Thursday, June 02, 2016

More Than Just Heartburn: Know the Risks of Untreated GERD

Sixty million Americans suffer from heartburn at least once a month and most of the time it’s nothing serious. But an estimated 19 million have burning and discomfort at least twice a week on a long-term basis and could be at risk for complications of a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

While GERD can’t be diagnosed by heartburn alone, heartburn could be an indicator of GERD and should be evaluated by a doctor. Thankfully, most cases of GERD can be managed with lifestyle changes, but ignoring it could trigger a variety of other health problems. Here are a few:

Irritation or swelling of the esophagus (esophagitis). Triggered by constant exposure to stomach acids as they wash over the lining of your esophagus, it can cause pain and make your esophagus vulnerable to scarring and additional damage.

Esophageal stricture.  If your esophagus stays irritated long enough, this tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach may develop a narrow area filled with scar tissue known as a stricture. Strictures can make it hard for food to pass and may cause choking. Strictures can be corrected with procedures to stretch or dilate the esophagus.

Hoarseness when you speak.  Not every case of GERD comes with classic heartburn. You may notice your voice changes and you become hoarse, have a sore throat, or chronic cough—all of which may be part of untreated GERD.

Asthma and pneumonia. As stomach contents wash up your esophagus, there’s a chance they could take the wrong path, entering your lungs. Anytime an outside fluid gets into the lungs you have a risk for the development of infection (pneumonia), shortness of breath, and the development or worsening of conditions like asthma.

Tooth decay. Sometimes considered a symptom of advanced GERD, tooth decay occurs when stomach acids wash all the way back up to the mouth. You may notice this as a sour taste in your mouth and nothing more—but contact of acid with your teeth over time can cause erosion and permanent damage to your teeth.

Barrett’s esophagus.  Also an advanced complication, these precancerous changes in the lining of the esophagus can only be diagnosed by endoscopy—when your doctor runs a light and tube down through your esophagus and takes a sample of the tissue for testing. There are no symptoms of Barrett’s esophagus outside of what your GERD may cause, and if left untreated could lead to esophageal cancer.

What you can do to defend yourself against GERD

If you’ve been diagnosed with GERD there are many ways you can ease your symptoms and live a better quality of life. Medications are a typical first line treatment, but may come with side effects. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment for you and also consider:
-  Changing your diet to avoid trigger foods

-  Exercising and losing weight

-  Not smoking

-  Using a GERD pillow at night

-  Eating smaller, more frequent meals

-  Talking to your doctor about adjusting medications that may worsen GERD symptoms

Gastroesophageal reflux disease may develop from different causes and may present itself in many ways. Being informed about the complications that come with it is half the battle towards minimizing GERD’s negative effects. Talk to your doctor if you think you may have GERD and learn more today.

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

The Many Wonderful Benefits Of Organic Juices

It is sad how the quality of edibles is degrading day by day. Adulterated food products, though cheap, are harmful for you in the long run. You cannot afford risking your family’s well-being, and when it comes to the health of your loved ones, only the best will do. An organic nutritious diet keeps you and your family fit and fine.

A glass of fresh fruit or vegetable juice is a great way to kick-start the day! Check out the many blessings and benefits of organic juices mentioned below-

Get real vitamins and minerals

Unlike processed juice cans, organic juices have nothing artificial about them. These juices are freshly squeezed out from a real fruit or vegetable. This way you get all the proper vitamins and minerals of the fruit directly. Your body needs some important vitamins and minerals for proper functioning and organic juices replenish that need.

Instant energy 

Organic juices keep you active and energised throughout the day. As some fruits are naturally sweet, the sugar content in them is a great source of energy. This is because consuming fresh fruits and vegetables keep you refreshed, increases you stamina and boosts your immunity. You can focus better and not feel exhausted every time.

Boosts the immunity

The many vitamins and minerals present in organic juices help fight harmful bacteria and prevent other diseases. Fruits such as oranges, lemon, and apples are great to boost the immunity as they contain Vitamin C, an important factor that fights all the harmful viruses and infections.

Help in losing weight 

Yes, consuming organic juices also takes you one step closer to shedding those extra kilos and getting that perfect toned body. Although proper workout is also necessary, one cannot deny the role or juices. Pure coconut water, lemon juice and beetroot help you manage your weight issues as these fluids your appetite and are very low on calories.

Keeps your skin glowing and youthful

Drinking organic juices daily can work wonders on your skin. Getting that perfect radiant, glowing and youthful skin is no more a dream! Lot of fruits and vegetables have anti-aging properties as well that help you look naturally beautiful. Also drinking organic juices reduces inflammation and baggy eyes and gives you an even toned complexion.

Keeps you hydrated throughout the day

Fruits and vegetables such as watermelons are a great source of water and consuming them as juices also help you overcome dehydration. Also the sugar content in some fruits manages the glucose levels of the body. Especially beneficial in the hot and humid summer, organic juices keep up the water content in your body and keep you hydrated throughout the day.

Prevents ulcers and kidney stones

Most of the fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C, and are therefore a great way to strengthen your immune system! Also vitamin C reduces the risk of ulcers and painful kidney stones considerably. The citrus acid present in many fruits prevent kidney stones form forming and ensure proper elimination of wastes.

Cures other deadly diseases

Rich in nutrients the organic juices are low on calorie and fat free thus balancing the cholesterol levels and even preventing heart attacks!  Vegetables such as spinach and kale help in the production of blood and even prevent deadly diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure and even fight cancer!

Contains antioxidants

Consuming organic juices also gives your body the much needed antioxidants that cleanse your body and eliminate the harmful toxins. Antioxidants also prevent acnes and pimples and keep your skin clear and blemish free.

Contain healthy carbohydrates and proteins

Fruits and vegetables are also a rich source of healthy carbs and proteins. This means a glass of organic juice can help you develop those rock hard muscles! Also most fruits have healthy levels of carbs and are almost fat free and hence a healthy option for athletes.

Factors to consider when buying organic juices

Keep these points in mind before you buy any organic juice
•    It should be 100% organic with no added flavours or preservatives
•    Use vegetables that are free of harmful pesticides
•    Don’t add any extra sweetener to the juice
•    avoid packed or canned juices

Mauricio Prinzlau  inspires people to go organic and live a healthy life at He writes about various organic juice recipes and reviews best juicers. Get in touch with him at Facebook and Twitter.

