Sunday, January 25, 2009

Health-related resources on the Internet & get the best medical Advice Online

The Internet has twice saved Jola Stettler's life.
In November 2006, the 39-year-old mother of three was diagnosed with ocular melanoma that had spread to her liver.
"My oncologist flat out told me that there is no treatment," remembers Stettler, who emigrated to the U.S. from Poland in 1994. "He said for me to go home and enjoy with my family whatever time I have left, which could be up to six months."
Stettler's husband, Marek, couldn't fathom the oncologist's terminal diagnosis and instead turned to the Internet. Hours of research led him to Dr. Charles Nutting, an interventional radiologist at the Swedish Medical Center in Denver. Dr. Nutting agreed to treat Stettler, also a Denver resident, with a cutting edge therapy that injects the tumors with radioactive beads to gradually shrink them. A year-and-a-half later her tumors began to grow again.

In Depth: How to Get the Best Medical Advice Online
That's when Marek returned to the Internet and discovered that the National Institutes of Health was in the midst of a clinical trial to treat cancer patients with a radical new therapy that uses six times the amount of chemotherapy while not allowing it to enter the body's bloodstream. Dr. Nutting hadn't yet heard of the trial, but agreed to help Stettler participate. Four treatments this year have shrunk the tumors by 75%.
Safe Searching
Though Stettler's case is an extreme example, it is a reminder that online medical resources and advice can be a powerful tool if used wisely. The most reliable and accurate Web sites, blogs and list-serves can lead users to information about prevention, diagnosis, treatment and experts, sometimes helping them to improve their quality of life dramatically.

The Medical Internet
There are countless medical resources online. Dr. Harlan Weinberg, author of Best Health Resources on the Web, started with a list of 20,000 Web sites and took three-and-a-half years to whittle it down to 1,000 reliable and accurate sites. In addition to reference sites, there are also list-serves and blogs which can connect patients with their peers and other experts. With the abundance of information, Dr. Harland urges users to be skeptical and not believe everything they read.

How to Surf the Web for Medical Advice
You could start out by typing a key word into a search engine, but don't just click on the top results. A Google search for diabetes, for example, offers Web sites for health care media publishing companies in its top three results. But perhaps more reliable is a site run by the National Institutes of Health, which contains basic research on the disease in addition to information about ongoing clinical trials and alternative therapies.

Don't let paranoia dominate your search habits when looking for medical information online. A recent Microsoft study of Internet use and medical research found that of more than 11,100 search sessions, 5.3% led to a "query escalation." In such cases, the subject began associating a common symptom with a serious medical condition, like starting with "headache" then proceeding to "headache tumor" and "brain tumor treatment." Caffeine withdrawal is far more likely the cause.

Involve Your Physician
Internet savvy patients can find experts and remedies that change the course of their treatment, but that the newfound knowledge should be parsed by a trained professional. "It's a tool," says Dr. Harlan Weinberg, head of the critical care department at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco, N.Y, "but you still need to have someone doing the critical medical thinking."

Delegate Research Responsibilities
When Jola Stettler, a 39-year-old mother of three, was diagnosed with ocular melanoma that had spread to her liver, she relied on her husband to use the Internet as a research tool. "I was trying to occupy my mind with something else," she says. So her husband began investigating treatments for the disease and eventually found a radiologist willing to treat her as well as a clinical trial being run by the National Institutes of Health.

Remember that You're Unique
When discussing health issues and concerns through a list-serve, blog or other medium, remember that your case is unique. Despite shared symptoms and experiences, try to think about how your care and treatment might differ from that of online contacts. There are basic rules about treating certain ailments, but gender, age and lifestyle can make a huge difference when it comes to finding the right approach.

Relaxation techniques for anxiety.

