How will we eat, work and heal in 100 years – according to scientists

Posted on May 5, 2021  in Medical news

WHILE GRETA TUNBERG DRAWS THE ATTENTION OF WORLD LEADERS to the fact that the future of the planet without attention to environmental problems is vague, and Nike is preparing to release self-lacing sneakers “like Marty McFly”, scientists are making their predictions for the next hundred years. And in them – something that even science fiction writers did not dare to dream of, but something that very soon may become our reality.

Insects on the menu: to be or not to be

Science is confident that in a hundred years (or sooner) we will eat insects as actively as meat today. The reason is global warming and its impact on agriculture at a fairly high rate of population growth. It is about reducing not only the amount of food, but also the nutritional value of products produced under the new conditions. That is, today it is necessary to understand how and with what it will be possible to feed people.

There are no bugs and spiders altogether . The optimal form for scientists seems to be the form of a powder that can be added to familiar products. By the way, in one of the works of 2019, it was found that fans of Japanese cuisine are more likely to try dishes with insects in the composition. For example, the appetizing ( at least in appearance) worm meatballs, which are in full swing at IKEA Space10 – the innovative research center of the Swedish giant.

This is not to say that all experiments with food from insects are successful. So, bread with cricket powder , which was prepared by Italian scientists, turned out to be a very problematic product: not very tasty, not soft enough, and even with bacterial spores, which significantly increase the risk of food infections.


Laboratory meat and the cannibalism hypothesis

Lab- grown meat is one of the most promising ways to reduce the environmental burden of farming and livestock production . And although everything is not so simple with its unconditional usefulness , the experiments continue, since the developments for the person of the future will definitely come in handy. It is possible, for example, that the solution to both environmental and food problems will be the “meat” of insects from a test tube. And this is not a bad option if you keep in mind some of the other theories.

More recently, Swedish researcher Magnus Söderlund voiced a frightening version. He suggested that the people of the future will become normal about cannibalism and this will solve both the problem of nutrition and the problem of overpopulation (but, apparently, he forgot what happened to the people of the Fore tribe, who had a dangerous habit of eating the brains of their deceased relatives).

5 more things that may become common in the future:

ULTRASOUND FOR SAFE HAIR COLORING. Experiments with goat hair have shown that the correct ultrasound settings can cut dyeing time in half, preserving hair health and improving pigment adhesion, which can be beneficial when using natural dyes.

CLOTHING THAT GROWS WITH US . Designers from the British bureau Petit Pli have created a waterproof jumpsuit that can grow with a child, and therefore is suitable for babies from four months to three years old. Now they are actively working on expanding the line, and then , you can be sure, they will also think about clothing for adults.

BIOSENSOR TATTOOS. Scientists at the Technical University in Munich have developed a special ink that changes color in response to changes in pH, glucose or albumin levels, allowing timely detection of processes that can lead to diabetes mellitus, kidney problems and other conditions. And in the future, most likely, the range of reactions will expand.

WEATHER WITH CONTROL PANEL. The consequences of global warming, alas, are irreversible , so science will have to throw all its efforts to save humanity from extinction: by creating cirrus clouds , controlling solar radiation , fertilizing the ocean, or something else. We are already sowing clouds to stimulate precipitation, and we are trying to trigger a thunderstorm earlier than it would like to start, using laser pulses. So why would not.

NEW FORMS OF LIFE. Harvard scientists are right now trying to create the human genome from scratch , promising to stop (the reason is purely ethical) as soon as any progress is noticeable. And before that , a bacterial genome with 473 genes (fewer than any organism on earth) was obtained in the laboratory in order to study the basic functions of life. The creation of special organisms that will, say, feed on microplastics seems only a matter of time.

Infrared vision
or bionic eye

Scientists at the University of Massachusetts taught mice to see infrared light, which usually remains invisible to them, by injecting nanoparticles into the retina. Surprisingly, the mice retained their normal vision, and the effect was present for ten weeks without serious side effects. Mice are not humans, but the structure of our eyes is similar, so the prospects are incredible. For a start, the technology is supposed to be used for therapeutic solutions for vision loss, but over time it may become much more affordable and widespread.

At the same time, a team of researchers from Minnesota applied an array of light sensors to a curved glass surface that mimics the surface of the eye, maintaining 25% efficiency in converting light to electricity. And this is a breakthrough, because during the previous experiments, the matrix did not want to “stick” to a round surface, much less work on it. Now scientists have to find a way to apply the sensors to a soft material that can be implanted into the eye without damaging the surrounding tissue.

Fitness patches
vs fitness bracelets

For starters, bracelets, watches, rings and other smart devices will become even smarter by learning how to prevent the dangers associated with dramatic changes in health indicators. The FDA recently officially approved the KardiaBand , a “medical accessory” for the Apple Watch that tracks heart rate. Scientists already knew that when the correct algorithm Apple Watch can capture the speed of the heartbeat with an accuracy of up to 97% , but the ideal program, obviously, was created just now. The KardiaBand replaces the watch strap, and the sensor embedded in it, detecting that the readings are outside the normal range, will prompt the user to take an ECG (for this you have to place your thumb on the sensor) and send the results to the attending physician.

Sports gadgets will become much more adaptable. Something like the ElectroDermis fitness patch , which stretches and contracts as many times as necessary, or a temporary tattoo that lasts up to seven days on the skin .

Robots will take over the world – but it’s even good

Scientists do not deny that widespread robotization will lead to mass unemployment (and this will happen earlier than we think). But there is good news – the introduction of technology itself will lead to the creation of new jobs, and there will be even more of them than necessary.

The report of the World Economic Forum in 2018 said that the loss of 75 million jobs by 2022 will lead to the creation of 133 million jobs over the same period. And the more time passes, the more impressive the numbers will be. True, in order to qualify for new positions, employers need to tune in to improving the qualifications of their employees, and employees need to think about where and how they can acquire useful skills on their own.

It is interesting that in the future, obviously, robots will also penetrate into those areas in which it is quite difficult to imagine them now . And actually they are already there: while one robot ( which, by the way, has a name – Mindar) serves in a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, another android conducts a fiery Hindu arati ritual, a third blesses the parishioners of a Protestant church in Germany, and a fourth listens to elderly Catholics who are restricted in movement and / or social contacts.

Some religions seem to be more ready for the fusion of religion and technology. So, surrounded by Japanese robots do not see in this a big problem in that while Europeans are set not too optimistic. But this is for now, because Anthony Lewandowski, who promotes the cult of artificial intelligence , has more and more like-minded people.

The brain (most likely) can be preserved

A team of scientists led by Robert McIntyre developed a technique that allows you to keep the brain of a mammal (first a rabbit and then a pig) in perfect condition for a long period, back in 2015 . Now McIntyre has founded Nectome , a company whose goal is to learn how to preserve the human brain with all its complexities, neural connections and even the smallest memories. The first operation was carried out by Nectome specialists in 2018: they conserved the brain of a woman who bequeathed her body to science 2.5 hours after her death (details were not disclosed).

Will there be a breakthrough in cryonics after that ? In the near future it is unlikely , but in general it is necessary. In connection with the fact that the load in the brain of the computer may never succeed , it looks a worthy alternative. Another thing is that when trying to insert an old brain into a new body, there is a great risk of getting not the same person, but his “soulless copy”. What will happen next can be seen in one of the series of “Black Mirror”.

VR therapy

Augmented reality has already penetrated medicine. Scientists cope with chronic pain, sending patients to a virtual tour, reduce phantom pain by simulating the work no end, and distract patients from pain during chemotherapy and operations. VR technologies are also showing effectiveness when working with children with autism and treating visual and movement disorders of varying severity.

But if now VR is still an innovation used to treat and correct conditions that cannot be cured and corrected in any other way, then people of the future may know it as a very everyday technology. Like being able to unlock the phone using a fingerprint.

A world without trauma and aging

Biotechnology starts and wins, so in the future, doctors will of course be able to grow lost or damaged body parts and organs for their patients . The 3D printed ear bones for a sixty -two- year-old man and a lab- grown trachea for a little girl are proof of that.

At the same time, gerontologists think that something revolutionary will appear in the field of rejuvenation. Perhaps this will be a therapy designed to increase (or rather , restore) the length of telomeres , that is, the end sections of chromosomes, the shortening of which is associated with aging. And perhaps the bet will be made on supplements that reduce the activity of mitochondria (components of the cell that create energy sources for it), or point blocking of growth hormone .