Fracking Spills Responsible for North Dakota Soil and Water Contamination

Accidental spills of wastewater at unconventional oil drilling sites in North Dakota have resulted in widespread soil and water contamination, according to a new study conducted by researchers from Duke University, which was recently published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

The scientists found high concentrations of lead, selenium, ammonium as well as other toxic pollutants, together with high salt levels in wastewater produced during fracking activities at oil drilling sites in North Dakota's Bakken region.

Streams contaminated by the fracking wastewater contained concentrations of pollutants that in many cases exceeded federal safety standards set for drinking water or for environmental health of freshwater systems.

Soil samples taken from spill sites showed that soils were contaminated with the radioactive element, radium, which chemically bonded with the soil following the release of spilled wastewater. In one case, the scientists still found high concentrations of pollutants in spilled wastewater four years later.

"Until now, research in many regions of the nation has shown that contamination from fracking has been fairly sporadic and inconsistent," said Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment. "In North Dakota, however, we find it is widespread and persistent, with clear evidence of direct water contamination from fracking."

"The magnitude of oil drilling in North Dakota is overwhelming," Vengosh said. "More than 9,700 wells have been drilled there in the past decade. This massive development has led to more than 3,900 brine spills, mostly coming from faulty pipes built to transport fracked wells' flowback water from on-site holding containers to nearby injection wells where it will be disposed underground."

During the course of the study, the researchers mapped the 3,900 wastewater spill sites to illustrate how oil drilling intensity played a key contributing role in wastewater spills.

Over a seven year period between 2007 - 2014, unconventional oil production has increased from around 100,000 barrels per day to over 1 million barrels per day in North Dakota. The increase in production is largely due to advances in hydro-fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies. The expansion of the oil and gas industry in North Dakota has spurred economic growth, particularly in the rural areas and tribal lands. However, this expansion has also fueled concern about the impact on drinking water quality.

According to lead author of the paper, Nancy Lauer, a doctoral student at Duke, unlike oil, which breaks down in soils, brine-laden spilled wastewater contains salts, heavy metals and inorganic chemicals that do not readily biodegrade. Consequently these contaminants persist in the environment for a very long time. As a result, we now have a legacy of radioactive contamination at these spill sites.

Lauer points out that soil samples collected further downstream from wastewater spill sites had higher levels of radiation than soils samples collected from a wastewater spill site itself, suggesting that radium accumulates in soils as spilled wastewater flows through.

Considering that wastewater spills can occur upstream from drinking water sources, it is important to conduct long-term monitoring of waters further downstream to determine the impact on drinking water quality, notes Vengosh. For example, in 2014 a leaking underground pipeline spewed roughly 1 million gallons of brine into Bear Den Bay, situated less than a mile upstream from Lake Sakakawea which supplies drinking water to residents nearby.

Aerial view of resource extraction in Texas.

"Many smaller spills have also occurred on tribal lands, and as far as we know, no one is monitoring them," Vengosh added. "People who live on the reservations are being left to wonder how it might affect their land, water, health and way of life."

Journal Reference

Nancy E. Lauer, Jennifer S. Harkness, Avner Vengosh. Brine Spills Associated with Unconventional Oil Development in North Dakota. Environmental Science & Technology, April 27, 2016.  DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b06349

Danielle Ward

Theravent For a Great Night Sleep

Keep a box in your medicine cabinet and you won’t have to worry about those random nights when you are snoring up a storm for no apparent reason. When you partner is kicking you out of bed, and waking you up in annoyance to because you sound like an elephant. If you keep one or more options that are capable of stopping snoring in its tracks simply and easily, you might get to stay in bed.

You know those nights when you are so tired you can’t think straight, or when you have had a really late night enjoying a few drinks with your friends. Other causes for occasional snoring can be seasonal allergies, or colds that cause inflammation in the airways. These types of snoring are easy to curtail using simple theravent strips, which will assist in keeping the airway, open and reduce the obnoxious noises.

For those who need nightly treatment, at just over a dollar a day this option is a really good alternative to more invasive mask therapy. Though if you are snoring every day you might want to be sure you don’t have a full on case of sleep apnea which can be much more complicated and require more aggressive treatments. Theravent is available in three different types which can handle the light snorer, the mid range snorer and the master snorer who might easily be mistaken for a bear coming out of hibernation.

It is really easy to believe that snoring isn’t a thing to be concerned about, especially if you don’t have anyone in your bed that is complaining about the noise. You will still be waking yourself up and not experiencing the restful and rejuvenating sleep you need, but you may not be aware of how often or how much your are suffering. When in doubt it is a good idea to speak to your physician. Even if you are simply feeling more tired than normal and don’t have an obvious reason why that might be happening. Getting a grip on the problem early can reduce your risks of suffering major problems that can be very serious. Sleep apnea is nothing to blow off; it can cause some very serious illnesses and even death.

Having a simple solution to sometimes snoring is an excellent way to ensure the restful nature of your sleep for those who love you and spend the night in your bed. You may also find it helps you to achieve a better night sleep as well since you likely startle yourself with the noise. Everyone experiences occasional bouts of snoring and this is nothing to worry about at all. It is only a problem when it becomes frequent and especially if it is accompanied by moments when it seems you stop breathing all together.

Be prepared for anything with a stocked medicine cabinet that includes stop snoring aids, first aid supplies, and a variety of cold, pain and allergy medications to be sure you have the situation covered before it even occurs.

This is a guest blog post.

Take Care of Your Braces with These Dental Supplies

Braces are one of the most common forms of treatment in our society. In fact, they’re almost like a rite of passage for many of us during our teenage years. They’re usually required for 12 to 24 months, not only to correct the alignment of our teeth for functional purposes, but also for aesthetic reasons. After all, a straight smile is a beautiful smile! But what about that time when we do have the braces on our teeth – how do we make the most of our smile then? For starters, taking care of your braces is pivotal. Let’s look at some of the dental supplies available from Orien Dental Supplies to help you look after your braces so they can help you create the smile you want.

Your Toothbrush
Brushing your teeth is always important, but especially so when you’re wearing braces, as there are more spaces for food particles to get lodged in and potentially cause dental problems. While people are recommended to brush twice daily, people with braces should brush their teeth after every meal – even that mid-afternoon snack. 

Your choice of toothbrush is also an important point of consideration. In the battery powered vs. manually operated debate, many dentists and healthcare professionals tend to side with battery power. The common belief is that people who brush with a traditional, non-augmented toothbrush tend to brush harder than necessary, which has the potential to cause unintended damage to the teeth. Add braces into the equation and the damage could become quite expensive. With electric or battery powered toothbrushes, however, users are less likely to brush unnecessarily hard, as they tend to put their faith in the speed and intensity of the brush. Dental suppliers Orien Dental have a selection of manual and powered toothbrushes to suit your needs.

