dL
    • Hypertension
    • Decreased nerve conduction velocity
    • Hyper-reflexia
    • Tremors
    • Upper extremity weakness
    • Forearm extensor weakness (wrist drop)
    • Gingival lead lines (purple-blue lines within gingival tissue)
    • Buccal lead staining
    • Papilledema
    • Increased intracranial pressure
    • Macular gray stains
  • The signs and symptoms of lead poisoning in children may include
    • Developmental delay
    • Learning difficulties
    • Irritability
    • Loss of appetite
    • Weight loss
    • Sluggishness and fatigue
    • Abdominal pain
    • Vomiting
    • Constipation
    • Hearing loss
  • Babies who are exposed to lead before birth may experience –
    • Learning difficulties
    • Slowed growth
  • Although children are primarily at risk, lead poisoning is also dangerous for adults. Signs and symptoms in adults may include:
    • High blood pressure
    • Abdominal pain
    • Constipation
    • Joint pains
    • Muscle pain
    • Declines in mental functioning
    • Pain, numbness or tingling of the extremities
    • Headache
    • Memory loss
    • Mood disorders
    • Reduced sperm count, abnormal sperm
    • Miscarriage or premature birth in pregnant women

Associated Disease with Lead Poisoning

Exposure to even low levels of lead can cause damage over time, especially in children. The greatest risk is to brain development, where irreversible damage may occur. Higher levels can damage the kidneys and nervous system in both children and adults. Very high lead levels may cause seizures, unconsciousness and possibly death. Following are the assi=ociated disease that can be a reason of Lead Exposure –

  • ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder
  • ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • Alcoholism
  • ALS
  • Anemia
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorders
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Candidiasis
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gout
  • Gulf War Syndrome
  • Heart Diseases
  • Insomnia
  • Infertility
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Schizophrenia
  • Thyroid Disorders

Treatment

Chelation Therapy – Chelation therapy is most often used to treat heavy metal poisoning. However because EDTA can reduce the amount of calcium in the bloodstream, and because calcium is found within the plaque that can line diseased blood vessels, some health practitioners claim that chelation can be used to treat atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) by reopening arteries clogged with plaque. They maintain that using chelation for this purpose is an effective and less expensive alternative to coronary artery bypass surgery, angioplasty, and other conventional medical treatments.

  • EDTA chelation therapy might directly remove calcium found in fatty plaques that block arteries, thus breaking up the plaques.
  • Chelation therapy may stimulate release of a hormone that in turn causes calcium to be removed from plaques or causes a lowering of cholesterol levels.
  • Chelation therapy may reduce the damaging effects of oxygen ions (oxidative stress) on the walls of the blood vessels, which could reduce inflammation in the arteries and improve blood vessel function.

Medications (Oral Chelation therapy)

  • Dimercaptosuccinic Acid (DMSA, Succimer) – Succimer is an orally chelating agent that is commonly used for the treatment of blood lead concentrations above 45 mcg/dL in the United States. The side effects include gastrointestinal effects.
  • Racemic-2,3-dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid (DMPS, Unithiol, Dimaval) – DMPS is a chelating agent that is related to dimercaprol and DMSA. It is water soluble and is reported to be less toxic than dimercaprol. It is available for oral, intravenous and intramuscular use for the treatment of mercury, arsenic, lead, chromium and copper (Wilson’s Disease) poisoning.
  • Penicillamine – Penicillamine is a D-B, B-dimethylcysteine, a penicillin degradation product. It is a potent gold, lead, mercury, zinc and copper chelator and is the drug of choice for treating Wilson’s disease.

Nutritional Balance is one of the things that helps to counteract lead toxicity. When your body has optimal amounts of zinc, calcium, magnesium, selenium, iron, copper, B Vitamins this helps to curb the effects of lead on your system. Vitamin C is key because it neutralizes the effects of lead and increases its elimination.

Glutathione – Glutathione is a short string of amino acids called a peptide. It is composed of three amino acids: glycine, glutamine and cysteine. It is a major player in detoxifying the body of many toxic pollutants, including toxic metals and chemicals. Glutathione deficiency impairs the body’s ability to get rid of toxins whether they are environmental or the by-products of cellular metabolism. Glutathione is a supplement that is extremely difficult to absorb. Most oral supplements are worthless, because the digestive tract destroys the nutrient before it can be absorbed. Supplements such as NAC can help the body make more glutathione, but the effect is mild. This is why intravenous therapy was once considered to be the only therapy that really works.

R-Lipoic Acid – This is used for removing Metal Ions from the brain. Being both water and fat soluble, R-Lipioc acid passes the blood-brain that helps to metals like lead and mercury that can attach to fatty cellls and brain neurons. It has also been shown to help decrease metals from the liver as well. It also extends the life of other antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, selenium, and CoQ10 in the body. This is important because a heavy metal load creates more free radical activity. The longer an antioxidant can scavenge these free radicals, the less the “detox cleansing” reaction may last.

Vitamin C – Vitamin C, in large acts as a chelating agent. An antioxidant in its own right, vitamin C also helps to protect us from heavy metals, particularly lead and arsenic which can poison certain enzyme reactions in your body. It is also used to protect us from the effects of environmental pollution and is a free radical fighter. The use of Vitamin C is one of the most effective methods for raising cellular glutathione levels. Glutathione is the cell’s master detoxification agent. Vitamin C helps to lower toxic metal levels as well as elevate calcium and magnesium levels, minerals that are essential for the body, and are often depleted in a toxic terrain.

Vitamin E – In combination with vitamin C, vitamin E is a traditional chelating agent used for assiting in heavy metal detox. Vitamin E is a very potent antioxidant that protects the body from free radical damage and oxidation. This is important during chelation because a heavy metal burden in the tissue and bones creates oxidative stress on cell membranes and a general inflammatory condition. Vitamin E has also been shown to help chelate heavy metals such as mercury. It is important to use a vitamin that is devoid of all fillers or additives, and provides 400 IU of d-alpha tocopherol and is extra-high in the total tocopherol complex, especially d-gamma tocopherol.

Iron – Both low iron status and elevated lead exposure impair hematopoiesis and intellectual development during gestation and infancy. Exposure to lead and reduced iron status result in greater impairment than the lead-associated impairment. Iron supplementation has been shown to prevent lead-induced disruption of the blood-brain barrier.

Zinc – Deficiencies of other trace elements, such as zinc, may increase both lead absorption and lead toxicity. Zinc Supplements are very useful in this case.

Herbs

  • Garlic is another natural remedy that can be used to heal from lead and mercury poisoning. In 1960 a Belgian scientist discovered in his research that garlic can bring about detoxification in cases of chronic lead poisoning. The sulfur in garlic also plays a big role in combatting mercury poisoning.
  • Aloe Vera which can be taken in juice form or by using the gel from the plant (in moderation) can help with heavy metal toxicity especially lead because it loosens bowel movements so that toxins can be expelled from the body.
  • Brazil Nuts contain selenium which is a powerful mineral for neutralizing toxins.
  • Cilantro is a heavy metal detoxifying superfood which actually binds mercury in the bloodstream and facilitates it leaving the body. It is also a very powerful remedy for flushing lead and aluminum.
  • Chlorella, another heavy metal superfood is a single-celled fresh water algae that acts as an efficient detox agent. The large amounts of chlorophyll present in chlorella make it extremely powerful, allowing the body to process more oxygen, cleanse the blood, and promote the growth and repair of tissues.

 

Reference

http://www.drugs.com/health-guide/lead-poisoning.html

http://www.healthline.com/health/lead-poisoning#Symptoms4

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lead-poisoning/basics/symptoms/con-20035487

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1174752-treatment

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12760492

http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/09/28/why-lead-poisoning-may-be-causing-your-health-problems/

http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/11/1/2.pdf

http://www.arphs.govt.nz/health-information/healthy-environments/hazardous-substances-and-chemicals/lead-and-lead-poisoning

http://www.arphs.govt.nz/health-information/healthy-environments/hazardous-substances-and-chemicals/lead-and-lead-poisoning

Posted in ENVIRONMENTAL
February 3, 2017

Insomnia (in-SOM-ne-ah) is a common sleep disorder. People who have insomnia have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. As a result, they may get too little sleep or have poor-quality sleep. They may not feel refreshed when they wake up.

Insomnia is not defined by the number of hours of sleep a person gets or how long it takes to fall asleep. Individuals vary normally in their need for, and their satisfaction with, sleep. Insomnia may cause problems during the day, such as tiredness, a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.

Types of Insomnia

There are two broad categories –

Transient insomnia – occurs when symptoms lasts from a few days to some weeks.

Acute insomnia – also called short-term insomnia. Symptoms persist for several weeks.

Chronic insomnia – this type lasts for at least months, and sometimes years. The majority of chronic insomnia cases are secondary, meaning they are side effects or symptoms of some other problem.

Causes

There are many causes of insomnia.