Some scary news? Antibiotic resistance is becoming an increasing problem for humanity, so the time may come when even the simplest infections will turn out to be deadly for us. According to data in the 2016 to 2050 resistance to antibiotics will cause 10 million deaths annually.

But this terrible time, of course, may not come. Because the work on the development of new vaccines and drugs does not stop for a minute.

Ectopic pregnancy: how it is dangerous

Posted on May 1, 2021  in Medical news

The pregnancy rate is coming, when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall inside its cavity – but it happens that it is fixed in another place. Then the pregnancy is called ectopic, or ectopic; it can be located in the fallopian tube (a narrow tube that extends from the uterus), in the ovary, in the cervix, or, for example, at the site of a scar left after a cesarean section. Together with the doctor, we figure out how often this happens, how it threatens and whether it is possible to reduce the risk.

Why is this happening

It is believed that 1-2% of all pregnancies occur “ in the wrong place”; in the overwhelming majority of these cases – more than 90% – the fertilized egg is attached inside the fallopian tube. The remaining 10% are accounted for by the cervix, the muscular layer of the uterus, the abdominal cavity, the ovary, or a scar from a cesarean section – the latter is generally considered a risk factor, because in 1 out of 500 pregnancies in women who have undergone at least one cesarean section, the ovum is attached to the area of ​​the scar . The risk of ectopic pregnancy is slightly increased with IVF: if in the general population it is 1-2 %, then among those who used assisted reproductive technologies, it is already 2-5%. From 1972 to 1992 ectopic pregnancy began to diagnose at six times more likely – it is linked and with the improvement of survey methods, and with the development of technologies such as IVF, and with the spread of smoking and sexually transmitted infections by.
The fallopian tubes are designed so that their walls can contract, pushing the egg or embryo towards the uterus; inside, the organ is covered with special cilia, the movements of which also contribute to this. But there are conditions in which these functions are impaired – first of all, this is inflammation caused by infection, the action of hormones or immune processes. Perhaps the most obvious dangers are infections like chlamydia and smoking, in which toxic substances damage the cilia of the fallopian tubes. Other known risk factors are surgery or injury to the pelvic organs, IVF, and the use of intrauterine contraceptives. The risk of ectopic pregnancy in the cervical region and in the muscular layer arises if any interventions have been carried out – for example, curettage (curettage) for the purpose of abortion or surgery to treat endometriosis.

Age increases the likelihood of ectopic pregnancy – among women over thirty-five years of age, it occurs more often; why this happens is still unknown. Of course, to eliminate some factors can not be or do not need – it is not a call to give birth before, do not use contraceptives or reject IVF technology, and only on the fact that this information helps doctors pay more attention to the potential risks and explain when an urgent need to apply for help. According to one study, almost half of women with ectopic pregnancy known risk factors found not to have been – it seems that there are more complex mechanisms that may affect the likelihood of an ectopic pregnancy.

What does it threaten

An ectopic pregnancy is a truly life-threatening condition that requires emergency care. Back in 1977, the authors of one study concluded that 75% of deaths associated with ectopic pregnancies could be prevented by eliminating delays in diagnosis and treatment. Most often, the growing fertilized egg leads to rupture of the fallopian tube, and this, in turn, threatens with severe bleeding, the outcome of which can be fatal. A couple of hundred years ago, ectopic pregnancy in 90% of cases led to death, now in some countries this figure has dropped to zero. According to the Ministry of Health, in 2014, the mortality rate from ectopic pregnancy in Russia was 1%, in 2015 – 3.6% of all women with this condition.

In the long term, an ectopic pregnancy threatens with problems with bearing the following: sometimes the fallopian tube in which it developed is removed – and then one can only hope for good patency of the remaining one. The doctor explained that if the second pipe as impassable, it may be held salpingolysis – the separation of adhesions, but and in this case, the risk of ectopic pregnancy, future increases. In addition, when an ectopic pregnancy is interrupted, a lot of blood enters the abdominal cavity, which stimulates the adhesion process – in the future, the patient may have intestinal disturbances and abdominal pain.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

As the gynecologist Yevgenia Nazimova explains , it is possible to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy without complications only at a very early stage – it can develop up to four to five weeks without showing itself in any way. Usually, women come later in connection with pregnancy – and in many countries the first ultrasound is generally planned for about twelve weeks. Most often, if a pregnancy has arisen in the fallopian tube, it is interrupted at a period of 6-8 weeks – by this time the ovum reaches a size at which it is either pushed into the abdominal cavity, or leads to rupture of the tube. In most cases, aching pains in the pelvic area appear one to two weeks before, and bloody or brown discharge may appear. In this case, if you consult a doctor in time and correctly diagnose, drug treatment can be carried out (although it is not always effective and requires careful monitoring).

Julia underwent such treatment: after a positive pregnancy test, she was waiting for a planned visit to the doctor, but bleeding began at seven weeks. “The scariest moments were when nothing was explained to me yet, but it was clear from the faces of the doctors that something was wrong,” she says. She was prescribed treatment with methotrexate, a drug that must stop the development of the ovum before the surrounding tissue ruptures. The method is effective, but not always – some women still need surgery. It is used when the patient’s general condition is stable, that is, complications have not yet occurred, and then with the help of this medicine they are often prevented. The doctors explained to Yulia that in the next four days she will not be able to remain alone even for half an hour: methotrexate does not always work and an operation may be required at any time. She had to regularly do tests for the hormone hCG, the level of which returned to “non-pregnant” within a month. As a result, the fallopian tube was saved, but a scar may remain in it, so the risk of repeated ectopic pregnancy is increased to 10%.

Most often, an ectopic pregnancy is diagnosed already when it is interrupted – a picture arises that doctors call an “acute abdomen”: sharp abdominal pain, weakness, sticky cold sweat, decreased blood pressure, nausea, and so on. In this case, immediate medical attention is needed. This is a surgical treatment, ideally endoscopic, when instruments are inserted through a small incision or puncture. The goal is to remove inflamed and destroyed tissue and save a woman with minimal health consequences.

How to get over it

“It was emotionally difficult, also due to the lack of knowledge. Earlier, an ectopic pregnancy seemed like something rare, distant and abstractly scary – although statistically this happens not so rarely and, probably, it happened to someone from my acquaintances. After the diagnosis, I constantly read forums on this topic, watched how the hCG level of anonymous users changed . The most difficult thing is that I could not feel sadness from the loss of pregnancy, because everything was obscured by fear for my health. And when once a week I was told the good news that the medicine had worked, I returned home in tears, because for several hours the fear went away and one could just feel the pain of loss, ” says Yulia.

WHO notes that the loss of a child during pregnancy remains a taboo subject, with which is associated with blame or shame, and many survivors of her women do not have any proper assistance or proper respect. In Russia, support for parents who have experienced the loss of a small child or termination of pregnancy, including early pregnancy, is provided by the Light in Hands charitable foundation . In English, information on ectopic pregnancy can be found, for example, on the website of the British Foundation , which deals exclusively with this issue.

There are also recommendations for those who are faced with an ectopic pregnancy: it is important to remember that this is not your fault and that there was nothing you could do to change the situation. You can feel fear, sadness, anger – and it’s important to give yourself time to experience those feelings. There is no need to blame yourself or the doctors – in this situation it is impossible to save a pregnancy. In some cases, post-traumatic stress or depression develops after termination of pregnancy, and then it is important to contact a specialist in time for help. It is worth discussing the situation with your partner and other family members, making it clear what kind of support you need the most – perhaps they will try to distract or amuse you with the best intentions when you just want to be heard.

Adentia: What threatens the lack of teeth

Posted on April 27, 2021  in Medical news

HALF A YEAR AGO GUCCI CREATIVE DIRECTOR Alessandro Michele presented a line of lipsticks “for daring, bright and beautiful.” The brand deliberately went against the far-fetched stereotypes about the perfect smile: punk singer Dani Miller starred in the advertising campaign, who does not have two front teeth due to congenital adentia. We figure out why it occurs, why it can be dangerous and what to do with it.

Why the tooth does not grow

Congenital adentia, when one or more teeth are missing, occurs in about every tenth person. Because of it, from the very beginning, the rudiment of a tooth, milk or permanent, is not formed. Sometimes it accompanies other congenital disorders, but it may not be related to general health. To date, scientists have found several genes, mutations in which are associated with adentia. The condition can also be inherited – its probability in a child is higher if one of the parents, brothers or sisters has adentia.