Flossing with Braces

You might think that flossing with braces might be difficult with the wires and metal pieces, but it’s simpler than you might think. We recommend flossing once a day; not only between the braces, but underneath the wires as well, where food is most likely to be caught. Orien Dental Supplies can provide you with the Paro Brush’n Floss that allows you to clean around your braces using the foam-like portion to remove any food particles or plaque that your toothbrush can’t. The Paro Brush’n Floss also has a stiffened end dental threader that allows you to manipulate it around your braces. Additionally, Orien Dental Supplies has a comprehensive range of interdental brushes with a variety of handles and brush sizes to complement your cleaning needs. These products are orthodontically friendly and are ideal for cleaning around your braces.


During your orthodontic treatment, you may be asked to use a chlorhexidine gel or toothpaste to help with any gum issues that may arise. We can provide you with these dental supplies. There are also two strengths of fluoride toothpaste that we can provide for your daily use that are SLS free with a mild mint taste.


At Orien dental supplies, there are 2 types of mouthwash that you can use to help protect your teeth and gums during your orthodontic treatment. Your dentist is the best person to recommend the type of mouthwash you may require.

Within our chlorhexidine mouthwash range, there are three different strengths of the active ingredient available depending on the oral issue. All are alcohol free. We at Orien are the only Australian dental supplier to have 3 different strengths of chlorhexidine mouthwash.

We also supply fluoride mouthwash, such as the Parodent mouthrinse that has 250ppm fluoride and is alcohol and colour free. It comes in a 500ml bottle with a unique measuring dispenser to reduce wastage. This is only available from Orien Dental Supplies.

Your One-Stop Dental Supply Shop

While most people typically only have braces on for 18 to 24 months, it can be quite a difficult period of adjustment no matter what age the wearer is. Looking after your braces is crucial if you’re committed to looking after your teeth, and Orien Dental Supplies is committed to looking after you. As a leading provider of dental supplies in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and across Australia, discover just what we can do for you. Explore our comprehensive range of dental supplies online today.

This is a guest blog post.

Do You Know How the FDA Approves New Medications? It’s Time You Learned!

Over the years there have been so many FDA approved medications that have been pulled from the shelves that it leads many to wonder how they were ever deemed safe for the general public in the first place. If you or a loved one has been prescribed a ‘new’ medication that you are unfamiliar with, and even those you’ve heard of before, it pays to know a little bit about how the FDA approves new medications safe for use in the United States. With drug after drug being recalled and class action suits filed against the manufacturer, like the recent Xarelto Lawsuit filed against Bayer AG and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, consumers should know how the medications they take actually reach their pharmacists’ shelves.

Royalty free photo

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research

The group within the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) that has the final say on whether or not pharmaceuticals are safe to be sold in the U.S. is the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, CDER. By the very name of the group you would think that the FDA has gigantic laboratories equipped to thoroughly test every drug that applies for patent and to be sold here in the U.S. Unfortunately, this really isn’t the case.

Research Is Not Conducted by the FDA

Where consumers go wrong is in thinking that the FDA employs thousands of scientists and research assistants to conduct studies on each and every medication that comes across their ‘desk.’ Unfortunately, this is simply not the case. CDER does limited testing only after the medication (or supplement) has been studied by the manufacturer and that particular formulation meets with the FDA’s requirements. But does it really? Since the FDA, or CDER to be exact, does not do the testing for efficacy and safety, they are pretty much operating on the assumption that the testing conducted by the manufacturer and/or third party laboratories is thorough and accurate. The only research conducted by CDER is usually in terms of quality control. In effect, what the government is looking for is problems in the process not in the safety or efficacy of the drug.

Consumers Can Pay More than They Bargained For

If all the necessary paperwork required by the government is in order and the manufacturer appears to have tested the drug in compliance with FDA guidelines, most pharmaceuticals are approved for sale in the United States. CDER’s Office for Testing, as mentioned above, will do sporadic quality control tests but does not test for safety. Consumers should be made aware of the fact that they are, for the most part, taking the word of the manufacturer who of course wants to sell that drug for profit. Consider the fact that a pharmaceutical company most likely invested tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of dollars in producing the formulation so they want to profit from their investment. But at what cost?

Are FDA Guidelines Strict Enough?

This is not to say that a manufacturer knowingly withheld pertinent information from the FDA when seeking approval for their new medication. Many times it took being released to millions of people to realize the full extent of potential side effects. Whether the pharmaceutical company fell short on their ethical responsibilities or the required testing wasn’t sufficient to find those exceptions to the norm isn’t really at issue here. The point is, consumers are led to believe that the FDA approved each and every drug after doing their own independent studies and this is just not the case.

Consumer beware. Do your own research before taking any new medication because there may already be problems reported that you should be aware of. If you don’t take your own safety into your own hands, who will?

This is a guest blog post.

The Anti-Snoring Toolkit - Helping You Combat Snoring Easily

Snoring occurs when the nasal and throat airways are obstructed, causing the surrounding tissues to vibrate. Snoring can be caused by a number of factors including poor diet, weight gain, the aging process, sedentary lifestyle, stress, etc.

While snoring can usually be a symptom of a more serious ailment, it can also affect your relationship with your family and loved ones. Therefore, it’s important to follow regulated methods to eliminate snoring once and forever.

Reduce those love handles

Obesity can drastically increase the accumulation of fatty tissue around your throat area, by following a healthy weight loss program, you can shed the extra calories to decrease fat cells around your neck and help ease your airways to breathe better, thus eliminating snoring once and forever.

Follow a fitness program

Adopting a vigorous cardio or weight lifting regime can help tone your muscles and keep you fit. An active lifestyle contributes to optimum sleeping habits, thereby reducing your snoring levels over time. It is a good idea to monitor your fitness habits via a fitness journal and periodically check to evaluate your snoring levels.

Kick the Bud

Smoking has been proven to be one of the leading causes of sleep disorders such as sleep inertia, insomnia, sleep apnea, etc. all of these disorders cause snoring as their symptoms. Quit smoking to improve your overall health as well as clearing your lungs to receive clean and fresh air.

Avoid Alcohol Consumption

If you are an alcoholic or partake in the frequent consumption of liquor, it’s recommended to decrease or completely stop alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a muscle relaxant and can cause your throat tissues and muscles to contract, this can proceed to cause episodes of snoring.

Change your Sleeping Position

If you are someone that prefers sleeping on their back, you might want to opt to sleep on your sides. Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue and muscles to rest on your throat, this, in turn, can cause obstruction to your throat passages and may promote snoring.

