Asthma Treatment: Gecko can’t cure Aids, asthma

/ July 17th, 2011/ Posted in Asthma / No Comments »

Health department: Gecko can’t cure Aids, asthma

THE Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday expressed alarm over the persistent folkloric practice of using geckos or (locally called “tuko”) as cure for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (Aids) and asthma.

In a statement, Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona said geckos frenzy is now the department’s serious concern even as health officials do not recommend using lizards as cure to said ailments.

“The use of geckos as cure, which is unproven and have no scientific basis, could be dangerous because patients might not seek the proper treatment for their diseases like asthma, which could become more serious and later, require hospitalization and other more complications as well as more expensive treatment. Further, this is likely to aggravate their overall health and put them at greater risk,” Ona said.

For diseases like asthma, he said there are now very effective treatments available at affordable prices that can provide relief from this ailment.

“With regular treatment, asthmatic persons can successfully control the symptoms and live a comfortable and healthy life,” he said.

For patients infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Ona said antiviral medications that can control the progress of the disease are now also available.

However, the DOH did not categorically admit that there is a cure to such deadly disease.

Melda (family name withheld), a single mother who resides in a hinterland barangay of Cagayan de Oro, said she finds hard to look for a job until she was contacted to secure live geckos weighing 300 grams for P10 million each.

Beside her house situated at a semi-forested area, Melda caged two geckos weighing 200 grams each feeding it with cockroaches, rice and monggo.

“If it can make me rich and live a decent life, why would I refuse to find geckos?” she said.

She claimed that a European national tapped a Manila man to contact her for the said “big business.”

Treatment, not medicine, helps asthma patients feel better

Inhaling albuterol helps asthmatic lungs work better, but patients who get it don’t feel much better than those treated with a placebo inhaler or phony acupuncture, according to a U.S. study.

The results, which appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, demonstrate the importance of, literally, caring for patients and not just providing drugs, said co-author Ted Kaptchuk of Harvard Medical School.

The findings also demonstrate the impact of the so-called “placebo effect,” or the phenomenon seen in clinical trials when people given inactive, fake “treatments,” such as a sugar pill or saline, show improvements.

“My honest opinion is that a lot of medicine is the doctor-patient relationship,” Kaptchuk told Reuters Health.

“A lot of doctors don’t know that, they think it’s their drugs. Our study demonstrates that the interaction between the two is actually a very strong component of healthcare.”

All of the 39 patients, each of whom had mild-to-moderate asthma, thought the placebos were just as effective as the real therapy.

Those who got albuterol reported a 50 percent improvement in symptoms. The ones who got phony albuterol said they improved by 50 percent as well, while those getting sham acupuncture had a subjective improvement rate of 46 percent.

The only thing that didn’t work as well, according to the patients’ impressions, was no therapy at all, with the asthmatics sent home after waiting for several hours. In those cases, patients reported 21 percent improvement.

Only when the researchers measured the patients’ ability to force air from their lungs was the benefit of albuterol clear. The so-called FEV1 volume improved by 20 percent with the drug, nearly three times more than the 7 percent increase in patients getting the fake acupuncture, ersatz albuterol or no treatment.

Fake acupuncture turned out to be the most convincing treatment and was done doing needles that retract into the handle instead of going into the skin. In addition, the needles were “inserted” into the wrong acupuncture points, said Kaptchuk, who is trained in the discipline.

Eighty-five percent of the people who got it thought they were getting a real therapy, compared to 73 percent who received real albuterol and 66 percent who were getting placebo albuterol.

“Patients could not reliably detect the difference between this robust effect of the active drug and the effects of inhaled placebo and sham acupuncture,” the researchers wrote.

They also said the findings show that a patient’s self-report can be an unreliable indicator of actual improvement.

Kaptchuk said the test may help resolve the longstanding question of whether placebo treatments, because they seem to show a benefit, actually affect the physical illness.

“But changing subjective outcomes is very important for us,” he said.

Salt therapy lets asthma sufferers breathe easy

Lifestyle – Hay fever victim Judy Murphy chronicles arrival of halotherapy treatment in Galway

When you suffer from asthma and hay fever – an estimated 470,000 Irish people do – feeling under the weather is a regular occurrence.
In winter you are more likely to get chest infections. In summer, if you also suffer from hay fever, as people with asthma often do, you can face days of sniffling, sneezing and watery eyes.

And it’s not just people with asthma who get hayv fever – according to the Asthma Society about 15 percent of the population suffer from the condition.

It isn’t pleasant. And while the medication available to sufferers has improved hugely over the years, a lot of us who suffer wish there was a less ‘chemical’ way of clearing our respiratory systems.

Hence the growing phenomenon of halotherapy – otherwise known as salt therapy – in the Western world, with a recent addition in Galway being the Salt Spa in the city’s Radisson Hotel.

The idea of gargling salt water for sore throats or using saline nasal sprays to relieve congestion is pretty familiar, but halotherapy takes it to a new level.

My first experience of breathing salty air was during a visit to Warsaw Salt Mines a couple of years ago. Deep underground, the air was so clean you could actually feel it entering your system. The mines are a major tourist attraction in the region, both for their amazing underground cathedral and the reputed benefits their salt offers to people with respiratory disorders.

The idea that salt had health benefits was first highlighted by a Polish doctor, Felix Bochkovsky in 1843, when he was dealing with patients in salt mines in the Ukraine. His research indicated that the people working in salt mines didn’t suffer from colds and respiratory diseases despite working in harsh conditions and having poor nutrition.

Since then, the idea of using natural salt caves – speleotherapy – has spread and it has been used in Eastern Europe for generations. It is especially popular in Russia. In fact, it was in Russia, in 1987 that a system was developed using underground salt rock that had been shaped into blocks.

That technique allowed the atmosphere of the salt mines to be recreated above ground. It was further developed into halotherapy in which a saline diffuser releases salty air into a special room where the walls and floor are covered by layers of salt. The machine produces and maintains the required level of natural concentration of salt micro-particles to create similar conditions to those found in salt mines. These are small enough to penetrate deep into your lungs.
Ireland has only adopted salt therapy relatively recently, with the first cave being opened at Maynooth in early 2009 by Dr Tamas Bakonyi, a GP from Hungary involved in a practice in Leixlip.

The Radisson is one of two salt caves that opened in Galway this year and while it’s designed to offer relief from various ailments, it also comes with certain luxuries, including soft lights, music, a salt waterfall and – most impressively – stalactites hanging from the ceiling. And there’s a 15-minute ventilation period between each session to allow the room to be purified and germ free for each new group.

Ann McDonagh, the manager of the Radisson’s Spirit One Spa, explains that the salt spa was the brainchild of the hotel’s former manager, Stephen Kennedy, who first experienced these treatment rooms in Central Europe and decided to introduce the concept to Galway. But, while some of them are minimal in design, the Radisson went for more add ons.

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