El Diario De Madryn

Health information for your life.

Exploring Space Was A Landmark Move

eswalIn 1988, astronauts aboard the space shuttle looked down on South America and saw a 1,000-kilometer-long smoke cloud that covered the entire Amazon basin and was only stopped by the towering wall of the Andes mountains. The haze of smoke came from the burning of the Amazon rain forest, a region containing the world’s greatest variety of plants and animals. That vast spread of smoke was clearly visible to the astronauts, who were in a unique position to see how and where humans are altering natural ecosystems on planet Earth.

That is precisely what scientists plan to learn by using space to take an inventory of natural resources and to investigate environmental problems.

High Above

Cameras, radar systems, and other remote sensing instruments aboard spacecraft will zoom in on the Earth from high, high above. Remote sensors offer a relatively inexpensive way to monitor the whole planet over long periods of time.

By the end of the ’90s, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will launch a high-tech program called Mission to Planet Earth. It will diagnose the Earth’s condition using remote sensors aboard weather and other satellites, earth probes (small spacecraft used to study specific problems), the space shuttle, and Space Station Freedom. Reports from space will be transmitted to a computerized network that will sort and store huge amounts of information. This database will allow scientists to produce better maps, images, chemical analyses, and models of Earth.

Nature in Action

The space shuttle, orbiting more than 200 kilometers above the earth, will continue to view the spectacle of nature in action. Astronauts will photograph such activities of nature as the Mississippi River dumping its load of sediment into the Gulf of Mexico, hurricanes roaring across the oceans, and blooms of plankton (microscopic organisms that serve as food for larger marine life) drifting at the ocean’s surface near the coasts. During week-long flights, astronauts probably will see at least three erupting volcanoes.

Unmanned spacecraft will also provide a worldwide perspective of the earth’s environment. Weather forecasts will improve as intruments are used that can read air and sea temperatures, follow storm paths, track currents, and measure ice cover. Satellites will also do further studies on “holes” in the ozone layer of the atmosphere. (The ozone layer shields living things from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.) Sensors that “sniff” the chemical composition of the atmosphere will analyze pollutants. They will also detect increases in carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, and other gases that retain heat in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming.

City Maps

Two Landsats–spacecraft that orbit the earth every eight days–will continue to map cities as well as remote regions of the earth. They will be joined by other satellites that will increase the accuracy of records on soil erosion, the size of crops, and the growth of deserts.

“Eyes in the sky” will assist rescue efforts during earthquakes, hurricanes, or volcanic eruptions. Scientists are already using information from space to speed emergency services and guide restoration efforts after natural disasters.

Something for Everyone

During the 15-year Mission to Planet Earth, not only government leaders, but also city planners and ordinary citizens will benefit from studies of the Earth. Spacecraft will take a look at:

* The sun: Satellite instruments will examine how much sunshine is received and how much is reflected by the Earth. Since solar energy drives the winds, the oceans, and photosynthesis (food-making by green plants), sun studies will improve our analysis of weather, crops, and global warming.

* The lithosphere (Earth’s crust): Space-based instruments will report where earthquakes might occur, where volcanoes erupt, and where underground oil, gas, and water may be found.

* The atmosphere (the Earth’s blanket of air): Spacecraft will track paths of pollution and measure winds, clouds, the ozone layer, and gases that contribute to global warming.

* The hydrosphere (water in rivers, lakes, oceans, ice, and clouds): Satellites will record sea surface temperature, ice cover, rainfall, rivers, and sediment distribution. They will determine where currents flow, where nutrients rise from the ocean floor, and where large schools of fish are likely to be found.

* The biosphere (the living world of plants, animals, and microorganisms): Astronauts and instruments will observe how much forest and fertile land is being destroyed, where plankton is concentrated along coasts, and identify crops, trees, and other vegetation.

An International Endeavor

Mission to Planet Earth will be an international endeavor, with space scientists, meteorologists, ocean scientists, biologists, and ecologists working together. Each person will embark on this mission knowing that all the earth’s systems are interdependent; that what happens in the Amazon rain forests influences what happens in The Great Plains and near the poles; and the pollution travels by winds and water to many nations.

These scientists know that cities and wilderness influence one another, and that human beings are intimately connected with all living things. Therefore, by discovering how natural ecosystems interact, the people on Mission to Planet Earth hope to protect every kind of life in the world.

Vitamins E And D: You Need Them!

vedStay out of the sun! It’s bad for your health! There are a lot of words of caution being spoken these days about overexposure to the sun, and they should be taken seriously. But sunshine, despite its potentially harmful effects, is good for your health. Exposure to the sun’s rays will provide you with a vitamin that helps keep your teeth and bones healthy. It’s Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin.” When you go outdoors on a sunny day, the inactive vitamin is formed and this is slowly converted into an active form.

You can get vitamin D from some foods, but up to 84 percent of the total active vitamin D in your body is made right in your skin. Several factors determine how much vitamin D your body will make:

* The length of time you spend in sunlight.

* The intensity of sunlight.

* The amount of air pollution present.

* Your basic skin color.

Nutrition experts agree that being exposed to 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight, two times per week, is enough to meet your needs for vitamin D. Elderly people and those with very dark skin may need to stay outside a little longer if they live in the northern latitudes. They may also need to increase their intake of foods high in vitamin D.

Once active, vitamin D helps maintain your body’s levels of calcium and phosphorus, two minerals that are responsible for keeping your bones and teeth strong and hard.