A simple way to force your body to sleep on the side is to wrap a tennis ball or body pillow to your back, enabling your body to forcefully shift to your side.

Eliminate Dust Mites

Dust mites encourage allergic reactions causing your nasal airways to relax. This can increase your snoring levels. Also, avoid playing with pets in your bedroom to prevent them from shedding animal dander, an irritant that causes nasal allergies.

Cleaning your pillow covers and bed sheets every two to three months can relieve your snoring condition.

Regular Sleeping Patterns

It goes without saying, if you have a sleep problem, your chances of snoring are high. It’s advisable to stick to the same sleeping pattern daily to keep your biological clock in check. Getting a good night’s rest can improve your chances of decreasing snoring altogether.

Meditate to Improve Lungs

Yoga or meditation can cause a deep sense of relaxation. Incorporating breathing exercises can clear your airways and increase lung capacity for better air flow within your nasal and throat passages. Meditation has also proven to decrease stress levels, which can aid immensely in gaining a good shut-eye every night.

Seek out Anti-Snoring Appliances

There are quite a few devices that help combat snoring either by forcing your head to attain a relaxed position or by oral application.

The chin strap is a popular device recommended by sleep experts to help prevent snoring, the apparatus works by strapping the belt across your head and chin to assist in keeping your mouth closed while you snooze. With your mouth closed, your airways remain clear to eliminate snoring.

The anti-snoring mouthpiece is a device that when inserted into the user’s mouth enables the user’s mandible or jawbone to widen and increase airways, this reduces wind turbulence inside the mouth and allows the user to breathe without restriction.

If none of the above-listed methods have proved to be effective in relieving your snoring condition, then perhaps it’s time to visit a Somnologist or Neurologist to determine the underlying condition. Snoring is a condition that should never be ignored, it could relate to a more serious and undetected sickness that could prove to be fatal if not caught early. 

Danielle Ward

Thursday, May 26, 2016

How CEOs With Learning Disabilities Innovated Groundbreaking Technologies

CEOs are different from almost everyone else. They thrive on risk and reward. In today’s economy, many run multi-million dollar high-tech companies. It takes charisma to persuade thousands of employees to share a corporate vision and to believe in “the evidence of things not seen.”

It takes unusual talent and persistence to create gigantic corporations, handle nationwide marketing campaigns, deal with Internet security issues along the way, and fight against all the calamities associated with network security and data loss prevention. And it takes courage to handle the massive financial losses or career reversals that can unexpectedly occur in the course of building an empire. For example, Steve Jobs was fired from the company he founded.

It’s only natural to assume that these CEOs must have extraordinary mental talents to be able to invent new technological systems, detect emerging marketing trends, and make a fortune from opportunities that most people failed to notice in the first place.

However, what may surprise you is that this is often not the case. A number of CEOs and entrepreneurs have learning disabilities, the most common being dyslexia.

Against all reasonable assumptions, they have often managed to turn their weaknesses into strengths or found a way to make their weaknesses irrelevant.

Here are four stories of famous people who have created high-tech companies that changed the world. They did not let their disabilities slow them down, and have done things most people would consider bordering on the impossible.


According to Medical News Today,“Dyslexia is a specific reading disability due to a defect in the brain's processing of graphic symbols. It is a learning disability that alters the way the brain processes written material and is typically characterized by difficulties in word recognition, spelling and decoding.”

Often people with dyslexia find it difficult to read because of reversals of numbers, letters or words

Three famous technologists who suffered from dyslexia were Steve Jobs, who founded Apple; Bill Hewlett, who started Hewlett Packard; and John Chambers, the former CEO of Cisco Systems.

Steve Jobs

Steven Paul Jobs was an American inventor, visionary, and tech entrepreneur. He co-founded Apple, Inc, and served as its chief executive and chairman. He was also the CEO of Pixar, the American computer animation film studio in Emeryville, California famous for making Toy Story.

He is well-known for his thought-provoking quotes about the nature of innovation:

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

Although dyslexia made it difficult for him to read, it didn’t stop him from his prolific urge to make a dent in the universe in the world computers, animation films, and telecommunications.

Bill Hewlett

American engineer William Redington Hewlett and David Packard founded the computer manufacturing company Hewlett-Packard. At one time, it was the second largest computer company in the world. He also founded Agilent Technologies, Hewlett Foundation, and Public Policy Institute of California.

John Chambers

Executive chairman and former CEO of Cisco Systems John Thomas Chambers did not let dyslexia stop him from running the famous multinational technology company that designs, makes, and sells networking equipment.

He not only managed a multinational company, but he also wrote the popular book, “The Truth about Networking for Success: The Top Tips to Becoming a Great Networker, the Facts You Should Know.”

Asperger’s Syndrome

Here is how WebMD describes it. “Asperger's syndrome, also called Asperger's disorder, is a type of pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). PDDs are a group of conditions that involve delays in the development of many basic skills, most notably the ability to socialize with others, to communicate, and to use imagination.”

Often people with Asperger’s syndrome find it difficult to get a job because of difficulties in socializing with others and communicating their interests.

Bram Cohen did not let his Asperger’s syndrome stop him from becoming one of the top computer programmers in the world by creating a disruptive protocol that changed the Internet.

Bram Cohen

American computer programmer Bram Cohen authored the peer-to-peer protocol called BitTorrent. He also authored the first file sharing program that used the BitTorrent protocol.

Essentially, what the protocol does is allow users to transfer huge amounts of information over the Internet.

He did not have a learning disorder, but many psychologists consider Asperger’s syndrome a disorder that falls within the autism spectrum.

Bram Cohen turned Asperger’s syndrome to his advantage because it gave him a deeper interest in patterns and puzzles than most people have the patience to figure out.

Making A Dent in the Universe

Despite difficulties that would have stopped most people in their tracks, these four technology innovators have changed the world in a significant way. What is particularly impressive is that they excelled in a field that requires tremendous study and knowledge to excel in.

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Transforming Public Health Worldwide

As technology advances, new ways of tracking outbreaks are continually evolving. As you work toward your online MPH degree, you’ll learn that Medical Geographic Information Systems have become an important tool for transforming public health worldwide. Here’s how (click to enlarge):

University of Southern California Master of Public Health Online

This is a guest blog entry.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Top 4 Alternatives to Seeing a Primary Care Physician

When you have the sniffles or a sore throat, you might think that it’s time to pay a visit to your family doctor. However, as the healthcare industry continues to change in the U.S., a doctor’s visit can be very expensive and you could end up spending a lot of time in the office without receiving the results you want. Instead, consider some of these alternatives to seeing a primary care physician.