Congenital adentia is explained by evolution. When studying the skulls of our ancient ancestors – from fifteen thousand years ago to the Middle Ages – it turned out that their dentition was much smoother than ours. Now, 50–70% of people have crowded teeth, difficulties with teething (most often wisdom teeth, which literally do not have enough space) or edentulousness itself. Apparently , due to the transition to softer food, the size of the jaws decreased, and the teeth did not have time to shrink at the same rate. Genetics solved the problem of lack of space radically – simply by reducing the number of teeth in different people.

Can adentia harm

In her interviews, Dani Miller said that as a child she was teased and she even began treatment – it was planned to put implants in place of the missing teeth . But it didn’t work out quickly , and then Miller realized that the haters from her life would not disappear anyway . She accepted her smile and loved it: “It’s time to free yourself from the pressure of traditional views of beauty and perfection. Your features give you strength and beauty. ” Accepting oneself with aesthetics or not is everyone’s personal business, but it is important to know that it is not always about aesthetics.

If a tooth is missing for any reason – it never existed, it is there, but has not erupted or it was removed – the empty space will begin to fill. The adjacent teeth tilt towards the gap, and the tooth of the opposite jaw begins to protrude – this is called the Popov-Godon phenomenon. The distribution of the load on the jaw changes , it deforms, the structure of the bone tissue is destroyed. All this leads to deterioration of hygiene and dental diseases – caries and parondotitis, because there are more places for bacteria to accumulate. Adentia can affect the appearance of the face or cause joint pain . It’s not just about adults: in children, temporary teeth hold space in the jaw, preparing it for the eruption of permanent ones. If one or more teeth are missing, it is very likely that during their change there will be difficulties with teething or occlusion, so it is important to contact an orthodontist in time .

The absence of second incisors, like Dani Miller’s, is one of the most common types of congenital adentia. As the orthodontist Tatiana Tomchuk explains, the load on the two remaining incisors, for example, when biting off food, doubles. Whether negative effects will manifest themselves depends on many factors, from general health to dental care : someone may see adverse effects as early as thirty, and someone will not be bothered by anything until old age. Another common option is wisdom teeth adentia; this is usually not dangerous and even helps the rest of the teeth fit into the jaw. In dental textbooks, for a long time, not thirty-two teeth have been called the norm , but any number of them from twenty-eight, implying the optional presence of “eights”.

What do they do about it

Edentulous and related to her the difficulties involved in the first orthodontist, but to the healing process can be connected to other dental specialties: surgeons, orthopedists, internists. When in place of the missing tooth others have not tilted or moved forward, you can simply replace it with an implant. However, this usually requires preparation – with the help of braces, adjacent teeth are pushed apart and aligned, freeing up space.

Another option is to close the gaps with bridges, which are cheaper and easier than implantation. Modern bridges do not require such aggressive turning as before, and can be held not on crowns that completely cover adjacent teeth, but on thin retaining plates. True, from the point of view of physiology, this is not the best way: if the implant, like a healthy tooth, transfers the load to the jaw bone tissue, then the bridge distributes it over two adjacent teeth.

It often happens that not only a tooth is missing , but also its intended place – that is, the length of the jaw will not allow placing an implant or prosthesis. Then, if there is a need for it, orthodontic treatment is performed. After that, if it is necessary to change the shape of the teeth, different methods are used, from restoration with filling materials to ceramic veneers. The latter option is more expensive, but does not require correction or replacement

Question to an expert: Is it true that eating after six is ​​harmful

Posted on April 23, 2021  in Medical news

We are used to searching online for ANSWERS TO MOST OF THE QUESTIONS THAT HAVE ASKED US . In this series of articles, we ask just such questions – burning, unexpected or common – to professionals in a variety of fields.

“Don’t eat after six” has long entered the Russian language not only as a synonym for a weight loss formula, but also as a healthy habit. Is there any scientific basis for this statement? Are evening calories different from morning calories ? Let’s figure it out together with an expert.

Masha Budryte

Nutritionist, graduate of King’s College London

Where did the idea come from that it is better not to eat after 18:00 to lose weight or improve health is unknown. This figure appears mainly in the post-Soviet space, and in English-speaking countries you can often hear about eight in the evening. The expression “Eat breakfast yourself, share lunch with a friend, and give dinner to the enemy” is attributed to the Russian commander Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov, who, apparently , had very strict daily routine. The Duke of Richelieu wrote about him in his memoirs: “Suvorov dines in the morning, ” he writes, “he dines in the afternoon, sleeps in the evening, sings part of the night, and at dawn he walks almost naked or rolls in the grass, which, in his opinion, is very good for health. … “. The French military leader Comte de Dame, who had served in the Russian army for several years , was once invited by Suvorov to dinner “exactly at six,” but when he appeared at the appointed time, they explained to him that the commander-in-chief meant six in the morning, not evening. Perhaps the popular “after six” food restriction is related to this story.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that depending on the time of day in the body, various “meridians” – areas of circulation of “energy” within the body are activated . The day is divided into twelve segments, each of which corresponds to the greatest activity of a particular meridian. According to the Chinese sages, it is best to wake up and empty the colon from five to seven in the morning, have breakfast from seven to nine, and breakfast should be the largest meal of the day – supposedly at this time the stomach is working most actively. Lunch falls between eleven in the morning and one in the afternoon, and the last meal should be from five to seven in the evening (from nine to eleven you need to go to bed). From the point of view of Chinese medicine, if you follow these and some other prescriptions, you can achieve a balance between positive energy (yin) and negative energy (yang).

Of course, this view is far from evidence-based medicine – today science has not found signs that human health depends on the movement of intangible “energy” in the body. From the point of view of science, we have a ” biological clock” , and in their basis is not a metaphysical energy and proteins that control the biochemical and physiological processes in the cells. The main “clocks” with which the rest are synchronized are located in the hypothalamus, and the main stimulus for them is light. On circadian rhythms are influenced by different external and internal factors – the change of time zones, work shifts, an unstable time of awakening and falling asleep. Circadian rhythms determine the state of the body during the day, affecting, inter alia, the quality of sleep, hunger and mood. For the discovery of genes responsible for the production of biological clock proteins that affect circadian rhythms in 2017, Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young received the Nobel Prize .

Modern nutritionists believe that from the standpoint of loss and weight gain is important only how many calories a person received for the day, and how much was spent, regardless of the fact, in what time of day people took food. However , in some studies, mice that ate before bed put on weight compared to animals that ate the same amount of calories at other times of the day. Problems arose when the animals turned on the lights at night – apparently , their circadian rhythms were out of order.

It is only important how many calories a person received per day, regardless
of what time of day the person ate food.

Studies in humans show different results. According to British children’s nutrition and lifestyle statistics from the largest analysis of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, eating after 8 p.m. is not associated with increased weight. This is happening , and with diet in adulthood – the total number of calories produced per day, a stronger effect on body mass index than the meal. An important caveat: scientists argue that people who eat at night have a higher risk of getting too many calories per day in general. A late supper itself is not a problem; but the situation when the meal for the night is something like a second or even a third supper should raise questions.

recent study in Japan found that a short (less than two hours) interval between dinner and bedtime does not affect blood glucose levels and does not increase the risk of diabetes. Eating late can lead to unpleasant consequences such as abdominal discomfort and difficulty falling asleep. In this regard, the recommendation “do not eat after …” may take place, but the specific numbers depend on when you go to bed; with heartburn, bloating, it is recommended not to eat 3-4 hours before bedtime. Of course, the approach should be individual: one person sleeps better if several hours have passed after dinner, and the other needs a snack or a glass of milk just before going to bed.

In recent years, intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity. According to one of its options, you can eat only for eight hours a day, and the remaining sixteen – you need to abstain from food. Some studies show that this approach can be useful: at the same time, different organs respond better to insulin, a number of risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, such as “bad” cholesterol, inflammatory markers, and others , are reduced . However , studies in people following this diet have been brief and do not show how this diet affects long-term health. The problem with this approach is that, as with any rigid diet , there is a risk of “breaking off,” and alternating diets and breakdowns can lead to a whole range of eating disorders.

Nutritionists and by experts nutrition does not tire of repeating: to maintain health is much more important to maintain a balance in the diet and work on eating habits, than to try to short-term solutions like dieting. Avoiding food when you are hungry may not produce the desired results, leaving you feeling tired, anxious, or in a bad mood. If you are worried about your own eating habits, you should contact a specialist who will help you figure it out and give the necessary recommendations.

Posted on April 19, 2021  in Medical news

Don’ts during pregnancy: Dispelling myths

DURING PREGNANCY, ESPECIALLY FIRST, the flow of new information can be disarming, and it can be difficult to separate reasonable advice from unreasonable ones. We decided to sort out the justified and unjustified recommendations, leaving out obvious superstitions such as prohibitions on photography, knitting or using a computer.