D and Deficiency

If you don’t take in enough vitamin D, you could eventually develop a vitamin D deficiency. If this happens when you’re a child, it’s called rickets. Your bones become so soft and weak that your leg bones may bow out under your weight. If you become vitamin D deficient when you’re an adult, it’s called osteomalacia. Your bones become very thin and are more likely to fracture.

Longer exposure to the sun will not create a vitamin D overdose, and you also can’t overdose from eating foods high in vitamin D. But you can run into problems if you take a lot of vitamin D in pill form. Too much of this vitamin can cause headaches, nausea, diarrhea, hardening of tissue, and kidney damage. Nutritionists point out that eating a balanced diet and normal exposure to sunlight will meet your daily requirement for vitamin D.

Vitamin E: Anti-Aging?

Vitamin E has sometimes been labeled a “magical pill” that could restore spirit and stamina in the sick and the aging. Scientists have dismissed these claims as absurd. However, current studies have revealed new information about vitamin E.

Researchers at Brown University say that vitamin E may help reduce risk of heart disease. Having enough vitamin E may also slow the process of aging and in other ways help you stay healthy and live longer, according to a nutrition researcher at Tufts University.

The vitamin’s benefits can be traced to its protective antioxidant effect. Researchers think that cell damage (and therefore aging and age-related diseases) is caused by “oxygen-free radicals.” These unstable molecules are produced during metabolism. Vitamin E is part of a defense system that can block these free radicals and make them harmless. This protective effect can lessen and even prevent damage to cell membranes.

Some researchers believe that vitamin E can also work together with other antioxidants: beta-carotene (from carrots and other orange, red, and yellow vegetables), the mineral selenium, and vitamin C.

The Research Continues

Researchers continue to study the antioxidant effects of vitamin E. Some recent scientific findings they are working to validate include vitamin E’s potential to boost the immune system, as well as to help prevent the buildup of artery-clogging fats. Research is probing whether vitamin E may protect against the blood clots that cause heart disease and stroke. The vitamin seems to make blood particles less sticky and therefore less likely to attach to your arterial walls.

Vitamin E’s ability to reduce the risk for cancer by neutralizing cancer-causing free radicals is also being investigated, as is the possibility that vitamin E may reduce the severity and slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease. This illness occurs in older people when certain brain cell membranes are damaged.

Other study is focused on whether vitamin E may help prevent cataracts from forming on the lens of the eye.

Do You Need to Supplement?

These remarkable claims should not, however, spur you to dash to your local health food store to buy supplements. Scientists are quick to admit that not enough research has been done to establish the need for more vitamin E than recommended. They’re not even sure which form of vitamin E works the best.

You can experience side effects from taking massive doses of this vitamin. Vitamin E can thin your blood and cause nausea and diarrhea. So it’s not wise to take large doses without a physician’s supervision.

Vitamin E deficiency is rare in the United States. It has occurred in premature infants and in people who can’t absorb fat properly, such as persons with cystic fibrosis.

Until extensive research proves otherwise, nutrition experts claim that if you eat a balanced diet, you will receive all the vitamin E you need through food.

Listen To What Your Body Has To Say

bhtsDo you remember the last time your body, all by itself, decided it had something to say?

Was it in algebra class, while you stood in front of the class at the blackboard solving a complicated problem? Your stomach decided it was just the right time for a long, low growl.

How about that time in the theater, when a master blast from your intestines broke the silence?

Then there was that memorable moment in the lunchroom when a run of hiccups took on a life of its own.

By the way, did you play the starring role in a movie called “Burps in the Library, Part III”?

Yes, we’ve all been there. You could compose a symphony from all the different sounds our bodies make–and what unusual music it would be! Besides a rumbling stomach, intestinal gas, hiccups, and burps, there are sneezes and creaky joints.

Even though this “body language” is universal, it’s still embarrassing when it happens to you. You can’t predict when it’s going to happen, and often you can’t prevent it. Maybe it would help if you understood why and how these sounds happen.

An Attack of Hiccups

Most attacks of hiccups are over in a few minutes, or a few hours at most. But some rare cases have lasted days–even years. The record is held by a man in Iowa who has been hiccuping since 1922! (He was still alive in 1988, and if he’s alive today, he’s probably still hiccuping.)

A hiccup begins with a group of nerves that lie at the upper end of the spinal cord. When these nerves are stimulated, they tell the diaphragm–a strong sheet of muscle at the bottom of the ribs–to contract. Normally, the diaphragm moves up and down in time with the air that passes in and out of your lungs. When you hiccup, the diaphragm jerks and causes the vocal cords to make a clicking sound.

Hiccups often begin for no particular reason, but there are certain things that can trigger an attack: drinking carbonated beverages, exercising right after you eat, eating too much, eating too fast, eating spicy food, and eating or drinking something hot or cold. Emotional stress can also bring on hiccups.

Everyone has a favorite home remedy for “curing” hiccups. Some people hold their breath, have someone try to scare them, or eat a spoonful of sugar. Others suck on a piece of hard candy, drink water out of the wrong side of a glass, or even stand on their head.

The only remedy that has any scientific basis is breathing into a paper bag for a few minutes. This causes the blood to absorb carbon dioxide, which then travels to the brain and relieves the hiccups.

Here’s an interesting, little-known fact: Men have hiccups four times more often than women. Nobody knows why–it’s just one of life’s little mysteries.

Gas in the System

Usually considered the “rude” sounds, belches and flatulence just indicate that there is excess gas in the digestive system. The gas has to work its way out somehow. When there’s too much gas in the stomach, it comes out as a belch or burp. Excess gas in the intestines escapes through the rectum as flatulence.

