Progesterone treatment for brain injuries
Doctors have identified the protective effect of the
female hormone progesterone in treating brain injuries.
Arthur Kellerman, a study leader at Emory University
in Atlanta, says progesterone should be called the "protective hormone."
For over 30 years, he says, pharmaceutical companies have struggled with
drug after drug, but up until now, no effective drug for treatment of
brain injuries has been found.
More than 1.7 million Americans sustain a traumatic
brain injury (TBI) every year (these figures don't include military
personnel). Of those about 52,000 die from their injuries. Children and
adults over the age 75 are the most likely to seek emergency room help
for TBI, according to the CDC.
Small studies of 100 and 159 patients have found the
positive effect of progesterone treatment. In those studied, patients
were 50 percent less likely to die and less likely to be disabled if
The National Institutes of Health is investing $14
million for expanded trials, which will last for three years.
They will be held at 17 hospitals in 15 states, some
of which have not yet been designated. Four hospitals in Detroit have
been named: Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit Receiving Hospital, Sinai Grace
Hospital and Beaumont Hospital.
Patients who arrive at a participating hospital
within four hours after enduring a moderate to severe brain injury will
receive either progesterone intravenously for four days or placebos.
Doctors at Emory University note that although
progesterone is present in the bodies of men as well as women, it
doesn't affect sex characteristics, such as facial hair or a deep voice.
Men are 1 1/2 times more likely to sustain a
traumatic brain injury than women are. The leading causes of TBI are
falls (28 percent), auto accidents (20 percent), being struck by or
against an object (19 percent) and assaults (11 percent)
They're a pain in the ... jaw
Here's what you can do about painful jaw joints and muscles.
About 10 million Americans suffer from painful jaw
joint and muscles called TMJ disorders. They bring jaw pain that
interferes with sleep and makes it hard to eat or speak.
The symptoms can also bring pain to the backs of the
eyes, the shoulders, neck and back.
The culprit is the joint that connects the lower jaw
to the bone at the side of the head and its connected muscles.
Temporomandibular pain is often blamed on misaligned
teeth and dental problems, but there are other causes.
In some patients, the problem is related to repeated
movement of the jaw caused by tooth grinding while they sleep.
Stress-related clenching of the jaw muscles may be the cause. Or there
could be a problem with the joint.
Treatment begins with self-care.
Rest the joint. Limit jaw movement while eating, yawning and laughing. Avoid gum chewing.
Use heat to relax the muscles. Apply a heating pad, hot towel or water bottle for 20 minutes at a time.
Use over-the-counter NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen. If they aren't effective, your doctor may prescribe a medication to treat anxiety or stress.
When misaligned teeth are the problem, a dentist or orthodontist can prescribe an orthodontic device.
Get physical therapy. There are exercises that can help with jaw muscle strength.
In 10 percent to 15 percent of sufferers, none of
these help. A doctor will then consider outpatient arthroscopy,
according to Johns Hopkins Hospital. Under anesthesia, a tiny camera and
instruments are moved to the site.
The surgeon can remove excess joint cartilage or bone
fragments, correct misaligned discs, reshape bone, or remove bone spurs.
Afterward, you are advised to eat soft foods, avoid
excessive jaw movement and take physical therapy.
Air filters may improve heart and lung health
A high efficiency particulate (HEPA) filter will remove fine
particulates from your air. The particulates can be produced by cooking,
candles, mold, smoke and many other sources.
The filters are used in stand-alone air cleaners, such as those found on
the Web and at Lowe's and other home improvement stores. Some vacuum
cleaners have HEPA filters or can be fitted with one.
Studies reported by Duke University show HEPA-filtered air improved
microvascular function by up to 8.1 percent within 48 hours.
Microvascular function indicates how well blood vessels respond to the
body's demands for oxygenated blood. Long-term use may lead to greater
reduction in lung and cardiac risk.