Fake Tanning All Year Round

Winter arrives and you start the chore of packing away light floral dresses and pastel summer tops into storage. But make sure you think twice before ditching your collection of self-tanning lotions.

Just because the sun doesn’t plan to re-appear for a few months, it doesn’t mean you should let your sun kissed skin fade to a lily-white pallor under your new knee-high boots.

Spray on Tan vs. Gradual Self Tan

But if the idea of spending money and time on a professional spray tan only to cover it up doesn’t entice you, there are cheaper and easier choices on hand. A great idea is a tan that builds and maintains gradually. A lotion such as Garnier’sAmbreSolaire self-tanning moisturising milk does just this. The cream based tan works over a 12-hour period, gradually building a tan over days of use. Simply apply daily until you reach the healthy glow you desire, and then “top-up” by using it every few days afterwards.

Although it is gradual you will notice a difference from the first time you use it, so it is strong enough to use the day of a big event. However if the idea of applying tan on the day of a party scares you, try mixing the self-tanning lotion with your regular body moisturiser in the palm of your hand before applying. This “waters down” the strength of the tan while also helping ensure it is evenly spread over your body.

Moisturiser with Benefits

Another good alternative to keep winter skin away is to try using a moisturiser that has a hint of self-tanning included within the ingredients. These moisturisers are the best for a slow, steady build up to a healthy glow or for keeping your current tan looking fresh and all you have to do is simply replace your regular body-lotion with a self-tanning one!

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A great product is the Dove Summer Glow Beauty Body Lotion, which comes in two shades so you can choose the right one for your skin tone. The best part about this lotion is it is light enough to double up as a tinted moisturiser for your face!

If you have an important party looming, it is a good idea to use your self-tanner each evening in the lead up. That way you can control the depth of the tan and allow your self some time to fix any streaks or problems that may arise. Though if you do decide to apply your tan before going to bed make sure you change your white sheets to darker ones! Good luck and enjoy the winter.

Understanding The Fight Or Flight Response: The All-Important Anxiety Mechanism

One important aspect for anxiety sufferers in learning to better cope with their anxiety symptoms is becoming better educated about anxiety and its intended purpose. Learning about anxiety is often a part of therapies that can successfully treat anxiety disorders by helping patients experiencing them, to better understand the purpose for the anxiety mechanism called the “fight or flight response”. Once an anxiety sufferer can view anxiety from the proper perspective, he can better learn to work with the emotion rather than fearing and avoiding it.

Anxiety is a Performance Enhancer

One of the important purposes of anxiety is to empower people to perform important tasks better and with more energy and inspiration. If a successful salesman is called upon to meet with a group of people who are seeking to achieve successful sales, he can better relate positive points for inspiring them, with the aid of the fight or flight response.

An inspirational speaker is far more convincing when those listening to his lectures can see energy behind the points he is making in his speech. The same can be said of an athlete that competes for first place in a sports event. The fight or flight response can give him or her, the edge needed and the drive to reach deep down and find that extra energy at just the right moment to win the event. In cases like these, the person experiencing this important anxiety mechanism has learned to channel the energy it provides, toward a positive outcome.

Those who struggle with the fight or flight response because they tend to react negatively to it, may instead stutter and stammer when making a speech or freeze with fear when the moment of opportunity to win a sports event is facing them. This demonstrates the fact that the fight or flight response can have either a positive or negative effect, depending on how a person has learned to work with it and channel it toward positive results.

Anxiety Fight or Flight Hormones

The term “fight or flight” is reference to the fact that we may at times be faced with dangers or threats that will require us to respond by either fleeing or defending ourselves. This anxiety response enables us to do so, with added energy, alertness and strength, so that we can escape without injury or at least minimize injury when possible. This is accomplished by the adrenal glands that respond to danger signals from the brain and provide increased levels of adrenal hormones, the main one being “adrenaline”.

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Once the level of adrenaline rises, breathing increases, as well as blood flow to the muscles. The body will begin to sweat which according to anxiety research, may be the body’s way of creating more difficulty in being grasped and held by an intruder, due to the skin becoming slippery with moisture. All of these bodily responses are designed to protect us but danger signals may at times be sent to the adrenal glands, from the brain, when no actual danger is present, such as when viewing a movie thriller or riding a scary amusement park ride.