Extended exposure to environmental toxins and chemicals may prevent people from being able to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Transient and intermittent insomnia generally occur in people who are temporarily experiencing one or more of the following –

  • Stress
  • Environmental noise
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Change in the surrounding environment
  • Sleep/wake schedule problems such as those due to jet lag
  • Medication side effects

Chronic insomnia is more complex and often results from a combination of factors, including underlying physical or mental disorders. One of the most common causes of chronic insomnia is depression. Other underlying causes include arthritis, kidney disease, heart failure, asthma, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, and hyperthyroidism. However, chronic insomnia may also be due to behavioral factors, including the misuse of caffeine, alcohol, or other substances; disrupted sleep/wake cycles as may occur with shift work or other nighttime activity schedules; and chronic stress.

In addition, the following behaviors have been shown to perpetuate insomnia in some people:

  • Expecting to have difficulty sleeping and worrying about it
  • Ingesting excessive amounts of caffeine
  • Drinking alcohol before bedtime
  • Smoking cigarettes before bedtime
  • Excessive napping in the afternoon or evening
  • Irregular or continually disrupted sleep/wake schedules

These behaviors may prolong existing insomnia, and they can also be responsible for causing the sleeping problem in the first place. Stopping these behaviors may eliminate the insomnia altogether.

Other –

Insomnia itself may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. However, there are several signs and symptoms that are associated with insomnia.

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Awakening during the night
  • Awakening earlier than desired
  • Still feeling tired after a night’s sleep
  • Daytime fatigue or sleepiness
  • Irritability, depression or anxiety
  • Poor concentration and focus
  • Being uncoordinated, an increase in errors or accidents
  • Tension headaches
  • Difficulty socializing
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Worrying about sleeping.
  • Sleep deprivation can cause other symptoms. The afflicted person may wake up not feeling fully awake and refreshed, and may have a sensation of tiredness and sleepiness throughout the day.

Risk Factors

Older people with poor health have a higher risk. Also women have twice the rates compared to men. This may be related to higher rates of anxiety and depression, which can be associated with insomnia. Shift workers have a higher risk too. Some people are more likely to suffer from insomnia than others. These include –

  • Travelers
  • Shift workers with frequent changes in shifts
  • The elderly
  • Drug users
  • Adolescent or young adult students
  • Pregnant women
  • Menopausal women
  • Those with mental health disorders

Symptoms

Insomnia itself may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. However, there are several signs and symptoms that are associated with insomnia.

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Awakening during the night
  • Awakening earlier than desired
  • Still feeling tired after a night’s sleep
  • Daytime fatigue or sleepiness
  • Irritability, depression or anxiety
  • Poor concentration and focus
  • Being uncoordinated, an increase in errors or accidents
  • Tension headaches
  • Difficulty socializing
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Worrying about sleeping.

Sleep deprivation can cause other symptoms. The afflicted person may wake up not feeling fully awake and refreshed, and may have a sensation of tiredness and sleepiness throughout the day. Having problems concentrating and focusing on tasks is common for people with insomnia.

 

 

Complications

Complications of insomnia may include –

  • Lower performance on the job or at school
  • Slowed reaction time while driving and higher risk of accidents
  • Psychiatric problems, such as depression or an anxiety disorder
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Irritability
  • Increased risk and severity of long-term diseases or conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes
  • Substance abuse

Treatment

Improving “sleep hygiene” – This include – don’t over- or under-sleep, exercise daily, don’t force sleep, try to maintain a regular sleep schedule, avoid caffeine at night, do not smoke, do not go to bed hungry, make sure the environment is comfortable

Using relaxation techniques – such as meditation and muscle relaxation

Cognitive therapy – one-on-one counseling or group therapy

Stimulus control therapy – only go to bed when sleepy, refrain from TV, reading, eating, or worrying in bed, set an alarm for the same time every morning (even weekends), avoid long daytime naps

Sleep restriction – decrease the time spent in bed and partially deprive the body of sleep so people are more tired the next night.

Medications – Medical treatments for insomnia include:

  • Prescription sleeping pills (often benzodiazepines)
  • Antidepressants
  • Over-the-counter sleep aids
  • Antihistamines
  • Melatonin
  • Ramelteon
  • Valerian officinalis

Alternative Treatment

Melatonin supplements are widely recommended for various sleep conditions. A naturally-occurring hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle in the brain, melatonin is produced from serotonin when exposure to light decreases at night. It is used in conditions where sleep is disordered due to low levels of melatonin at night such as aging, affective disorders (e.g. depression), delayed sleep-phase disorder, or jet lag.

Warm baths – Some people find these relaxing. They can help relax the muscles and promote sleep. It is possible that the thermoregulation system, so tied into the sleep cycle, is affected by the warmth and subsequent cooling that happens when the person gets out of the tub. Hypnosis is also a possible therapy for insomnia.

Acupuncture – Some people swear by the ancient practice of acupuncture for a range of maladies, including insomnia. There is no scientific evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture. A recent meta-study (evaluation of other studies) at Emory University concluded that although most showed some positive effects of acupuncture, the studies were not set up according to scientific standards and their results could not be accepted as scientifically valid.

Passionflower – Passionflower is a vine native to Europe that no grows in the United States also. Herbal supplement companies put extracts into capsules and make it into tea-like preparations. Passionflower is used by enthusiasts for anxiety and insomnia.

Chamomile – Chamomile is an ancient remedy for a range of problems. The flowers are dried and crushed and infused into a tea. Some people are allergic to it. There does not seem to be any scientific evidence it helps with insomnia.

Lavender – Extracts from this shrub are used for aroma enhancement in a range of consumer products. It is also used for aromatherapy for insomnia.

Kava – A drink made from the roots of the kava plant has been used in ceremonies in the Pacific Islands for centuries. Some have used Kava for insomnia and to relieve stress, but the FDA has issued a warning that kava preparations pose a risk of liver damage.

Valerian – Study showed a slight benefit to children treated with a combination of valerian and lemon balm. Valerian is often marketed in combination mixtures with other herbs.

St. John Wort’s – This common yellow-flowered weedy herb from Europe is quickly becoming an important part of modern herbal therapeutics. It has a long history of use dating back to ancient Greek times. Modern scientific studies show that it can help relieve chronic insomnia and mild depression when related to certain brain chemistry imbalances.

Reference –

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/inso

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2924526/

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/9155.php

https://sleepfoundation.org/insomnia/content/what-is-insomnia

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Insomnia/Pages/Introduction.aspx

https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/insomnia.html

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/insomnia/article_em.htm

http://www.sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/insomnia

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=47532

http://www.apsfa.org/docs/insomnia.pdf

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/02/insomnia-that-kills/384841/

Posted in ENVIRONMENTAL
February 3, 2017

Hypersomnia means “excessive sleep.” Patients with idiopathic hypersomnia sleep a reasonable amount at night (at least six hours) but have difficulty waking up and always feel tired and sleepy. In addition to excessive daytime sleepiness, people with idiopathic hypersomnia may:

  • Sleep enormous amounts every day (10 hours or more)
  • Display “sleep drunkenness,” such as extreme sleep inertia, difficulties waking up with alarm clocks and feeling groggy for long period of times.

Idiopathic hypersomnia (IH) belongs to a class of sleep disorders known as Central Disorders of Hypersomnolence. This group of sleep disorders includes narcolepsy types I and II, idiopathic hypersomnia, Kleine-Levin syndrome, insufficient sleep syndrome, and hypersomnia due to medical, hypersomnia due to medication or substance, and hypersomnia associated with a psychiatric disorder.

IH is a chronic disorder that remits in less than 1 in 6 cases, and that responds poorly to traditional treatments. It often negatively impacts upon the patient’s life to such an extent that working, socializing and even driving eventually become impossible due to an inability to sustain vigilant wakefulness.

Causes

The exact cause of idiopathic hypersomnia is unknown. Researchers suspect that a genetic link may be possible because it appears to run in families, but there is no proof of this. It seems to be a rather uncommon type of sleep disorder. The condition usually develops slowly before the age of 30. In the vast majority of cases, idiopathic hypersomnia is a lifelong condition.

Idiopathic hypersomnia causes people to sleep a long time during the night. People may sleep more than 10 hours a night. Despite such long periods of sleep, people with idiopathic hypersomnia feel very sleepy during the day. No matter how much they nap during the day, they still feel very sleepy. This condition can be very disabling, limiting a person’s ability to maintain employment, relationships, and quality of life.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms shared by sufferers of IH are –

  • Greater than 10 hours sleep per 24 hour period – often as much as 16+ hours per 24 hour period
  • Long, unrefreshing naps that typically last several hours
  • Awakening from sleep feeling unrefreshed, often with significant sleep inertia (commonly known as ‘sleep drunkenness’)
  • An inability to be woken from sleep – even multiple alarm clocks or physical attempts made by family/friends are largely unsuccessful.
  • Cognitive problems caused by the overwhelming desire to sleep (commonly referred to as ‘brain fog’)

As the condition progresses less common symptoms can include –

  • Anxiety and depression – often as a result of the limits this disorder imposes upon what the patient is able to do with their limited time awake
  • Raynaud’s type phenomena – freezing cold hands and feet
  • Loss of impulse control – especially in regard to food
  • Impotence

Those with IH often describe themselves as experiencing two types of sleepiness –

  • A physical exhaustion that ‘normal’ people might experience after missing several nights sleep in a row.
  • A cognitive exhaustion similar to Executive Dysfunction that can make even simple tasks like reading, conversation with friends, or watching a movie beyond their reach.