The desired pregnancy often encourages purchases – both for the unborn child and for yourself, especially taking into account the changing body. Women are actively looking for information, something that marketers can’t help but use when they talk about the dangers of conventional cosmetics, from nail polishes to hair products, and offer new ones with unique formulas designed specifically for pregnant women.

In fact, formaldehyde, toluene and phthalates in nail polishes and nail polish removers are only dangerous in very large quantities – if you are a master of manicure and pedicure, then it is important to think about the safety of the workplace and good ventilation. Funds applied to the skin rarely penetrate deeply, which means they will not penetrate the bloodstream and will not pass through the placenta. Let’s remind that not a single product “from stretch marks” does not guarantee that they will not appear – so you can not spend money on special oils and get by with the usual moisturizing cream.

As for active cosmetics, you should take special care with acids and pay double attention to sun protection, because both acidic products and pregnancy can provoke pigmentation. Retinol and its derivatives stand apart – taking these drugs by mouth during pregnancy is really prohibited, and it is recommended to exclude products applied to the skin . However, the European Medicines Agency claims that superficial retinoids are unlikely to harm the fetus – that is, if you used the cream before you found out about pregnancy, you definitely do not need to panic.


During pregnancy, it is imperative to do professional dental hygiene once or twice and cure caries, if any; X-rays and anesthesia are much less harmful than a source of infection in the form of a bad tooth or an inflamed gum. Also, all pregnant women are shown vaccination against whooping cough and, in the appropriate season, against influenza.

The usual tactic for other interventions is that if the procedure is not critical to health, it is better to postpone it until the postpartum period. This includes starting treatment with braces, body piercings, tattoos, beauty injections or laser treatments. Most of the prohibitions are based on potential, not proven risk. If you get Botox shots and then find out about pregnancy, don’t panic – it looks like it’s safe .

Non-invasive treatments like masks or waxing during pregnancy won’t hurt, and massage can be a big help for those with tired backs or swollen legs. Cut, paint and brighten the hair can be of the usual graphics and the usual means.


Perhaps, as many myths are connected with what as with the diet of pregnant women. Sometimes out of pure superstition, and sometimes out of a mistaken belief about harm, the strangest prohibitions appear – on mushrooms, spicy or food of a certain color. In reality, there are not so many products that can harm an unborn child: mainly food in which bacteria that are safe for an adult, but dangerous for a fetus can settle.

These include white and blue cheeses, raw or semi-raw eggs, any kind of pâté, including vegetable, raw or semi-raw meat such as rare steaks. Experts also warn against meat products such as salami or jamon, which may contain Toxoplasma pathogens; however, when cooking (for example, if slices of pepperoni are sent to the oven with pizza), the risk is neutralized. Seafood should not be soggy or bacterial or viral infections can occur, and fish such as shark, swordfish and marlin should be avoided due to the high mercury content. You can eat sushi if the fish has been previously frozen.

The best thing to do with your diet during pregnancy, as well as at any other stage in life, is to keep it varied , balanced, based on vegetables, fruits, cereals and legumes, without high amounts of salt and sugar. In the third trimester, due to the displacement of internal organs, heartburn and belching often appear – so it is worth switching to small portions, avoiding foods that provoke these symptoms, and not going to bed immediately after eating. Acute at this stage can really add inconvenience, but it helps to cope with nausea in the first trimester.


In southern Europe, no one will be surprised if a pregnant woman orders a glass of wine for dinner – local traditions almost equate this drink with water. And yet the official recommendations on this matter are unambiguous: the safe dose of alcohol during pregnancy is unknown – in other words, any dose is considered dangerous. Again, if you took a couple of sips and realized that alcohol was mistakenly poured into your non-alcoholic cocktail, we can confidently say that you did not cause irreparable harm to the unborn child. It is better not to worry about what you have done, but also not to drink alcoholic beverages on purpose.

Caffeine is recommended to be limited to 200 milligrams per day. Those who are accustomed to drinking a lot of coffee should switch to a decaffeinated drink after the first two cups. This substance is also found in tea, cola and energy drinks. It should be remembered that soda usually contains large amounts of sugar as well, and is not part of a balanced diet at all. As for herbal tea, it is best to consult a doctor.

Medicines and vitamins

We have already said that the food supplement market is regulated in a completely different way from the drug market, and sometimes products with effects opposite to those stated are on sale. In 2018 it became clear that a multivitamin brand Gwyneth Paltrow Goop, promoted as a means for pregnant women, contain 110% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which is generally not advised to take at this time. If the doctor has not identified a deficiency of any vitamin, you do not need to prescribe it yourself: the consequences can be dangerous. The only vitamin recommended to be taken three months before conception and during the entire first trimester is folic acid.

When prescribing medicines, they are guided by the rule of balance between benefits and risks: if the harm from the medicine is lower than from the current disease, then it is worth using it. Over-the-counter cold remedies are safe when taken shortly and when indicated.

Household chemicals

Special cleaning products that are safe for pregnant women are a marketing ploy. Regular liquids and powders can be used with the usual precautions – for example, opening windows often and wearing gloves when handling anything particularly corrosive. Of course, chronic exposure to chemicals in connection with the profession is another issue that needs to be discussed with both the doctor and the employer.

If you have a cat at home, there is a real cat litter risk during pregnancy. Contact with cat feces can lead to toxoplasmosis, which is extremely dangerous during pregnancy. Reputable medical organizations recommend delegating the cleaning of the litter box, and if this is not possible, wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.

Physical activity

Ideally, the pregnancy should be active – this helps reduce the likelihood of back pain and swelling, reduce the risk of complications such as gestational diabetes, regulate weight, and sleep better. In general, it is recommended not to start anything radically new, listen to your own body and continue your usual physical activity – that is, running if you have run before, or going to a rocking chair if this is your usual activity. General recommendations are similar to those for non-pregnant women: cardio three to five times a week, strength training, including abs , two to three times.

Limitations can be counted on one hand: obviously, you need to avoid hitting the abdomen or falling. It’s important not to choke – for example, the intensity of the cardio should be enough to keep the conversation going. By the end of pregnancy, the joints become less stiff, and to avoid dislocation, it is best not to do explosive jumping movements. Finally, starting from the second trimester, it is not recommended to do exercises with weight, lying on your back (this interferes with the outflow of blood through the veins). Bleeding, cramping or feeling unwell is a reason to see a doctor, and this does not depend on whether you play sports.

Sleep, heels and flights

Sleeping on your back during the second and especially the third trimester is undesirable : the uterus, becoming heavier, compresses the veins and abdominal organs. Sleeping on your stomach , on the other hand, is safe , although for obvious reasons it becomes uncomfortable at some point. If it feels comfortable to sleep on your stomach, you can do it without fear .

For shoes with heels, pregnant women have to listen to even comments from strangers – and the stress associated with this can be more dangerous than shoes. It is important to assess sensibly how the balance of the body changes due to its new proportions, and not to take risks if you stumble in some shoes and may fall. As pregnancy progresses, shoes can become uncomfortable due to swelling of the legs or an uncomfortable bend in the lower back, so it would be logical to switch to sneakers, but this is primarily a matter of convenience.

Flying before thirty-six weeks of pregnancy is generally considered safe – and if you are concerned, you should consult your doctor. True, from a medical point of view, “possible” is not always equal to “possible” according to the airline’s rules – some of them require a doctor’s certificate from twenty-five weeks. In order to avoid surprises when buying tickets, it is better to read even the small print.

Why you want to write in the shower: Understanding how different reflexes work 

Posted on April 19, 2021  in Medical news

WE REMOVE HAND when we touch the hot kettle, close our eyes when the ball is flying directly at us, and try to turn as conveniently as possible when falling. These reactions are controlled very quickly, at the level of the spinal cord, and are called reflexes. True, the cerebral cortex can also be connected in the process – for example, if you fall with your beloved mother’s favorite cup in your hands, the brain will have to weigh the pros and cons before making a final decision. Basically, reflexes are designed to protect us from real and potential threats, although the function of some of them is difficult to understand. Let’s try to figure it out with everyone.

Unconditional and conditional

Simplified to the maximum, a reflex is a quick reaction of the nervous system to a stimulus that is outside of our control. We are born with most of them – these are, as they said at school in biology, unconditioned reflexes. But there are also conditioned reflexes – those that we acquire by necessity during life. One of the first researchers of conditioned reflexes was the Russian physiologist and winner of the 1904 Nobel Prize, Ivan Pavlov. His legendary experiment, in case you forgot, was to induce gastric acid production in a dog with a stimulus that had nothing to do with digestion: sound or light.

