30 December 2006

Bacteria and Bacterial Infection

While children's recurring ear infections used to be easily treated, lately they have become a parent's nightmare. In the old days, you would simply call the pediatrician, make a quick trip to the pharmacy for the "pink stuff" - shake well, keep in the refrigerator, finish all - and in a week you had a happy, healthy child again. But now, infections seem more difficult to treat in both children and adults. What's changed?

Bacteria are simple one-celled organisms. We share our world with countless different species of bacteria, many of which have not yet been identified. Most are harmless, and many are helpful -- even vital to our existence. For example, the bacteria that live in the roots of plants like beans and peas, help extract nitrogen from the atmosphere to enrich the soil.

Bacteria can be found, by the billions, all around us: on furniture and counter-tops, in the soil, and on plants and animals. They are a natural and needed part of life. In fact, they often protect us by competing with more dangerous bacteria for food and space. Bacteria cause disease and infection when they are able to gain access to more vulnerable parts of our bodies and multiply rapidly. Bacteria can infect many parts of the body, including:

* eyes
* ears
* throat
* sinuses
* lungs
* airways
* skin
* kidneys
* bladder
* stomach
* colon
* brain
* heart
* bones
* genitals
* blood


28 December 2006


The Tin Man was lucky. Just a squirt of oil on his stiff joints and he was dancing down the yellow brick road with Dorothy. But for the 70 million Americans who have arthritis, managing the condition is not as simple.

Arthritis is the general term for at least 100 rheumatic diseases that painfully affect joints, muscles, and connective tissues throughout the body. More than just a physical disease, arthritis drains patients emotionally and financially. It is the number one cause of disability in the United States. For millions of Americans with severe arthritis, pain and deformity limit such everyday activities as getting out of bed, climbing stairs, dressing, or simply walking. And, because it is a chronic disease, it is fertile ground for hundreds of alternative and unproven therapies.


15 December 2006


Acne, also called acne vulgaris, is a common inflammatory skin condition that is characterized by pimples, blackheads, and red, swollen bumps on the skin (usually the face, neck, shoulders, or back). The term acne is used to describe the condition when a person has between 5 to 10 pimples, blackheads, or red and swollen bumps on his or her body at the same time. Acne is typically thought to occur in adolescence, but it can also occur in adulthood. While not a life-threatening condition, acne can have a significant psychological and physical impact on a person's life, causing poor self-image, anxiety, depression, and permanent scarring of the skin.


05 December 2006


An allergy is your body's reaction to a foreign substance--such as pollen or pet dander--that enters, or comes in contact with the body. It may be that pollen never bothered you before but over time, and with repeated exposures, your body grew overly sensitive to it, resulting in allergy symptoms such as sneezing and watery eyes. When foreign substances such as pollen cause allergic reactions, they are called allergens.

Allergens cause cells in your body to release chemicals known as mediators, which trigger allergy symptoms. These mediators include histamine and prostaglandins.

  • Histamine is the mediator that stimulates mucus production and causes redness, swelling and inflammation.
  • Prostaglandins are mediators that constrict airways and enlarge blood vessels.