Monday, March 24, 2008

A Tattoo Could Prove Good For Health

Studies on mice show the future of vaccines may be in tattoos. Results show vaccines given by tattooing produced antibody levels about 16 times higher than vaccines by injection. It is more effective in delivering DNA vaccines, say researchers.

We may all be getting tattoos in the future— tattooed vaccinations against disease, that is. German researchers have shown that tattooing is a more effective way of delivering DNA vaccines than intramuscular injection.

Martin Mueller and his team at the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (German Cancer Research Centre) in Heidelberg published their findings in the online open access journal, Genetic Vaccines and Therapy.

Using a coat protein from the human papillomavirus (HPV the cause of cervical cancer) as a model DNA vaccine antigen, they compared delivery by tattooing the skin of mice with standard intramuscular injection with and without the molecular adjuvants that are often given to boost immune response.

The tattoo method gave a stronger humoral (antibody) response and cellular response than intramuscular injection, even when adjuvants were included in the latter. Three doses of DNA vaccine given by tattooing produced at least 16 times higher antibody levels than three intramuscular injections with adjuvant. The adjuvants enhanced the effect of intramuscular injection, but not of tattooing.

Tattooing is an invasive procedure done with a solid vibrating needle, causing a wound and sufficient inflammation to "prime" the immune system. It also covers a bigger area of the skin than an injection, so the DNA vaccine can enter more cells. These effects may account for the stronger immune response arising from introducing a DNA vaccine into the body by tattooing.

Of course, the tattooing approach may not be to everyone's taste - as it is likely to hurt - but the researchers believe that it could have a role in, for instance, routine vaccination of cattle or in delivering therapeutic (rather than prophylactic) vaccines to humans.

"Vaccination with naked DNA has been hampered by its low efficiency" says Mueller. "Delivery of DNA via tattooing could be a way for a more widespread commercial application of DNA vaccines."

This adds another reason for those who want to wear tattoo as a fashion acceessory because if you are planning to get a tattoo done, you are on your way to protect yourself from any number of diseases, including some cancers.

Deciphering Dreams And Their Occurrence

We use the word loosely to describe plans, hopes and aspirations. But technically the word connotes the subconscious experience of a sequence of images, sounds, ideas, emotions, or other sensations that occurs during sleep. Sleep is a repeated cycle of a five stage process. The first four stages are called Non REM (Non Rapid eye Movement Sleep) when the brain is typically in a resting stage. The Non REM sleep cycle constitutes about 80 % of our sleep. After the first four stages, we go through the fifth stage called REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement), when many parts of our bodies are the most active. REM sleep in adults typically occupies 20-25% of total sleep, lasting about 90-120 minutes. During a normal night of sleep, we usually experience about 4 or 5 periods of REM sleep. During REM, the activity of the brain's neurons is quite similar to that during waking hours; for this reason, the phenomenon is often called paradoxical sleep. Most of our vividly recalled dreams occur during REM sleep. REM sleep and dreams have a strong connection, because most dreams take place during the REM cycle. A part of the brain known as the 'limbic system' which is strongly associated with emotions, is the most active area of the brain during REM sleep whereas another part known as the 'prefrontal cortex' which is responsible for logical thinking is the least active area. This is the reason why dreams sometimes lack clarity in content and seem very random. Yet they almost always carry some meaning which just needs to be deciphered.

There is a place in our mind that we cannot directly access. It remembers everything and feels intensely. It registers our deepest experiences. This is our subconscious. Because we cannot access or openly express these deeper feelings, they often get acted out by us. This can occur in the form of a behavior (such as addiction or procrastination) or a symptom (such as anxiety, angry outbursts or poor self esteem) or a DREAM.