The Natural Response can have an Unnatural Timing

Anxiety disorder sufferers can learn to recognize the fight or flight response as a good thing designed to empower them and protect them at the appropriate times. Anxiety that becomes “disordered” means it begins to trigger at times it is not actually needed. It may then be perceived as very unpleasant because increased energy levels are becoming available when they are not needed. Not being able to channel the fight or flight symptoms in a positive direction will cause a person to perceive them as fear rather than strength or as panic feelings, rather than the ambition needed to accomplish a task at hand.

For some anxiety sufferers, there is a subtle but chronically activated fight or flight mode that remains in a triggered state or what might be referred to as “free floating anxiety”. Others have suddenly escalated fight or flight responses that are referred to as “panic attacks”. The anxiety response itself is not unnatural but the timing of it has become disordered in these cases. 10 Facts of Panic

Anxiety Therapies and Treatments

There are therapies available, including a highly successful type called “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy” that helps anxiety sufferers to perceive anxiety in the correct way and to also respond to it appropriately. It also helps them learn not to fear the anxiety fight or flight response and to develop techniques for channeling it into positive outcomes rather than negative ones.

There are also medications that can aid in anxiety coping that are available in as-needed doses or that are taken as a daily regimen. These can also be combined with other anxiety therapies to increase the benefit and in some cases may only be needed temporarily as a patient better learns to cope with anxiety symptoms.

Cruelty-Free Beauty Products

Whether a vegetarian or vegan, animal owner or animal lover, there are ways to make sure that animals are not used as “test dummies.”

Beauty products are the best area to start investing in cruelty-free items. These products are what the public thinks are tested on animals the most.

Body Wash

Surprisingly enough, local stores carry cruelty-free products. One example is St. Ives, a company based in Switzerland but produces products all over the U.S.

St. Ives body wash not only is not tested on animals, but contains no animal ingredients, parabens, phthalates and only natural extracts. The company even directs consumers to their website so the bottle can be properly recycled after use.

Other companies that make body wash available in local stores are: C.O. Bigelow, Perfect Organics, White Rain, and True Blue Spa.

Hair Care

There are many companies starting to carry products not tested on animals, especially those who create hair shampoo and conditioner.

L’Oréal recently released two lines of hair care products that are 100% vegan, not tested on animals and don’t contain animal by-products.

EverPure and EverStrong both are sulfate-free and use natural botanicals. EverPure is a color care system that keeps hair color at it’s original state and filters out UV rays that can change hair color. EverStrong is a fortifying system that makes hair stronger and keeps it from breaking early on.

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Hair care companies that have products easily available are: Aveda, Avon, Conair, Origins Natural Resources, Paul Mitchell Systems, and PureOlogy.

Make-Up

The image of a bunny with lipstick on it’s lips is not as funny as the public would make it look. Cosmetic companies are changing their ways and the list keeps growing.

Smashbox is a relatively new make-up line created by the great-grandsons of Max Factor, the creator of the namesake make-up line. They are approved through PETA’s Cruelty-free program, and also are part of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, which means the packaging is reused and recycled.

Smashbox make-up, from the foundations to the mascaras, are light and not oily. Many contain SPF and UV filters so protection for the face is at it’s highest.

Other Cosmetics that are cruelty-free are: Almay, Bare Escentuals, Bobbi Brown, The Body Shop, Burt’s Bees, Clarins, Clinique, Estée Lauder, M.A.C., Mary Kay, Physicians Formula, Revlon, and Urban Decay.

Be Cruelty-Free

The best place to find more products not tested on animals is Caring Consumer. This website is dedicated to giving the consumers information on which companies are part of the PETA Cruelty-Free program and where to find them. Products bought through the website will also help support PETA.

Finding cruelty-free beauty products is easy as reading labels and doing research. Take the next step and be part of campaigns to show support for those who care for animals too.

Home Care For Swine Flu (H1N1) Viral Infection: Medication And Remedies To Treat Mild H1N1 Influenza Symptoms

Over-the-counter medication, careful vigilance of symptoms, and various home remedies are appropriate for a mild case of the H1N1 influenza virus in individuals who are not at risk for complications. Anyone who is at risk for complications, including pregnant women, children under the age of five years, and anyone with a chronic health condition, should consult a physician if there is a suspicion of an influenza infection.