Utilize E-Visits

Image via Flickr by Army Medicine
There are a growing number of healthcare professionals who offer online tools and resources to diagnose and treat basic symptoms. is a site where patients can talk to certified medical staff members about specific health problems and even receive prescriptions for medications if appropriate. These online alternatives are more affordable than regular office visits and can save you time as well.

Check Into a Retail Health Clinic

Many retail stores, such as drugstores and supermarkets, now offer another option to see a doctor for your symptoms. The purpose of retail health clinics is to provide a faster and more convenient experience for a patient who has an episodic minor illness. Similar to an urgent care facility, a clinic of this nature isn’t a substitute for regular medical checkups or annual wellness exams. Instead, it is a great option for when you are ill but want to see a provider while you are already at the store picking up over-the-counter meds for your symptoms.

Homeopathic Remedies

You can also use homeopathic alternative remedies to treat your symptoms instead of bundling up and heading out to see your doctor. Many illnesses are viral, so there aren’t any prescription medications that will offer relief. A primary care physician might prescribe or recommend a medication that will help with symptoms, but homeopathic options often provide similar or better results. The main benefit of choosing homeopathic medicine is that is more natural and safer than using drugs. It is practiced throughout the world and remedies will not interact with other conventional medications.

Consider Alternative Care Providers 

There are other types of healthcare providers that can assist in providing relief. If you are experiencing sore and aching muscles, schedule an appointment with a massage therapist who can give a treatment that heals inflammation, releases endorphins to help you feel better faster, and works on both a hormonal and cellular level. Hypnotherapy is an alternative treatment for chronic pain or addiction. Osteopathic doctors focus on health management through strengthening of the joints, muscles, spine, and connective tissues. A naturopathic healthcare provider will use natural resources, including exercise, nutrition, meditation, and herbs, to heal bodies. The goal of naturopathy is overall balance, which promotes wellness.

With so many options available to you, skip the visit to your primary care physician the next time you have an illness that isn’t life-threatening. Of course, anything that is cause for concern should be evaluated by a licensed medical professional. These other options make it easier to find a provider in your area so you can feel better sooner through additional treatments and remedies.

This is a guest blog post.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Is Your Primary Doctor Up to Date with Modern Medical Technology?

The role of the primary care physician is as important as ever in the health of men and women worldwide. They are the first line of defense in preventative medicine. However, it’s important for patients to practice a certain level of due diligence when visiting their go to doctor during their next appointment.

The matter at hand is determining whether or not your physician is on the ball regarding the latest in modern medicine. They have an obligation to their patients to be on the forefront of state of the start healthcare, or be in touch with someone with specialized knowledge to fill the gaps.

Next time you see your doctor, don’t be afraid to get an idea as to where they stand regarding the following core components of modern medicine:

Samples Management

A tremendous level of modern medical theory revolves around the examination of samples. Sometimes the right expert is several states away, requiring samples to be transported. When time is of great importance such as the detection of cancer, the proper handling of these blood and tissue samples is critical. Medical institutions use biotransport and storage services from companies like pbmmi to make sure samples are handled according to recognized standards.

Data Management

The idea of computer systems playing a greater role in healthcare sounds scary, but the honest truth is that software is less likely to make a medical mistake than a human being. The push for electronic health records is one your physician ought to be embracing with open arms. In fact, it’s the law.

Knowledge Updates

Experience is a tremendous asset for a doctor to have. However, medical science changes dramatically from one decade to another. A physician has an obligation to stay up to date on these changes. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about what medical journals they read on a regular basis. If you see an unfamiliar commercial on TV for a new drug, ask your physician about it just to see whether or not they’re caught up on the latest pharmaceutical developments.

Specialist Network

There’s only so much a general physician can keep in his or her brain. The role of the specialist is to focus intensity on a specific avenue of medical science. These individuals are privy to the state of the art developments in their respective area of expertise. Therefore, it’s important for your regular doctor to be well connected with reputable specialists in the major sections of healthcare.

Every year, millions of people are properly treated by professional and knowledgeable general practice physicians. These doctors are often times the first to know if someone is not right, and are tasked with deciding on what to do next. Patients trust their physicians to do what's best, only sometimes the best intentions become fogged by an outdated approach. Doctors must stay up to date on the proven methods to help patients, as well as incorporate technological changes into their practice. Failure to do so goes against the fundamental nature of helping people to be well.

This is a post by Nancy Evans.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

So How Does Frozen Donor Egg IVF Work?

Have you tried traditional IVF using your own eggs and not had success? Many women in this difficult situation are turning to frozen donor egg IVF. By choosing to use donor eggs from a young woman under 32, you can increase your odds of having a healthy pregnancy.

Frozen donor eggs have become an attractive option since the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) lifted the experimental label on egg freezing a few years ago. Success rates are now approaching those achieved through fresh donor egg IVF.

If you’re considering frozen donor egg IVF, it may be helpful to educate yourself on the following 7-step process of a typical cycle that takes about 6 weeks.

Enroll In A Frozen Donor Egg Program

After you’ve taken the first step and enrolled in a frozen donor egg program, this will be your chance to ask questions and explore the financial plans available to cover the cost of donor eggs.

Select An Egg Donor

By viewing the egg bank’s database of donors, you’ll be able to find a donor who suits your individual preferences. You will be able to evaluate a wide variety of donor profiles that reflect the diversity of the United States.

The detailed profiles typically include medical history, genetic disorders, fertility history, college degree, employment status, and a few short-answer questions, including her reason for donating eggs. You will even have access to donors’ photo albums to assess their physical characteristics, if desired.

Prepare For the IVF Transfer

In order to prepare the endometrial lining of your uterus for implantation, you will need to take fertility medications, including estrogen and progesterone, for approximately four weeks prior to the embryo transfer. According to Baby Center, an endometrium of at least 7 mm is critical for a successful donor egg IVF cycle. Your doctor will do an ultrasound to measure your uterine lining prior to your transfer to ensure that the optimum thickness is reached.

Receive Eggs

When you are ready, the egg bank will send the frozen eggs to the fertility clinic of your choice via priority overnight shipping. You will receive a minimum of 5 mature eggs, the number deemed optimal to produce one healthily-developing embryo for transfer. 

