Depression: Taking the First Step

By: Patty Wolters

The sun and moon switch in the sky, every morning, every night. You, however, don’t want to get up, or you stare at the ceiling unable to fall asleep. The weather girl telling you another day without the sun is ahead of you, or you long for a long cold winter to numb your feelings. The love of your life no longer feels the same way about you. You got fired, you lost your house. Maybe, your physical health prohibits you from following your dreams. So many reasons why a person can get depressed.

Are you really depressed?

Every now and then, you feel down, don’t want to get up, or you get moody watching the weather girl, that doesn’t automatically mean you are depressed. Every human being has his/her ‘bad days’. I call that being depri, it is a Dutch abbreviation from depressie (depression). Taking a sick day, watching a movie and eating your favorite snacks, will make you feel better.

Do you feel gloomy every day, see only dark colors in your future? Feel like sleeping all day long, or aren’t able to sleep at all? Feel the need to eat constantly, or don’t have any desire to eat? Thoughts like “Why even bother, I will never feel happiness again” and maybe even “I just want to die?”

When you recognize all described feelings and situations and if they are applicable to you (almost) every day and for longer than two weeks in a row … Depression could be the reason why you feel stuck. Stuck in those painful emotions and thoughts. Overwhelmed by feelings of being alone and nobody understanding you.

You know you are depressed for sure?

Let me tell you… No… Let me reassure you: you are not the only one! I am a person who has to be aware of not becoming overwhelmed with sad and negative thoughts about the world around me and about myself. It took me a while to accept, that not everyone will understand me, or get what is important to me. That isn’t easy and feeling alone, in this world full of beautiful souls, well…that happens to me too.

If you become depressed once, you most likely will have to deal with depression throughout your life.

Now, that isn’t very hopeful, is it? That is why I wanted to write this article. To let you know, there IS hope. There really is!

Sure, you should go to a doctor, psychologist, therapist and if you google, you will find all the necessary information you need to educate yourself about this mental condition and where you can find the support you need. Did you know, for instance, food is also a big influence on how you feel? You don’t need to become the next famous bodybuilder; however, exercise can be helpful too. But…

Taking that first step, the first step back up that negative spiral, it will be tough. Reaching out to another person, ignoring those feelings of shame or being unworthy might seem impossible. You probably don’t even trust yourself anymore, and now I tell you to trust another soul?

Yes, I do. Because you know what? You have nothing left to lose…


Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author.

Student Athletes Emulate the Pros in Abusing Painkillers

By: NewsUSA

Sometimes we’re so caught up in all the pro sports stars whose lives have been wrecked by misusing prescription painkillers that we forget the problem extends down to the amateur level.

And, yes, that does mean college and even high-school sports.

At least one study put the number of college student athletes who’ve used prescription medications to enhance their performance at as high as 53.3 percent. And another recent study on high school athletes, published online in the Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, reported that 12 percent of male seniors and 8 percent of female seniors admitted to abusing painkillers.

To former columnist Gregg Easterbrook — who wrote about painkillers in his book The King of Sports: Football’s Impact on America — it’s no surprise that the largest percentage of those young abusers play football.

“Youth and high-school players see an example that appears to be of men so tough, they laugh at pain,” he wrote. “The message sent is that young players should use their own bodies recklessly.”

So what’s a concerned parent to do?

Well, if your child is experiencing neuro-musculoskeletal-related pain from playing sports– spinal pain, say, from too many tackles or strained soccer kicks –first know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last March began urging physicians to avoid prescribing opioids for chronic pain in response to a record high 28,647 deaths involving the highly addictive drugs in 2014.

Know, too, that the most popular non-pharmacologic alternative to routine care is drug-free chiropractic care.

“Doctors of chiropractic play a key role in sports health care by providing hands-on care that help improve range of motion, flexibility, muscle strength, and other key performance factors,” notes the not-for-profit Foundation for Chiropractic Progress  Sherry McAllister.

Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author.

New Year, New You



Well the decorations are down, the champagne has been popped and everyone has kissed at the stroke of midnight. Happy New Year and welcome to 2017.