Some people produce more gas than others. People who do not have the enzyme that is needed to digest dairy products often have flatulence. You may avoid gas if you stay away from gas-producing foods such as beans, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, pickles, onions, carbonated drinks, and bran. Another interesting fact: The sorbitol, a sugar substitute in some sugarless chewing gum, can cause gas.

How you eat is as important as what you eat if you’re trying to prevent gas from forming. When you gulp your food quickly or slurp drinks through a straw, you swallow air. Breathing through your mouth instead of your nose has the same result.

Light exercise after a meal (taking a walk, for example) will help move gas through the intestines and out of your system.

Stomach Sounds

The noises your stomach and intestines make as they work are called borborygmi (bor-b*-rig-me). These rumbles and gurgles are the sounds of the stomach’s three layers of muscle contracting as they mix food with the enzymes and acids of digestion.

These sounds can occur even when your stomach is empty. When you’re sitting in your last class before lunch, thinking about food or smelling the aromas from the cafeteria, your stomach begins to get ready for a meal by pouring out digestive juices. The sound of these churning juices announces your hunger to the world. Pressing your arm against your stomach can sometimes muffle the sound a bit.

Ah-choo!

Do you sneeze through your mouth or your nose? Are your sneezes quiet and dainty, or a blast to shake the earth? Does sunlight make you sneeze? How many times in a row do you sneeze?

There is usually a pattern to sneezing, and it varies from person to person. Sneezes are the body’s way of cleaning house. They are caused by something that irritates the nose–an infection such as a cold, or an allergy to something such as dust, cat hair, smoke, or hay. This irritation stimulates a nerve in the nose, which sends a message to the brain. The brain coordinates all the movements necessary for a sneeze that will force the irritant out of the breathing passages–at speeds up to 100 miles per hour!

Since sneezes serve a useful purpose, it isn’t a good idea to suppress them. If you must cut short a long string of sneezes, press your finger firmly against your upper lip, at the base of your nose. Sometimes it works.

Creaky Joints

You don’t have to be a tin man to make creaking sounds when you move. The popping sounds sometimes heard in knuckles and knees are air bubbles moving around in the sticky fluid that surrounds the joints. Ankles make a cracking sound when the tendons and ligaments that connect the bones snap as they move across the ends of the bones. None of these sounds indicate that anything is wrong, as long as there is no pain. And there is no truth to the myth that cracking a knuckle will cause problems in that joint. (It can cause a different problem, though, if it bugs your teachers and parents.)

Now that you understand what your body is saying, it shouldn’t be such a foreign “language.”

Fractures And Breaks – Different Problem, Same Pain

A fracture is a fracture is a fracture. Right? Not really. The simplest definition of a fracture is a break in a bone. This break may be completely through the bone or only part way. Any bone in the body, including the tiny bones in the ear, can be fractured, and the most common causes are failing, auto accidents and sports injuries.

Bones can fracture in different ways as a result of a blow, sudden forceful muscle contraction, or prolonged muscular stress. Some fractures heal quickly and easily, but others require surgery and a long recovery. Tony, for example, was injured playing football. He suffered a spiral fracture in his lower leg when an opponent tackled his left leg and foot. While holding Tony’s foot against his chest, the tackler rolled over, twisting Tony’s leg and the bones inside, causing a spiral fracture of the large bone between the ankle and the knee – the tibia. The fracture took many months to heal.

Types of Fractures

When too much force is applied to a bone, it breaks. There are two main kinds of fractures – open and closed. With an open fracture, the end of a broken bone penetrates the surface of the skin, creating an open wound. Sometimes this is referred to as a compound fracture. With a closed fracture (also called simple), the broken bone does not break through the skin. Closed fractures are much more common, but open fractures are more serious due to the bleeding and potential for infection.

Bones can break in many ways Children, whose bones are not yet hard, often have “greenstick” fractures in which the bone splinters like a green twig that is bent rather than broken. An oblique fracture occurs when the bone breaks at an angle. Oblique fractures can sever arteries and nerves inside the body, which is why a person should not walk on or try to move the part of the body where a break is suspected.

In auto accidents, sometimes a great deal of force is applied to the bottom of the foot as the driver slams on the brakes and straightens his or her leg. This can cause an impacted fracture, in which the ends of the broken bones are jammed into each other. You may have read accounts of an injury with multiple fractures. This may mean that more than one bone was broken, or it may refer to a comminuted fracture, in which a single bone shatters and is broken into many pieces. These fractures often require surgery.

“I Know It’s Broken”

Regardless of the type of fracture, there are some classic signs and symptoms that usually indicate a fracture has occurred. For example:

* The person actually hears the bone snap.

* The place where the break occurred is obviously deformed.

* The injured limb appears shorter than the normal limb.

* A grating sensation is noted when the limb is moved.

These symptoms usually indicate a fracture, but sometimes the symptoms aren’t so obvious. A basketball player goes up for a rebound and comes down on a turned ankle, crumpling to the floor in pain. She feels pain and tenderness, and swelling and discoloration begin to appear in the ankle.

How can you tell if it is broken or sprained? Would you ask her to try to move it? Not a good ideal! Unfortunately, many people believe that if you can move an injured part, it can’t possibly be broken. Wrong! Many people who have broken bones not only can move them, but may even try to walk with a broken foot or ankle, causing further damage.

It’s safest to assume it is broken. Since swelling, tenderness, discoloration, and pain occur in both sprains and fractures, it is often impossible to tell, without an X-ray, whether a bone is broken, so “assume a break and you won’t make a mistake.”

