Archived Articles - September 2012

Scientists discover new virus similar to SARS

If reports are confirmed, then the deadly SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Disorder) epidemic of 2003 is perhaps back! So far there have been two confirmed cases detected, one of which has led to the death of a patient, while the other is being treated in a hospital in London. A 49-year old man was attacked by a coronavirus, which causes the common cold but also inflicts SARS. The man had travelled to Saudi Arabia recently. This fatal disease in 2003 had claimed more than 800 lives in Asia.

Britain's Health Protection Agency has alerted the United Nations about the condition of patient recently returned from Qatar. Besides severe respiratory problems he is also said to have suffered a kidney failure, which in itself is a rare development. Respiratory diseases do not usually affect the kidneys. The possibility of this current virus to spread as quickly as the SARS, and / or claim as many lives is still unclear to health officials. Coronaviruses generally lead to air borne spread of disease, but scientists at WHO are considering the possibility of it to be infected by animals. In 2003, the virus found to have transferred to humans from civet cats in China. The WHO spokesperson has confirmed that no other country has so far reported a similar case.

Health officials are uncertain of the victim's connection with Britain. They believe he was first treated in a hospital in the Middle East and has been transferred to London for better medical care. So far, no one from the hospital staff involved in this case has reported ill.

The World Health Organisation has confirmed that the virus sample of the patient being treated in London is identical to that of the 60 year old Saudi national who died earlier this year. The agency isn't currently recommending travel restrictions, saying that the source of the infection remains unknown.

With Hajj coming up in the next month, Saudi Arabia will attract millions of people from across the globe for the holy pilgrimage. Saudi Arabian officials are concerned about the health factors since an infection of any kind is likely to spread like wild fire in a congregation of large numbers of people. They have advised pilgrims to maintain high standards of hygiene and wear masks in crowded places. The Hajj is known to have sparked outbreaks of flu, meningitis and polio.

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Mercury levels found in fish has become a matter of concern and has led to a study by team of researchers about the health benefits of fish. These health benefits outweigh the negative impact of mercury.
A team of experts from Finland and Sweden jointly conducted a study to form a risk-benefit model. The model would throw some light on the negative effects of mercury and on omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids help in improving the eyesight, health of heart and cognitive function.
In October, a study was published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examining the mercury levels and concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood and hair sample of 211 men from Finland and 361 men from Sweden. All these men had suffered from a heart attack previously.
Methyl mercury present in the fish is a cause of concern. Though in case of low mercury levels, a small change in fish consumption had prevented 7 percent of heart attacks in men. Thus we can conclude eating fish is healthy, however consuming large predatory species such as perch and pike should be avoided as these contains higher level of mercury levels.
A consumer guide is issued by US Food and Drug Administration having information about different fish advising against consuming King mackerel, shark, swordfish and tilefish. These fish are found to have high mercury content.

Other tips:

Salmon, canned light tuna, shrimp, catfish and Pollock are common seafood having low mercury content. 12 ounces of fish and shellfish diet is enough for a week. Canned light tuna must be preferred over albacore tuna as it has high mercury content.

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Natural cures for herpes

Although herpes is not a fatal ailment, it is definitely painful and embarrassing. Worse, herpes has no cure. However, some natural preparations that cure this condition are available.

Before talking about these natural remedies, we ought to know what herpes is. It is a viral infection called Herpes Simplex and is attributable to two viruses - HSV-I plus HSV-2. In fact, HSV-1, also known as fever, oral blisters, herpes labialis and sores is basically a skin infection. It is the most widespread herpes form, affecting nearly 90% people, but they may not be aware of it.

While it is difficult to say whether HSV-1 infection will recur, the factors that activate it comprise over-exposure to sun or ultra-violet rays; foods like seeds, nuts, chocolate and beer; exhaustion due to menstruation, stress and poor nutrition; skin irritations and others. On the other hand millions have a dormant HSV-2 form, which presumably affects 500,000 every year. Six per cent and 30 per cent people in the age groups of 12-19 years and 30-39 years may be affected by HSV-2.

The risk of developing HSV-2 is high in promiscuous people (about 40%), while it is 10% for monogamous people. The risk goes up to 62% when one has anything between 11 and 50 sex partners, while people having sex with one partner throughout their life face almost no risk.

Herpes is an infectious condition that spreads through personal contact, including sharing same glass or towel, kissing and sex. While people having herpes do not have any symptoms, some may have specific sensations in their legs, lower body parts although genital ulcers may be quite excruciating.

Initially, people with HSV-1 infection develop red, swollen blisters accompanied with itching or burning sensations. The blisters become dry after a few days and subsequently the skin flakes and shedding off finally. Aided by natural remedies, it takes about 10 days for patients to recover.

Considering the side effects of specific medications, an increasing number of people are seeking natural remedies for their health conditions. During the past two decades, natural remedies have become popular as they are safe and do not cause any side effect if used appropriately. Therefore, people with herpes too would prefer natural remedies or try alternative therapies if they are having problems with prescription medicaments.

Many believe that a homeopathic remedy containing a combination of nine natural elements is effective for herpes. In addition, some other natural remedies for herpes include Apis mellifica (alleviates pain, burns and swelling); Rhus tox. (lessens inflammation and itching caused by skin infection and blisters); Nitricum acidum (alleviates skin cracking and stops haemorrhages); and Baptisia (lessens ulcers and sores in the mouth).

Different herpes patients react differently to prescription drugs and natural remedies available. Therefore, you should try them and then talk to your physician about the reactions. In addition, you need to consult your physician before taking natural remedies to avoid any interaction with the prescription medicaments you are already taking for other conditions.