Thaw and Fertilize Eggs

Once your uterus is ready for the embryo to be implanted, the embryologist will start the fertilization process. Eggs are removed from the storage vat and quickly rehydrated or warmed. The embryologist will examine the eggs and grade them based on their quality level. Then the eggs will be combined with your partner's or donor’s sperm and incubated overnight. During frozen donor egg IVF, doctors typically recommend fertilizing the eggs using a technique called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). With ICSI, a single sperm is injected directly into each mature egg with a needle, instead of allowing sperm to penetrate the egg in a Petri dish.

Undergo IVF Transfer

After fertilization, the embryos will begin to develop. Three days after the egg retrieval, some of the eggs that were successfully fertilized become 6- to 10-celled embryos. By the fifth day, some of these embryos will develop into blastocysts with a fluid-filled cavity and tissues that are starting to separate into a placenta and baby. The embryologist then selects the most viable embryo or embryos, depending on various factors discussed with your doctor, to place into your uterus 3 to 5 days after fertilization. The doctor will transfer the resulting embryos into your uterus by inserting a thin tube called a catheter through your cervix.

In some cases, there may be more than one or two viable embryos, in which case the additional embryos can be cryopreserved and used for a potential future cycle.

Take A Pregnancy Test

Two weeks after the embryo transfer you will receive a blood pregnancy test that measures the level of hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, also known as the pregnancy hormone) in your system. The clinic will continue to measure your hCG levels until you’re released to a traditional OB/GYN at around 7 weeks.

When a woman is told that using her own eggs to get pregnant is impossible, the emotional results can be devastating. But by considering frozen donor egg IVF, her sense of hope and her dreams of having a family can happily be restored.

This is a guest blog post.

Monday, May 16, 2016

What’s Your Metabolism Type?

Metabolism is the chemical process your body uses to keep cells alive and your body functioning. To do this, cells need energy that is delivered from the nutrients you take in from food.

This energy comes in the form of calories from fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Just as no two people are alike, there are no two metabolisms that are exactly the same. That’s why what you eat should be customized to the type of metabolism you have. Here are the three most common metabolic types:

Type A

The type A metabolism craves salty foods like potato chips and tends to have trouble with anxiety. Researchers believe that type A’s burn protein and fats more efficiently than carbohydrates so it’s fine for these types to enjoy dairy, ice cream, cheese, fruits and vegetables, but they should stay away from refined carbs like white bread. Type A metabolisms should try to make sure 50% of their calories come from protein, 30% from fat, and 20% from carbohydrates each day.

Type B

If you crave sweets, you may have a type B metabolism. To help you fuel your body most efficiently, follow a low-fat, low-protein diet (this means increasing your healthy carbohydrates). Take in more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and try to get 70% of your daily calories from carbs, 20% from protein and 10% from fat. If you eat dairy as your protein source, make sure to choose low-fat options.

Type C

Do you find yourself craving different flavors at any time? It’s not an identity crisis--you’re probably just a type C metabolism. In this case, you should aim for a balance of all nutrients and take in 33% of your daily calories from fat, 33% from carbs and 33% from protein.

Don’t guess at your metabolic type

While many quizzes and questionnaires can be found online that deem to determine your metabolic type, the best way to find out what’s happening inside your body on the cellular level is to consider nutrigenomic profile testing. This simple saliva test, provided by Pathway Genomics can reveal exactly what nutritional needs your body has based on your DNA, so you can begin eating what’s right for you—no guessing required.

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Getting Older: How to Keep the Aging Mind Sharp

We’re all given a vehicle at birth. How we handle it and care for it in the years to come will determine how long it runs. While some of us may be blessed with a vehicle capable of taking abuse, others may be given one with limited capabilities. But one way or another, how we treat these vehicles will affect the lifetime mileage.

This vehicle being talked about is not a car, but the human body. The older we get, the more likely our parts aren’t going to perform as well as they did in years past, not unlike an automobile. It’s therefore important to do what we can to keep ourselves in running condition for as long as possible.

Folks in their late-50s and onward have a particular obligation to keep their minds running properly. It’s no secret our thinking starts to get a bit muddled as we get older. Most aged care training courses focus heavily on dealing with declining mental agility among the elderly, a clear indicator of how much brain power influences independence later in life.

To help older readers out, here are five ways to keep the mind sharp past 60 years of age:

Read Regularly

Studies strongly suggest that reading books on a regular basis can help prevent dementia in adults as they age. While all forms of reading are welcome ways to exercise the brain, it appears that books and other longform writing are best for keeping the mind healthy.

Play Games

The same studies which point to the brain benefits of reading also point to puzzle solving and similar games as a great way to help the mind stay sharp. While we can’t definitively say your favorite bird themed video game is good for the brain, anything requiring critical thinking is likely to count. This includes everything from the ancient game of chess to strategy based MMO (massively multiplayer online) games.

Question Things

The older we get the more we settle into certain grooves of thought. We align ourselves politically, culturally, and socially, and feel confident we’re in the right. The unfortunate side effect is a reduced amount of scrutiny placed on the information we receive. It’s critical to continue applying skepticism to seemingly trusted facts and figures. Otherwise we begin to build inaccurate webs of self-deception in the final chapters of life.


Visiting a foreign city is a mentally enriching event at virtually any stage of life. It certainly keeps the mind on nonstop absorption mode, taking in all the exotic sights, sounds, smells, and tastes. Travel as much as possible in older age to encourage a well rounded brain. If you’re financially incapable of globe trekking, or even going out of state, a simple walk around town can invigorate the mind in a similar fashion. The goal is to expose your senses to different things.

Eat Properly

The benefits of healthy eating in old age are shown to help prevent bone and muscle injuries common among the elderly. However, a proper diet can also help prevent mental deterioration. The right ratio of vitamins, proteins, and complex carbohydrates results in a brain receiving its desired balance of nutrients.

Whether it’s Volvo or BYD, every automobile will run longer if well maintained. The same is true for the human body. The better we take care of our personal vehicle, the more miles we’ll rack up before the timing belt breaks.

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Helping a Friend Deal with Depression

Depression is a common disorder in the United States, with reports showing that 1 out of 10 people will suffer from this debilitating condition in their lifetime. With modern stressors, genetics, and mystery factors not yet understood combining to increase the frequency of this disease, it is likely you will personally know someone struggling with depression at some point in your lifetime.

If you’re worried your friend might be suffering from depression and want to help as much as possible through this difficult period, consider these tips.

How is Depression Different?

Everyone has periods of sadness, but clinical depression is another type of beast. A severely depressed individual may find it a struggle to complete even the most simple of daily tasks, rendering them unable to function effectively in their normal routines. It’s not something that can always be overcome with positive thinking, and it affects so many different facets of life, including namely, relationships—don’t let yours with your friend become a victim to this disease.