First Aid For Fractures

By assuming the injured person has a broken bone, you will want to prevent him or her from trying to move the injured part or attempting to stand on it. Both actions could cause further injury, such as producing an open fracture from a closed one or damaging vital blood vessels and nerves near the broken bone ends.

If the broken bone is in an arm or leg, take a pulse to determine if there is circulation to that limb. If there person has an open fracture, you will need to dress the would before you turn your attention to the fracture. Do not attempt to reduce the fracture with fraction or push broken bones back under the skin.

Another important step is to immobilize the broken bone. If help will arrive in a few minutes, it may not be necessary to apply a splint. However, if you must transport the person to a medical facility, you must first immobilize the bone. Splinting is a process of immobolizing a suspected fracture by applying sturdy support to the injured area. Boards and magazines may be used as splints. If none is available, one leg can be splinted to the other with a blanket in between, or an arm can be splinted to the victim’s chest.

After splinting, elevate the injured limb slightly to help reduce blood loss and swelling. Cold packs may be applied to help relieve pain and reduce swelling. Check the circulation in the limb before and after splinting. And once again, tell the person not to move the injured part.

Though fractures are painful, they are usually not life-threatening unless the head, neck, or back is involved. When dealing with fractures in these areas, it is best to keep the victim completely still and await professional help, improper care of skull, neck, and back fractures can result in permanent paralysis or death.

Fractures are an never-present risk when you are out running around and being active. As with any injury, prevention is the best medicine. However, accidents do happen, so be prepared to act fast.

Eating For Exercise Is Simply Different

efesdohn runs two miles every day.

Sue does aerobics three times a week for an hour.

Nick plays basketball and trains every day during the season.

Maria plays tennis twice a week all year round.

These days it seems as though everyone has some sort o fitness program. Whether it’s running or aerobics, basketball or tennis, people have caught on to idea of staying fit.

If one aspect of fitness is exercise, another – nutrition – is sometimes neglected. in addition, ideas about proper nutrition for those who exercise change from time to time as more information about the body is discovered.

All Kinds of Ways

There are all kinds of ways that you can get fit and stay that way, depending on your temperament, your time, dedication, and your current physical condition. There are programs you can do on your own, such as walking, running, or aerobics. And as long as you work at them regularly, your fitness will steadily improve.

Other kinds of exercise include sports programs, both individual and with teams, such as football, basketball, or track.

With any fitness program, your nutritional needs will vary, depending on how often you exercise, the length of time you spent, and the intensity of your workout.

A Balancing Act

For the average person, active or inactive, the basic nutritional need is for a balanced diet that is composed of these elements:

* Protein: Lean meats, poultry, and fish, as well as eggs and cheese, are a good source of protein. Protein needs are essentially the same for both the very active and the more sedentary person, although an endurance athlete may need a little more. Six to eight ounces per day is adequate protein for most people.

* Fats: Fats are the most concentrated source of food energy. They are needed for endurance activities. But athletes who burn 5,000 or more calories a day may be consuming more calories from fat than currently recommended for the general population. Experts are currently studying how to meet a very active athlete’s calorie needs without including so much fat.

Because fats leave the stomach slowly, avoid consuming fat prior to physical activity.

Fats are found in butter, cheese, and other dairy products, as well as egg yolks, meats, oils, lard, and shortening.

The Best Meal

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are present in the body in the form of glucose in the blood and glycogen in the liver and muscles. They are the most efficient source of energy for the body, and they need replenishing daily. There are two kinds of carbohydrates: Sugar are simple carbohydrates. Starches are complex carbohydrates and are found in whole-grain breads and cereals, vegetables, fruits, and legumes (beans).

Active people require a diet fairly high in complex carbohydrates so that they will have the necessary energy for their exercise. In fact, the best meal before a game or hard exercise should include carbohydrates such as bread, cereals, and pasta. The reason for this is that at low levels of exercise or during short-term intense exercise, carbohydrates are the main source of energy. During prolonged exercise, there is a shift by the body to the use of fats. Athletes in training need a diet of as much as 70 percent carbohydrates. A commonly used source of energy for them as they compete are glucose drinks.

* Vitamins: Extra vitamins a re not needed for increased physical activity, with the possible exception of the B vitamins, the need for which is slightly increased by exercise. You can meet these and other vitamin needs by eating a well-balanced diet.

* Minerals: Your requirements for most minerals do not increase with physical activity, but there are two exceptions: Sodium (salt) and potassium can be depleted during intense, prolonged exercise in hot weather. Except under extreme conditions, sodium lost through sweat is replaced in a balanced diet. Potassium is found in bananas, apricots, and fruit juices, as well as potatoes, and can easily be replaced.

Water: Essential

* Water: Water is essential for survival. It is necessary for all energy production in the body, for body temperature control, and for the elimination of the by-products fo cell metabolism. Drink more than the normal six to eight glasses per day when you are engaged in prolonged activity or exercising during warm weather.

* Milk: One myth that seems to be prevalent especially among athletes is that one should stay away from milk. Far from being bad for you, low-fat milk is an important part of anyone’s diet, and athletes are no exception. Milk is rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, and other vitamins and minerals, making it a nutrition “bargain.”

Some athletes take calcium supplements to protect their bones, but bones need the vitamin D, phosphorus, and other nutrients found in milk but not included in the supplements.

Those who really can’t drink milk and want its nutrition may be able to add nonfat dry milk milk to recipes that call for milk. In addition try other calcium-rich foods such as dark leafy green vegetables – broccoli, for instance – and canned salmon and sardines with the bones.