Reflex research continues and leads to unexpected discoveries. Vertebrates have a so-called vestibulo-ocular reflex – it allows you to focus on one point when the head moves. It has long been thought to be controlled by the brain stem, but scientists at King’s College London have shown that higher-order brain regions are involved in its control, among other things, for hand movements. So primitive reflexes may not be so primitive.

Autonomous and infant

After brain death, some patients may move their limbs . And this confuses the relatives – after all, if the main organ is dead, then nothing like this should happen, right? Not really. In this case, we are talking just about the spinal reflexes, which can occur within 24 hours after the death of the brain, including a sequence of movements known as the ” Lazarus phenomenon “.

Most of the reflexes are autonomous and work within the body. For example, spikes in blood pressure in response to stress or digestion in response to food entering the stomach. Babies have a number of reflexes that are not found in adults: palmar, sucking, searching and some others .

Protective cough

We used to think of coughing as something not very positive, but in general, the cough reflex is what helps us stay healthy, because it removes pathogenic particles from the airways. In short, if the cough does not cause pain and discomfort, and the doctor has not given other recommendations, you should not suppress this reflex. If a person chokes and coughs, there is no need to pound on the back – no external influence is as powerful as a cough.

Cough is a protective reflex that is triggered when foreign particles enter the larynx, pharynx, bronchi; sneezing occurs if particles of dust, mucus or pollen are caught in the nose. The principle is the same – a fast air flow cleans the nasal cavity from unnecessary components. Finally, eyes watery from dust, wind, or makeup is also a simple example of a protective reflex.

Why do doctors knock
on the knee

Exposure to a stimulus, in this case a hammer, causes the thigh muscle to stretch slightly. Sensory (sensory) nerves in the muscle send a signal to the spinal cord; a response signal travels along the motor nerve, causing the muscle to contract. In this case, the knee is slightly unbend.

This simple reaction, the so-called monosynaptic (that is, working through one nerve synapse) reflex, helps the doctor to understand a lot about the state of the nervous system. Given the simplicity and speed of execution, it should come as no surprise that tapping with a hammer has become part of the routine inspection.

Reflexes can be pumped

Although reflexes seem to be something constant and unchanging, they can be improved. For example, one study found that relaxation (in this case, meditation practice) improves the speed of response tasks, while tension, on the contrary, complicates the process. The reaction speed is also practiced in various sports – for example, in boxing.

Potential helpers are eggs and spinach, which contain tyrosine, an amino acid that may also be associated with improved responsiveness. Researchers at the University of Rochester have generally found that action-packed video games can help people make faster, but better decisions. And while it sounds too good, you can try.

Why does one want to go to the toilet at the sound of water

The situation everyone was in: you tell your friends that you urgently need to go to the toilet, and at this moment the main joker in the company starts to turn on the sounds of streams and waterfalls on the phone, although you have not even seen the coveted door yet. And this is really terrible, because the urge to go to the toilet starts to get even more.

While science has no definitive answer to the question of why this is happening, it has speculations. One of the most viable among them says that, learning to relieve ourselves, first sitting on the potty and then on the toilet, we are accustomed to the fact that this action is accompanied by characteristic sounds (not only urine itself, but also flushing water and even washing hands).

This is a kind of conditioned reflex, which eventually became so firmly entrenched in our consciousness that some people may want to use the toilet even when they are just looking at the water (although this is not certain).

Knismesis, Gargalesis and others

The story with water is a textbook example, but, of course, strange reflexes are not limited to it. There are, for example, tremors or cramping after urination , which are more common in men than in women, and although scientists do not know exactly what causes them, this may be due to the loss of some warm fluid simultaneously with the exposure of a part of the body or a natural decline. pressure after the procedure. Sometimes people faint after urinating (according to some sources , this is 8% of fainting), but this has nothing to do with reflexes.

Another reflex, known as a “prisoner’s movie” , is observed in people who spend a lot of time in complete darkness (astronauts, meditation practices ). We are talking about flashes of light (and color) that scientists think occur when phosphenes (spots and stars that we see when we close our eyes) combine with a tense psychological environment.

There is also knismesis and gargalesis – two types of tickling that psychologists J. Stanley Hall and Arthur Allin identified back in 1897. Knismesis is a mild type of tickling that is accompanied by an itchy sensation (such as from a feather or a fly), but not laughter. Gargalesis is an active tickling, accompanied by laughter, but capable of being painful if the person who performs the action does not want to stop. Interestingly, we ourselves can cause knismesis, but never gargalesis.

Other surprising reflexes are flushing from shame , over-excitement, or emotional stress (emphasize as needed) associated with an overactive sympathetic nervous system; goosebumps provoked by cold or, again, emotions – here, most likely, there is a “program error”, since the same communication channels are activated as when reporting a low temperature. As for the reasons for yawning, science continues to argue – whether it is a lack of oxygen or the need to maintain an optimal brain temperature, scientists have not yet decided. The latter is more likely because people tend to yawn when the height changes.

Finally, most mammals have an unusual diving reflex that allows them to stay underwater longer. It works only in water with a temperature below 21 degrees Celsius and only when the face is immersed in it. If this happens, the heart rate slows down and the blood concentrates in the limbs, greatly increasing the chances of survival.

Japanese scientists suggest that it is human reflexes that will help create unique defense systems in the future. Because even biometric data can be copied, although it is difficult, but copying saccades (micromovements of the eyes while looking at something) and other reflexive things is much more difficult. Perhaps one day our strange reflexes will play an important role in shaping the new cybersecurity.

Don’t hold yourself back “: I have Tourette’s syndrome 

Posted on April 15, 2021  in Medical news

TURETTA SYNDROME IS A neurological disorder that causes people to involuntarily perform violent repetitive movements or make sounds. Medicines can control unwanted symptoms, but they cannot be completely removed . For Elena Kostikova, the syndrome first manifested itself in kindergarten and became more pronounced with age. She told us about life with this peculiarity.

Watch TV less

It is wrong to say that I have an illness: syndrome and illness are different concepts. The disease is treated, and Tourette’s syndrome is with you forever, it can only be muted. We got it with intensified year by year: in the past there was only one obsessive movement, then there were others.

In my dad’s the same syndrome, but less pronounced and appeared already in adulthood – and we have it from childhood. For as long as I can remember, I blinked, that is , I did not just blink, of course, but strongly closed my eyes first, both eyes, then one. In kindergarten, I did not pay attention to the movements – in my opinion, I was not teased too much. Well, she blinked and blinked. In the family I never said, “Do not jerking,” “Me for you ashamed,” “You are not this” – apparently, so I have no complexes was not. They loved me very much, and my mother always supported me. At school, Tourette’s syndrome was also not strong: I just closed my eyes, and my little finger twitched. As a teenager, I was more worried about my, as it seemed to me, a long nose and thin hair, rather than obsessive movements.

Several tragedies have affected my current state: I have lost loved ones. When I was twenty years old and I was pregnant, we buried the man whom our whole family loved – my mother’s brother, he was thirty-six. He was not just an uncle for me, but something much more: he was probably the head of our family. Three years ago, another grief happened – my beloved nephew died, he was only thirty-three. We were very close. After his death, the twitching became even more.

Obsessive movements are with me almost constantly. They happen consciously, but I cannot but do them – I feel physically ill. It’s impossible to explain – I just have to do them. Even doctors cannot find a cause and offer treatment: Tourette’s syndrome is very poorly understood . Now almost my entire body is involved: I blink strongly, twitch my head and hand, legs when walking. Even when I go to bed, I do not immediately fall asleep due to the fact that my head and limbs move. It is necessary to correctly lay the left hand so that it does not move, and do the same with the leg. Only after that I can already fall asleep – and in a dream I do not feel anything.

Obsessive movements are with me almost constantly. They happen consciously, but I can’t help but do them
– I feel physically ill.

When I watch TV, I repeat the phrases after the characters of the program or film, and many times, until it turns out like a character – with the same expression and intonation. Or, it happens, I hear a conversation on the street or in transport and repeat after the speakers. In crowded places I can restrain myself – whisper, for example – but at home I repeat it loudly.

