Monday, December 29, 2008

Latisse Approved for Longer Eyelashes Available 2009 by Prescription

Beginning 2009, Latisse, the newest addition to eyelash enhancement, will be available to women for longer, thicker and darker eyelashes. Allergan, the company that makes Latisse, has capitalized on their glaucoma eye drops, Lumigan, after discovering that the active ingredient promoted longer eyelashes. As seen by the video below, some physicians have used Lumigan "off label" to help women experience the benefits of the newly approved Latisse, which contains the active ingredient in Lumigan.

According to Allergan, "Latisse users can expect to experience longer, fuller, and darker eyelashes in as little as eight weeks, with full results in 16 weeks." However, longer eyelashes from Latisse might also cause some problems, such as darkening of the eyelids, which may or may not go away. Should you accidentally apply Latisse to an area other than the upper eyelid, at the lash line, you might find yourself with hair growth in undesirable areas. In addition, it is possible to experience irregular eyelash growth. Once you stop using it, your eyelashes will return to their normal state. Side effects of Latisse included itchy eyes, and eye redness.

Latisse may be a boon to those who experience hair loss from chemotherapy during cancer treatment, but so far Latisse is not recommended for children or cancer patients until further studies are conducted.

Lumigan, the drug that spawned the development of Latisse, has been found to darken the iris, leading to brown eyes. The color change may take months to occur, but once it occurs, it is not reversible. Latisse does not go directly in the eye, and trials did not report any changes in eye color when using Latisse cosmetically for eyelash growth, but a warning that eye color changes may occur accompanies use of Latisse.

You will not be able to purchase Latisse over the counter. Instead, it will require a prescription from your doctor or cosmetic surgeon.

Latisse was unanimously approved by the FDA. According to Scott Whitcup, M.D., Allergan's Executive Vice President of Research and Development, "LATISSE(TM) fulfills a significant and previously unmet need in the medical aesthetic marketplace with a product approved by the FDA that increases the growth of eyelashes, making them longer, thicker and darker."

Scientists are not exactly sure how Latisse works to promote eyelash beauty, but the active ingredient, Bimatoprost, is a lipid compound that binds with prostaglandins, found in the outer layer, or sheath, of the hair root.

Sales of Latisse are expected to top $500 million annually, as women flock to the pharmacy for the experience of longer, thick eyelashes.

Source: Allergan Announces U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Approval of LATISSE(TM) -- First and Only Treatment Approved by the FDA for Hypotrichosis of Eyelashes


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mixing Prescription Drugs and Supplements Poses Risks to Elders

Mixing prescription drugs with vitamins and other supplements poses risks, especially to elders on multiple medications. Mixing prescriptions with supplements can be harmful, especially for patients who take the blood thinner warfarin, or drugs for high blood pressure that can be dangerous when mixed with potassium supplements.

According to a recent survey, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, over fifty percent of adults mix some sort of prescription drug with over-the-counter supplements. Four out of five American adults take at least one prescription drug that could potentially cause harm when mixed with prescription medication. Use of prescriptions is highest among elders age 75 to 85. Fifty percent of older adults take five or more prescriptions.

Dima M. Qato, Pharm.D. M.P.H., of the University of Chicago, and colleagues write, "Several factors have likely contributed to this increase in the rate of [the use of five or more medications] among older adults over the last decade. These include intensification of therapy for common chronic medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, cardiovascular disease), increased access to medications because of policy changes (e.g., Medicare Part D and assistance programs), and growth of the generic drug market." The increase in prescription medicine use over the last decade is cause for concern because many supplements have not been studied for their interaction with prescribed drugs.

Though most supplements do not cause harm when mixed with prescriptions, the study authors believe the issue deserves attention. "Our findings suggest that concurrent use of prescription and nonprescription medications in older adults remains a public health problem and could be an important focal point for further improvements in drug safety for seniors."

By identifying popular supplements, the researchers hope to establish a pattern of use that can be used to ensure safety when physicians prescribe medications.

They conclude, "Medications are a critical modality for prolongation of life and improved quality of life for many older adults. By establishing patterns of prescription and nonprescription medication use among older adults, these data may help support efforts to increase the safety and quality of pharmacotherapy for older adults."