The diet of an athlete and that of the normally active person aren’t so very far apart. In fact, if the athlete eats a balanced diet and makes a few minor adjustments for intense activity or competition, that should help keep or her at optimum fitness level.

Before You Compete

* Eat enough to ward off hunger or weakness during the whole period of the activity or competition. * Time your meals so that your stomach is empty by the beginning of the activity. * Fluid intake should be at an optimal level just before and during competition. * Pre-competition dies should contain no food – such as greasy or high-fat foods – that might upset the digestive tract. * The pre-game menu should include only familiar foods. * If an athlete is convinced certain nutritious foods will help him or her excel or win, they should be included.

Watch Out for These

* For a normal-weight athlete, trimming too many pounds for the sake of a competitive edge can be dangerous. The American Medical Association and the American College of Sports Medicine have both issued position statements strongly discouraging the practice. * Commercial “activity” drinks have proven to be effective as a source of fluid. But water is also recommended. It’s been shown that water is probably still the best source for most athletes for getting fluid back into the body – and obviously the most economical choice. Water mixed with fruit juice (5 to 7 parts to 1 part juice) is also used.

Introvert Vs. Extrovert: The Battle Wages On

iveIf you could design your own personality, would you rather be lively, outgoing, and the center of attention, or quiet, thoughtful, and private?

It would not be surprising if you opted for the first description. You would have lots of company. According to some estimates, there are three times as many lively extroverts in the United States as reflective introvers. Our society prefers fun-loving, friendly people with “good personalities” over quiet, private types.

Is one style really better than the other? Do we have a choice?

Psychiatrist Carl Jung first proposed the theory of personality types in the 1920s. He said we all have two different ways of relating to the world – through introversion and extroversion. We each favor one mode or the other, although the alternate style is within us to a lesser degree.

Introverts draw their strength from within themselves. They need privacy and time to be alone. Even in a crowd they may have a sense of feeling alone. But it’s more than just being a private person; there is a real need at times for them to be alone. Being with lots of people is emotionally draining for them.

Extroverts, on the other hand, are outgoing people who draw energy from others. Being with a crowd of people even at the end of the day does not tire them out; it recharges their energy. They need the stimulation of the outside world.

Jung said that our basic personality type stays with us throughout our life. We probably are born with it. It can change somewhat, depending on our family and other life experiences, but it’s pretty stable over the years. For example, if you’re an introvert in a family of extroverts, you may pick up more extrovert behaviors than if the rest of your family were also introvers. But you won’t become an extrovert.

Neither personality type is inherently better than the other. Although we seem to admire the extrovert in this country, that doesn’t mean they’re the fashion everywhere. And we give high marks to certain introvert traits, such as independence. Each type has its strengths and weaknesses. Extroverts are fun to be with, but they sometimes are so preoccupied with that they have to say that they don’t listen to what you have to say. And introverts may be great listeners, but they don’t always let you know where they stand.

The idea is not to change what you are, but to understand your style and make it work for you. The other thing to remember is that no one is 100 percent extrovert or 100 percent introvert. We may be basically outgoing but become more introspective on certain subjects or with certain people or at certain times.

Mix and Match

One study showed that when extroverts and introverts are put together they each modify their style so they are more alike. Matching up introverts and extroverts seems like a good idea to many people. The study points out that opposite types are often attracted to each other – as friends and even romantically. Part of the attraction is that they seem to fill in what’s missing in the other.

Look what can happen when two extroverts marry: They both talk at once. They both are kind of impulsive, with neither stopping to think carefully about important decisions. And they both love to talk on the phone.

And two introverts? Each may make his or her own decision without consulting the other. Neither may reach out for new friends and experiences. And no one answers the phone. Those are extreme examples, of course.

How They Differ

The differences between introverts and extroverts show up in school all the time. Remember, these are generalizations – not all introverts will react this way and, if they do, it may not be all the time. But, by and large, introverts find it harder than extroverts to leave home to come to school in the first place. They may have more trouble joining in with groups and doing group projects. They may have an idea within themselves of how things should be done, and it may be harder for them to go along with other people’s thinking.

Introverts may be sensitive to criticism – many have a tendency to perfectionism – and may be more hesitant than extroverts to speak in front of the class. They don’t like to make mistakes in public, and they prefer to do their thinking and preparation in private and have a finished product before they present it to the world. They may have wonderfully original ideas in private, but they are not risk takers, so teachers may think of them as uncreative.

I’s and We’s

Now turn most of these statements inside out and you’ll see why extroverts may do better in school: They like being with people, and from the beginning, school is fun for them. Someone once said that the purpose of kindergarten is to change the “I” to “we.”

Extroverts often like to think aloud and shares ideas with other people, so a classroom is perfect for them. They are risk takers and don’t take it too seriously when they make a mistake. They are more relaxed with teachers, and they’re the ones who can tell the teacher that they’ve read a book she recommended, or that she looks great in green.

Linda Silverman, a Denver psychologist who works with gifted children – among them many introverst – says that even though they are in the minority, introverts should be proud of their style and never try to make themselves over into extroverts.

The introvert-extrovert dimension is just one measure in the complex concept called personality. But it helps us understand ourselves and see that, no matter what our personality style, there’s a little something “extra” in all of us.

Innies and Outies

Although there’s probably no such thing as a pure introvert or a pure extrovert, we all have a preferred style for dealing with the world. Following are some basic characteristics of introverts and extroverts.