Treatment

Medication

There are no medicines specifically designed to treat idiopathic hypersomnia, but medications used for narcolepsy can often help. The main medications used are stimulants, such as modafinil, dexamphetamine and methylphenidate, which help to keep people awake during the day. See treating narcolepsy for more information on these medicines. Antidepressants may be prescribed if emotional problems are interfering with the sleep.

The most common treatments prescribed are:

  • Amphetamines (such as Dextroamphetamine® or Adderall®)
  • Methylphenidate (such as Ritalin® or Concerta®)
  • Modafinil (such as Provigil® or Modavigil®)
  • Armodafinil (such as Nuvigil® or Waklert®) (Currently unavailable in Australia)
  • Sodium Oxybate (such as Xyrem®) (Currently unavailable in Australia)
  • Antidepressants

Lifestyle Changes

  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule
  • Avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages
  • Talk to others about the condition.
  • Don’t over extend oneself.
  • Avoid operating motor vehicles or using dangerous equipment
  • Avoid working at night or social activities that delay the bedtime

Alternative Treatment

Exercise – Regular exercise not only helps people to lose weight and gain strength, it can also help treat sleep disorders naturally. Regular exercise increases feel-good chemicals such as serotonin in the brain, which can help ease feelings of anxiety and encourage restful sleep.

Nutrients that can help manage IH include calcium and magnesium, choline, chromium picolinate, coenzyme Q10, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, vitamin C complex (including bioflavonoids) and vitamins D and E.

St John’s wort is an herbal remedy recommended for IH because of its action as a nervous system treatment. The herb might improve sleep quality and calm the nerves, which can be affected by the disorder as well as the emotional effects of living with the disease.

Ginkgo biloba nourishes the nervous system in two ways: It protects cells with its antioxidant effects and it improves circulation to the brain. Both of these functions might improve the condition of IH. The active constituents in ginkgo leaves are flavonoids and terpenoids. Balch recommends not taking the herb if you have a bleeding disorder or upcoming surgical procedure.

Gotu kola is an ayurvedic herb native to subtropical climates and has long been used in India as a treatment for the support of veins. It works by strengthening connective tissues. When veins are strong, blood flow is improved and the brain receives more oxygen and nutrients, which might be an effective treatment for narcolepsy, according to Balch.

Country mallow is an ayurvedic herb that stimulates the body and might help those suffering from IH stay awake. Be careful using this herb if you have a cardiovascular disorder, as it causes a rise in blood pressure.

Reference –

https://www.patientslikeme.com/conditions/513-idiopathic-hypersomnia

https://stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-conditions/sleep/idiopathic-hypersomnia.html

http://www.talkaboutsleep.com/message-boards/forum/idiopathic-hypersomnia/

http://idiopathichypersomnia.org/

http://www.medmerits.com/index.php/article/idiopathic_hypersomnia/P9

https://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/sleep-and-wakefulness-disorders/idiopathic-hypersomnia

http://www.nodss.org.au/ih.html

http://www.orpha.net/consor/cgi-bin/OC_Exp.php?lng=en&Expert=228315

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypersomnia/basics/definition/con-20036556

Posted in ENVIRONMENTAL
February 3, 2017

Heavy metal Toxicity is the accumulation of heavy metals, in toxic amounts, in the soft tissues of the body. Symptoms and physical findings associated with heavy metal poisoning vary according to the metal accumulated.

Many of the heavy metals, such as zinc, copper, chromium, iron and manganese, are essential to body function in very small amounts. But, if these metals accumulate in the body in concentrations sufficient to cause poisoning, then serious damage may occur. The heavy metals most commonly associated with poisoning of humans are lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium. Heavy metal poisoning may occur as a result of industrial exposure, air or water pollution, foods, medicines, improperly coated food containers, or the ingestion of lead-based paints.

Heavy metals are chemical elements that are commonly found in our environment. Without realising it all people are exposed to heavy metals on a daily basis. However, the quantities that we inhale, ingest or come into contact with the skin are so small that they are usually harmless. In fact, small amounts of some heavy metals in our diet are essential to good health. These are referred to as trace elements and include iron, copper, manganese, zinc, plus others, which are commonly found naturally in fruits and vegetables.

Heavy metal poisoning can be acute or chronic and may be caused by the following –

  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Iron
  • Cadmium
  • Thallium
  • Bismuth
  • Arsenic (technically not a true metal but a semi-metal – ie non-metal with some metallic properties)
  • Phosphorous and many more.

These toxic metals can cause or contribute to a long list of diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other brain and neurological disorders. While the medical establishment recognizes the acute toxicity that comes from high levels of metals in your body, far more people suffer the adverse effects of low-level, chronic exposure.

There are no safe levels for heavy metals, mercury in particular is the second most toxic metal known to man, second only to plutonium and even in extremely low concentrations or parts per million it can strongly downgraded your health.

Heavy metal toxicity can have a wide range of negative effects. Mercury, can cause depression and add to anxiety; mercury and cadmium can significantly compromise your immune system. Amalgam fillings still present a significant risk of mercury poisoning, mercury toxicity can also cause allergies.

Lead poisoning particularly disturbs GABA balance, this neurotransmitter enables the brain to inhibit persistent thoughts going around and around when GABA becomes deficient it can contribute to anxiety, lead also dulls your intelligence.

Lead, cadmium (from smoking) and arsenic disturb dopamine, this neurotransmitter gives the brain energy, motivation and the capacity for pleasure, when it becomes deficient you can get a low energy demotivated depression.

Mercury, lead and aluminium disturb acetylcholine, this neurotransmitter gives the brain a sharpness and good memory.

Causes

The prominent causes of Heavy Metal Toxicity are environmental sources that may be based in the food that is consumed or the water that is being drunk or even over exposure to industrial metals and chemicals. The environment and living habits often decide on the level of Heavy Metal Toxicity that a person is being exposed to.

Often causes of arsenic toxicity include the inclusion of arsenic to be found in insect poison, drinking water sources and skin contact from oils like linseed oils besides others.

Acute exposure can occur as a result of –

  • Receiving vaccinations that contain thimerosal (mercury preservative)
  • Mishandled metals at a job site
  • Chemical and heavy metal spills–even from a broken mercury thermometer

Chronic exposure happens over a period of time, and includes –

  • Having mercury amalgams (“silver fillings”) in teeth
  • Living in a home built prior to 1978 that has lead-based paint
  • Smoking and/or inhaling second-hand smoke
  • Eating foods (such as contaminated fish) that contain high levels of heavy metals
  • Living near a landfill
  • Working in an environment where exposure is prevalent, such as at a dentist’s office where amalgam is used to fill cavities

Some of the main sources of Heavy Metal Toxicity occur through –

  • Consumption of contaminated water
  • Consuming fish contaminated in mercury
  • Mercury contamination from badly fitted dental fillings.
  • Poisoning from vaccinations containing thimerosal.

People who are at risk from Heavy Metal Toxicity are those who work in Factories without proper detoxification precautions, exposure to metals by living in old houses and peeling paints, consuming water in areas with high arsenic levels, consuming food that is not organic.

Symptoms

Symptoms of heavy metal toxicity include mental confusion, pain in muscles and joints, headaches, short-term memory loss, gastrointestinal upsets, food intolerances/allergies, vision problems, chronic fatigue, and others. The symptoms are so vague that it is difficult to diagnose based on symptoms alone.

Arsenic Toxicity – Overexposure may cause headaches, drowsiness, confusion, seizures, and life-threatening complications.

Neurological symptoms include – brain damage (encephalopathy), nerve disease of the extremities (peripheral neuropathy), pericapillary hemorrhages within the white matter, and loss or deficiency of the fatty coverings (myelin) around these nerve fibers (demyelination).

Skin problems include – transverse white bands on the fingernails (mees’ lines) and excessive accumulation of fluid in the soft layers of tissue below the skin (edema). Gastrointestinal symptoms include a flu-like illness (gastroenteritis) that is characterized by vomiting; abdominal pain; fever; and diarrhea, which, in some cases, may be bloody.

Other symptoms include breakdown of the hemoglobin of red blood cells (hemolysis), a low level of iron in the red blood cells (anemia), and low blood pressure (hypotension). Some individuals may experience a garlic-like odor that may be detectable on the breath.