Uneasiness, apprehension and worry are feelings with which most are familiar. In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, roughly one in five Americans aged 18 and older suffer from an anxiety disorder in a given year -- that's 40 million Americans.While understanding just how far these mental malignancies reach is important, learning how to get the help you need is the ultimate goal. However, the very nature of anxiety itself makes it hard for sufferers to reach out. So here's to hoping that we can help with a few relaxation training techniques for anxiety. The following is a quick review of four of the most effective relaxation training techniques for anxiety. This is no hocus-pocus; these techniques proved highly effective in a recent review of all clinical trials on relaxation training conducted over the last 10 years. The best part: You can master some of these techniques on your own, although undergoing training under the guidance of a registered therapist is still recommended.
Jacobson's Progressive Muscle RelaxationDeveloped by American physician Edmund Jacobson in the early 1920s, progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is a popular relaxation training technique for anxiety that works on several basic principles: Anxiety is often accompanied by muscle tension, so by reducing muscle tension, you can reduce anxiety.What it involves: This relaxation training technique for anxiety requires deep concentration in a relaxed setting. Mentally focus on distinct muscles, muscle groups or body parts and systematically attempt to relax each, one by one. The process is often called body scanning. Body scanning is a great way to relax
muscles prior to or after physically working out as well.Time commitment: It requires five to 10 minutes. Do it once a day at first, then as required (although continuing PMR daily is never a bad idea). Verbal instructions can be taped to help you proceed.
Autogenic TrainingDeveloped by German psychiatrist Johannes Schultz, autogenic training is a more comprehensive relaxation training technique for anxiety than PMR, although underlying mechanisms are very similar. What it involves: Autogenic training involves six standard exercises that make the body feel warm, heavy and relaxed. Visual imagery and body awareness are commonly used.Time commitment: This takes about five to 10 minutes to complete, and it should be repeated several times a day and may take about four to six months to master. Some may require the help of a trained therapist to deliver instructions, although taped instructions may be sufficient.
Applied RelaxationFirst described by Lars-Göran Öst, applied relaxation is really a combination of stress management techniques that focus on identifying signs of anxiety and learning ways to overcome anxiety. The focus is on teaching patients to relax increasingly quickly and to apply relaxation techniques during daily activity. Near the end of training, patients are often gradually exposed to feared situations to practice application. What it involves: Techniques include self-observation, progressive relaxation, release-only relaxation, cue-controlled relaxation, differential relaxation, rapid relaxation, and application training.Ease your mind with these relaxation training techniques for anxiety.

Vespers Relaxation Therapy!
Feeling over-whelmed? Nerves frazzled? Need to chill? You need some 'me time'. Follow these simple, but effective tips and feel the tension and stress ebb away and peace and relaxation blanket you.
Now, put on some chilled music, draw the drapes, dim the lights. Pour yourself a glass or have a herbal tea. Climb onto the cosy bed, lie on your back, with your arms by your sides, palms uppermost and close your eyes. Starting with your toes, concentrate on each part of your body and imagine it getting heavier and heavier, breathing deeply in and out, in and out and feel the tension ebb away. Banish ALL TALK, slick on some lip balm and drop your tongue from the roof of your mouth to fully relax.
There is no better way to relax than in a warm bath. Drizzle a capful of your favourite aromatherapy bathing oil into the bath and fill your space with wonderfully aromatic vapours well known for their powerful calming properties and simply DRIFT AWAY, as the essential oils work their way into the skin, relaxing the mind and body.
If you're with a friend, ask them to give you a massage, concentrating on your head, neck and shoulders to really release tension. Opt for an aromatherapy massage oil, containing natural botanicals that penetrate the skin for fast relief.
Another wonderful way to relax is from the outside in, by preparing your skin. Applying a cream, rich in relaxing essential oils to your face and neck, or to pulse points when stressed, will help you to REPOSE and relax, whilst you lay back and watch the television or listen to music, deeply drawing in the fragrant, calming scent.
Improving circulation, will help regulate your heartbeat and thus help you to relax and feel less tense. Try applying a foot or leg balm to your lower legs and elevate them, on the headrest for instance. Opt for an aromatherapy balm containing active ingredients as this will increase your circulation, reduce fluid retention and help to eliminate toxins... AAAHH! that's better.
You can improve the ambience of a room and make it feel really cosy by lighting a fragrant candle. Close your eyes and let your mind wander to exotic places. To lose yourself in a dream is as good as a sleep for recharging the batteries and will help that state of ALL QUIET.