Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tuberculosis of Lymph Glands: A common type of surgical tuberculosis.

The tuberculosis in general comes under the domain of physicians, but several of its local manifestations are regarded as surgical tuberculosis. However, with powerful and effective anti-tuberculosis therapy majority of these cases can be treated without surgery. The tuberculosis of lymph glands is very common type of surgical tuberculosis. The lymph glands (filtering units of lymphatic system) commonly involved are those in the region of the neck; on one or both sides, above the clavicle. The affected lymph glands appear like a small or big lump with nodules. Initially the swollen lymph glands are painless, but later on the swelling may become soft due to breaking down of gland into a cheesy material and termed as 'cold abscess'.

Unlike an abscess or a boil due to acute infection, the glandular abscess is not 'warm' to touch. The abscess may break down, develop into a sinus and start discharging pus. The discharging sinus refuses to heal for a long time unless the patient is treated properly. It is worth remembering that every form of tuberculosis, in any part of the body leads to signs and symptoms of 'tubercular toxemia'. The 'tubercular toxemia' causes evening rise of temperature, weight loss, loss of appetite (anorexia), general weakness and sweating of body at night. The consultation of physician is must for early diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis of lymph glands if above mentioned symptoms are there.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

General Health & Mental Health: Role of Social Psychiatry

General health physicians should take into account the social milieu of the population. The social psychiatry plays a major role in the evaluation and management of mental health in addition to general health of a person. For example, we propagate compulsory immunization for children but at the same time we also educate our people for observance of sanitary principles; similar association exists between the general health and mental health. The practice of medicine is incomplete without the knowledge of social psychiatry. The social psychiatry has a unique place in the medical speciality of psychiatry.

Every psychiatric patient should not be considered a lunatic or insane person. Only severely regressed psychiatric patients are confined to custodial mental hospitals and 95% of psychiatric patients can be treated by general physicians having knowledge of social psychiatry. Psychiatry plays a vital role in social development. It has been established that economic and technological developments are not merely linear processes but extensions of individual personality factors.

For overall progress, the population will have to be motivated for achievement and guided for shedding traditional inhibitions to proceed on the path of industrialization and technological growth. Technological developments do have serious repercussions on mental health and quality of life. It is the universal truth that "Freedoms of life and pursuit of happiness can degenerate into a freedom to plunder, waste and pollute". Gene cloning, stem cell research, genetic engineering and organ transplantation are challenging and threatening the personal identity of one and all. Organs of underprivileged people are removed for transplantation in the elite and wealthy. The organ trade has denigrated the super-speciality of organ transplantation.

Mankind has developed and perfected the weapons of self destruction and annihilation. The entire issue of conflict between nations can only be solved through social psychiatry. To establish the world peace, nuclear disarmament is must and psychiatrists have a major role to play to format the mindset of international leaders.

Without mental health the life is meaningless. For meaningful life, coexistence of general health and mental health is must. We should never forget that general health adds years to life, whereas the mental health provides us purpose and meaning of living.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Olfactotherapy: Fortification of Memory through Smelling Sense

The smelling sense is the most mysterious and exclusive among the five senses of our body. Our smelling sense is linked with emotions and memory. If you look through the pages of history you would find many people addicted to smelling a particular essential oil or perfume. Napoleon was addicted to Eau de cologne. Olfactotherapy or aromatherapy is mainly used to recover the memory of patients who have suffered neurological trauma. Various essences (essential oils) and/or scents/fragrances are used in olfactotherapy. The olfactotherapy is said to be evolved and practiced in France in 19th century, however first Osmotheque (Repository of Scents) was founded in 1990 in France.

Olfactory system of our body is directly linked to central nervous system. The central nervous system develops very early in our fetal life. The neuronal groove is the very first groove that appears on the embryo. The stimuli of smell are brought to olfactory lobes of our brain by the olfactory cilia (miniscule hairs in our nasal cavity). The stimuli of smell are interpreted as sensations of fragrance by experience and recorded in the memory. An average person can recognize at the most 100 fragrances/aromas/scents/odors whereas a trained "Nose" (perfume maker) is capable of recognizing several thousand fragrances/aromas/scents/odors.