Mild Flu Symptoms

Mild H1N1 symptoms are the same as any other strain of the flu or a bad cold. These symptoms commonly include fever, body aches, headache, sinus congestion or runny nose, fatigue, chills, and stomach upset. In order to prevent the further spread of the swine flu, anyone who has flu symptoms should not go to work, school, or anywhere that is not essential, until the fever has been gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reduction medicine.

Severe Flu Symptoms

Adults whose influenza has become complicated will experience more severe symptoms and need to be evaluated and treated by a medical professional. Severe symptoms in adults include chest pain and pressure, trouble breathing, excessive vomiting, blue lips, seizures, dizziness, confusion, unresponsiveness, and signs of dehydration. Indications that dehydration has occurred include:

  • lack of urination
  • lack of tears
  • extremely dry mouth
  • dry skin

Appropriate Medications for Uncomplicated Swine Flu Symptoms

A mild case of the swine flu can be treated with various over-the-counter medications. Cold and flu medications to treat sinus symptoms can be effective to treat a mild case of the flu. For fever, headaches, and body aches, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend acetaminophen, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Brand names for these medications include:

  • acetaminophen: Tylenol
  • ibuprofen: Motrin, Advil, Nuprin
  • naproxen: Aleve

Children and teens should avoid any medications containing aspirin during bouts with the cold or flu in order to avoid Reyes Syndrome.

Read More: Middle Age Beauty Is Health And Vitality Driven.

Remain Hydrated While Recovering

One of the severe complications that results from the flu is dehydration. Drinking plenty of fluids is an important aspect of the healing and recovery process. If a sore throat makes swallowing difficult, popsicles and ice chips can improve hydration without causing as much pain.

Sinus Congestion Remedies

Cold and flu medicine is not recommended for very young children, according to the CDC. Steam and cool-mist humidifiers are effective means of loosening congestion during an attack of the flu for all ages. For a baby too young to blow his nose, a bulb-syringe for suction can remove mucus to make breathing easier.

Middle Age Beauty Is Health And Vitality Driven

Getting older is not for sissies. Preserving and maintaining your looks requires paying attention, and some smart choices that will keep you feeling vital and healthy. Simple steps that everyone can take will make a big difference. Accept that things change as we get older, and make better choices to feel…and look younger.

Get moving

Some women jog, some walk, some play tennis and ski. As we grow older it’s important to keep moving and get enough exercise. Jivamukti Yoga instructor Carolyn Yates teaches a gentle form of yoga that maintains flexibility and builds endurance. Yoga is also that time out, a meditative slice of your day that can recharge the spirit while it benefits your body. Moving through the yoga poses stretches muscles and adds supple strength. Yoga provides multiple benefits and there are yoga workouts appropriate for women at every stage of life from prenatal yoga to routines specifically designed for seniors. Moving, bending, stretching and controlling breathing all benefit overall health.

Other tips on a list from Women’s Health Magazine are more expected, led by the advice to drink up! On average, middle age women don’t drink enough water. The requisite 8 glasses per day should be simply water…don’t count coffee, tea or other beverages in your daily allotment. Water hydrates the skin, helps maintain muscles and tissue, flushes your system. Up your daily intake of water and you’ll see and feel an immediate difference. And keep the air in your home humidified. You’ll breathe easier, cut down on the number of colds you suffer from, and have a dewier complexion. Water inside, water outside works wonders for everyone.

Feed your body and soul

Foods rich in antioxidants are the freshest and best choices. Rich leafy greens not only taste wonderful, but provide nutrients we need and are a natural defense against illness and aging. It’s no secret that processed foods and high-fat content make us sluggish and slow us down. Leaner choices are smart for everyone, and a must for middle-age women. Feed your body well, and it will reward you by staying strong. Eat better, and toast yourself with a glass of heart-healthy red wine! Science Daily (2004) concurs with the USDA list of antioxidant-rich choices women should incorporate into their diets, including beans (red, kidney, pinto), berries (blackberries, cranberries, raspberries), nuts (pecans and almonds), apples, kale, and fish.