In Soviet times, they did not even hear such an expression – “Tourette’s syndrome”. When my mother took me to the doctors, they answered her : “Let him watch TV less.” And what TV used to be – “Good night, kids” and ” Visiting a fairy tale”? On this our visits ended. Then, when there were more obsessive movements, my mother studied the medical encyclopedia, called me and said: “Lena, I found symptoms like yours. It is called “Tourette’s syndrome”. And then I started going to doctors, asking: ” Maybe I have Tourette’s syndrome?”

I was diagnosed just a year ago, now I’m forty-six. Before that, I went to ordinary clinics, and the neurologists, whom I told about my symptoms, answered: “Well, here you are , nothing twitches. I look at you – you are a normal person. ” I said: “I am a normal person. I sit and try to restrain my movements. ” They disowned my words: “No, no, no, you invent everything, you have nothing.” A year ago, I made sure that they gave me a referral to the Scientific Center of Neurology – there I was referred to a doctor who specializes in Tourette’s syndrome. The doctor examined me, asked a few questions and immediately diagnosed me .

When I found out what happened to me, relief came. I and used to think, “Well, I live and I live,” – but it is now understood that this does not take place, and does not recover. This means that I will continue to live with Tourette’s syndrome.


As a child, I went to a pioneer camp, where I liked to go to knitting. I would still love to do it, but I can’t stand the flickering of sharp objects in front of my eyes. Although there are things that improve the condition – walking the dog, for example. You go, you watch the dog run, and it calms. You don’t have to pretend to him – as he is, he loves you that way . I also love books: when I read, I don’t even notice whether I’m twitching or not.

For me, the hardest thing in life with Tourette’s is the physical condition. In the evening, you get so tired of the movements that you don’t have the strength to make plans. Usually washing the floor is no big deal, and after that I have to lie down to rest. The movements are unusual for the body and cause physical pain. Let’s say I wash the dishes: the sink is against the wall, I jerk my hand or head and hit the wall hard. The shoulder hurts constantly because of the movements – as well as the left side of the neck and head. Periodically, the leg aches due to the fact that the foot is turned inward.

Now I only blink strongly in certain situations – for example, when I see someone drinking tea with a spoon in a mug, or when sharp objects are standing, not lying. If someone waves their hands in front of my face or points a finger, this also causes obsessive movements. If I see a tile – in the subway, for example – then one foot should step on the strip, and the other step over it. Similar to the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder: I’ve read that Tourette’s is often coexisting with OCD.

visit a neurologist and take medications. When the treatment was just started, it became easier for a while. I remember even saying to my mother: “Can you imagine, sometimes it happens that I am not at all twitching. For a few moments I feel like an ordinary person, nothing interferes. ” But then the body adapted to the drugs, and it got worse. Recently, I again went to see a neurologist at a research institute – she added more pills, and doubled the dose to the old ones. I will try, as long as it doesn’t get worse . I also want to nurse my grandchildren – let at least the current state be preserved .

I am in the process of registering a disability, but I do not know whether they will give it or not: all doctors speak differently. I need it: I do not work, but at least the allowance will be like that, and the medicines are very expensive. People with disabilities are given pills, but the cheapest, so you never know if they will help or not.


Don’t hold yourself back

Tourette’s syndrome has never prevented me from leading an ordinary life. I got married at nineteen, gave birth at twenty. I broke up with my first husband, I had another one – we did not sign, and now I have been living with a third for thirteen years .

graduated from college, worked in different places – recently as a nanny. The employers didn’t tell me anything , I didn’t come, saying: “Hello, I have Tourette’s syndrome.” The only thing is that I somehow worked in a store, and it was very difficult to be in public for thirteen hours . I left, I couldn’t. I even had nowhere to hide, even for a short while, to twitch and calm down. In the evening I came home, and everything intensified. When I already realized that no one sees me, or that the closest ones see me, then I came off to the fullest and twitched in all directions. Now, due to the fact that the obsessive movements are almost constant, I can not work.

Of course, I see that people notice my peculiarity, they look at me in surprise . But almost no one ever asked me about it, did not say that something was ” wrong” with me or I was “not like that.” I feel comfortable with people. Once I went to the dacha in an electric train, sat opposite a woman. We have all the time twitching leg, and I touched her neighbor. She finally looked at me so reproachfully , I told her : “Sorry, do not pay attention, I have tics.” And she didn’t look anymore – but she didn’t sit down, and we rode calmly together.

For a while I worked as a cleaner. Once at a dinner a woman asked me: “Lena, why are you blinking your eyes, jerking your head?” Everyone immediately besieged her: ” Why are you asking such questions, why?” She replied: “No, no, I am not with malice. It’s just that my relative does the same, maybe there is some kind of treatment? ” I said that I myself did not know anything – at that time I really did not know anything about Tourette’s syndrome. On it all and over.

Now I only blink strongly
in certain situations – for example, when I see someone drinking tea with a spoon in a mug, or when sharp objects are standing, not lying

have a friend, she says to me: “Len, well, here you are walking down the street, you want to twitch – well , twitch! In the end, these people see you in the first and last time in life. Don’t hold yourself back. ” At home, they even treat my syndrome with humor. I can not raise my hands – they immediately start twitching. When I wash the dishes and want to put the plate on the dryer, I press my hands to me from shoulder to elbow and move only part below the elbow. When my son sees this, he calls me Lolo the penguin. If you constantly worry that I am not like that, life will be completely unbearable.

When we got together with my current husband, he did not know about my peculiarity. There was no such thing that we sat down and I told him: “You know, I have such a syndrome.” But later he began to notice my movements, although he did not say anything. And I myself began to ask that he, for example, not leave a spoon in a glass. Now he even tells me that he began to notice the same people on the street . He is very supportive of me. I have it once said: “When I start to pull, maybe you unpleasant to look?” He says: “I just don’t notice it. I like to treat you to the very beginning, and attitude. ” I see that this is indeed the case. He also tries to help, fulfills all my requests. Sometimes in the evening I come home, sit down and cry, so this will get it all – and he pities me. I can lead myself completely calmly with him and not hide. Nothing scared him away – we live as we live.

There I had a friend: We were together with the birth, I thought it was a very close friend, nowhere near. Then she got married. Every time when I come to him in the visit, I blinked, and her husband, winking at me. Once I told her: “You explain to him that I am not making eyes, but I have a peculiarity of health.” Later I realized that he did it on purpose. It didn’t bother me , at that moment we completely stopped communicating. I just realized that I don’t need these people in my life . If a person in adulthood, the age of reason mimicking another already aware of the situation, it is not talking about the fact that I am poor, and about the fact that people are likely ill-mannered or not very smart.

After I found out about the diagnosis, I wanted to communicate with the same people, find out how they live, how they are treated. I started looking for groups on the VKontakte network for people with Tourette’s syndrome – we periodically talk. Recently, the mother of a boy with the same peculiarity wrote to me . The woman was in a difficult condition: it seemed that her world had collapsed – she was so worried, afraid of how her son would continue to live. I hope I helped her – at least she said she felt better. I wrote to her: “Yes, we are. Such as they are, and should live with it. You don’t have to worry, pull your hair out – better support your child. “

I can send, but not because I have Tourette’s syndrome

If we talk about stereotypes about Tourette, then I almost never came across them. More often than not, people simply do not know about this disorder. And if they do, they think that the syndrome is expressed in the fact that a person swears uncontrollably – even doctors believe in it. Recently I did a cardiogram, the doctor saw the diagnosis in the card and said so sympathetically: “How are you, poor, living? You can also send someone. ” I answer: “No, of course I can send, but not because I have Tourette’s syndrome.” In fact, coprolalia is a rare manifestation, and I don’t have it.

There was an even stranger case. I was in the hospital with panic attacks: I woke up at night, it seemed to me that I was dying – I did not understand where the floor was, where the ceiling was, I felt sick. They called an ambulance, they put me in the neurology department. Then the diagnosis was not yet confirmed to me , but I tried to find a specialist who would know at least something . I tell the doctor, they say, this and that, it twitches me, maybe it’s Tourette’s syndrome? To which, in response, the neurologist asked: “What is this?” I, of course, understand that this is not her specialization, but the neurological disease should be heard.

There are people around me who sincerely treat me and accept me for who I am. Those who were needed remained nearby, the rest dropped out. You are proud of yourself because you have to overcome difficulties associated with Tourette’s syndrome that other people do not face. If you think about why me, it drives you into a blues, but I am an optimist in life. We are all very different, and have many features have – physical or mental. It’s hard for all of us. If I was born without Tourette’s syndrome, it would not be me, but a different person. And I am happy that I was born. I want to live and enjoy life.