Any form of healing that extensively records the mental and emotional patterns of patients, can be enhanced by better understanding the psyche. Dreams are the doorway to the symbolic realm of the psyche, a powerful force underlying human consciousness. Working with dreams requires that we momentarily leave behind dearly held ideas of reality and immerse ourselves into a realm pregnant with new ideas. It is a creative experience that opens the mind to new possibilities and solutions to various problems.When dreams are used as a part of a treatment, it stimulates the inherent healing capacity of the individual and guides him or her into greater wholeness of mind, body, and spirit. Since its inception, many doctors have used dreams as part of the valuable information that leads to the appropriate remedy. These clues from the subconscious mind can cure you of your most severe health problems.

Here are some examples of how dreams reveal what is really going on in life.

A 12 year old girl studying in a boarding school was asthmatic. Her asthma attacks occurred particularly at boarding school. At home, she remained hale and hearty. She said that she had a recurring dream in which she saw herself running alone in the forest. This dream revealed her inner feeling of being isolated and forsaken away from home and family. On the basis of her dream, she was treated. Her asthma disappeared, she learnt to cope with boarding school life and she never dreamt that particular dream again.

Another case was of a 23 year old young lady who came to us complaining of frequent attacks of cold. She said that she caught cold whenever she was mentally stressed and exhausted. She was asked whether she was going through any stress at present and she revealed that she had certain problems in her personal life regarding a secret liaison, marriage and family. Her case history revealed that she continuously dreamt of her teeth falling off. Dreaming of teeth falling signifies that you are lagging control or authority over a particular situation. She was experiencing just such a situation in her life.

A middle aged man dreamt of falling from a height after facing huge business losses. He was a well established businessman who had carried the responsibility of the entire business on his shoulders. He had taken a loan from several financial firms to expand his business. Unexpectedly, his business collapsed and he fell heavily in debt. He started feeling that he had lost the battle and developed severe depression believing that he had failed to fulfill his responsibilities. A person who feels defeated from within feels as if he has fallen from his set standard of power, pride, dignity and esteem. His dream of falling from a height reflected his mental state of defeat.

A 28 year old man dreamt of floods causing danger, and dead friends long deceased. His detailed case history showed that he had lost his beloved five years ago and even after so long was not yet able to come to terms with the loss. The incident was still so fresh in his mind that it seemed as if it had just occurred. After the incident, he had isolated himself from his surroundings and continued to brood and grieve over his beloved's death. This chaotic mental state showed up in his dream in the form of floods and dead friends which signifies grief and pain.

Dreams driven by the subconscious mind usually reveal our underlying issues, often symbolically. For example, being held back or frustrated can be telling you to set some life goals and develop a strategy for achieving them. Our dreams support this endeavor by showing the causes and effects of our subconscious conditioning. Every thought nourished regularly by the mind activates the subconscious mind to generate those thoughts and energy whether good or bad into your life. So,any attempt to understand dreams or what is really going on in your life and mind , as well as in the lives and minds of others, cannot fully succeed unless it takes into account the study of subconscious mind.

Unlock the potentials of your subconscious mind and feel the magic!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Basic Fitness Training - Beginner's Guide

We are slammed with so much information on fitness that we've completely forgotten how simple exercise can be. Here's a guide to the fundamentals.

Much as love the conveniences that technology has given us, the fact is that they have severely cut down our physical activity. Cars mean we don't walk much any more. Lifts mean we don't take the stairs any more. TVs mean we don't have to go out for entertainment. This has led to what is called lifestyle diseases. There is only one way to combat such diseases, and that is to make physical exercise part of your routine, along with a controlled diet. That's why gyms and health clubs have become so popular. Some people even set up gyms at home. But since, so far,
there is no accreditation of gyms or equipment, no one really knows the basics of what is required to stay fit.

I feel it is time for us to go back to basics and understand what exactly is meant by exercise.

What is Exercise?

Any physical movement can be called exercise. But here's a tighter definition; "Exercise is a set of defined physical movements done by an individual with or without the help of a physical trainer in a stipulated time to achieve a goal, or just for fun". Exercise includes outdoor games, all kind of dance, weight training, martial arts, aerobics, yoga, meditation, pranayam and so on.