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Allow yourself to have sensory pleasures in your life…delicious scents, comforting fabrics, favorite sounds.The LA Times recently touted the benefits of music. Surround yourself with the music you love and elevate your mood. The Times study found that the good feelings music triggers in people is comparable to taking drugs or having a satisfying sexual experience. Plug in your I-pod and treat yourself to the feel-good tunes to immediately reduce stress. Making music a part of every day can boost your metabolism while it elevates your mood.

Engaged and Involved

Beauty is more than skin deep. Caring for ourselves physically brings rewards in appearance, health and vitality. Taking care of ourselves emotionally and intellectually completes the package. Read or write, volunteer, live with intention and direct your energy to the people and things that make you happy.

A happier, healthier, more purposeful life is a beauty secret that every woman can benefit from.

Understanding Different Types Of Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are carried out on specific patient populations each day and as a result many advances have been made in the treatment of different conditions such as cancer. Those participating in clinical trials often choose to do so with the hope that it would lead to either an improvement in their own condition or in advances to help future generations.

Participation in Clinical Trials

If one is asked to consider participating in a clinical trial it is absolutely vital that one first fully understands the exact purpose of the trial and exactly what participants are required to do during the course of the trial. Never be afraid of asking doctors or researchers questions as this is the best way to make as informed a decision as possible.

After reading about the proposed trial it is well worth noting down key questions to take to any meetings as it is easy to go blank in appointments. As a general rule of thumb it is necessary to take some time to be totally sure that one feels comfortable about both the aims of the trial and the types of participation that will be required.

After receiving a consent form for the trial remember to read it through carefully and before signing ask any last minute questions or raise concerns which have arisen as a result. Also, if at any time during the clinical trial one does not wish to continue then one is able to stop regardless of whether it is a few days or months from completion.

Different Types of Clinical Trials

There are three main types of clinical trials which include phase one, two and three with each phase linked together. Phase One trials will typically involve the initial study of how high a dose of medication may be safely given and the manner in which it is metabolized by the body. At this stage there are usually between 20 to 50 volunteers participating in the clinical trial and if stage one is successful then phase two will begin. In contrast to stage one, this stage will normally require several hundred volunteers to test effectiveness of the medication in terms of specific indications or uses.

Phase three trials basically compare the level of effectiveness of a new treatment against the standard form of treatment. In cases where no standard treatment exists, some patients may be given a placebo and this is known as the control group. Those patients on the new medication are known as the test or study group and usually the patient and the doctor are unaware of which treatment is being provided; this is referred to as randomized double-blind controlled trials. At this stage anywhere up to several thousand volunteers may be needed in the study.

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As highlighted above, clinical trials have been used for many years with the aim of creating advances in medical treatment. Before participating in a trial it is important to take time to consider exactly what is involved and whether it is something that one feels able to follow. At any time during clinical trials participants may decide to discontinue.

Beauty Tips And Tricks

Whether you are young, middle aged or well seasoned, all women want to look their best – if only for ourselves.

I find there is nothing better than to feel good about yourself as you slip your smooth legs between the sheets; believe me you get better nights sleep!

Below are a few things that will make you look and feel good.

Body Hair

First things first, when we say “hair” what we really mean is hair removal. Looking like big foot is not attractive, or so my boyfriend says.

Eyebrows

Eyebrows are one of the first thing people see when they look at you, after all making eye contact is polite. When the eyebrows over take the eyes for attention, it’s time to get the tweezers out right? Maybe not.

If you go for the plucking technique, here are a few things to remember: always use moisturizer on the brow area about 10 minutes or so before plucking; it softens the skin so the hair can slide out easier. Second and most importantly, always pull the hair out gently in the direction it grows, don’t yank or attempt to grab more than 2 or 3 hairs at most, one at a time is best but it will take a while.

Or..

If you find that you are like me – either you don’t have the time or find it hurts too much (truthfully I can be lazy), grab a bottle of hair removal cream. Any hair removal cream will work but it is probably best to use facial hair removal cream as it will be gentler on your skin, especially as the skin around the eyes is quite sensitive. I will usually draw my eyebrows on with a brow or eye liner just to make a kind of template of where you want your eyebrows to be.