If you take supplements, it is important to let your doctor know. Many physicians simply forget to ask what, if any, supplements are being used by their patients. It is never a good idea to mix prescription drugs with vitamins and other supplements without first discussing the pros and cons with your doctor. The new study shows there is a growing concern about the effects of taking multiple prescriptions mixed with supplements that may have unknown risks to elders. ◦

Sunday, December 21, 2008

New Concept Allows a Healthy Christmas Shopping Experience

The snow is delightful this time of year, and Suzy Snowflake looks beautiful. Snow can make Christmas shopping a daunting task. Surfing the net is a chore also, but we have an answer for your Christmas shopping needs. Reizit is a new concept that allows a better Christmas shopping experience for everyone.

Reizit is a community-marketing site where you can search, post products, and vote on consumer goods. The site (and concept) is new, and it ensures you will not have to spend hours out in the cold shopping for Christmas gifts, nor do you have to risk injury bustling about crowded malls.

I am especially enamored of the list of health products, including BPA free (stainless steel) drinking bottles from the Breast Cancer site, the Homemedic palm size percussion massager, and the Lomi Kona Escape Massage Lounger Chair.

If you are an online merchant, you may want to share your Christmas specials at Reizit. You will have an opportunity to describe your product, helping others with their Christmas shopping needs, raising awareness about your own products. Make sure you register so you can vote on the products that are listed. If you have purchased any of the merchandise submitted, leave a comment so everyone in the Reizit community benefits.

Christmas shopping should be fun, easy, and healthy when you eliminate stress by browsing and evaluating what others have to say about consumer products.

If you are looking for a healthy, stress free, Christmas shopping concept, you will definitely find a great list of products and gadgets for the holidays, reviewed by other consumers at Reizit. The site includes health products from a variety of merchants. Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a healthy and happy holiday. ◦

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Study Reveals Neuropsychological Basis of Selflessness

According to new research, selflessness can be learned through activities such as meditation and prayer. Researchers at MU School of Health Professions studied people with brain injuries, discovering that people with injuries to the right parietal region of the brain experience higher levels of spiritual transcendence. When we pray or meditate, activity in the right parietal region of the brain decreases, opening us to experiences that can promote psychological health and well-being.

According to Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in the MU School of Health Professions, “The brain functions in a certain way during spiritual experiences. We studied people with brain injury and found that people with injuries to the right parietal lobe of the brain reported higher levels of spiritual experiences, such as transcendence.”Johnstone feels the link is important, because it means that if we make a conscious effort we can connect with things beyond ourselves. The implication is that people in health care, or anyone engaged in peace studies, or religion can use meditation or prayer to decrease activity in the parietal lobe of the brain. In turn, a state of selflessness is created, benefiting individual mental health, while providing a genuine focus on the needs of others.

Johnstone further explains, “This research also addresses questions regarding the impact of neurologic versus cultural factors on spiritual experience. The ability to connect with things beyond the self, such as transcendent experiences, seems to occur for people who minimize right parietal functioning. This can be attained through cultural practices, such as intense meditation or prayer or because of a brain injury that impairs the functioning of the right parietal lobe. Either way, our study suggests that ‘selflessness’ is a neuropsychological foundation of spiritual experiences.”

The MU research was the first to use people with traumatic brain injuries to study the neuropsychological basis of spirituality. It also shows that we can all learn how to transcend, or go beyond our senses to improve our own state of well-being, as well as helping others.

Modern definitions of transcendence refer to truth, unity and goodness. According to Johnstone, “It is important to note that individuals experience their God or higher power in many different ways, but that all people from all religions and beliefs appear to experience these connections in a similar way. Our research focused on the personal experience of spiritual transcendence and does not in any way minimize the importance of religion or personal beliefs…”


Selflessness - The Core of All Major World Religions - Has Neuropsychological Connection, MU Study Finds

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Prescriptions for Exercise Effectively Increase Activity in Older Women

Prescriptions for exercise seem to have a positive impact on middle-age women, up to age 79. According to a study published online Dec. 12 in BMJ the, 'green prescription' programme’ has been shown to produce significant improvements in levels of physical activity and quality of life among 'relatively inactive' adults aged 40-79 in primary care over a 12 month period.” The program is currently used in New Zealand by primary care physicians, and has proven successful for improving quality of life.