Encourage Them to Seek Professional Help

Your friend might be very resistant to reach out to you, let alone reach out to a therapist or other licensed professional. However, depression is a scary condition, and it’s worth talking to your friend about accessing care should the situation require it. It can be hard to know whether they need care or not. There are certain signs to look for: if he or she mentions suicidal thoughts, if they aren’t able to eat, or if sleep has become impossible, they need to seek help and work out some sort of treatment.

Get Educated

While mental illness is more talked about in recent years than it has ever been, there’s still plenty of misconceptions about depression and anxiety. To fully be there for your friend, you need to take your time to understand the condition. Do your research; go online, check out books, look at recent studies. The more you know, the more helpful you can be.

Be There

Your friend likely won’t reach out for you, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need your support. Stay in touch as much as possible. It may be frustrating when they aren’t returning your texts or answering your calls, but it’s essential that you continue reaching out. Their retraction from life is no reflection of their feelings towards you or your friendship; depression makes even basic functions feel impossible. Part of being there might mean taking initiative to do the things he or she can’t handle anymore. This might mean picking up groceries, doing their laundry, or even dropping off prepared meals to make sure they’re eating. If you live far away, you can help do many of these things through services. You can send a cleaning brigade to their home with Merry Maids, have groceries or recipe boxes like Hello Fresh dropped off at their door, and ask close-by friends to check in on them every now and again.


You should strive to become a listener more than a talker when it comes to your interactions with your friend. Listen to their concerns, prompt them with open ended questions that will get a conversation going, and be wary of offering advice. Don’t feel compelled to say something; depression doesn’t always make sense, and there isn’t always an answer. You can, however, always provide words of support and hope, without diminishing the pain your friend is currently experiencing. Everyone deals with and overcomes depression in a different way, so what works for someone else you knew might not work for this particular friend.

Little Surprises

By no means will gifts help them “get over” their illness, but providing little bits of happiness will put bright spots into a week that might have been otherwise difficult. Grab a special gift to let them know you’re thinking of them, or drop off a bouquet of flowers just because. This is another way to show you care without overwhelming your friend, and lets them know you’ll be patient while they work through their illness.

Watching a friend suffer from depression is tough, but you can make the difference by being a pillar of support while they work to get better. Use these guidelines to be there for your friend and give them hope of a brighter future.

This is a guest blog entry.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Top 10 Books on Motherhood for Mother’s Day

Motherhood is one of the most cherished societal roles that requires much physical and emotional sacrifice, unexpected challenges, and periods of great joy and sadness. In recognition of the amazing job that so many mothers do, flowers, chocolates, dinner, breakfast in bed, and new clothes are some of the many traditional gifts mothers receive on Mother’s Day. However, what many people forget when shopping for mom is that many mothers enjoy having some down time to read a good book. Along those lines, here is MedFriendly’s list of the Top 10 books on motherhood (based on reader review ratings) that mothers with different lifestyles should enjoy reading on Mother’s Day. At the end of each description, we highlight the type of mother who would best like each particular book.
1. Motherhood Realized: An Inspiring Anthology for the Hardest Job You'll Ever Love by Power of Moms. Power of Moms. This is a tangible representation of a living, breathing community of mothers (Power of Moms). The book is a collection of the best articles the Power of Moms has shared online. Each chapter is one article, so they are very easy and quick to read (10 min or less). The chapters are grouped into meaningful sections and do not need to be read from beginning to end.
Ideal for mothers with a fast-paced life.
2. Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected by Kayla Aimee. Both poignant and humorous, Anchored recounts Kayla’s gripping story of learning to navigate her newfound motherhood (premature delivery) in the most unexpected of ways, from holidays in the hospital and middle-of-the-night phone calls to the joy of coming home. With vulnerability and plenty of wit, Kayla lays bare her struggle to redefine her faith, her marriage, and herself within the context of a tragedy she never saw coming. For anyone who has felt their faith in God falter, Anchored extends a gentle invitation to join her as she uncovers a hope that holds.
Ideal for mothers who have given birth to children prematurely.
3. The Single Mom and Her Rollercoaster Emotions by Pam Kanaly. Christian guidance for single parenting. Single moms face ups and downs, and this personal testimony offers advice on how to navigate the emotional roller coaster. After highlighting and defining nine specific negative emotions that often overwhelm single parents, Pam Kanaly explains how to transform these common characteristics into corresponding positive traits. Founded on love and biblical teaching, these words of wisdom and compassion will offer hope and consolation to struggling moms.
Ideal for single Christian mothers.
4. Tales from Another Mother Runner: Triumphs, Trials, Tips, and Tricks from the Road by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea. Every mother runner has a tale to tell. A story about how she realized, fifteen years after being told that she's best being a bookworm, that there is an athlete inside her. Or the one about how she, fifty pounds overweight and depressed, finally found the courage---and time---to lace up her running shoes. Ideal for the running mother or the mother who needs motivation to get more active.
5. A Mother's Dance: One Step Back, Two Steps Forward, Full Circle by Pattie Welek Hall. A touching story about hope, resilience, fortitude, faith, and about the value of family and friends. Pattie relays her story of a mother trying to balance life goals with the need to care for a child in a coma from a traumatic brain injury.  She is later tested again when her oldest son dies. Ideal for the mother who has lost a child and/or has cared for children with serious medical issues.
6. Tilt: 7 Solutions To Be A Guilt-Free Working Mom by Marci Fair. Juggling work and family has never seemed more possible than in Marci Fair's parenting guide, TILT. It was written out of the difficult struggles and unexpected answers that Fair has found on her journey through the TILT of life, work, and motherhood. Ideal for the working mother.
7. Reclaiming Home: The Family's Guide for Life, Love and Legacy by Krista Gilbert. This is the go-to guidebook, helping families cultivate solid roots of meaning, connectedness, and family identity in the ever-shifting soil of modern family life. Ideal for the mother looking to simplify her chaotic family life.
8. The Mindful Mom-To-Be: A Modern Doula's Guide to Building a Healthy Foundation from Pregnancy Through Birth by Lori Bregman. Strengthening your own foundation is one of the very best beginnings you can give your child. In The Mindful Mom-to-Be, doula and pregnancy coach Lori Bregman guides you in your journey toward motherhood by empowering you to find what works best for you and your baby. In addition to concrete, prescriptive health information, including nutritional advice, natural remedies, developmental milestones, and techniques for labor, she offers simple and enjoyable spiritual and emotional exercises to help you prepare for motherhood. Ideal for the pregnant mother.
9. Dial Down the Drama: Reducing Conflict and Reconnecting with Your Teenage Daughter--A Guide for Mothers Everywhere by Colleen O’Grady. Written by a popular family therapist, "Dial Down the Drama "reveals how to reclaim your center and reconnect with your teen. It helps you: Regain perspective - Break the cycle of conflict - Tune in to your daughter without drowning in her drama - Foster spontaneous conversations - Understand the developing adolescent brain and how it influences behavior - Appreciate her for who she is now--a wonderful, work in progress - Replace worrying and overreacting with effective communication and action - Forge a healthy and lasting bond together Moodiness, anger, and defiance can stress the best of us. This empowering guide gives you the tools you need to defuse the drama--and dial up the joy. Ideal for mothers of teenage daughters.
10. Changed By Chance: My Journey of Triumph Over Tragedy by Elizabeth Barker. Elizabeth Barker spent years planning and working hard to achieve her version of the American dream - one that is supposed to culminate in parenthood and the role of supermom. But when her first child is born with Down syndrome and a fatal heart condition, her dream suddenly becomes a nightmare. Liz’s new reality is a detoured obstacle course of life altering encounters, medical mishaps, a breast cancer diagnosis, and cruel hardships. From the moment of her daughter’s birth, she is pummeled with life lessons that no schooling or formal education could have ever taught her.  
Ideal for mothers of children with special needs.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