Step 2, apply the cream to a cotton bud and apply it to the hair outside the “template,” leave on for the directed time. I usually go for 10-15 minutes and wipe off with a cotton pad or facial wipe. I’d also advise to wash your face after because the cream always has that horrible smell, but that’s it, no plucking, no pain, just good eyebrows.

Legs and Other Miscellaneous Areas

I have found lately that the price of shaving foam seems to be climbing ever higher, and for me who can get through a whole can a week – it’s just not good for my purse. A better alternative is to use soap; it gets just as close a shave as foam and just generally makes me feel cleaner, plus a bar of soap can be bought from about 20p.

For a big night out there is a way to get an even smoother shave without waxing or expensive hair removal creams. Hair conditioner is the way to go. It clings to hairs closer to the skin, and if you use a moisturising conditioner you even get that beautiful sheen on your legs. Using conditioner doesn’t have to be expensive either. Go to a discount 99p shop or similar and grab a bottle from there. It doesn’t have to be a big brand or have added nutrients if it’s being used on leg hair. I have also used conditioner on other miscellaneous areas with no problems and a very close shave.

Skin

Skin covers every area of your body and is affected by everything it touches: sunlight, water etc. If the winter is rough on your skin like it is on mine you will know the pain of dry, cracked and bleeding skin. The best way to tackle these sort of problems is to prevent the problem before it occurs.

Before any treatment

The best way to prepare the skin for any treatment or moisturizer is to clean the area first. Soap and water is the best because it is milder and won’t contain any added ingredients or oils etc. Just soap, water and pat dry.

Face

Facial skin isn’t always as sensitive as people realize. Because the skin on your face can be just as exposed as your hands, sometimes you won’t need to use any gentle products. If however, you are like me and make up is worn almost every day, then your facial skin will not be exposed as much to weather condition.

The best type of treatment for facial skin is simple: wash and moisturise. Moisturizing will help keep the skin supple and also stop excess dirt getting into the pores in the first place. The best moisturizer to use is glycerine based. Usually glycerine will be found in hand and nail creams, so grab a tube and use it on your face. It sinks straight in and doesn’t leave a residue when you rub. Do be warned though, using foundation straight away will make a lot of mess; best to either moisturize before bed or wait at least an hour before make-up.

Body

Most people will simply use a normal body lotion for the rest of their body. If that works for you then keep it going. Once again I fall into the awkward category. My skin it terrible. There are not 2 places on my body with the same skin type. I have certain areas which seem to be dryer than others: the tops of my arms, just between my breasts and my shins. As with most other people I also get dry elbows and knees and this isn’t help by shaving my legs.

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First thing once again, soap and water, pat dry (I like to advocate cleanliness wherever I can). Normal lotions and such can be used on all the body, so slather away but ignore the problem areas. Also ignore tubs of watery moisturizer which claim to give deep hydration. These will not help you now. Best thing to go for is really thick cloggy types. Emollient creams are fantastic if you can – sometimes they can be a little costly but if your skin is bad try and get them on prescription. I have found quite a few of these “cloggy” creams via Avon. They are inexpensive and do the job brilliantly, just apply maybe twice a day and your dry skin will be smoothed away.

Feet

Once again like the face, feet are not usually exposed to the sun and especially the soles. Soak your feet in hot water, or just do it when you’re in the bath. Grab a pumice stone and get that hard skin off – be careful the skin does not appear pink as this may indicate you have gone a bit too far. Once you’re done, get the glycerin moisturizer out again and use on your feet. As before it dries quite quickly so no need to stay off your feet for an hour.

Hair

Hair is the best accessory you will ever own. There are hundreds of ways to wear your hair and you can make bold statements or express feelings. Keeping your hair in top condition is one of the basic rules of being human.

Keep it clean

It’s no good just throwing on some 2 in 1 when you’re heading somewhere important although doing so on days off is fine – I do. Most shampoos’ directions state to lather and repeat. Washing your hair in shampoo twice will actually make a huge difference to your hair; it’ll be so much softer so is a good option for dry or lightened hair. If your hair is prone to “fluffiness,” then shampooing twice isn’t the best idea. For fluffy hair, go for quite a heavy conditioner; it’ll weigh the hair down so you won’t have as much trying to escape.