Chromium Toxicity – Symptoms may include lung and respiratory tract cancer as well as kidney diseases. In addition, overexposure to chromium may also cause gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea and vomiting, often with blood. Symptoms may lead to severe water-electrolyte disorders, increased mild acidity of blood and body tissues (acidosis), and/or inadequate blood flow to its tissues resulting in shock. Lesions on the kidneys, liver, and muscular layer of the heart (myocardium) may also develop.

Lead Toxicity – Overexposure to lead may cause high blood pressure and damage to the reproductive organs. Additional symptoms may include fever, headaches, fatigue, sluggishness (letheragy), vomiting, loss of appetite (anorexia), abdominal pain, constipation, joint pain, loss of recently acquired skills, incoordination, listlessness, difficulty sleeping (insomnia), irritability, altered consciousness, hallucinations, and/or seizures. In addition, affected individuals may experience low levels of iron in the red blood cells (anemia), peripheral neuropathy, and, in some cases, brain damage (encephalopathy). Some affected individuals experience decreased muscle strength and endurance; kidney disease; wrist drop; and behavioral changes such as hostility, depression, and/or anxiety. In some cases, symptoms may be life-threatening.

Cobalt Toxicity – Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite (anorexia), ear ringing (tinnitus), nerve damage, respiratory diseases, an unusually large thyroid gland (goiter), and/or heart and/or kidney damage.

Cadmium – The onset of symptoms may be delayed for two to four hours after exposure. Overexposure may cause fatigue, headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and fever. In addition, progressive loss of lung function (emphysema), abnormal buildup of fluid within the lungs (pulmonary edema), and breathlessness (dyspnea) may also be present.

Manganese – Symptoms associated with overexposure to manganese may include damage to the central nervous system and pneumonia. Additional symptoms and physical findings include weakness, fatigue, confusion, hallucinations, odd or awkward manner of walking (gait), muscle spasms (dystonia), rigidity of the trunk, stiffness, awkwardness of the limbs, tremors of the hands, and psychiatric abnormalities.

Mercury Toxicity – Symptoms of mercury poisoning include fatigue, depression, sluggishness (letheragy), irritability, and headaches. Respiratory symptoms associated with inhalation to mercury vapors include coughing, breathlessness (dyspnea), tightness or burning pain in the chest, and/or respiratory distress. Some affected individuals may experience abnormal buildup of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema); pneumonia; and/or abnormal formation of fibrous tissue (fibrosis).

Thallium Toxicity – Symptoms associated with thallium poisoning include extreme drowsiness (somnolence), nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and bloody vomiting (hematemesis). Some affected individuals may experience the loss of most or all of their scalp hair (alopecia); rapidly progressive and painful sensory polyneuropathy; motor neuropathy; cranial nerve palsies; seizures; impaired ability to coordinate voluntary movements (cerebellar ataxia); and/or mental retardation.

Phosphorous Toxicity – Symptoms associated with phosphorus poisoning include weakness, headaches, vomiting, sweating, abdominal cramps, salivation, wheezing secondary to bronchial spasm, drooping of the upper eyelids (ptosis), contraction of the pupil (miosis), and/or muscular weakness and twitching. In addition, non-inflammatory degenerative disease of the sensorimotor nerves (sensorimotor polyneuropathy) may advance to progressive deterioration (atrophy). In some cases, respiratory paralysis may also occur.

Others

  • Copper is used in the manufacture of electrical wires. It may cause a flu-like reaction called metal fume disease and disturbances in the blood.
  • Lithium is used to make glasses and pharmaceuticals. Lithium may cause diseases of the stomach, intestinal tract, central nervous system, and kidneys.
  • Overexposure to silver may cause a gray discoloration of the skin, hair and internal organs. Additional symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Zinc overexposure may cause the flu-like symptoms of metal fume fever; stomach and intestinal disturbances; and/or liver dysfunction.
  • Overexposure to bismuth may cause extreme drowsiness (somnolence) and neurologic disturbances such as confusion, difficulty in concentration, hallucinations, delusions, myoclonic jerks, tremors, seizures, an impaired ability to coordinate voluntary movements (ataxia), and/or inability to stand or walk.
  • Overexposure to gold (as in treatment of rheumatoid arthritis) may cause skin rashes; bone marrow depression; stomach and intestinal bleeding; headaches; vomiting; focal or generalized continuous fine vibrating muscle movements (myokymia); and yellowing of the skin, mucous membranes, and whites of the eyes (jaundice).
  • Some cases of overexposure to nickel have been associated an increased risk of lung cancer.
  • Overexposure to selenium may cause irritation of the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, and eyes; inflammation of the liver; loss of hair (alopecia); loss of skin color (depigmentation); and peripheral nerve damage.
  • Overexposure to tin may damage the nervous system and cause psychomotor disturbances including tremor, convulsions, hallucinations, and psychotic behavior.
  • Aluminum containers used in the manufacture and processing of some foods, cosmetics and medicines, and also for water purification. Overexposure to aluminum may cause brain damage (encephalopathy).
  • Beryllium can cause sensitization, lung and skin disease in a significant percentage of exposed workers.

 

Treatment

  • Chelation therapy, which enhances the elimination of metals (both toxic and essential) from the body, including –
    • DMPS, an oral medication for arsenic, cadmium, and mercury toxicity
    • Succimer (DMSA), an oral medication for mild-to-moderate lead, arsenic and mercury toxicity
    • Calcium-disodium EDTA for lead encephalopathy and lead poisoning
  • Resuscitation – Good supportive care is critical. Ensure airway patency and protection, provide mechanical ventilation where necessary, correct dysrhythmias, replace fluid and electrolytes (significant fluid losses generally occur and require aggressive rehydration), and monitor and treat the sequelae of organ dysfunction.
  • Decontamination – Removal of the patient from the source of exposure is critical to limiting dose. Treatment may include whole-bowel irrigation with polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution if radiographic evidence of retained metal (toys, coins, paint chips) is present.

Purified Bentonite Bathing Clay for Detoxifying Metals – Sodium bentonite clay can be a very simple and effective way to remove heavy metals and chemical contaminants from the surface tissue of the body.

EDTA is a chelating agent that can bind free metal ions that circulate in the blood stream. Traditional EDTA treatment for chelation has involved giving it to patients intraveneously. However, more recently, there has been a German-patented formula that utilizes a very dilute amount of EDTA so that now side effects are experienced and it can be used at home without doctor’s supervision

Glutathione is a short string of amino acids called a peptide. It is composed of three amino acids: glycine, glutamine and cysteine. Glutathione is a major player in detoxifying the body of many toxic pollutants, including toxic metals and chemicals. Glutathione deficiency impairs the body’s ability to get rid of toxins whether they are environmental or the by-products of cellular metabolism.

Biologically based practices – These include use of a vast array of vitamins and mineral supplements, natural products such as chondroitin sulfate, which is derived from bovine or shark cartilage; herbals, such as ginkgo biloba and echinacea; and unconventional diets, such as the low-carbohydrate approach to weight loss.

Mind-body medicine – Many ancient cultures assumed that the mind exerts powerful influences on bodily functions and vice versa. Attempts to reassert proper harmony between these bodily systems led to the development of mind-body medicine, an array of approaches that incorporate spiritual, meditative, and relaxation techniques.

Energy medicine – This approach uses therapies that involve the use of energy—either biofield- or bioelectromagnetic-based interventions. An example of the former is Reiki therapy, which aims to realign and strengthen healthful energies through the intervention of energies radiating from the hands of a master healer.

Alpha lipoic acid is used as chelating agent. Food such as green leafy vegetable, beef is an antioxidant that is soluble both in water and fat. It can bind metallic and other substance and helps the body to excrete and get rid of the harmful metals it can regenerate antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E.

Selenium (Se) has been shown to counteract the toxicity of heavy metals such as cadmium, inorganic mercury, methylmercury, thallium and to a limited extent silver. Although not as effective as Se, vitamin E significantly alters methylmercury toxicity and is more effective than Se against silver toxicity.

Posted in ENVIRONMENTAL
February 3, 2017

Headaches are one of the most common neurological problems presented to GPs and neurologists. They are painful and debilitating for individuals, an important cause of absence from work or school and a substantial burden on society.

A headache is pain or discomfort in the head, scalp, or neck. Serious causes of headaches are rare. Most people with headaches can feel much better by making lifestyle changes, learning ways to relax, and sometimes by taking medicines.

Anyone can experience a headache. Nearly 2 out of 3 children will have a headache by age 15. More than 9 in 10 adults will experience a headache sometime in their life. Headache is our most common form of pain and a major reason cited for days missed at work or school as well as visits to the doctor. Without proper treatment, headaches can be severe and interfere with daily activities. Certain types of headache run in families. Episodes of headache may ease or even disappear for a time and recur later in life. It’s possible to have more than one type of headache at the same time.