Now the mince pies have disappeared for another year and the party invitations have slowed to a stop and it is time to get back into health and fitness mode. Have you made a new year’s resolution yet?

For many people, January is the time to start thinking new year, new you. All of the promises you didn’t follow through on last year can be forgotten and a fresh start can be made. If you want to make a fresh start this year and begin a journey to  new, healthier you but don’t know where to start, then here are a few places to begin.

Think About Your Diet

Sounds simple. But you need to think about everywhere you went wrong last year and put a plan in place to correct it. It is easy to say your going to start a diet or eat better, but it is possible you have done that unsuccessfully every year to date. Where did you fall down before? Were you too strict and depriving yourself so much has caused major binging? Did you just lack the motivation to actually stick to it? Have a serious chat with yourself and workout where you went wrong, this can help you be successful in the next 12 months.

Think About Your Workouts

Similar to your diet think about what you could have done better and which route you want to go down this year. Maybe you didn’t really know what you were doing in the gym last year and therefore just did the odd bit here and there and never really saw results. Maybe you reached your fitness goals last year and now you need a new plan to maintain them. Maybe your work or personal situation has changed from last year and you need to think of a new regime for fitness that fits around your new circumstances. Figuring all of this out now will help you moving forward.

Set Goals

Once you have worked out what went wrong before, you can start setting goals for the coming year. Start by making them realistic. Keep in mind what went wrong before when it came to your goals, if you tried to achieve too much too quickly, set a more realistic time frame this time around. If you weren’t strict enough with yourself previously, then set mini milestones every few weeks to measure your progress and keep you on track. Try giving yourself something to reward yourself with at the end which is going to keep you motivated. Maybe if you meet your goals you can reward yourself with a holiday at the end, an excuse to wear a bikini and show off your newly achieved bod?

Try Something New

A new year is about trying new things. Think about your health rather than just fitness. Could your health do with improvement? Maybe you need to try adding some supplements to your diet? Maybe you want to try adding fermented foods to your meal plan once a week to boost your immunity? Or maybe you want to stop drinking coffee all together and try green tea instead?

The same goes with fitness. Maybe gym sessions didn’t work for you last year so maybe you want to try mixing it up with some fitness classes instead? Or go running outside instead of going nowhere on a treadmill year round.  

Remember Fitness Can Be Fun


The possibility is that you failed to meet your goals last year in both fitness and nutrition because you simply bored yourself to death. Make it an aim to actually enjoy yourself when it comes to fitness and nutrition this year. This is why trying new things is so important.

If you found that hitting the gym became a miserable, lonely chore then try finding a like minded gym buddy that has similar goals for 2017. Make going to the gym or a fitness session a social event. Having someone relying on you to accompany them will give you a sense of responsibility to keep up with your workouts. Also, it can be a good laugh having someone alongside you.

The same goes for eating. Don’t think the only way to lose weight is by starving yourself on a diet of salad. In today’s online society there are so many websites offering free, healthy and more importantly tasty diet recipes. Use this as an opportunity to broaden your horizons, master some new cooking skills and try exotic ingredients. Also, why not make it social? Throw a dinner party once a month and deliver a menu of the tastiest healthy dishes you have discovered in previous weeks! I’m sure your friends will not only love it, but enjoy the guilt free second helpings knowing everything is low on calories!

Make this year the one that the new you works and sticks! Happy New Year folks!

Note: Images by Pixabay. The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author.

Organic or Natural? An Introduction to Important Health Food Terms



Sometimes, reading the packaging of a new health food is more confusing than it is reassuring. Is organic the same thing as natural? Is there such a thing as unnatural food? What is the difference between enriched and fortified food?

Don’t feel bad – in some ways all of these terms are supposed to confuse you; they sound good enough to make you want to buy the foods, even if aren’t exactly sure what you are putting in your body.

In order to clear up the fog a bit, here is a quick reference guide for a few of the most popular “health food” terms for you to have a better idea with regards to the differences between the labels and to decide whether they are the best choice for your diet.