Glossy hair

This is where it get’s interesting. Some girls like Catherine Middleton seem to be graced with the most silky looking, glossy hair that drives me insane with jealousy. To be honest I have no idea how she does it every day, although having unlimited hairdressers on call does help.

How to cheat: very simple, get some frizz-eaze. Couple of drop, rub over your hands and through your hair, instant gloss and no frizz. Too expensive to use every day, but for the weekends a bottle will last quite a while.

Shine

Getting a great shine without looking greasy isn’t too hard. Once again clean first, but for shine you need to get your hair to squeak. Grab a bottle of vinegar, normal brown table vinegar is great, rub it through damp hair like you would a conditioner. Leave it on for a couple on minutes and wash out. Shampoo your hair with your normal product, but I’d advise doing it twice just so you can be sure the vinegar smell is gone – I get paranoid too easily. Rinse the shampoo and then condition normally. When you’re ready to wash the conditioner out use cold water – not advisable if you’re under the shower, so lean your head over and wash out. Bang, instant shine and a squeaky clean.

Post-Exposure Prophylaxis: The Different Types Of PEPs To Minimize Risk Of HIV Infection

Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) was first introduced in 1998 to health-care professionals in San Francisco who took care of HIV patients. When they encountered accidental needle-stick injuries, they risked being infected by HIV. Occupational PEP was then administered to suppress the virus. This has since become a standard care for all medical workers.

PEP involves a course of anti-retroviral drugs to be first administered within 72 hours of exposure. One such regime comprises the following drugs, to be taken twice a day:

  1. One tablet of Zidovudine 300mg/Lamivudine 150mg; and
  2. Two tablets of Lopinavir 200 mg/Ritonavir 50 mg.

The entire regime, which lasts 28 days, has to be completed. Otherwise, its effectiveness will be greatly reduced.

Studies have shown that PEP can reduce chances of HIV infection by as much as 80% if administered in a timely manner.

Non-occupational PEP (NOPEP)

NOPEP is for those who may have been infected by HIV through non-occupational means. These include sexual contacts, sharing of intravenous needles and prevention of mother-to-child transmission.

NOPEP works on the same principles as PEP. Although there is supportive evidence of its effectiveness based on biologic plausibility and animal studies, there is no absolute proof that it can effectively decrease the risk of HIV infection.

An NOPEP regime costs several hundred U.S. dollars and more. Not only must treatment commence within the window period, patients will also have to deal with unpleasant side effects (including nausea, diarrhoea, rashes, headaches etc.), as well as the anxiety of being possibly infected. They also need consultations and follow-up tests at intervals of between three and six months. In addition, NOPEP does not prevent transmission of other sexually transmitted infections (STI). Hence, it should not be treated as a panacea.

HIV Exposure Risks

The list below shows the estimated risk of HIV infection arising from different circumstances:

  • Needle stick injury: 1/300
  • Receptive anal intercourse: 1/100
  • Receptive vaginal intercourse: 1/1000
  • Insertive vaginal intercourse: 1/2000
  • Insertive anal intercourse: 1/2500
  • Receptive oral sex with ejaculation: 1/2500
  • Sharing needles: 1/150
  • Exposure to saliva, urine, tears and sweat are generally risk-safe.

The exact probability of infection is hard to determine because many factors are involved, including the viral load, presence of other STIs, strength of one’s immune system, etc.

PEP Starter Packs

Since PEP is most effective when started as soon as possible after exposure, it is a good idea for serodiscordant/magnetic couples (one partner is HIV+ while the other is HIV-) to have a PEP starter pack on standby. These can be obtained through the HIV specialist whom the HIV+ partner consults.

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Even with safer practices, accidents (e.g. condom breakage) can occur when there is no convenient access to a source of PEP. The starter kit can then be deployed within moments of exposure to minimize the chances of potential infection.

Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

This is a further extension of the principles of PEP and NOPEP, where an anti-retroviral regime is administered before high-risk exposure.

PrEP is now the most promising research in HIV prevention efforts as scientific investigation of vaccines and microbicides continues. However, debate is still on-going in the medical field as to its effectiveness. This is because even for occupational PEP, there have been documented cases of seroconversion. There is also the danger that people will be lulled into complacency, thinking that they can continue to engage in unsafe sexual practices.