Symptoms & Types

There are two types of headaches –

Primary headaches – This occur independently and are not caused by another medical condition. It’s uncertain what sets the process of a primary headache in motion. A cascade of events that affect blood vessels and nerves inside and outside the head causes pain signals to be sent to the brain. Brain chemicals called neurotransmitters are involved in creating head pain, as are changes in nerve cell activity (called cortical spreading depression). Migraine, cluster, and tension-type headache are the more familiar types of primary headache.

  • Tension headaches – These are caused by muscle tension in the shoulders, neck, and head. The tension may  come from fatigue, an uncomfortable body position, or emotional stress. Tension headaches typically begin in the  morning or early afternoon and can get worse during the day. They often involve a tight pressure feeling like a band  around the forehead, but pain may spread over the entire head and downward into the neck and shoulders.
  • Cluster headaches – These types of headaches can be very painful. The intensely sharp pain usually involves one side of the head and spreads around the eye. Cluster headaches start suddenly and generally last about an hour. Attacks come in groups hence the name “cluster” occurring several times a day or each week and continuing for 6 to  8 weeks.
  • Migraine headaches – Often marked by intense throbbing head pain… blurred vision with shimmering light specks, dizziness or nausea, sensitivity to light, sound, or odors. Migraines are certainly a different type of headache.

Secondary headaches – These are symptoms of another health disorder that causes pain-sensitive nerve endings to be pressed on or pulled or pushed out of place. They may result from underlying conditions including fever, infection, medication overuse, stress or emotional conflict, high blood pressure, psychiatric disorders, head injury or trauma, stroke, tumors, and nerve disorders (particularly trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic pain condition that typically affects a major nerve on one side of the jaw or cheek).

  • Headaches related to high blood pressure – As the blood vessels and circulatory system throughout the body  are affected by high blood pressure, headaches may result. The pain is typified by a throbbing sensation throughout the  head, though the headaches are generally not chronic in nature.
  • Headaches resulting from eye or sinus problems – Sinus congestion or built­up pressure in the eyes due to  glaucoma are examples of the types of physical problems that can occur with your eyes, ears, nose and/or throat that result  in headaches. These headaches will often disappear when the underlying condition is effectively treated.
  • Headaches associated with facial disorders – One such disorder (originally known as temporomandibular joint or TMJ syndrome), now known as myofascial pain dysfunction (MPD), is characterized by a dull aching pain in and  around the ear that is associated with chewing food. The pain may radiate to the side of the scalp causing a headache. Difficulty opening the mouth or a clicking/popping sound in the jaw joint may also be present. Once symptoms are recognized, treatment can be effective.

Causes

Anything that stimulates the pain receptors in a person’s head or neck can cause a headache, including –

  • Stress
  • Muscular tension
  • Dental or jaw problems
  • Infections
  • Diet
  • Eye problems
  • Hormonal influences
  • Medications
  • Disorders of the ear nose or throat
  • Disorders of the nervous system
  • Injury to the head, neck or spine
  • High blood pressure
  • Poor posture – puts unnecessary strain on the muscles of the back and neck
  • Hangover from abuse of alcohol or drugs
  • Temperature – extremes of heat or cold
  • Dehydration – affects blood pressure
  • Noise – especially loud noises
  • Temporal arteritis – inflammation of the artery at the temple, most common in elderly people
  • Arthritis

In rare cases, a headache can be a sign of something more serious, such as:

  • Bleeding in the area between the brain and the thin tissue that covers the brain (subarachnoid hemorrhage)
  • Blood pressure that is very high
  • Brain infection, such as meningitis or encephalitis, or abscess
  • Brain tumor
  • Buildup of fluid inside the skull that leads to brain swelling (hydrocephalus)
  • Buildup of pressure inside the skull that appears to be, but is not a tumor (pseudomotor cerebri)
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Lack of oxygen during sleep (sleep apnea)
  • Problems with the blood vessels and bleeding in the brain, such as arteriovenous malformation (AVM), brain aneurysm, or stroke

Treatment

Pain reliever — A pain reliever may be recommended first for the treatment of tension type headache. These drugs include –

  • Aspirin
  • Acetaminophen (eg, Tylenol®)
  • Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (eg, Motrin or Advil), indomethacin, or naproxen (eg, Naprosyn or Aleve).

Pain medicine combinations — Mild pain relievers are also available in combination with caffeine, which enhances the drug’s effect. As an example, Excedrin® contains a combination of acetaminophen-aspirin-caffeine. This combination may be recommended if a pain reliever alone does not relieve the headache. However, this combination is not recommended more than nine days per month due to the potential risk of developing medication-overuse headaches.

Antidepressants — Antidepressant medicines called tricyclics (TCAs) are often used to help prevent frequent tension headaches. Examples of TCAs include amitriptyline (used most commonly), nortriptyline, and protriptyline.

The dose of TCAs used for people with headaches is typically much lower than that used for treating depression. It is believed that these drugs reduce pain perception when used in low doses, although it is not exactly clear how the medicines work.

Other treatments — Tricyclic antidepressants are sometimes used in combination with behavioral therapy to prevent tension-type headaches. The goal of behavioral therapy is to identify and try to avoid behaviors that can trigger a headache. (See ‘Lifestyle changes’ below.)

Alternative treatment

Magnesium – Magnesium plays a vital role in multiple physiologic processes and therefore it is a vital component in a healthy diet. It is absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract (gut), with more absorbed when the internal content is lower. Magnesium also appears to facilitate calcium absorption.

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) – Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is a species in the chrysanthemum family, whose dried leaves have long been used as a headache remedy.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) – Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is often described as a vitamin, or a vitamin-like substance. CoQ10 is involved in the creation of the important substance in the body known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP serves as the cell’s major energy source and drives a number of biological processes including muscle contraction and the production of protein. CoQ10 also works as an antioxidant.

Riboflavin – Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, is found in small amounts in many foods. It is needed for converting food to energy, and like CoQ10 also works as an antioxidant by mopping up the damaging free radicals.

Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) – Butterbur is a perennial shrub, found throughout Europe as well as parts of Asia and North America. It is usually found in wet, marshy ground, in damp forests, and adjacent to rivers or streams. The common name is attributed to the large leaves being used to wrap butter during warm weather.

Melatonin – There are many reasons melatonin should be beneficial in headache, but no proof exists presently. It has been shown to be useful for insomnia.

Vitamin D3 – Vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency is common and harmful.

Acupuncture – This ancient technique uses hair-thin needles inserted into several areas of the skin at defined points. While the results are mixed, some studies have shown that acupuncture helps reduce the frequency and intensity of chronic headaches.

Biofeedback – Patients might be able to control headaches by becoming more aware of and then changing certain bodily responses, such as muscle tension, heart rate and skin temperature.

Massage – Massage can reduce stress, relieve pain and promote relaxation. Although its value as a headache treatment hasn’t been determined, massage may be particularly helpful if someone has tight muscles in the back of the head, neck and shoulders.

 

Reference –

http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/headache/basics/causes/sym-20050800

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/73936.php#signs_and_symptoms

http://www.healthline.com/health/tension-headache#Causes2

https://www.wtamu.edu/webres/File/Student%20Life/Medical%20Services/Headaches.pdf

http://www.ihs-classification.org/_downloads/mixed/International-Headache-Classification-III-ICHD-III-2013-Beta.pdf

http://www.sign.ac.uk/pdf/sign107.pdf

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg150

Posted in ENVIRONMENTAL
February 3, 2017

Coughing is normal occasionally, especially if a person suffers from cold, allergies or flu. It has a purpose, as it is body’s way of keeping unwanted stuff from getting into the lungs i.e. it is a reflex action. Coughing helps clear extra mucus from the airways (small tubes in your lungs). This extra mucus could be caused by smoking, a cold, nasal or sinus problems, a lung infection or a lung disease like asthma or COPD.

A chronic cough is more than just an annoyance. Chronic cough is defined as lasting eight weeks or longer in adults, four weeks in children.

While it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the problem that’s triggering a chronic cough, the most common causes are tobacco use, postnasal drip, asthma and acid reflux — the backflow of stomach acid that can irritate your throat. Chronic cough typically disappears once the underlying problem is treated.

Chronic coughing is common, so frequent that it rates as one of the most common reasons for seeing a doctor. Although both patients and doctors rightly focus their attention on finding the cough’s cause, the cough itself is responsible for significant problems. In addition to worry about the diagnosis, patients experience frustration and anxiety, especially if diagnosis and treatment stretches out over weeks, which is often the case.

Coughing interrupts sleep, producing fatigue and impairing concentration and work performance. In this age of scary new viruses, social interactions are likely to suffer. And coughing can also have important physical consequences, ranging from urinary incontinence to fainting and broken ribs. Between medical tests, lost productivity at work, remedies that don’t help, and treatments that do, coughing is also expensive.