Fair Trade:

There are slight variations to the definition of Fair Trade depending on the certifying organization. For people living in the US, one of the most common labels is the Fair Trade Certified™ label. Fair Trade USA has the following general definition of a Fair Trade Certified™ product:

Fair Trade Certified™ products were made with respect to people and planet. Our rigorous social, environmental and economic standards work to promote safe, healthy working conditions, protect the environment, enable transparency, and empower communities to build strong, thriving businesses. When you choose products with the Fair Trade label, your day-to-day purchases can improve an entire community’s day-to-day lives.


As with Fair Trade, the definition and standards that must be met in order for a product to be labelled organic may vary slightly depending on the certifying organization and country. For the USDA organic seal, which is used in the US, the general definition is as follows:

Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.

Note that in order for a food to be genuinely Fair Trade and/or organic, it must have the official label visible on the package.


There is no official Food and Drug Administration (FDA) definition for Natural foods. For this reason, food companies will often use it freely on their labels, even if it is not clear what they mean by it. The FDA discusses the use of the term “Natural” on food labels as follows:

From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.

Enriched Food:

The term enriched is used only for processed foods, though many processed foods are not enriched. Through the many processes different foods go through (cooking, combining, griding, exposure to heat and cold, etc.) nutrients are lost. When foods are enriched, the nutrients that were lost in the refinement process are added back in.

The Medical Dictionary defined enriched foods as follows:

A processed food that has lost nutrients during milling, grinding, pasteurization, or other processes and then had those nutrients added back to the marketed product. Two examples of vitamins commonly used in food enrichment are vitamins B1 and B2, thiamine and riboflavin, respectively.

Fortified Foods:

Unlike enriched foods, fortified foods do not contain simply the nutrients that were lost during the refinement process. Fortified foods have added nutrients beyond their natural levels in order to provide an added benefit. Often, fortified foods cater to a specific audience with different nutritional needs that are difficult to meet with a “normal” diet, like pregnant women and body builders.

However, plenty of fortified foods are available to the general public as foods of mass consumption. One example of this are breakfast cereals; most breakfast cereals are fortified with 100% daily value of multiple nutrients.

When you are armed with the correct knowledge, it is easier to make better nutritional choices – even with processed foods. Making informed choices may not only mean a healthier you, but also a healthier community and planet.


Note: Image from Pixabay. The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author.

Updating Workplace Ergonomics for Today’s Economy


By: NewsUSA

We’ve heard a lot about “workplace ergonomics” in recent years, but with the economy changing — more people are working from home, whether by choice or their employers’ decisions to “go virtual,” — maybe it’s time to acknowledge the obvious: It’s just as easy to injure yourself no matter where you physically work.

Think about it: When it comes to a wide range of musculoskeletal injuries caused by stress to the joints from repetitive tasks, overuse of muscles and poor posture, what’s the difference if you’re slumping in front of an office computer or a home laptop? Or lifting heavy cartons onto the back of a delivery truck or your closet shelf?

As the Society for Human Resource Management advises: “Employees who work from home or travel for work should be taught to assess their ad-hoc workplaces for ergonomic risks.”

If you are hurting, doctors of chiropractic — who have a minimum of seven years of higher education — focus on structure and function. They care for pain syndromes with a drug-free approach that includes spinal manipulation and exercises to help stretch out and strengthen core muscles. Meanwhile, here’s a few tips to follow:

  • Invest in a good chair, mind your posture, and learn proper lifting and stretching techniques.
  • Keep your eyes at the same height as the computer monitor — without leaning forward — to help avoid headaches and neck pain.
  • Take frequent stretching micro-breaks and stay hydrated with water.

“Back injuries are the most prevalent occupational injury, and studies have shown chiropractic patients have consistently better outcomes,” says the not-for-profit Foundation for Chiropractic Progress’ Dr. Gerard Clum, DC.

To learn more or to find a local chiropractor, visit

Note: Image from Pixabay. The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author.

How To Kick The Post-Holiday Blues


By: Roberta Mancuso

We’ve all been there. You return from a vacation sad, dejected and even less refreshed than you were before you left. Sure, you may have drunk your body weight in cocktails by the pool (or gluhwein by the fireplace, depending on where you were), danced the night away or caught up on some much-needed R n R, but now you’re feeling like none of that ever happened at all.