When inactive women ( those who do not engage in thirty minutes of exercise at least five days per week), were given a written prescription outlining recommended exercises, the study authors saw a “10% incremental increase in adherence to physical activity among those receiving the intervention compared with the control group”.

Beverley A. Lawton, from the University of Otago in Wellington, New Zealand, and colleagues point out the cost effectiveness of the program, and note that women show better adherence when they are given written exercise instructions. The program, led by a nurse, includes interventions regarding specific exercise activities, followed by a six-month visit, and phone support for nine months.

The study showed revealed improved quality of life, and better physical function scores. One drawback was that the women who exercised experienced more falls than the control group, an area that needs improvement. The authors say, “Because encouraging brisk walking and other general physical activity can increase the risk of falls (particularly in people with a history of falls), we need a pragmatic approach. The next round of research and development needs to look at managing this risk."

Physical exercise is necessary to combat obesity and reduce risk our risk of a wide array of diseases. Steve Iliffe, from University College London, United Kingdom, and colleagues note, "the health benefits of exercise are so great that it is probably the most important self help treatment available”, in an editorial that accompanied the results of the exercise prescription program.

To get the women involved, a visit to the office helps the nurse identify exercise goals. The visit averaged seven to thirteen minutes. A hand-written prescription is then given to the patient. Telephone support is provided over a nine-month period. A visit to the physician is then provided at six months. At 12 months, then 24 months - 93% of the women given an exercise prescription remained in the study, versus 89% of those who were not given an exercise prescription. Average age of the women was 58.9 ± 7 years, and included 1089 women, followed over a two-year period.

The authors concluded, "Reducing physical inactivity by 10% across a primary care population of less active adults could have considerable health impact,” especially when combined with media support, dietary and physical activity programs.

The study shows that older women may need extra motivation and support to remain physically active. Implementing a prescription based exercise program appears to have genuine value for improving strength and quality of life in women over age 58.

BMJ. Published online December 12, 2008.

WALKING & ACTIVE LIFE- Trim, Fit & Healthy

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Massage for Sinus Problems in Children

No mother likes to see their child in pain. Winter weather brings colds, flu and sinus congestion to children and adults alike. Unfortunately, medications may not always work to relieve your child's sinus pain. Some medications have the opposite reaction when given to children, such as Benadryl, which can cause excitability versus the usual effect of drowsiness. Even worse, you might just not have sinus medication on hand to give your child. You may want to try a nurturing and pain relieving sinus massage. Learn to massage your child's face and scalp to help reduce sinus congestion and inflammation.

Before you decide whether to massage your child to relieve sinus congestion, consider some safety tips. If your child is feeling ill, he or she may not be receptive to a sinus massage. Do not massage the sinuses if your child has a fever.

Warm your hands before you massage the scalp of your child to relieve sinus congestion. You can use a warm massager, moving it gently around the face. Look at your child, focusing on his face to make sure your child is comfortable. You do not want to perform the sinus massage too fast, or with too much pressure. Most parents know when their child is uncomfortable, but make sure you ask your child to share with you how he or she is feeling.

First, gently massage the scalp. Put your fingers on the head and make circles to massage the scalp. Massaging your child's scalp will calm, preparing for the next part of the sinus massage.

Cover all areas of the scalp. Massage the top and the temples. Use soft glides toward the end of the massage.

The video below shows how to massage the cheeks. The goal is to get your child's sinuses to drain, as you provide warmth to the face during the massage. The circular motion, and gentle pressure beside the nose helps mobilize secretions that cause stuffy nose and sinus headache. Once that occurs, the sinuses are able to drain, relieving sinus pressure.

After you have massaged the scalp, move to the face. Apply pressure to each side of the nose for a few seconds. Move your hands outward and up to your child's forehead, then repeat. Watch the next video to see the technique used for sinus massage in children. Massaging the nose can relieve allergy symptoms for your child.

You can also apply a warm washcloth to the face after you massage the sinuses. The heat will facilitate drainage and open up your child's sinuses. Try our sponge massager. You can warm it, and use it on the face, forehead, scalp and back of the neck if you feel massage impaired.

With a bit of practice, and good communication, it may be possible to help your child get relief from sinus congestion and allergies by performing a simple sinus massage. ◦