Causes

Chronic cough is usually caused by these health problems-

  • Smoking – Smoking is the number one cause of chronic cough.
  • Asthma – This is the second most frequent cause of chronic cough. Shortness of breath and wheezing are by-products of asthma. These breathing difficulties can result in a chronic cough. On the other hand, chronic cough may be the only symptom of asthma.
  • Acid reflux – Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. Symptoms of GERD include heartburn, chest pain, wheezing and shortness of breath. Irritation caused by these symptoms can lead to chronic cough.
  • Sinusitis and post nasal drip – Recurrent sinus infections can cause post-nasal drip, sometimes called ‘a tickle in the back of the throat,’ drainage can trigger chronic cough. The ‘tickle’ occurs when a larger-than-normal amount of mucus runs down the back of the throat.
  • Allergies – Chronic cough can result from inhaling dust, pollen, pet dander, chemical/industrial fumes (over many years), molds, freshly cut grass, and other irritants.
  • Bronchitis – Inflammation of these airway passages can trigger shortness of breath and wheezing and result in chronic cough.
  • Upper respiratory infections – Lengthy bouts of colds, the flu, pneumonia or other infections can lead to the development of chronic cough. Whooping cough (pertussis) occurs more commonly in infants and young children.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – This is a lung condition that occurs most often in smokers. It is caused by a build-up of mucus in the lungs, which the body tries to clear by coughing. COPD includes the related conditions, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
  • High blood pressure drugs – ACE inhibitors are a specific category of drugs used to treat high blood pressure. A side effect of these drugs is chronic cough. Some common ACE inhibitors are lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), enalapril (Vasotec), peridopril (Aceon), captopril, (Capoten), and ramiparil (Altace).
  • Lung or other airway cancers – Rarely, chronic cough can be a sign of either a lung cancer or cancer in the upper airway.

Symptoms

A chronic cough can occur with other signs and symptoms, which may include –

  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • A feeling of liquid running down the back of your throat
  • Frequent throat clearing and sore throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Wheezing and shortness of breath
  • Heartburn or a sour taste in your mouth
  • In rare cases, coughing up blood
  • Fever (higher than 101°F®)
  • A drenching overnight sweat

Complications

  • Physical exhaustion
  • Insomnia (inability to sleep)
  • Disruption of the daily routine
  • Muscle discomfort
  • Hoarse voice
  • Headache/dizziness
  • A drenching sweat
  • Urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control)
  • Minor bleeding in the eye
  • Hernia
  • Broken ribs

Treatment

Medication

In case of Asthma – drugs such as inhaled bronchodilators and/or steroids are prescribed. These drugs help reduce airway inflammation and wheezing.

Cough medicines – Cough suppressants for a dry cough or expectorants for a wet, productive cough that brings up mucus, are available over the counter and by prescription.

Antihistamines – Can temporarily relieve a runny nose by drying up nasal secretions; they may help if your cough is due to allergies. Non-drowsy antihistamines available over the counter include loratadine (Claritin), fexofenadine (Allegra), and cetirizine (Zyrtec).

Bronchodilators – Increase airflow by opening airways and help make it easier to breathe.

GERD – several non-drug treatments and prescription medications are tried. Non-drug treatments include using pillows to prop up the head when lying down, avoiding foods that cause acid reflux (such as chocolates, colas, red wines) and not eating right before bedtime. Prescription medicines, such as cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid), ranitidine (Zantac), esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Pravacid®), and omeprazole (Prilosec), are prescribed to reduce stomach acids.

Bacterial Pneumonia or bronchitis, antibiotics, such as azithromycin (Azithrocin, Zithromycin), cefuroxime (Ceftin) or cefprozil (Cefzil), are prescribed.

Post-nasal drip, over-the-counter decongestants, such as diphenhydramine or pseudoephedrine, may help relieve post-nasal drip symptoms. Antibiotics may be prescribed if the cause of the chronic cough is sinusitis. Nasal spray, such as ipratopium (Atrovent) can relieve runny nose, sneezing and post-nasal drip. A nasal glucocorticoid, such as fluticasone (Flonase) can also reduce post-nasal drip.

High blood pressure medicines (ACE inhibitor drugs), other high blood pressure drugs can be prescribed instead.

Lifestyle

Avoid allergens -If the chronic cough can be traced back to nasal allergies, try to avoid the substances that cause your symptoms.

Quit smoking – The most common cause of chronic bronchitis, smoking irritates the lungs and can worsen coughs caused by other factors.

Reduce acid reflux – A cough caused by acid reflux can often be treated with lifestyle changes alone. This includes eating smaller, more frequent meals; waiting three to four hours after a meal before lying down; and elevating the head of the bed at night.

Alternative Treatment

Probiotics – These may help overcome underlying conditions. Research suggests that Lactobacillus may help prevent colds and flu, and possibly reduce allergy to pollen. Several studies that examined probiotics combined with vitamins and minerals also found a reduction in the number of colds caught by adults, although it is not possible to say whether the vitamins, minerals, or probiotics were responsible for the benefit.

Quercetin – Quercetin is a flavonoid, a plant pigment responsible for the colors found in fruits and vegetables. Studies suggest that quercetin inhibits the production and release of histamine, which causes allergy symptoms, such as a runny nose and watery eyes.

Bromelain – Some studies show that bromelain may help reduce symptoms of sinusitis and relieve swelling and inflammation caused by allergies.

Peppermint – Peppermint is widely used to treat cold symptoms. Its main active agent, menthol, is a good decongestant.

Licorice – Licorice root is a traditional treatment for sore throat and cough, although scientific evidence is lacking. Licorice interacts with a number of medications.

Thyme – Thyme has traditionally been used to treat respiratory illnesses, such as bronchitis, and to treat cough. Two preliminary studies suggest that thyme may help treat acute bronchitis and relieve cough.

Phosphorous – For chest tightness associated with a variety of coughs, particularly a dry, harsh cough with a persistent tickle in the chest and significant chest pain; symptoms tend to worsen in cold air and when the individual is talking; this remedy is most appropriate for individuals who are often worn out and exhausted, suffer from unnecessary anxiety (even fear of death), and require a lot of reassurance.

Vitamins

Reference –

http://www.nationaljewish.org/healthinfo/conditions/cough/

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/coughs/article_em.htm

http://bestpractice.bmj.com/best-practice/monograph/69/diagnosis/differential-diagnosis.html

http://www.pdrhealth.com/diseases/cough

http://www.fpnotebook.com/lung/Sx/ChrncCgh.htm

http://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/1015/p887.html

http://www.everydayhealth.com/symptom-checker/cough

http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions-dictionary/chronic-cough.aspx

http://www.avogel.co.uk/health/immune-system/cough/persistent/

Posted in ENVIRONMENTAL
February 3, 2017

Chemotherapy saves lives, but it may be at the expense of brain function. Previous research has established cancer treatments can impair patients’ cognitive skills, as well as cause chemo-induced seizures and memory loss, a condition known as Chemo Brain.

Chemo brain refers to changes in memory, concentration, and the ability to think clearly. It is also called mild cognitive impairment (MCI). At the moment we don’t know exactly what causes these problems, or how many people are affected by them. Women with breast cancer were the first to report these problems, which they linked to their chemotherapy treatment. So they called the changes chemo brain.

Up to 75% of people with cancer experience cognitive problems during treatment, and up to 35% have issues that continue for months after treatment has finished. These difficulties usually vary in severity and often make it hard to complete daily activities. People who experience serious cognitive problems are encouraged to talk with their doctor, nurse, social worker, or another member of the health care team about ways to manage these issues.

Causes

Although cancer survivors commonly use the term “chemo brain” to describe difficulty thinking clearly after cancer treatment, people who do not receive chemotherapy report similar symptoms. Continuing research into the wide range of cognitive problems experienced by people with cancer has shown they can be caused by a number of factors in addition to chemotherapy, including –

  • Radiation treatment to the head and neck, or total body irradiation
  • Brain surgery, in which areas of the brain may be damaged or disrupted during a biopsy or the removal of a cancerous tumor
  • Hormone therapy, immunotherapy, and other medications (such as anti-nausea medications, antibiotics, pain medications, immunosuppressants, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, heart medications, and medications to treat sleep disorders)
  • Infections, especially those of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), and infections that cause a high fever
  • Brain cancer
  • Other cancers that have metastasized (spread) to the brain
  • Other conditions or symptoms related to cancer or cancer treatments, including anemia, sleep problems, fatigue, hypercalcemia (high blood calcium), and electrolyte (a mineral in your body, such as potassium and sodium) imbalances that can lead to dehydration or organ failure
  • Emotional responses, such as stress, anxiety, or depression
  • Not having enough of specific vitamins and minerals, such as iron, vitamin B, or folic acid
  • Other brain or nervous system disorders unrelated to cancer

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase the risk of memory problems in cancer survivors include –

  • Brain cancer
  • Chemotherapy given directly to the central nervous system
  • Chemotherapy combined with whole-brain radiation
  • Higher doses of chemotherapy or radiation
  • Radiation therapy to the brain
  • Younger age at time of cancer diagnosis and treatment

Symptoms

The symptoms of cognitive impairment can come and go. How much a person notices them seems to depend on what they are doing. For example, if a person needs to juggle a number of things as part of his or her normal day, he may notice it more than someone who doesn’t. People often notice it more when they go back to work. Tiredness usually makes the symptoms worse.