The post-holiday blues are a very real thing. While vacations do lift peoples’ spirits, the effects unfortunately don’t last long.

It’s not uncommon to crash at the end of your vacation – a heady mix of sadness that the good times are over, the adjustment of returning to work/everyday life and overindulging in food and alcohol.

Here are a few tips on how to kick the post-holiday blues after that amazing vacation:

Start planning your next trip

I remember flying back from three weeks in Vietnam and Cambodia and planning my next break while on the plane home. It might be in six months’ time, a year’s time or even five years’ time, but planning where you want to go next will help dull the pain of saying goodbye to the great holiday you’re just been on. Even thinking about and planning things can give you as much pleasure as actually doing them.

Find things to look forward to

Not everyone has the luxury of being able to travel, whether that’s for health, financial or other reasons. So if you’re coming down hard from a holiday, it’s important to plan things to look forward to, both short and long term. In other words, shift the focus to everyday things that give you pleasure. Think about weekends away at the beach or in the wilds, planning a dinner with your friends, treating yourself to a massage or date night with your partner.

Look after yourself

Holidays often involve a lot of socialising and partying, which means a lot of eating and probably way too much drinking. Having a hangover from eating the wrong types of foods and alcohol doesn’t help with those post-holiday blues. It’s time to start looking after yourself by eating right, drinking less and moving more. Add a walk at least once a day and a more regular bedtime. Regular self-care routines may have disappeared during your break but you can reclaim them.

Phone a friend

If you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps, a great way to lift your spirits is to share a laugh or two with friends. Steer away from conversations about how you’d rather be back on that beach in Barbados and instead share a lively conversation about what’s going on in your life right now. Just chatting to a mate is a great way to lift your spirits.

Make some real changes

Did you absolutely love those arepas you ate in Colombia? Or maybe you’re a little obsessed with flamenco music after that trip to Spain? Your holiday doesn’t have to completely end. Take what you enjoyed from your break and incorporate it into your life. If you ate foods you adored on your holidays, make them at home or find a restaurant that serves them. If you loved hearing and speaking a foreign language, start to learn it. Listen to the same music you danced to in the club in Madrid and meditate like you did on that retreat in Bali. Take a little bit of your trip home with you.

Take a meditative few minutes

Speaking of meditation, why not take a few minutes during your day to reflect on the great times you had? It’s a bit of a clichéd, old-fashioned idea but “counting your blessings” can be an antidote to the blues.

If you’re jetlagged…

Being jetlagged on top of a little depressed at the end of your holidays doesn’t help. Jetlag affects your ability to sleep on a normal schedule, and that lack of sleep can contribute to feeling depressed that your vacation is over. Get yourself back in sync with your home time zone by trying to stick to your usual sleep schedule. Also avoid alcohol and caffeine for a few hours before you go to bed.

Give yourself an attitude transplant

If you’re still trudging around depressed that your break is over, it’s time to change your thoughts. Looking at the world through mud-covered glasses won’t help you. In many cases, changing the way you think about something can alter the way you feel about it. As that great Cat in the Hat, Dr Seuss, once said, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened!”


You’ll probably come home to mountains of work emails, meetings to go to, doctor’s appointments which need to be kept, a messy garden, the cat needing its vaccination, piles of dirty clothes… the list goes on. It’s enough to send you into a panic. Stop, breathe, prioritise – the key word being prioritise. It might be tempting to try to do everything at once, but you will get completely overwhelmed and stressed out. Figure out what is most important and work down the list from there.


If you are anything like me, you’ll come home with thousands of photos, or most certainly more than you know what to do with. Go through your photos, delete what you don’t need, upload them into online albums and label them – don’t just leave them sitting on an SD card. Reminisce about your vacation by displaying those photos. Set them as backgrounds on your work or home computer, phone or tablet. You can also print out a few pictures to pin up around your home or office to remind you of those relaxed days.

Remember, the blues won’t last

It might feel raw, but take comfort in the knowledge that nothing lasts forever, including the post-holiday blues. Time will pass, soon that trip will be a distant memory (which isn’t such a bad thing, holding on to the past is never healthy) and you’ll eventually get back into the swing of things!