Why Exercise At All?
  • It improves mind-body coordination
  • Improves skin
  • Improves the workings of your body's defense mechanism
  • Increases the oxygen carrying capacity of blood
  • Reduces depression and anxiety
  • Helps in excretion of waste products from the body
  • Helps in weight loss by reducing the level of body fat
  • Helps in healthy weight gain by increasing muscle mass
  • Tones the body
  • Improves digestion
  • Improves your sleeping pattern
  • Gives you a better sex life
  • Slows the ageing process
Plan Your Routine

You must get at least 30-60 minutes of exercise three to five times a week. All exercise sessions should be conducted in the following manner: First, stretches, next, warm-ups and stamina building, third, strengthening and endurance exercises and finally, a cool down. But you can personalize your exercise routine by factoring in your age, sex, medical history, physiological condition (such as pregnancy or puberty), family medical history, body mass index, availability of time, type of profession, diet habits, personal target, heart rate and blood pressure. You must give your trainer this information, so he or she can make the best routine for you. Keep in mind however, that you also need to follow a healthy diet for best results.

Gadgets Not Vital

Physical exercise can be done with or without equipment. There are many gadgets to help you work out more correctly and efficiently, but equipment is not vital. If you prefer to use equipment, studies have shown that motorized treadmills offer more benefits than any other fitness device. And it is the most popular fitness devices in India, both at home and at gyms. This is because most of us are fonder of walking, jogging or running than any of exercise, and it is believed that a treadmill helps us burn calories faster.

Selecting A Treadmill

Before you rush off to buy a treadmill, do keep these points in mind so you can make the best of it.

  • Its motor should be heavy and large, preferably of 1.5 to 2.5 horsepower. An AC motor is better for India. The motor should have a year warranty. The more power a treadmill offers, the cooler it will run and the longer it will last.
  • Its deck should be as thick as possible as that is what cushions your feet when you walk/run.
  • The walking deck needs to have a proper suspension that will act as a shock absorber and prevent injury to weight-bearing joints like the ankle, knee and hip.
  • The treadmill's console shou1d tell you details like speed, distance, incline, time and calories burned. A heart rate feature is optional.
  • There should be a safety key for emergency stops.
  • The belt speed should start and stop in small gradual increments.
  • The machine should have handrails or console grips.

How to use it

  • Wear branded jogging shoes, track pants and well fitting undergarments.
  • Have a medical check up before starting a treadmill routine as it's not recommended for those who suffer aches in their weigh-bearing joints.
  • Incline it by one to one and a half per cent for better results.
  • Start slow (walking), then go to your peak speed (jogging or running), then cool down by walking.
Steps ahead

If you are amongst those who have been aspiring to flaunt those head turning rock hard muscles and want a body to die for, here's a body building regime for you with all sure shot secrets and most effective tips.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Consumer Guide To Contact Lenses

If you are planning to switch to contact lenses but are confused by the sheer variety on offer in the market, never fear. We help you take a fresh look at the options available.
Many years ago people who wore contact lenses were few and far between. This was not only because contact lenses were difficult to acquire but also because they were complicated to use. They were hard, uncomfortable and required the maintenance of a small car.

Today, because of the variety available and the sheer ease of wear, everybody’s into contact lenses, even those who don’t have bad eyesight. They wear lenses for the pleasure of batting a pair of baby blues one day and flashing tawny tiger eyes the next.

Those who opt for contact lenses have a wide variety to choose from now. Opt for daily disposable that you chuck in the trash each night or wear them for 24 hours if you like. You choose what suits you best.

Contact lenses come in two types : Rigid gas permeable, also known as semi soft; and soft lenses. Let’s look at the options:

Semi Soft Lenses

These rigid gas permeable contact lenses are made of silicone polymers that allow oxygen to reach the cornea of the eye. Compared to soft contacts, these lenses maintain their shape and offer clearer vision for some types of corrections. They are highly recommended for those who have a cylindrical number. They are also easy to take care of and are more durable than soft contact lenses but the catch is that you take longer to get used to them than you would to soft lenses.