Cognitive problems include difficulties in many areas, these include –

  • Trouble concentrating, focusing, or paying attention (short attention span)
  • Mental “fog” or disorientation
  • Difficulty with spatial orientation
  • Memory loss or difficulty remembering things (especially details like names, dates, or phone numbers)
  • Problems with comprehension or understanding
  • Difficulties with judgment and reasoning
  • Impaired arithmetic, organizational, and language skills (such as not being able to organize thoughts, find the right word, or balance a checkbook)
  • Problems performing multiple tasks (multitasking)
  • Processing information slower
  • Behavioral and emotional changes, such as irrational behavior, mood swings, inappropriate anger or crying, and socially inappropriate behavior
  • Severe confusion (delirium)

The severity of these symptoms often depends on the person’s age, stress level, history of depression or anxiety, coping abilities, and access to emotional and psychological resources.

Complications

Complications of chemo—such as anemia or hormonal imbalance—can affect cognition. Insomnia, anxiety, and depression could play a role in cog-fog as well.

Treatment

  • Medications, including stimulants, cognition-enhancing drugs commonly used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, antidepressants, and opiate antagonists (drugs that block the actions of narcotics, such as morphine)
  • Occupational therapy and vocational rehabilitation, to help people with the activities of daily living and job-related skills
  • Cognitive rehabilitation (also known as neuropsychological rehabilitation) and cognitive training, to help patients improve their cognitive skills and find ways to cope with cognitive problems

Alternative Treatment

CO-Q10 Enzyme – There is an ever-growing body of scientific data that shows substantial health benefits of CoQ10 supplementation for people suffering from angina, heart attack and hypertension. This nutrient is also recommended to people on statins to off-set the CoQ-depleting effects of the medication. Other studies have reported that CoQ10 may play a role in the prevention or benefit people already suffering from neurodegenerative diseases.

Omega Oils – The healthy fats are essential fatty acids which are obtained from certain fish and plants. These essential oils are omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9. people need to supplement with Omega 3, which is flax oil.) In the body, essential fatty acids are primarily used to produce hormone-like substances that regulate a wide range of functions, including blood pressure, blood clotting, blood lipid levels, the immune response, and the inflammation response to injury or infection.

Vitamin D3 – Studies on the diverse benefits of vitamin D keep pouring in, and one of the latest focuses on cognitive function.

Zinc is important in the synthesis of neuronal membranes. Studies point to the possible association of zinc deficiency and ADHD which is characterised by inabilities to concentrate and pay attention.

Iron is involved in the production of neurotransmitters and also the myelin sheath protecting nerve fibres.

Vitamin D is a steroid hormone vital in calcium and phosphate absorption and in recent studies, several associations between low levels of vitamin D and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, as well as depression etc have begun to surface and also helps in chemo brain condition.

Vitamin E is essential for normal neurological function.

Choline is essential for the production of neurotransmitters and studies suggest a significant number of adults consume less than recommended.

B12 is essential for neurological function and research suggests deficiency is linked to reduced brain volume and lower cognitive scores.

Glutamine – This is converted to glutamic acid in the brain and promotes the synthesis of GABA, an important brain neurotransmitter. Many believe that L-Glutamine enhances mental function.

Exercise – A study was done to look into the effects of exercise on Alzheimer disease. This study found that exercise improved blood flow and antioxidant pathways. Studies have also shown a clinical reduction in morbidity (disease) and mortality from cardiovascular disease among exercising individuals. A large study indicated a reduction of risk for dementia in individuals who exercised.

Self Help

  • Try relaxation training to help focus your attention.
  • Write in a journal or diary to see what influences your memory problems.
  • Set a routine or schedule that you follow consistently every day.
  • Ride it out—settle in for the day and watch television or funny movies.
  • Exercise; aerobic exercise helps your mood and increases alertness.
  • Alter your work environment or expectations: simplify.
  • Learn what your cognitive strengths are and capitalize on those. (What time of day is best for tackling tasks?)
  • Compensate for weaknesses by using external memory aids (daily planner, notes, maps, and reminder phone calls).
  • Discuss frustrations about slower moments with friends and family.

 

Reference –

http://www.chemobrainfog.com/

http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/side-effects/attention-thinking-or-memory-problems

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancers-in-general/cancer-questions/chemo-brain

http://www.webmd.com/cancer/what-is-chemo-brain

https://www.fredhutch.org/en/treatment/survivorship/survival-strategies/chemobrain.html

http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/physicalsideeffects/chemotherapyeffects/chemo-brain

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chemo-brain/basics/definition/con-20033864

http://www.cancercare.org/publications/72-cognitive_problems_after_chemotherapy

Posted in ENVIRONMENTAL
February 3, 2017

Everything in the physical world around us is made of chemicals. The earth we walk on, the air we breathe, the food we eat, the cars we drive, and the houses we live in are all made of various chemicals. Living organisms such as plants, animals, and humans are also made of chemicals.

Some of the chemicals we contact in our daily lives are man-made. Many more chemicals which we are exposed to each day occur naturally and are found in our food, in the air, and in water. There are far more natural chemicals in our environment than man-made ones. Both man-made and natural chemicals can have poisonous effects. Man-made chemicals are in use all around us – from pesticides to cosmetics and baby bottles to computers our day today life depends on them.

Many useful household projects contain toxic chemicals. Common examples include:

  • drain cleaner
  • laundry detergent
  • furniture polish
  • gasoline
  • pesticides
  • ammonia
  • toilet bowl cleaner
  • motor oil
  • rubbing alcohol
  • bleach
  • battery acid

In other cases, toxic chemicals are simply a by-product of metabolism. Some natural elements and minerals are poisonous. Here are some examples of natural toxic chemicals:

  • mercury
  • snake venom
  • caffeine in coffee, tea, kola and cocoa
  • arsenic
  • ricin from castor beans
  • petroleum
  • hydrogen sulfide
  • chlorine gas
  • smoke

What makes chemicals toxic?

Exposure to toxic chemicals in food, water and air is linked to millions of deaths, and costs billions of dollars every year. The term toxicity is used to express how poisonous a chemical is. Scientists distinguish between two kinds of toxicity: acute and chronic.

  • Acute toxicity – A poisonous effect produced by a single, short-term exposure to a toxic chemical, resulting in obvious health effects and even death of the organism.
  • Chronic toxicity – A poisonous effect that is produced by a long period of exposure to a moderate, less-than-acute dose of some toxic chemical.

Chemicals can be toxic because they can harm us when they enter or contact the body. Exposure to a toxic substance such as gasoline can affect your health. Since drinking gasoline can cause burns, vomiting, diarrhea and, in very large amounts, drowsiness or death, it is toxic. Some chemicals are hazardous because of their physical properties: they can explode, burn or react easily with other chemicals. Since gasoline can burn and its vapors can explode, gasoline is also hazardous. A chemical can be toxic, or hazardous, or both.

Chemicals that can cause chemical poisoning include toxins and toxicants. Chemicals that are produced by living organisms are called toxins. There are a wide variety of toxins, including biotoxins, which cause biotoxin poisoning. Examples of biotoxins include snake venom, honey bee venom, and cyanotoxin, which is produced by blue-green algae.

Toxicants are chemicals are synthetic or are natural substances that are not produced by a living organism. There are a wide variety of toxicants, such as pesticides, chlorine, ammonia, pepper spray, and acetone.

Once a toxic substance has contacted the body it may have either acute (immediate) or chronic (long term) effects.

Example – Spilling acid on your hand will cause immediate harm, i.e. a burn to the skin.

Exposure to asbestos or tobacco smoke may result in lung cancer after as much as twenty years (this is a long term effect).

Routes of Entry

There are three primary routes of entry into the body: ingestion, skin or eye absorption, and inhalation.

  • Ingestion – This means taking a material into the body by mouth (swallowing). Ingestion of toxic materials may occur as a result of eating in a contaminated work area.
  • Absorption – Substances that contact the eye and the skin may be either absorbed into the body or cause local effects. For the majority of organic compounds, the contribution from skin absorption to the total exposure should not be neglected.
  • Inhalation – This means taking a material into the body by breathing it in. In the lungs, very tiny blood vessels are in constant contact with the air we breathe in. As a result, airborne contaminants can be easily absorbed through this tissue. In the occupational environment, this is generally the most important route of entry.