Note: An experienced writer of 15 years, Roberta has perpetually itchy feet and has been exploring the world for a decade. She has travelled to over 50 countries and has lived la dolce vita in Italy, tried the London life and is now living among llamas in Peru. The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author.

Avoid the Seasonal Splurge with Healthy Protein Snacks


By: NewsUSA

From family gatherings to cookie exchanges, the holiday season is delicious — and can do a number on a typically balanced diet. Whether you want to curb your appetite to avoid over-indulging in tempting treats or need fuel ahead of your holiday shopping marathon, here are some smart-snacking suggestions to make this holiday season your healthiest yet.

Happy Trail(s) Mix: To keep you energized on the go, keep homemade trail mix handy. It’s a great source of vitamins, fiber and healthy fats that provides a boost of energy so you can shop without dropping. Customize it with your favorite ingredients and toss in some cranberries and pistachios for a festive touch.

Pack in the Protein: Every family has traditional holiday recipes, and many serve as sides to the main course. Whether your family’s go-to main dish is ham, turkey or even turducken, the holidays are the time to savor the foods you seldom take the time to dish up throughout the year. While you’re anxiously waiting for the big meal, try subbing small portions of protein to keep your blood sugar in check. Bite-size offerings, such as meat snacks, are the perfect grab-and-go option and will rev up your metabolism, while supplying you with lasting energy.

But be careful to avoid meat snacks high in sodium and sugar. A great healthy option is Deli Snackers from Land O’Frost, a baked meat snack made from high-quality, oven-roasted meats. This convenient and flavorful choice offers more than 10 grams of nourishing protein per serving with less than 400 mg of sodium, making it the perfect treat to meet your healthy-eating goals.

Festive Fiber: To prevent the mid-afternoon stomach grumble, use a muffin tin to make a batch of portion-controlled oatmeal cups –a healthy and delicious snack that can be enjoyed any time of the day. Oatmeal, which is high in fiber, will keep you satiated before dinner, and adding natural ingredients such as pure maple sugar and cinnamon will healthily satisfy your sweet tooth so you don’t reach for a sugary pastry or any of the other filler foods overflowing from the kitchen.

So why wait until New Year’s Eve to start your resolutions? Get a kick-start this holiday season and try out any of these nutritious snacks without sacrificing the festivities.

For coupons and more guilt-free recipe ideas for the holidays, visit

Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author.

Time to Get Nutty . . . For Your Own Good!

assortment of tasty nuts, close up

By: Sasha de Beausset 

Whether you have chestnuts roasting on an open fire, or if you go around the corner to get a bag at the grocery store, it might be time to start eating more nuts!

Nuts have been a part of the human diet since the beginning of our history. According to the Nutcracker Museum site,

Recently there was an archeological dig in Israel where researchers found evidence showing that nuts formed a major part of man’s diet 780,000 years ago.  Seven varieties of nuts along with stone tools to crack open the nuts were found buried deep in a bog. The nuts were wild almond, prickly water lily, water chestnut and 2 varieties of both acorns and pistachios.

Fast forward hundreds of thousands of years later, as hunting and gathering has “gone out of style”, and humans eat much fewer nuts than they used to. With the rise of processed foods, and dozens of snack options with minimum work involved, chips and dip just seem more appetizing.

However, there are plenty of reasons you should be eating more nuts. Not only will they get you in the holiday mood, they will also offer tons of health benefits. . .

1. Nuts are Packed with Nutritional Value

When it comes to nuts, you are really getting a bang for your buck. None of this “empty calories” stuff. Nuts are a great source of unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamins (like vitamin E), minerals (like iron). Together, all of these nutrients promote healthy organ function, healthy skin, and help fight off illness so you can really enjoy the holidays.

2. Nuts Help to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke

Nuts are chock full of monounsaturated fat, including omega-3 fatty acids, which lower total cholesterol with a particularly powerful effect on “bad” LDL cholesterol. Nuts also have phytosterols, which are plant compounds that also lower cholesterol and have potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body. These help to break down buildup on your artery walls, which can block healthy blood circulation.