A more fundamental solution is to prevent/minimize exposure to HIV through safer sex practices. Compared to the PEP treatment regime, using condoms is much cheaper, convenient and relatively hassle-free.

Beauty Our Way: Happy To Be Nappy

Coming into self

For a long time, beauty has been dictated to us. Black women have a very special relationship with beauty, especially when it comes to our hair. Even today hair is the focus of women’s beauty assets. For us, our hair can describe our mood, situation, our politics, and our sense of direction. In the 1960s, it was the “Afro” but some, like myself, were not able to sport the very voluminous style as my hair was damaged for a long time from the use of lye relaxers, then called permanents, and did not grow very fast.

This was a time when Black people were expressing themselves about race and racism. We wanted to let the world know that Black was beautiful. But alas, “Bo Derek”, took the wind out of our sail and launched an influx of afro, dreadlock, and braid wearing Caucasians in her wake. It was astonishing to say the least, to see a white person wearing an African hairstyle. Nevertheless, I have resigned myself to living with my short hair and learned to love my TA, “tiny afro” at the tender age of 57.

To really understand the beauty of blackness, we have to start with the “hair”. It took me a long time to shed my weaves and extensions due to my coyness about wearing my own short black hair. I am experiencing my own renaissance and hair evolution.

Hair care today

The other issue regarding our hair is hair care. For years the only thing that we knew as hair-care was the pressing iron and hair oil. Most of us called it straightening out the shame. You were not dressed unless your hair was pressed and curled. To have nappy edges was a sin and the butt of many jokes. So we fried, greased, curled our hair to disrepair. If that did not work, tight extensions and weaves was the next resort. Maybe that is why there are so many bald Black women wearing wigs today. Could be, but even baldness is changing the way we see ourselves. It has become a beauty statement among many Black women today.

My mom, aunt and cousins wear baldness proudly. Some African tribal women deliberately shave their hair bald, such as the women of the Mursi and the Masai Tribe. My hair is between tightly curled and wavy curl, but curly enough to wear it in the Afro style. I rarely wear a cap when swimming but I use a special shampoo that washes out the chlorine and use a rich moisturizer and natural oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, and Shea butter to recondition my hair.

For any hair to be strong and healthy, one must consider beauty from the inside. That means a good vitamin rich in Biotin, Vitamin B and protein. This should be part of your dietary regime. These nutrients will make hair healthy. Since Black hair is very delicate, we must take care that breakage does not result.

One of the greatest myth is that our hair does not grow. Quite the contrary, Black hair grows, but our hair is very dry and requires much moisture to prevent breaking. Because of the tight texture of curl in Black hair, breakage is problematic. It is not wise to brush our hair too often and a wide tooth comb should be used always for grooming.

The hair should be moist so as to make it easier to comb. After combing the hair, moisturize with water based hair products such as coconut oil to moisten the shafts, then use a natural oil based pomade to seal in the moisture.

I recommend sleeping in a nylon or silk hair cap or pillow. Another thing regarding Black hair is how versatile it can be. Braids, short afros, twists, and blow dry Dominican straight make Black hair contemporary and stylish. All without ever using a hot comb or texture altering product.

Attitude and acceptance

I think the concept of feminine beauty is decided by the society in which Black people live. European concepts of beauty prevail and still a lot of us try earnestly to emulate it. Much of what Black women see in the media is European and most of us grew up with this image as being feminine. The toll on our self esteem was tremendous.

When I came of age straight was it; long you’re the dream of every man; but short and nappy, you were not acceptable. We had to burn our hair with straightening combs, deny ourselves the delights of swimming without a cap or not swimming at all, (that started the rumor that Black women can’t swim), turned down for dates with Black men because they preferred the girl with the hair and light skin. This was a horrible reality for many young Black women. The sixties changed much of that, when “Black is Beautiful” became all the rage.

You may read: Inflammation And Alzheimer’s Disease: Moving From Harmful To Beneficial With Vaccines.

