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Nasal Anti-histamine Spray Now Available Over-The-Counter

Up until now, there have been three anti-histamine nasal sprays in the United States market available only by prescription… Astelin, Astepro, and Patanase.

However, in May 2011, Meda Pharma announced a new anti-histamine nasal spray Rhinolast Allergy that is available over-the-counter.

The active ingredient is azelastine, the same one as found in the prescription nasal spray Astelin and Astepro.

Azelastine has a triple mode of action: anti-histamine effect, mast-cell stabilizing effect, and anti-inflammatory effect. Azelastine has a rapid onset of action of 15 minutes.

It can be used from the age of 5 years.

This nasal spray can be used in combination with other over-the-counter anti-histamines medications taken orally like zyrtec, claritin, allegra, and benadryl.

Read more about this new nasal spray here.

Read more about allergy medications in general here.

*This blog post was originally published at Fauquier ENT Blog*

New Natural Cedar Insecticide May Be Too Expensive To Produce

It’s about TIME!!! I read this fascinating story on NPR here.

An all-natural insect repellant called nootkatone found in Alaska yellow cedar trees and citrus fruits (like grapefruit) is being developed by the CDC. It is so safe for humans, it is even an FDA-approved food additive.

Nootkatone is not only safe for humans and the environment, it is a highly effective insect repellant. In fact, it is not only a bug repellant, but an insecticide causing death to biting insects like mosquitoes within 15 seconds.

Application of 2% nootkatone will also control ticks for up to 42 days at greater than 97 percent efficacy.

It is non-greasy, dries very quickly, and it has a very pleasant, citrus-y grapefruit odor to it.

Sounds too good to be true… But it is true! The only downside right now is that it is not available in the market, mainly because it is expensive — $4,000 per kilogram for highly purified food-grade material, which is used in parts-per-million amounts as a flavoring agent.

However, there are two companies that are currently working to make it available as insect control, hopefully in the near future!

Read more about this here.

References:
Susceptibility of four tick species, Amblyomma americanum, Dermacentor variabilis, Ixodes scapularis, and Rhipicephalus sanguineus (Acari: Ixodidae), to nootkatone from essential oil of grapefruit. J Med Entomol. 2011 Mar;48(2):322-6.

Mode of action for natural products isolated from essential oils of two trees is different from available mosquito adulticides. J Med Entomol. 2010 Nov;47(6):1123-6.

Ability of two natural products, nootkatone and carvacrol, to suppress Ixodes scapularis and Amblyomma americanum (Acari: Ixodidae) in a Lyme disease endemic area of New Jersey. J Econ Entomol. 2009 Dec;102(6):2316-24.

Use of novel compounds for pest control: insecticidal and acaricidal activity of essential oil components from heartwood of Alaska yellow cedar. J Med Entomol. 2005 May;42(3):352-8.

*This blog post was originally published at Fauquier ENT Blog*

The Curious Case Of A Child With Half A Brain

media_125675_en.jpgThe scans presented here are of a ten year-old German girl who was discovered to be missing the right hemisphere of her brain. Incredibly, she is perfectly normal, except for a history of seizures and a slight weakness on her left side. Attending school with others of her age, it is reported that she is able to study and play sports, just like other kids around her. Of course, the mystery is how is this all possible? To answer the question, University of Glasgow scientists used an fMRI to see where the left eye’s vision is processed. Turns out that the brain’s visual area responsible for the right eye offered up some space for the left.

Normally, the left and right fields of vision are processed and mapped by opposite sides of the brain, but scans on the German girl showed that retinal nerve fibres that should go to the right hemisphere of the brain diverted to the left.

Further, the researchers found that within the visual cortex of the left hemisphere, which creates an internal map of the right field of vision, ‘islands’ had been formed within it to specifically deal with, and map out, the left visual field in the absence of the right hemisphere.

Dr Lars Muckli of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging in the Department of Psychology, who led the study, said: “This study has revealed the surprising flexibility of the brain when it comes to self-organising mechanisms for forming visual maps.

“The brain has amazing plasticity but we were quite astonished to see just how well the single hemisphere of the brain in this girl has adapted to compensate for the missing half.

“Despite lacking one hemisphere, the girl has normal psychological function and is perfectly capable of living a normal and fulfilling life. She is witty, charming and intelligent.”

The girl’s underdeveloped brain was discovered when, aged three, she underwent an MRI scan after suffering seizures of brief involuntary twitching on her left side.

The scientists believe the right hemisphere of the girl’s brain stopped developing early in the womb and that when the developing optic nerves reached the optic chiasma, the chemical cues that would normally guide the left eye nasal retinal nerve to the right hemisphere were no longer present and so the nerve was drawn to the left.

This implies that there are no molecular repressors to prevent nasal retinal nerve fibres from entering the same hemisphere.

Dr Muckli added: “If we could understand the powerful algorithms the brain uses to rewire itself and extract those algorithms together with the general algorithms that the brain uses to process information, they could be applied to computers and could result in a huge advance in artificial intelligence.”

Press release: Scientists reveal secret of girl with ‘all seeing eye’…

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

The Friday Funny: Childhood Nutrition

President Obama Needs You!

By Stacy Beller Stryer, M.D.

We are asking a lot of President Obama. We are asking him to end the wars around the globe, help societies in need, bring jobs and prosperity back to the United States, provide healthcare for all Americans, improve our children’s education, and so on. In his inaugural address, President Obama agreed to tackle many of these issues. We must remember, however, that he is not Superman. He has told us many times, including yesterday, that he cannot make these changes alone but needs the help of all Americans. As he said, “What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world …”

Why am I, a pediatrician, discussing an inaugural speech on a website about healthcare? Because, as the President said, each and every one of us has the responsibility of contributing as much as possible to our society and to the world-at-large. As a pediatrician, one of my responsibilities is to guide mothers and fathers toward being the best parents possible. As a parent, each of you has the responsibility of doing the best job you can in raising your children, even before they are born. This means eating well, and refraining from smoking and drinking during pregnancy. It also means providing for them in as many was as possible. This includes, not only giving them appropriate clothing and food, but also stimulating their minds and hearts. It means treating them with respect, acting as positive role models, and teaching them right from wrong – why smoking and having sex as a teen is wrong, why doing well in school is important, and why all people should be treated equal, whether they are black or white, straight or gay, fat or thin. It means boosting your children’s self confidence and letting them know how much you love them. It means becoming involved in activities which help the environment, community, and those in need. And when children become teens, parents must also change their ways – they must learn to recognize when teens need space and when it is time for them to develop their independence.

President Obama is certainly asking a lot of us. But I know we can rise to the occasion. By being good parents and role models, we will not only have fulfilled our duties and responsibilities, but we will also have prepared the next generation to do the same. Here’s to President Obama – and to each and every parent in America.

Latest Interviews

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Latest Book Reviews

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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