Extroverts

get their emotional energy from the outside world

like to be around lots of people. They know a lot of people and consider many of them good friends.

like to talk rather than listen. Extroverts sometimes do their thinking out loud. And they like to confide information about themselves.

need assurance from other people that they are successful (or good looking or well-liked or bright, and so on)

prefer the brainstorming approach, in which the group generates ideas together

enjoy group activities, such as clubs and sports

Introverts

recharge their energies by being alone; they enjoy being by themselves

like to do their thinking by themselves, and have their ideas well-developed before they present them to anyone else

trust their own opinions; don’t look outside for ideas on how to do things

are good listeners. But they are reserved when it comes to talking about themselves.

don’t need praise from others; in fact, they often are suspicious of it

can become immersed in a project and give it their all

don’t take easily to new situations.

Drugs: Some Help, Some Not So Much

drugsIt was going to be a special day in Tom’s science class today, with no lesson, but with a guest lecturer. Ross Evans, a professor from the school of pharmacy at the local university, was coming to talk about medications, and Tom’s teacher was offering extra credit to students who showed initiative in asking questions and participating in the discussion. Tom had watched a TV program the night before about the brain. On the show, it was mentioned that many drugs affected the brain, sometimes in a way that helped and other times in a harmful way. Tom had some questions to ask.

At the end of the talk, Tom posed this one: “How do drugs get into the brain, and once they are in there, what do they do?”

“That’s a very good question,” replied Dr. Evans. “Drugs are given for the most part by mouth or by an injection or shot. The drug enters the bloodstream and is taken by the blood to many parts of the body, so drugs can easily gain access to parts of the body such as the liver, heart, or kidney. The brain, however, is not as easy to penetrate. The brain is a very important part of the body, responsible for controlling almost all of the body’s everyday functions. Can anyone tell me what one of these functions is?”

Susie replied, “The brain controls breathing. You don’t even need to think about breathing. The brain just does it for you.”

The Blood-Brain Barrier

“Correct,” replied Dr. Evans. “Breathing is one of the most important functions of the brain. Because the brain is so important, it has a special protective barrier. This barrier is known as the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier is the major roadblock for drugs getting from the bloodstream into the brain. Only certain types of drugs can get past the barrier.”

“I know that alcohol gets into the brain,” said Tom. “We’re told that all the time.”

“True,” replied Dr. Evans. “Alcohol and many other drugs get into the brain very easily. But other drugs, such as tetracycline, an antibiotic drug, do not penetrate the blood-brain barrier very well at all.”

Dr. Evans went on to explain that there are two factors that control whether a drug will cross the blood-brain barrier. The first is the size of a single molecule of the drug. Drugs made up of very small single molecules, such as alcohol, cross the blood-brain barrier very easily. Drugs with very large molecules, such as tetracycline, do not cross as easily.

The other major factor involved in a drug getting into the brain is fat solubility. Dr. Evans explained that fat solubility refers to the ability of the drug to dissolve in fatty-type substances, like oil. Some drugs are very fat-soluble, which makes them able to cross the blood-brain barrier with ease. A drug like this would be diazepam, commonly known by its brand name, Valium. Other drugs tend to be more water soluble, for example pencillin. Getting these drugs to cross the blood-brain barrier is like trying to mix water in oil – it just doesn’t work very well.

Binding to a Receptor

Dr. Evans went to answer the second part of Tom’s question about what drugs do once they get into the brain. “Once a drug gets into the brain,” he said, “the drug binds to a receptor.”

Dr. Evans explained that a receptor is like an electrical plug and socket. When you plug a light into an electrical socket and turn it on, you cause electricity to flow, and the light goes on. Similarly, when something binds to a receptor, an action takes places. An example of this is a receptor in the heart. When the drug adrenaline binds to receptors in the heart, the heart beats faster.

In the brain, many different substances, called neurotransmitters, can bind to receptors. Adrenaline binding to certain receptors in the brain may cause a person to feel nervous or anxious. Receptors have different actions depending on where they are located.

Neurotransmitters bind to receptors the way a key fits a lock. A particular kind of receptor will only bind to a certain neurotransmitter. Scientists who make drugs often try to figure out what the “key” looks like and design the drug to look like the key so that it will fit into the lock. In this way, drug are able to bind to receptors in the body.

Stimulate or Block?

Drugs can have many different actions on receptors. Drugs can stimulate the receptor and cause more of the action the receptor is responsible for. For example, amphetamines (stimulant drugs) can stimulate receptors and make the person feel nervous, anxious, and full of energy.

In contrast, drugs can also block the action of the receptor. For instance, antihistamines can block certain receptors and make a person feel drowsy. These actions can be beneficial or unwanted. For example, an antihistamine can bind to receptors in the nose to stop a person from having allergy symptoms, and this is their beneficial effect. At the same time, the antihistamine can bind to receptors in the brain that make the person feel drowsy, and this is an unwanted effect of the drug.

“As you can see,” Dr. Evans concluded, “drugs are very complex chemicals. The brain is very complex, and an important part of the body. The way that drugs get into the brain and effect the receptors of the brain is important for you to understand. This way you can know how drugs cause many of the effects that are important in treating many medical problems.”

Your Eyes And Nose: Protect Them

yeynsYour eyes are bloodshot and itchy. Your nose is stuffy. Or runny. You probably have a late winter cold or an early spring allergy. Either way, you need relief! But before you take over-the-counter or prescription medicine to relieve your symptoms, here are some things you should know.

The Eyes Have It

Nonprescription eye drops come in several forms. One is called artificial tears, used for cleansing and moisturizing the eye. The other kind, called a vasoconstrictor, is used to get the red out of bloodshot eyes.