Of course, most Black women still do not like to get their hair wet. We are more comfortable with our hair than we once were in the past. Black women are seen on television wearing natural afro hair in scenes of importance and love interests in movies. We sport braids on the job, and wear our hair in very short hair styles with conservative business suits and evening wear.

Black young starlets prance down the runways with shaved bald heads with elegance and grace. Today more Black women discard the faux hair extensions for their own African locks and lack of, to prove that Black hair is indeed beautiful. We have shown the world that the Black woman makes the hair, but hair or no hair, she is enhanced as a woman. True, hair is woman’s crowning glory, but it is the glorious awareness that crowns Black femininity.

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Inflammation And Alzheimer’s Disease: Moving From Harmful To Beneficial With Vaccines

Alzheimer’s disease is a growing problem with an aging population in the U.S. and worldwide. Alzheimer’s disease is a leading cause of dementia, which is the loss of remembering, reasoning, and thinking. There is still no cure for the disease, although some treatments have helped to slow the progression of the disease. Recently, attention has been focused on the role of inflammation in advancing the disease.

What Are the Characteristics of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by two abnormal structures in the brain: beta amyloid protein plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Beta amyloid is a protein normally produced in the body, but in Alzheimer’s it accumulates in plaques surrounding the neurons (brain cells). It is not known whether the plaques are the cause or the result of the disease.

Tau proteins are responsible for the proper alignment of microtubules that provide support and bring nourishment to the nerve cells. When tau protein undergoes structural changes typically due to increased uptake of phosphorus, it can no longer bind to the microtubules. The microtubules then lose their structural integrity and can no longer support the nerve cells, and become neurofibrillary tangles.

The third player in Alzheimer’s disease are the different forms of Apolipoprotein E. People can inherit three forms of the Apo E: Apo E2, E3, or E4. Apo E3 is protective as it binds the tao protein to the microtubules. The Apo E4 cannot bind to the tao protein, and may facilitate the formation of amyloid plaques. People who are homozygous for E4 are at greater risk to develop Alzheimer’s.

The Role of Inflammation in Alzheimer’s Disease

The presence of amyloid plaques in the brain stimulate an inflammatory response. A type of immune cell known as microglia is stimulated to produce chemicals called cytokines, which in turn activate other components of the immune system. The microglia can engulf and destroy the amyloid plaques. The inflammatory response also stimulates T-lymphocytes to secrete cytokines. Although the initial inflammatory response may be beneficial, overstimulation results in nerve cells being attacked and destroyed.

Development of Vaccines to Prevent or Treat Alzheimer’s Disease

A vaccine is an antigen that stimulates an immune response when administered. Immunity is achieved by the formation of specific B-cell antibodies that react with the invading organism or toxic agent. A typical Alzheimer’s disease vaccine uses a short peptide (protein fragment) of beta-amyloid plaque as the antigen. Administering this vaccine stimulates the body to produce anti-beta amyloid antibodies (active immunity). Passive immunity (administering antibodies to the person) is not very satisfactory, since it requires frequent administration, and can be very expensive.

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Elan pharmaceuticals conducted a clinical trial with their experimental vaccine in 2001. The trial was terminated after several months as several patients developed encephalitis (swelling of the brain). Some improvements in patients were noticed, such as reduced beta amyloid deposition, reduced tau levels, and improved cognitive function. After two years, however, the beneficial effects disappeared. Several clinical trials sponsored by pharmaceutical companies involving active or passive immunity against Alzheimer’s disease are currently underway. (Zotova)

Dr. Cynthia Lemere of Harvard Medical School reported on studies developing an Alzheimer’s disease vaccine. The critical aspect of the vaccine was to develop an antigenic region (epitope) that would stimulate B- cell production, while the epitope for T-cell stimulation would remain inactive. In this way, the B-antibodies react in a very specific manner with the beta-amyloid plaques, while harmful T-cell secretions are kept to a minimum. Preliminary results with animal studies are very promising.

Inflammation in Alzheimer’s Disease Must be Controlled to be Beneficial

Inflammation is a normal response of the body to eliminate or confine an invading organism or foreign substance. A vaccine against Alzheimer’s disease should stimulate antibody production against beta-amyloid plaques, while not activating microglia or T-cells that promote an inflammatory response that could damage nerve cells.