Tag Archives: medical

Good News Monday: Free Pain Relief

Take a deep breath: it’s an easy, free way to combat pain, insomnia, and nausea. Try these wacky-seeming techniques and let me know if any of them work for you.

PAIN 

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WHAT TO DO

Most of us inadvertently hold our breath when we experience pain. Shallow breathing can make things worse by releasing the stress hormone cortisol instead of relieving the stress itself.

  1. Close your eyes and breathe deeply from your belly.
  2. Picture oxygen filling the painful areas with comfort as you inhale
  3. Picture the pain being pushed out as you exhale.  This supposedly stimulates the vagus nerve, which calms the fight-or-flight response.

INSOMNIA 

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WHAT TO DO Try a technique called 4-7-8 breathing instead of medication. Keeping the tip of your tongue behind your upper teeth, follow these steps:

  1. Exhale through your mouth with a gentle “whoosh”.
  2. Close your eyes and inhale through your nose for a count of four.
  3. Hold your breath for seven counts.
  4. Exhale with an eight-count “whoosh” through your mouth.

Repeat three times or until you fall asleep from boredom.  Caveat: Warn your partner that you’re about to make weird noises!

NAUSEA

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WHAT TO DO Controlled breathing is said to help suppress the gag reflex and encourage peristalsis, the muscle contractions that move food into the stomach. Picture yourself walking barefoot down a long, stone staircase.

  1. Inhale slowly through your nose for a count of four as you imagine how the cool stone feels underfoot.
  2. Exhale with your lips closed for a count of eight as you imagine stepping down.
  3. Repeat until you stop feeling queasy.

 

 

Good News Monday: 11 Medical Breakthroughs

Look for these promising new initiatives to become more widely used in the next couple of years.

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1. Tecnic Symfony, a newly approved, first-in-class lens replacement for cataracts, can now provide an extended depth of focus.  We’ll no longer have to choose between optimal close-up or distance vision, and a tiny stent is now available to treat people with glaucoma.

 2. Drones are distributing medicine to isolated areas. In 2016, a start-up company used drones to deliver medicine to Rwanda. This practice has since become routine and it’s estimated that even more areas will benefit.

3. Gene editing is helping prevent disease. A new technique to “edit” embryos (CRISPR Technology) may help future generations avoid retinal degenerative disease and inherited  diseases such as cystic fibrosis and hemophilia.

4. ALS patients will soon be able to communicate with their thoughts. New technology may help decode the thoughts of people with functional brain activity who have a completely paralyzed body resulting from a stroke, traumatic injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

5. Diabetics can be helped by an artificial pancreas. Diabetes is caused when the pancreas produces insufficient insulin. In May 2017, it was reported that the first artificial pancreas systems (the Hybrid Close-Loop Insulin Delivery System) were beginning to be distributed, helping diabetics regulate their insulin levels.

6. Reduction of LDL cholesterol. When powerful cholesterol drugs — known as PCSK9 inhibitors — were approved by the FDA in 2015, experts hailed it as a huge breakthrough, but more studies were needed to see whether this would result in medications with fewer side effects than statins.

Since then, new studies have reported good news – earlier in 2017, a 20% reduction in LDL was reported in a study group of 25,982 patients. These new cholesterol meds should become increasingly available.

7. Enhanced post-surgery recovery. Traditional surgery protocol involves no eating or drinking beforehand, feeling nauseous or groggy afterwards, and being prescribed pain medication to help with recovery, which can lead to opioid dependence.

New research has been evaluating the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocol, which recommends various methods including post-operative nutrition plans and alternatives to pain medication, to speed up the recovery process.

8. More targeted and precise breast cancer therapies. Treatments such as chemotherapy fight cancer cells but don’t always have the desired outcome. In the near future, according to Breastcancer.org, expect to see treatments for breast cancer that are designed to target specific cancer cell characteristics, such as the protein that allows cells to grow in a malignant way, .

9. Improved treatments for sleep apnea. Treatment for moderate to severe sleep apnea is often invasive and uncomfortable, involving the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine (CPAP). This machine blows air into your nose via a nose mask, keeping the airway open and unobstructed.

But a less invasive method was approved by the FDA in October, 2017. The Remede sleep system is an implanted device that treats central sleep apnea by activating a nerve that sends signals to the diaphragm to stimulate breathing.

Following successful trial studies, this may become the treatment of choice.

10. Next-generation vaccines. New techniques include freeze-drying, which allows vaccinations to be transported to remote areas. Companies are also investigating faster ways to manufacture vaccinations to make them more readily available.

11. The first human head transplant! Italian scientist Sergio Canavero and Chinese surgeon Xiaoping Ren are developing a plan to transplant a human head — and yes, it involves neck bolts and electricity! The goal is to help patients with spinal cord injuries and paralysis.

The surgeons have already performed the procedure on mice, rats and a dog, all of which survived surgery and even regained some motor function. Is that cool or what?!

Have a GOOD week! xx