3. Nuts Help Prevent Cancer

The antioxidants in nuts, particularly walnuts, called polyphenols, are powerful cancer fighters. Antoxidants help to fight off free radicals, which can cause cell damage – one of the reasons cancer can arise.

The types of cancer nuts may help prevent include: breast cancer, colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and ovarian cancer.

4. Nuts Boost Brain Health

Remember those omega-3 fatty acids mentioned before? Well, in addition to promoting circulation, they also promote brain health. Nuts are also full of antioxidants which help to slow down or prevent cognitive decline that happens with age, and could even reduce the risk of brain-related diseases, like Alzheimer’s.

5. Nuts Help Reduce Overall Mortality

A recent study found that eating a handful of nuts everyday can go way beyond the benefits described above. They may help reduce overall mortality rates. After analyzing a range of existing studies, researchers from the Imperial College London and the Norwegian University of Science determined that as little as 20 grams of nuts a day (about a handful) can significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease, diabetes, and infectious diseases!

Note: Sasha de Beausset is a Nutritional Anthropologist with a B.A. from Tufts University, an M.Sc. in Food and Nutrition from the University of San Carlos, and is currently in the process of becoming a licensed nutritionist. She has been awarded for her academic writing and research, and she has been blogging on food, health, and nutrition for over four years. The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author.

Never Ignore Your Headache


By: Atul Behll (From SPS Hospital in Ludhiana, India
Mildly Edited By: Jonathan Noble

Headaches are a very common problem and people usually don’t take it seriously. For example, a 60 year old female had a severe headache around midnight. She complained about it to her husband and he gave her some painkillers. She slept after that but did not wake up in the morning. She was then brought to our hospital and was found to be hemorrhaging due to a rupture of brain aneurysm.

A few years back the only treatment available for brain aneurysm was surgery but endovascular coiling has now revolutionised its treatment. 

But what is a brain aneurysm?

A brain aneurysm, also referred to as a cerebral aneurysm, is a weak bulging spot on the wall of a brain artery. Over time, the artery wall becomes gradually thinner from the dilation and this may cause the aneurysm to rupture and allow blood to escape into the space around the brain. 

What is the problem associated with brain aneurysm? 

There is a brain aneurysm rupturing every 18 minutes. Ruptured brain aneurysms are fatal in about 40% of cases. Of those who survive, about 66% suffer some permanent neurological deficit. Approximately 15% of patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) die before reaching the hospital. 

What are the risk factors for aneurysm? 

People who smoke, people who have high blood pressure are at higher risk than general population. Apart from this, female sex, drug abuse, and infections also increase the risk of having an aneurysm.

What are the symptoms associated with brain aneurysm? 

Unfortunately, most aneurysms are detected when they rupture. An unruptured brain aneurysm usually produces no symptoms, particularly if it’s small. However, a large unruptured aneurysm may press on brain tissues and nerves, possibly causing pain above and behind an eye, a dilated pupil or a drooping eyelid. 

In few patients there may be warning headaches (sentinel headaches) before the actual rupture of the aneurysm. A sentinel headache is due to the leakage of blood from the aneurysm. This produces a very sudden and very severe headache. If recognised, this could lead to diagnosis of the aneurysm prior to rupture. This is why a sudden, severe headache should be taken seriously and never be ignored

A ruptured aneurysm present with a sudden, extremely severe headache that the patient describes as the “worst headache of their life,” particularly along with vomiting, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, seizure, unconsciousness etc. is possible

Can the aneurysm be detected before it ruptures?

Individuals at high risk of harboring a brain aneurysm can be identified easily with non-invasive imaging tests such as MR angiography or CT angiography. In Western countries persons who are at high risk of having an aneurysm are regularly screened and thus aneurysms are detected before they rupture. 

What are the treatment options available for cerebral aneurysms? 

A few years back the only treatment available for brain aneurysms was surgical. It involved opening the skull and stopping the blood flow into the aneurysm by closing communication to the artery with a clip. 