Causes

Chemical poisoning can be caused by exposure or ingestion of ammonia, antifreeze, art supplies, batteries, chemical cleaning products, chlorine, cosmetics, dicholorodiphenyltricholoroethane (DDT), disinfectants, drain cleaners, fungicides, gasoline, some glues, heavy metals (cadmium, mercury, and lead), herbicides, some house plants, insecticides, mothballs, mouthwashes, some mushrooms, nail adhesive or polish, paints, pesticides, petroleum products, recreational drugs, solvents, toilet cleaners, and purposeful ingestion of toxic substances.

Local proximity to landfills or industrial complexes can also statistically increase the probability of exposure.

The improper or excess use of one or more medications can also cause chemical poisoning.

Chemicals in food – Advertisements and labels on food packaging can be very misleading and often play on the consumer’s concerns about mysterious “nasty chemicals”. Campaigns of this sort overlook the fact that our food is made of chemicals, be they naturally occurring or synthetic. EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) is a common preservative and is especially useful in oils and fats. Sodium nitrite (NaNO2) is used as a preservative in processed and smoked meats like bacon, salami and pastrami.

Symptoms

Signs of chemical poisoning can appear in seconds or hours, depending on the type of poison, exposure quantity, and individual genetic makeup and resistance.

Symptoms include asthma, blurred vision, breathing difficulties, choking, coughing, delirium, diarrhea, digestive problems, dizziness, dry mouth, faintness, fatigue, headache, itching, nausea, nervous system disorders, skin rashes, stomach pain, sweating, and vomiting.

Other chemicals, such as nerve agents or some types of venom, affect the nervous system. Symptoms can include paralysis.

Some chemicals, such as cyanide, can interfere with the body’s use of oxygen. Poisoning can result in coma apnea, and cardiac arrest. Chemical poisoning by narcotic drugs, such as morphine or heroin, depress the body’s respirations and can also result in apnea and death.

Some chemicals, such as mace and tear gas, can cause irritation, discomfort to the eyes, and temporary blindness, but do not usually result in permanent complications.

Corrosive liquids can cause burning in the throat and esophagus upon ingestion. Generally, do not induce vomiting unless advised by your poison control centre, naturopath, or other health practitioner.

Poisoning can lead to decreased and/or cessation of function of one or more internal organs. Again, medical attention is strongly recommended. The liver and kidneys are particularly at risk when chemical poisoning occurs and measures must be taken to restore these organs to full health. Pneumonia may also be experienced.

Treatment

Biodetoxification – The biodetoxification process is designed to remove toxicants using three basic mechanisms –

  • Mobilization of bound chemicals from storage sites through lipolysis (the breakdown of fatty tissues).
  • Enhancement of the body’s natural systems of detoxification and biotransformation.
  • Enhancement of excretion and inhibition of re-absorption.

These three mechanisms permit acceleration of the body’s system of detoxification, making it possible to decrease the time normally required to reduce a body burden of toxicants from months to weeks.

Alpha-lipoic acid is known as the “antioxidant’s antioxidant” or the “universal antioxidant”. In addition to being a powerful coenzyme, this antioxidant enhances the effectiveness of several antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, glutathione, and coenzyme Q10.

Grape seed extract is a nutrient primarily derived from the seeds of grapes but is also found in the skin and stems. It has powerful antioxidant properties and has protective compounds known as flavonoids. These include oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), anthocyananins, quercetin, catechin, ellagic acid and reveratrol, which is also found in red wine.

Pycnogenol is extracted from the bark of French maritime pine trees grown in the south of France. The resulting extract contains approximately forty antioxidants and a number of flavonoid compounds, making pycnogenol one of the most potent antioxidant preparations currently available.

Acidophilus and Bifidus supplementation will restore beneficial bacteria counts in the digestive tract and promote proper function.

Cat’s claw has antioxidant properties and boosts immune system function. However, the majority of reports on this herb are anecdotal and findings are only preliminary.

Licorice root is a very good liver botanical and promotes the elimination of toxins from the body. It works as well as milk thistle (see below) in protecting and repairing the liver and both herbs often have improved results when used together.

Milk thistle promotes liver function and helps cleanse the body of toxins.

Sarsaparilla is an excellent blood purifier and is used to remedy the toxic effects of many poisons.

Selenium is a powerful antioxidant. One Brazil nut contains enough selenium to satisfy your daily requirement.

Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that also helps rebuild the immune system and increases tissue oxygenation.

Vitamin C supports the immune system, has antioxidant properties, and promotes the elimination of toxins.

Reference –

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/puget_sound/toxicchemicals/chemicals.html

http://chemistry.about.com/od/toxicchemicals/f/What-Is-A-Toxic-Chemical.htm

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151001100058.htm

https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/chemicals/toxic_substances.htm

http://www.watoxics.org/chemicals-of-concern

http://www.mybestremedies.com/ailments_and_situations/a_to_e/chemical-poisoning.html

http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/teacher_resources/webfieldtrips/toxics/

Posted in ENVIRONMENTAL
February 3, 2017

Chelation therapy is a chemical process in which a synthetic solution-EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid)-is injected into the bloodstream to remove heavy metals and/or minerals from the body. Chelation means “to grab” or “to bind.” When EDTA is injected into the veins, it “grabs” heavy metals and minerals such as lead, mercury, copper, iron, arsenic, aluminum, and calcium and removes them from the body. Except as a treatment for lead poisoning, chelation therapy is controversial and unproved.

Chelation Therapy is used for following –

  • Memory problems or “brain fog”
  • Heart disease: Angina & chest pains; arrhythmias; heart attack; stroke
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Diabetes
  • Heavy metal toxicity
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia & autoimmune disorders
  • Kidney disease
  • Leg cramps / walking problems
  • Hearing / vision loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hormone dysfunction
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Poor circulation / cold feet and/or hands
  • Slow-healing sores

The word “chelate” is derived from the Greek word for claw and apparently refers to the alleged removal of plaque and calcium deposits from arteries and veins by EDTA. The therapy involves a series of intravenous infusions of the organic chemical ethylenediamine tetra acetic acid (EDTA) and various other substances to cure ailments. These medicines bind to the metals in the blood stream; this metal-chelator compound is then eliminated in the urine. While chelators are valuable drugs, they have side effects which limit their use to only a few medical conditions involving heavy metal toxicity, especially those due to lead, mercury, arsenic, and iron.

Chelation Therapy is used for –

  • Heavy metals such as Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Arsenic, Nickel, and Antimony have been shown to relentlessly accumulate in human tissue over a lifetime. Aluminum has been implicated as a possible factor in the causation of Alzheimer’s disease. These poisonous metals disrupt the normal biochemical processes. They insinuate themselves into the active sites of enzymes thereby altering such enzymes’ activities, and they initiate “free radical reactions,” which produce noxious chemicals that damage cellular structures such as proteins, cell membranes and DNA. The results at the level of the whole organism are the development of degenerative diseases-arteriosclerosis, arthritis and cancers. The removal of these poison metals with Chelation Therapy is probably a major mechanism by which Chelation normalizes biochemical activity thereby improving circulation and energy.
  • Essential metals such as iron, copper, manganese, and zinc are rearranged in the various body compartments resulting in improved enzyme activity at the cellular level.
  • Calcium deposits are removed from vessels and intracellular membranes leading to increased blood flow and better functioning of the enzyme systems imbedded in those membranes. The result is, again, improved organ function, vitality and energy level.
  • The blood clotting elements known as platelets are made less sticky, reducing clots in the vessels and leading to improved circulation and reduction in the thromboses that occur during heart attacks and strokes.
  • D.T.A. binds trace elements like iron, which are known initiators of “free radical reactions”. These free radical reactions are thought to be the chemical origin of arteriosclerosis, cancer, and inflammations. In general, they are thought to be the cause of aging and its concomitant degenerative processes. With respect to #3 above, realize that a slight increase in the internal diameter of an occluded vessel results in a large increase in blood flow through that artery.

What does it include?

The Chelation agent, E.D.T.A. is administered intravenously in a solution of dilute salt water or in sterile water. Besides the E.D.T.A., the following substances are added to the bottle:

  • Vitamin C — This vitamin acts as an antioxidant and is needed to activate enzymes and assist in connective tissue synthesis and turnover.
  • Magnesium Sulfate — This mineral is added to counteract the effects of low calcium induced by E.D.T.A. and to replace magnesium, which is almost always deficient in the diet and in total body stores. Magnesium is needed to operate most enzyme systems and in particular, to improve heart function.
  • B-Complex Vitamins — These vitamins act as cofactors in all energy transformations in the body.
  • Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) — This vitamin is needed for most biochemical steps in amino acid metabolism, especially in the processing of the cardiotoxic substance known as homocysteine. Some theories of atherosclerosis hold that abnormal elevations of homocysteine initiate vascular disorders.
  • Hydroxycobalamin (Vitamin B12 — Cyanocobalamin) — This vitamin is needed for brain function, blood formation and in the synthesis of genetic material.
  • Procaine — This substance is added to inhibit burning at the site of infusion.
  • Heparin — This substance is added to prevent vein inflammation.
Posted in ENVIRONMENTAL