Artificial tears are recommended for people with dry eyes. This ailment might be a natural result of the aging process or be caused by diseases, exposure to sun, wind, or dust in the environment, or indoor fans or air conditioners. Artificial tears may soothe eyes that feel gritty in the morning. They can be used whenever needed, but some brands contain preservatives to kill bacteria. If you use this type too often, the preservatives can build up to harmful levels and damage cells on the eye’s surface. If you find you need artificial tears frequently, consult your doctor. You may have a problem that needs additional treatment.

A vasoconstrictor also can be overused. This product works by shrinking the blood vessels in the eye so less blood flows through them. If you follow the directions on the label for this kind of eye drop, your eyes should clear up.

However, in a condition known as rebound congestion, the body builds a dependence on the medicine, and the blood vessels dilate, or enlarge, in spite of the medicine. As more blood flows through them, the eyes get redder, prompting the user to reach for more eye drops. If you find yourself needing this kind of product for more than two or three days, stop using it and consult a physician.

A new kind of eye drop may soon be available that will work as a sunblock for the eyes. Drops tested at the University of Southern California’s Doheny Eye Institute could protect eyes from ultraviolet (UV) rays – the same light that causes sunburn. The new drops block 98% of UV light for up to four hours. That’s important, because the cumulative effect of a lifetime of sun exposure may contribute to the formation of cataracts that cloud the eye’s lens and impair vision.

Diseases or infections of the eye may require prescription eye drops. Non-prescription eye drops are intended only to relieve minor symptoms such as stinging, itching, or eye strain. But minor symptoms may signal the onset of a serious problem. Consult a doctor if you experience matted eyes in the morning, burning, extreme itching, extreme redness, painful reaction to light, blurred vision, or discomfort from contact lenses where there was no prior problem.

Relief… By a Nose

Like eye drops, nose drops and nasal sprays are available for a variety of uses. The simplest is a saline (salt water) solution used to rinse irritants from the lining of the nose. Dryness also can irritate the nose, and saline drops or sprays may offer relief.

Nasal decongestants are vaso-constrictors that work the same way the “get-the-red-out” eye drops work. They shrink dilated blood vessels that are pumping a lot of blood through the lining of the nose, causing the lining to swell and making the person’s nose feel stuffy. Used as directed, these decongestants relieve a stuffy nose. However, as with eye drops, rebound congestion occurs with overuse. The nose feels more stuffy, and the person feels the need for more nasal spray. Read label directions, and don’t exceed recommended dosage or length of treatment.

Some nose drops and sprays are used to effectively administer certain types of medication. Some medicines are prescribed to be taken this way because of the absorptive nature of the lining of the nose. Two of these medicines are prednisone steroids and hormones.

Prednisone is a kind of steroid used to help control severe, persistent nasal congestion from allergies. If taken orally, this drug can cause side effects. By taking the medicine through the nose, the patient can avoid these side effects.

Another kind of drug commonly administered by way of the nose is a hormone used to treat diabetes insipidus, an illness characterized by an imbalance of fluids, rather than blood sugar. In this disease, the pituitary gland does not make enough of an important hormone. If the patient tried to take a replacement hormone orally, the stomach juices would digest it, and it would lose its effectiveness. Administering the medicine through the nose bypasses the digestive system.

Cautions

When you use eye drops, be sure to observe expiration dates. All eye products should be used or thrown away within three months of being opened. Before use, examine the drops for cloudiness, discoloration, or foreign particles. If any of these conditions are present, replace the eye drops. Another caution: If you are already using a prescription eye drop, ask your doctor or pharmacist before also using a non-prescription solution.

Over-the-counter nasal products should be used by only one person. Don’t share containers or applicators. For symptomatic relief of colds or allergies, use no longer than three or four days to minimize problems with rebound congestion. Consult your doctor if symptoms last longer than that. There may be other treatments available.

How to Use Drops and Sprays

Eye drops: Wash your hands, and check the expiration date and solution before using. Lift your chin and look at the ceiling. Raise the container or eyedropper about three or four inches above the eye. Use your left hand to hold your right eyelid open; use your right hand to hold your left eyelid open. Look at the end of the bottle or eyedropper and squeeze gently until one or two drops release into the eye.

Nose drops: Lie on your back on a bed and hang your head over the edge with chin tilted up. Release two or three drops into each nostril.

Nasal spray: Gently blow your nose clear before applying. Tilt head back and close opposite nostril with a finger. Inhale as you spray the mist into the nose.

Preventing Eye Irritation

You can avoid the need for eye drops for minor symptoms if you follow these tips:

* Close your eyes when using spray deodorant, air freshener, or perfume.

* Don’t touch, rub, or scratch your eyes.

* Wear sunglasses that provide UV protection. This information is usually on the label.

* Never use anyone else’s eye makeup or eye makeup applicator.

* Use oil-free eye makeup remover.

* If you wear contact lenses, use makeup labeled safe for use with them.

* Don’t use saliva to moisten eye makeup applicators, to remove smudges, or to clean contact lenses.

What The Heck Is A Zoonose? The Answer Will Surprise

wthazPlague. Fever, chills, swelling in the armpit and groin area, large dark spots on the skin: These are symptoms of a disease that was once so dreadful its very name has become synonymous with anything that causes serious illness or trouble Plague, or Black Death, killed many thousands of people during epidemics that date back to ancient times. What was the cause of such destruction of human lives? A common flea. You normally think of a flea as being a pest found on cats and dogs. But it was the flea that, through its bite, spread plague from an infected rate to a human.