10 Facts About Malaria

Malaria is a tropical disease that poses a risk for residents of and travelers to parts of Africa, Asia, Central America and South America. There is no vaccine and the symptoms are severe, but with preventative medicine, transmission is unlikely.

Below are some facts about malaria.

1. What Is Malaria?

It’s a blood-borne disease spread by the bite of an infected female mosquito. Malaria can cause serious complications and is potentially fatal.

2. Where Does It Come From?

A particular mosquito called the Anopheles mosquito can harbor a parasite called Plasmodium. This is the most deadly parasite out of the five that cause malaria.

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When an Anopheles mosquito bites and infects a person with parasites it causes malaria.

3. How Does It Make A Person Ill?

When the parasite enters the human blood stream via an infected mosquito it travels to the liver where it infects red blood cells. This leads to red blood cells bursting.

If an uninfected Anopheles mosquito bites a person with malaria, it picks up the parasite in its salivary glands and so the life-cycle continues.

4. The Anopheles Mosquito

There are over 400 species of Anopheles mosquito and 30 of these are of malarial importance.

They bite at dawn and dusk, but the veracity of the infection is dependent on the human, the environment and the parasite itself. Anopheles mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, even managing to breed in the rain-filled hoof print of horses, which means there are a great deal of breeding habitats available to them.

Although the Anopheles mosquito is the main risk of malaria transmission a person can also become infected through a blood transfusion or organ transplant. Sharing infected needles is another route as is mother to baby during birth - known as congenital malaria.

5. Symptoms

Malaria symptoms can be mild to begin with and can be mistaken for other illnesses. This is dangerous as malaria such as the P. Faciparum strain can lead to serious complications if not treated within 24 hours.

Some people develop partial immunity to malaria in areas that are particularly prone to the parasite. Symptoms of the disease can vary for person to person.

Well-known symptoms are:

•    High temperature or fever
•    Chills and sweating
•    Headaches
•    Vomiting
•    Diarrhea
•    Muscle pains
•    Children can develop anemia and breathing difficulties

6. Incubation Period

Because the parasite needs time to develop a person won’t feel ill with malaria symptoms right away. Usually symptoms appear a week after infection but it can take up to 18 days and sometime up to a year. It depends on the parasite’s life cycle.

7. The Global Effect

Parasites need time to grow and complete their life cycle, so severe malaria is more frequent in areas where the mosquito lives longer. Some mosquitoes also prefer to bite humans. This converges in Africa where 90% of malaria cases occur. Malaria is one of the main reasons for poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Conditions for optimum mosquito breeding are when there’s heat and dampness. When humidity is high epidemics can occur. Rainy seasons or when a large group of people with no immunity move to an infected area, such as refugees, there may be an upsurge in cases.

There is some concern that global warming may mean currently uninfected areas start to see tropical diseases such as malaria. Researchers in the UK for example believe a two-degree rise in temperature could lead to pathogens such as malaria, becoming a risk in the UK.

8. Who Is At Risk?

Sub-Saharan Africa had 88% of malaria cases and 90% of malarial deaths in 2015. It kills approximately 438,000 people every year. In 2015, 300,000 children in Africa died of malaria under the age of 5.

Asia, Latin America and some parts of the Middle East have high malaria risks but 97 countries have malaria transmission. It’s thought 3.2 billion people are at risk of contracting malaria.

Everyone exposed to the virus is at risk, but some are in especial danger. Pregnant women and their unborn children are at risk of dying from complications or experiencing spontaneous miscarriage. The immune-compromised, such as HIV or chemotherapy patients, infants and children under 5, the elderly, and those with no immunity, such as travelers, are particularly at risk.

All travelers to North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands should be aware of the dangers of malaria.

9. Prevention

There’s no vaccine for malaria although research is underway and shows promise.

Malaria can be prevented by following these steps:

•    Researching malaria areas before travel.
•    Use insect repellent, covering arms and legs, and using a mosquito net. Insecticidal nets provide good protection
•    Take anti-malaria tablets and finish the course. They are 90% effective. Brand names include mefloquine, doxycycline, atovaquone and proguanil. Some of these medications need to be taken in advance of traveling.
•    People feeling unwell after travel to a malarial area should seek medical advice immediately and up to a year afterwards.

10. Treatment

A blood test will confirm malaria and treatment must begin immediately afterwards.

Treatment usually consists of taking anti-malarial tablets. Those already taking medicine will not be treated with the same type, so keeping a note of medication is essential during and after travel.

A treatment will be selected depending on the type of malaria, where it was transmitted, severity of the symptoms, what medicines have already been taken, age, and in women - whether or not she is pregnant because some anti-malarial treatments are not suitable for pregnant women.

In severe cases malaria may be treated intravenously in hospital.

Many people who are not affected by malaria underestimate its effects. Those traveling to infected countries must ensure they have taken the appropriate anti-malarial treatment. Those not able to take medication should seriously reconsider their plans.

Despite efforts to eradicate malaria, The World Health Organization says that anti-malarial drug resistance and insecticidal resistance are growing concerns. Malaria is still a threat to human life and must be taken seriously.

This is a guest blog entry.