Question to an expert: Does everyone need iodized salt?

Posted on April 11, 2021  in Medical news

We are used to searching online for ANSWERS TO MOST OF THE QUESTIONS THAT HAVE ASKED US . In this series of articles, we ask just such questions – burning, unexpected or common – to professionals in a variety of fields.

Iodized salt can be bought in any store for a long time, and in 2020, a bill developed by the Ministry of Health on the mandatory iodization of salt should come into force – then it will be used for the preparation of industrial food products, in particular bread. The purpose of the law is to prevent iodine deficiency. But does everyone really need iodized salt? Are there people for whom iodine is contraindicated, and what should they do in conditions of total iodization? We asked these questions to an expert.

For humans, iodine is a vital microelement; without it, the normal functioning of the body is impossible. Depending on age and state of health, you need from 100 to 250 micrograms of this substance per day. Iodine is a constituent of thyroid hormones, which perform many functions in people of all ages, and especially during intrauterine development and infancy. The main thing that these hormones do is to regulate metabolic processes in all tissues.

Thyroid hormones are very important for the maturation of the brain and the formation of intelligence, and their deficiency can result in a deterioration in intellectual and motor functions. The most difficult consequence of iodine deficiency during the mother’s pregnancy is the so-called endemic cretinism, that is, an extreme degree of mental and physical development retardation; other risks are miscarriage and stillbirth. In adults, manifestations of iodine deficiency include goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland) and sometimes hypothyroidism (insufficient thyroid hormone).

The method of mass prevention of iodine deficiency was formulated more than a hundred years ago, and it consists in the iodization of salt. The fact is that salt is available, cheap, we use it in small quantities. The daily requirement for iodine is small, so there is a risk of overdose – but this is excluded when using iodized salt. If a person eats the recommended 5 grams of salt per day, then the body receives 100-200 micrograms of iodine – just a physiological norm.

A particularly vulnerable group includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as children under two years of age; they are given additional prophylaxis. Preparations containing potassium iodide are prescribed 250 mcg per day during pregnancy planning, its entire course and breastfeeding. Children who do not receive breast milk are recommended mixtures fortified with iodine – at least 90 mcg per liter of prepared liquid.

To avoid iodine deficiency in children and adults, in many countries (now there are ninety), mandatory salt iodization has been introduced . Somewhere, for example, in Poland or the Czech Republic, it only applies to table salt, which people use at home. In other countries, for example, in the Netherlands, Belarus, Denmark, Slovakia, Austria, salt iodization is total. There iodized salt is not only sold in stores – it is prepared with it in restaurants and cafes, it is used in food production. There is a myth that iodized salt reacts with foods, but this is not the case. Nowadays, potassium iodite is used to iodize salt: it is stable during storage and heating, so that modern enriched salt can be used even in baking. In countries with total salt iodization, the problem of iodine deficiency has been eliminated, with partial – practically eliminated.

There is no need to donate blood, urine, or hair for an iodine test, although such an analysis can technically be done. For example, epidemiologists have studied urinary iodine excretion to identify regions of iodine deficiency. Russia definitely belongs to such regions. Almost throughout the country there is a mild and moderate iodine deficiency, and with food, people receive three times less iodine than they need. So it is worth buying iodized salt without waiting for the law – especially since it is not known whether it will come into effect; it has been discussed since at least 2013 .

It is impossible to get an excess of iodine from food – there is a risk only when using medications containing it. In particular, 1 ml of alcoholic tincture of iodine contains 50 mg (this is 50,000 mcg) of iodine. Such a dose can lead to disruption of the thyroid gland. You should not be afraid of iodized salt – preventive doses of iodine will not even affect the course of thyroid diseases with excessive production of hormones.

They are also sometimes afraid of an allergy to iodized salt, but in vain – iodine is a trace element, and there can be no allergy to it by definition. Possible intolerance to iodine in doses of more than 1000-2000 micrograms, which cannot be obtained from iodized salt. The only contraindication to iodine intake in salt is the period of preparation for radioiodine therapy – a special method used to treat thyroid cancer after surgery. At this time, a special iodine-free diet is prescribed for two to four weeks – and then you need to give up not only salt, but also many other foods, and eat mainly fruits, vegetables, nuts and cereals.

There are jokes about the ticking of a bomb”: I have a mechanical heart valve

Posted on April 7, 2021  in Medical news

THE HEART IS A DIFFICULT AND EXTREMELY ENDURED ORGAN, designed to work smoothly for many years. But it happens that from birth or as a result of an illness, its structure is disturbed. If there are problems with the valves that are between the chambers of the heart, surgery can be done. Sometimes the valves are reconstructed, sometimes they are replaced with prostheses. In Germany in the year perform about five thousand operations for replacing heart valves in the US, according to various sources – from fifty to 182 thousand; We could not find statistics for Russia . Anya M. tells how she lives with a mechanical heart valve.

was born with a ventricular septal defect. Prematurity affected my general well-being, so I spent the first months of my life within the walls of the hospital.

don’t remember the first operation at all – it was performed when I was three years old. The septal defect was removed, but later, for some unknown reason, aortic valve insufficiency developed. They tried to fix it when I was six by doing a second operation – but in the end they just postponed replacing the valve with an artificial one. The heart was given a few more years to grow to the size of an adult’s organ. As far as I understand, if the valve is severely insufficient, there is no option “not to operate”, otherwise you greatly risk your health and well-being. It can be postponed, but this entails a whole list of restrictions – depending on the situation, sports can be prohibited, in addition , you need to undergo regular examinations. At the same time, I can not say that I felt somehow particularly bad, but perhaps I have already forgotten. I remember that I was forbidden to do physical education at school, so instead of it I read comics or talked with classmates.

The second operation was more difficult than the first: I was already at a conscious age. It was impossible to get sick or catch cold in front of her , so I was transferred to home schooling for six months . My classmates – I do n’t know whether they themselves or on the instructions of the class teacher – made a whole bunch of postcards with pictures and words of support. Now, after many years, it seems very nice to me.

Memories of how everything went are vague – I remember being taken to a cold operating room, where there were bright spotlights. How they did a puncture to remove fluid from the lungs, how several doctors held me while one pierced my lung through my back. How they took me to take X-rays to the intensive care unit, at the entrance to which, instead of a tile, there was thick glass, under which were various toys from kinder surprises. Like grandmother and aunt, they brought the newest and most stylish Barbie dolls every time they visited. I also remember that my mother lived with me in the same room and often left to smoke for a long time. And yet she was very thin, and on the background of constant stress due to my health in she developed severe anxiety and appeared agoraphobia. I was a kind of staunch soldier who, at the age of six, instead of being afraid of mom’s breakdowns, just calmly walked to the nurse and asked to call a doctor and give her a sedative.

The third planned operation was performed when I was twelve. I again went to home schooling for six months – I do n’t know if it was a condition on the part of the doctors or my mother decided that it was better this way. I was not upset – my friends came to my house, the first normal mobile phone, Internet friends and game consoles appeared, so I didn’t have to get bored . Now I realize that my parents were most likely worried about the outcome of the operation and spoiled me with gifts while I had the opportunity. I then buzzed all their ears that I wanted a dog, and we went to choose a puppy. They took him away a month after the operation. I don’t want to think that maybe this is how my parents tried to prepare for the worst.

The experience formed in me an absolute indifference to my body. For some, even an injection is a scary thing, but for me it’s just manipulation of the bag that contains my brain and personality.

The most difficult thing that had to be endured during the third operation was the emotionality of the relatives. Mom’s condition more or less stabilized, she was on antidepressants and sedatives and still lived with me in the same room. There I made friends with a girl animator – she also had a valve replaced. In her family, however, did not have any money on gifts to doctors and nurses, so it sewed up yesterday’s students. As a result, the seam had to be redone. Despite this, she constantly entertained the children in the department.

spent a little less than a month in the hospital, but I went through a lot. There was resuscitation, and requests to give a drink, directed to doctors passing by, and a withdrawal in the intensive care unit, and taking out drains, and injections every few hours, dressings, droppers, wild pain in the chest and back, balls that doctors forced to inflate to restore lung volume. It was a real school of life, packed in a month. I definitely got stronger, but not only.

It seems to me that the pain I experienced and the procedures formed in me an absolute indifference to my body. For some, even an injection is a terrible thing, but for me it’s just manipulation of the bag that contains my brain and personality. With a bag to keep track of to function well. This is an unusual point of view, but it seems to me that it makes it much easier to cope with illness. Need to donate blood, go for an ultrasound or gastroscopy? I don’t care, just do what you need to do and forget about it.