During the last twenty years, however, endovascular treatment of brain aneurysms with tiny platinum coils has revolutionized treatment of both ruptured aneurysms and intact aneurysms.

What is meant by the term endovascular? 

Endovascular is combination of two words: “Endo,” meaning inside and “vascular,” meaning blood vessel. Endovascular procedure is a minimally invasive procedure in which a catheter or a miniature instrument is inserted through the skin into a blood vessel for the treatment of vascular disease.

For treating aneurysm a plastic catheter is inserted into the femoral artery in the leg and is navigated through the vasculature to the site of brain aneurysm. Coils are then packed into the aneurysm up to the point where it arises from the blood vessel. A clot forms around the coils, stopping the flow of blood into the aneurysm, thus preventing rupture. 

What are the advantages of endovascular coiling over surgery?

Since it is a minimally invasive procedure, there is no incision given thus avoiding scarring, there is less blood loss, less risk of infection etc. Most elective patients will go home the next day after coiling and are back to normal activities the following day.

According to a recent international study comparing the safety and efficacy of endovascular coil treatment versus surgical clipping for treatment of ruptured brain aneurysms, patients with a ruptured aneurysm tend to do better in the long term after a coiling procedure. 

What are the other disorder/diseases in which endovascular therapy is useful? 

Endovascular neurosurgery is also used in treatment of patients who have had strokes. Stroke is the third-leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer. 

Patients who suffer an ischemic stroke have blood vessels that become obstructed by a clot preventing normal blood flow to the brain. As a stroke could cause permanent brain damage and even death, it is classified as a medical emergency. During the first three hours after onset, a clot-busting drug called TPA can be administered intravenously with good success. After the three-hour window, endovascular removal of the clot is recommended. 

Clot removal through endovascular route has become the treatment of choice for stroke. Clot removal using mechanical thrombolytic devices make it a matter of minutes, whereas pharmaceutical thrombolytic may take as long as two hours for dissolution of the clot. Thus mechanical thrombectomy establishes the blood flow early and this provides superior results. Other diseases like brain and spine AVM can also be treated endovascularly.

Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author.

Start the New Year Off Cleaner and Healthier


By: Harshad Jethra
Slightly Edited By: Jonathan Noble

Most of us are invariably conscious about cleanliness. A clean environment is a productive environment, it helps one work better. It is also healthier, so why not start the New Year off cleanly?

When the office environment is sparkling clean, it really helps keep the morale high. One feels better, more comfortable being in there. You feel free to interact with your colleagues, really feel at home.

Within a home environment, cleanliness is equally important. In fact, it is a shade more important than we may initially presume.

Cleaner homes are healthier homes, goes the old saying. A clean home really goes a long way in ensuring that people staying within are healthier, and in a way, one is less prone to catching an infection.

In fact, if one is slightly unwell, a clean home would ensure a much higher chance of recovering sooner. One would invariably come to realize that in a clean home environment, chances of catching a cold or flu are much lesser. One must always make a conscious effort to keep the living environment and homes clean.

While kids or seniors are around, this becomes all the more important because kids and seniors are both more likely to catch infections, so cleanliness does matter!

In fact, we would find that kitchens are one of the most ignored sections in a home which would require cleaning. And with the foodstuff around, it is more likely to be a hub for some infection inducing channel. In the same way, refrigerators could come across as a slightly unclean portion of a household which should be cleaned up at regular intervals.

Some of us might be surprised to know that the drawing room furniture and car seats are equally likely to be a source of infection. In fact, if one has pets at home and pets are allowed over on sofas or cars, these areas need to be looked over in much more detail and attention.

These are easy to ignore, but some regular vacuuming would do the trick in most cases than not. In the same way, curtains need to be cleaned up at frequent intervals. Desks and cabinets also need to be cleaned up frequently as they might stay untouched for longer durations at a stretch. But most of the times, some dusting would make sure that the furniture is just fine.

These are just some thoughts to consider as you kick off your New Year … and some ways to start the New Year both cleaner and healthier, thus even happier!

Note: The copyrights on the article belong to the author. The responsibility for the opinions expressed in the article belongs exclusively to the author. Some very light editing done to tie article in with the New Year theme.