 The scents or fragrances used in olfactotherapy or aromatherapy are developed from more than 300 natural and synthetic essences/fragrances. New and old formulae of perfumes are archived at Osmotheque in France. There are very experienced Osmocurators at Osmotheque for creating and preserving perfumes. All perfumes/scents are preserved at 20oC under argon gas to avoid evaporation.

The olfactotherapy acts through limbic system of our brain which controls emotions and memory. It has proved to be effective in reviving the lost memory in patients with neurological trauma. It is also effective in retarding the ageing process of our body and modifying mood & attitude. The fully functional smelling sense is a sign of good health.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Good Health: Role of Fresh Fruits & Vegetables

Proper nourishment is must for good health and vitality. Human happiness is linked to physical & mental health and employment. Productivity targets can only be achieved if we have good health. Balanced food or diet is must for building strong and fortified bodies. The best preventive medicine is nutrition. Only the individuals with strong immunity would have long lifespan. Consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables is must to acquire vigor and vitality. Fruits are unique in their flavors and taste. Fruits are known to attract eyes and enhance production of digestive juices.

Biological definition of fruits is different from the general notion. Fruits are produced from flowers or flower and are tissues of ripened ovaries or ovary along with adjacent tissue too. Fruits are eaten fresh or dry whereas majority of the vegetables are cooked. Fleshy, pulpy or juicy parts of fruits are eaten raw or used in food preparations. Let us look at the nutritive value of fruits:

Carbohydrates are energy constituents of fruits. The important fruit carbohydrates (sugars) are sucrose, fructose, dextrose and glucose. The water content in fruits is around 85%. A small amount of protein and traces of fat are also present in some fruits. Fruits are rich is indigestible fibre, minerals and vitamins. The caloric value of fruits is very high as compared to vegetables.

Fruits are rich source of vitamin-C. We know that vitamin-C boosts our immunity and saves us from scurvy. Vitamin-C is very strong anti-oxidant and protects us from ionizing radiation. It is known to heal bleeding gums. The citrus fruits are most dependable source of vitamin-C and are available around the year. Indian gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica, Amla) is the richest known source of vitamin-C. The fruit pulp of Indian gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica, Amla) has been reported to have 0.6% vitamin-C (i.e. 600 mg per 100 grams of fruit pulp).

The B-vitamins are in very low concentration in fruits. However fruits like grapes, pineapple, banana and custard apple have fairly good amount of B-vitamins. Deep orange and yellow colored fruits are an excellent source of b-carotene (precursor of vitamin-A). Vitamin-A is an essential nutrient for our optic nerves. So, consumption of fruits containing b-carotene (precursor of vitamin-A) would protect us from nutritional blindness. Papayas and mangoes are the best source of b-carotene (precursor of vitamin-A). Oranges, musk-melons, cape gooseberries, carrots and tomatoes are also a good source of b-carotene.

Calcium and minerals act as building materials of our skeleton as well as soft tissues. These are also regulators of metabolic functions. Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin. Iron, calcium and phosphorus are found in fairly good quantity in fruits. Apples, guavas, watermelons, raspberries, apricots, black grapes, dates and figs may contribute appreciable amount of iron to our diet. Fruits are also a rich source of cellulose and hemicelluloses which are also called complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides). Cellulose and hemicelluloses contribute to the indigestible bulk in the diet. Due to their fibre content fruits act as natural laxatives.

Aromatic compounds like methylbutyrate, higher esters or phenol derivatives give characteristic flavour and odour to fruits. Tannins present in some fruits have bitter taste and astringent action. Fruits containing tannins like gooseberries (Phyllanthus emblica, Amla) and Terminalia chebula (Harad or Haritaki) are good for our digestive system. Tannins are most commonly found in large number of raw (immature) fruits and some vegetables too. One must eat around 200gm fruits daily for good health and vitality.