Ten years have passed since the last operation . I every year go through everything in the survey is the same medical center. I know that this is individual – there are those who do it every two or three years. During the observation period, I changed two doctors, and the recommendations were different: one dissuaded from any physical activity in general, the other claims that everything that is not professional sports is possible. I try to stay in the middle and do cardio and yoga. There are no difficulties with travel – I pass metal detectors and scanners calmly.

In general, there are two types of valves: mechanical and biological. On the basis of what the choice between them is made, I do not know for sure. The biological one is made of biomaterials, wears out and requires replacement – but with such a prosthesis you do not need to take drugs that reduce blood clotting. A mechanical valve, like me, is a lot longer, but and anticoagulants should be taken for life. It is necessary to constantly monitor the clotting parameters in order to adjust the dose.

have a coagulometer at home with which I can do it myself. You need to apply a drop of blood from your finger to the test strip, insert it into the device and wait for the result. Here are just the prices for sets of strips bite: for twenty-four pieces you have to pay about seven thousand rubles. If you just left the hospital, you need to check your blood several times a day, and I honestly do not know what to do in this situation if there are no funds.

Obviously, if you you drink anticoagulants, then have you more liquid than the other blood. Bruises appear very easily. This also imposes restrictions on certain procedures: in order to pull out wisdom teeth, I had to consult for a long time and tediously with either a dentist or a cardiologist, connect them with each other and work out a scheme for switching from tablets to subcutaneous preparations and vice versa. It is impossible not to drink anticoagulants at all , because because of the valve, there is a high risk of blood clots. Women with mechanical valves also “win” in the biological lottery: periods on anticoagulants turn from four days to seven days, and there is also a ban on oral contraceptives – almost all hormonal drugs affect blood clotting. I was especially “lucky”, and my periods are not only long, but also abundant, so for one or two days a month I drop out of life – I take a day off or work from home, without explaining the reasons.

It also becomes much easier to get unidentified bleeding, it is much more difficult to treat it , because now you cannot simply inject a drug that clotts blood. We have to look for workarounds with huge droppers and a week-long hospital stay . The main advice that I can give: do not be nervous and always keep the cardiologist’s phone in contact. And also do not trust the gynecologists from the city ​​polyclinic – they can pretend that they understand what a mechanical valve is, and then advise the pepper tincture, which dramatically reduces coagulation.

Another consequence of the operation is a long, straight scar in the center of the chest. But the scar does not bother me at all , it has long become the same color as the skin and stands out slightly. He is a part of me, I see him every day in the mirror, and everyone sees him when I put on sweaters or dresses with a cutout. The most interesting point is mechanical ticking. This is the sound of the opening and closing of the valve petals, which corresponds to the pulse. In a noisy room, you ca n’t hear it, but if you are at the exam and in the audience there is deathly silence , then the sound can be heard. Usually people think that this is a loud wrist watch – I do n’t know where the thought goes when they realize that I am not wearing the watch .

This is a kind of secret that
I, by coincidence – read: when I am in a quiet room next to someone – I can tell close people

Once I was visiting a friend, we drank whiskey in the kitchen. There was a large clock on the wall, and the conversation somehow did not go well . He drank, thought and complained aloud: “What are these loud Casio!” I laughed to myself, but didn’t correct him . Now I understand that this is wrong: I want to convey to people that this also happens.

The only time I was embarrassed for the discomfort it caused was at the university. I was sitting right behind the language pair teacher . At some point, she confusedly asked the audience what kind of annoying sound it was from, where did it come from ? Someone from the group replied that these were probably fans on the power supplies of computers. Such an answer, it seems, did not suit her, but she did not develop the topic . I felt ashamed, but I didn’t say anything . Up to now I think about this and do not understand how it was necessary to do.

Acquaintances, friends and young people react to this sound in different ways, but never negatively. True, the number of racist jokes I’ve heard about the ticking of a bomb is countless. When I am with a partner, this sound gives out my heartbeat, and it easily determines whether I am worried or calm. This is such a cheat in fact – I do n’t know how I’m going to play poker.

Most of the time I am in noisy places and nothing betrays my peculiarity. This is a kind of secret that I, by coincidence – read: when I am in a quiet room next to someone – I can tell close people. I do n’t often wear revealing clothes; a couple of times straightforward acquaintances asked what it was – but more often people either do not notice, or tactfully pretend not to see. I myself always try to learn about the health features of other people and talk about my own. The more different people you meet, the better you understand how hard life can be.

Smells good: Are scented candles harmful?

Posted on April 3, 2021  in Medical news

EVEN FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT INTERESTED IN AROMATHERAPY , oils and diffusers, there are scented candles at home – if not purchased, then received as a gift. These candles are produced by many perfume brands or companies specializing in home decor, and scents range from traditional vanilla or lavender to ” Gwyneth Paltrow ‘s vagina ” (however, this is just a bold name for a mixture of geranium and bergamot scents). Another option that does not lose popularity is incense sticks, which spread the aroma when ignited. We decided to figure out if odorous combustion products are harmful and what to look for when choosing such pieces for the home.

Are there any hazardous components in the candles ?

Information about the dangers of candles – with and without scents – can most often be found on sites dedicated to natural cosmetics. It says that paraffin candles, when burned, release more than a dozen carcinogenic components, unlike “safe” beeswax or soy wax. In the United States, there is the National Candle Association ( NCA ), which deals with the safety of candles and sets standards for their production. According to her data , all the candles are lit the same, and flavors, whether synthetic or natural, do not emit toxic substances.

One study by scientists from the United States and Europe concluded that scented candles are not harmful to health under “normal conditions”. In another work by the University of South Carolina, it turned out that paraffin suppositories still release substances that can lead to bronchial asthma or even cancer – but in theory, if they are lit daily for many years. Another study showed that candles and incense sticks can contain many harmful components – from mechanical particles that pollute the air to lead, which is added to wicks, although, for example, American manufacturers have long abandoned it .

Several years ago, The Telegraph reported on the results of a study conducted at the University of York – it turned out that the component limonene, which gives citrus aroma to products, can be dangerous. In the air, it quickly turns into carcinogenic formaldehyde. Overall, there is evidence that the use of candles can be harmful, but it is not yet clear to what extent – after all, people have been using scents and burning candles for thousands of years, and no confirmed cases of related illnesses have been reported. Apparently, the best approach is moderation, as well as good ventilation and fire safety.

What about sticks

The authors of one of the studies claim that the smoke of incense sticks is more dangerous than cigarette smoke – in a laboratory experiment, it more often caused mutations in the cells of animals and bacteria. It’s worth noting that only four sticks and one cigarette were tested, and two of the researchers were employees of a tobacco company. In addition, the smoke of cigarettes when smoking goes directly into the lungs, so the effect on their cells can be different – and yet, probably, the harm from frequent use of sticks can be compared with the harm of secondhand smoke. Unlike candles, which are made by big brands that care about their own reputation, the origin of the sticks is often unknown.

In Taiwan, they studied air samples from temples constantly fumigated with incense – and it turned out that the concentration of carcinogenic substances (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) was very high. Their levels were forty-five times higher than those of smokers at home. Frequent use of burning incense has been reported to increase the risk of respiratory problems, allergic contact dermatitis, and neoplasms. Scientists’ recommendations boil down to reducing the time spent in rooms where sticks are burned, and if you do it at home, how to ventilate. Any combustion leads to the appearance of smoke, and smoke can irritate and harm the lungs.

How to use it correctly

The NCA’s statements about the safety of candles are accompanied by an important caveat – the candles must be made of high quality, and they must be used correctly. Fragrances must meet the standards of the International Fragrance Association ( IFRA ). At the same time, it is difficult to find a link to the IFRA certificate on manufacturers’ websites or on packages, but it is assumed that decent brands comply with these standards anyway (otherwise, they will face problems in the market). In general, we can recommend not buying cheap candles of unknown origin – most likely, their quality will be worse, and the components may be harmful.

On the website of the perfume brand Jo Malone, you can find tips for the correct use of scented candles: do not leave the fire unattended, do not light candles in a draft, do not let the wick burn out completely and protect the surface on which the candle stands. To keep the surface of the wax even, without a hole in the center, you cannot extinguish the candle too quickly – you need to let the entire surface melt. In people with bronchial asthma and other allergic diseases, volatile substances can cause an unwanted reaction – however, this applies not only to burning scented candles. You shouldn’t burn candles and sticks in small confined spaces like a bathroom – the place should be well ventilated.