Soft Contact Lenses

Soft contact lenses are made of a soft polymer plastic material combined with a percentage of water that allows oxygen to pass through the contact lens to the cornea, increasing comfort. Most soft contacts also protect you from the sun’s ultra violet rays. Soft contacts are more comfortable than semi soft lenses for first timers.

Many soft contact lenses are disposable and can be thrown away after a short period of use. Being able to have a fresh pair of lenses means less chance of infection, less cleaning, and more comfort, especially for people whose eyes naturally produce excessive protein that clouds the lenses. Other soft contact lenses are worn on a yearly basis and are not disposable. It is advisable to change soft lenses after a year to avoid eye infections,

While most people choose soft contact lenses because they are comfortable and are easy to wear, they have their disadvantages. They easily absorb pollutants like lotion or soap from your hands that can irritate the eyes. They can also rip or tear easily. But they are available in many options:

  • Daily disposables: These are wear and throw lenses. These are the lenses for you if you are prone to allergies. Wearing daily disposables reduces the risk of infection, dry eye syndrome and irritation caused by contact lens solution.
  • Monthly disposables: They can be used for daily wear for up to a month. Among disposable lenses, monthly disposable lenses are the most popular as they are not only economical but also safe for those whose eyes are prone to infection.
  • Silicone extended wear disposables: These soft contact lenses are made with a new silicone hydrogel material and can be worn for up to 24 hours at a stretch. They are excellent for professionals who need to work longer hours or odd hours. They provide up to five times more oxygen to your eyes than monthly disposables.
  • Colored soft contact lenses: They come in a variety of shades and are very popular. They require the same care a lenses. But remember, coloured contact lenses are a medical device just like clear contact lenses. Never share them with anyone. Clean and care for them just as you would a prescription contact lens.
Bifocal Lenses

Bifocal contact lenses are designed for people who have presbyopia, an age-related change that affects the natural lens in the eye. Contact lens options for presbyopia include bifocal and mono-vision design. They are available in both soft and semi-soft types. Apart from bifocals, multi-focal or progressive lenses are also available. These are seamless lenses that can be used for long distance viewing and for reading too.

Toric Contact Lenses

Toric contact lenses are special lenses for people who suffer from astigmatism i.e. blurred vision.
They are also available in soft and semi-soft forms. Like bifocal lenses, toric lenses have two powers, one for astigmatism and the other for near sightedness or farsightedness.

Lens Sense

  • Before handling your contact lenses, wash your hands using a mild non-cosmetic soap and rinse well. Dry your hand on a lint-free towel. Keep your fingernails short and smooth to avoid damaging the lenses or scratching your eye.
  • Apply cosmetics after inserting your contact lenses
  • Never use tap water to clean or soak your lenses. Tap water contains bacteria that can cause serious eye infections.
  • Do not reuse lens care solution
  • Stop wearing lenses 48 hours before going for eye check up
Fix it Forever

Though contact lenses work for most of us, some would be happy
if they never had to see a lens again in their lives. Luckily a few options are available:

Laser therapy
- Lasik reshapes the cornea with the help of a laser, thereby altering its curvature. It corrects vision by altering the refractive power of the eye. The procedure is quite safe and patients can resume normal activities within a few days.

Zyoptix - An even more advanced technology is called Zyoptix. The difference between Lasik and Zyoptix is that between a readymade shirt and one stitched by a tailor. Lasik offers the same treatment for all, but Zyoptix is customised to suit individual needs.

Natural Treatment - A few natural vision correction treatments are known and proven to be highly effective.
Hypnosis treatment to get rid of glasses has also gain momentum. It can help cure both near and far-sightedness. Natural vision improvement method have helped thousands of people dramatically improve their bad vision – all without expense associated with laser surgery.