Plague is only one of the several diseases classified as zoonoses – diseases that can be transferred between animals and humans. Some forms of zoonoses in humans are caused by direct contact with an animal, while other forms are caused by indirect contact with an animal through agents such as the flea, the fly, or the tick.

Like plague, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are spread to humans indirectly from an animal through the bite of a tick that attaches itself to a person during out-door activity.

Sometimes no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence, the tick that transmits Lyme disease usually lives on white-tailed deer, field mice, and other wild animals whose bodies contain bacteria. The tick, containing the animal’s blood, bites a human, and the bacteria enter the human’s body. A rash often appears at the site of the bite and expands to form a large lesion with a clear area in the center. Other symptoms include fever, chills, headache, stiff neck, and extreme fatigue. If not treated, Lyme disease can affect the central nervous system and cause skin complications and symptoms of arthritis.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever, transmitted primarily by the American dog tick, causes symptoms similar to those of Lyme disease – headache, fever, and skin rash. Also, as with Lyme disease, early diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics prevent more serious complications.

To lessen the chance of tick-borne disease, it’s wise to take precautions when you’re outdoors in parks, fields, or woods. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Use insect repellent. Check your skin thoroughly when you come indoors. Use flea and tick sprays on your pets, and check them regularly for ticks. If a tick attaches itself to your skin, use tweezers to gently remove it. Clean the area well before and after removal. If a rash later appears, see your physician.

Hunters – Beware

Another disease associated with outdoor activity is tularemia, or rabbit fever. This disease spreads from infected animals, usually wild rabbits, to humans by the direct contact with the animal or through the bite of ticks and flies. Symptoms of the disease include a sudden onset of fever, headache, chills, and vomiting. Later symptoms may include appearance of skin ulcers, inflammation of the eyes, and swelling of the lymph glands. The antibiotic streptomycin is often used to treat tularemia.

Since the disease is transmitted primarily by direct contact with the tissue of an infected animal, hunters should wear rubber gloves when cleaning game, and all game should be thoroughly cooked.

Caution to Pet Owners

These forms of zoonoses are associated with the outdoors, but much closer to home – even in your own living room – danger may lurk. What harm could your striped tabby possibly present? Common household pets can transmit diseases directly to humans unless preventive measures are taken. Cats, for example, transmit cat scratch disease, sometimes called cat scratch fever, to humans. Cat scratch disease (CSD) can affect people who frequently handle cats – especially children who cuddle and play with them. A cat’s saliva carries the bacteria that cause the disease. Humans can catch the disease from a cat’s bite or scratch. Even a lick from a cat to a cut on a human skin is enough to pass along the bacteria. Although this bacteria has been cultured in the laboratory, it remains unidentified. It is thought to be part of the normal bacteria that live in a cat’s mouth, which are transferred to the claws during grooming.

CSD is relatively uncommon, and every scratch from a cat does not lead to the disease. However, if a cat scratch heals slowly and a person’s lymph nodes swell and become tender, a physician should be seen. (Any cat bite can become infected and would require a visit to a physician.) Although CSD may cause discomfort, it rarely is serious. A few preventive measures go a long way. Handle cats gently. If you have a cut or scratch, keep it bandaged while handling cats – and always wash your hands afterwards. You might consider having house cats declawed.

A more serious disease transmitted by cats is toxoplasmosis, caused by a parasite in the cat’s digestive system. It spreads to humans through cat feces or dirt contaminated with cat feces. Cats themselves become infected by killing and eating small rodents.

Toxoplasmosis has a wide range of symptoms including fever, fatigue, swollen lymph glands, cough, sore throat, loss of appetite, and skin rash. Pregnant women are at highest risk of severe consequences of toxoplasmosis. The disease can cause miscarriage or congenital disabilities in the unborn child.

Most people do not develop symptoms of toxoplasmosis because they have antibodies to the disease in their blood. But it is wise to wear protective gloves when cleaning your cat’s litter box, which should be cleaned often, always washing your hands afterwards; also, wash your hands after gardening.

Wildlife and Rabies

Just as cats can transmit forms of zoonoses through direct contact, so can dogs. Worldwide, most cases of rabies occur as a result of dog bites. But where canine rabies has been controlled by immunization, wildlife or cats may still be infected. Rabies, although rare in humans, is deadly. The disease is caused by a virus carried in the saliva of an infected animal. It is transferred to humans most often by a bite, but direct contact with an infected animal’s saliva to broken skin also can result in the disease.

An animal that contracts rabies usually behaves in an unusual way. Wild animals suddenly show no fear of humans. Pets may appear to be anxious, excitable, and aggressive, and they may have unexplained paralysis.

The incubation period for humans that have come in contact with the rabies virus can be as short as nine days or as long as two years. Symptoms in humans include pain or irritation at the site of the virus entry, hyperactivity, anxiety, increased salivation, muscle spasms, convulsions, and coma. Death usually occurs within eight days of the appearance of symptoms if medical treatment is not sought. If you are bitten by a rabid animal, a thorough cleaning of the wound may help prevent the virus from entering the body. But only a series of shots given by a physician can counteract the virus.

The risk of getting rabies drops greatly when preventive measures are taken. If you have pets, make sure you keep their rabies vaccinations up-to-date, and don’t let them roam loose outdoors. And never approach a strange dog or any wild animal.

Prevent Zoonoses with Precaution

There are approximately 100 known zoonoses, but the list constantly changes as new diseases, previously mistaken for more common, exclusively human diseases, are identified. Most zoonoses are relatively rare and can be treated once a diagnosis is made. And many zoonoses can be prevented by using your own good sense.