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Treatment Options To Quit Smoking And Prevent Nicotine Dependence

Smoking is estimated to the most commonly preventable cause of death in the US. Stoppage of smoking leads to immediate benefit of health. For younger smokers quitting smoking leads to having normal life expectancy whereas for older people quality of life is improved along with along with addition of years to life.It is reported that the risk of several diseases drop immediately following giving up smoking. The risk of heart attack becomes 50% less in the first year of quitting smoking, in the second and third years of quitting smoking the risk of suffering from stroke becomes comparable to a non smoker and tenth year of smoking quitting the risk of suffering from cancer becomes half. There are several treatment options which help a smoker to give up smoking successfully. These options are usually the most helpful when used in combination.
The treatment options are
1. Drugs: these drugs include nicotine replacement therapy and non nicotine drugs. Both of these treatment options are approved by the FDA, USA. Pregnant, breastfeeding women, smokers less than 18 years etc should consult doctors before choosing the appropriate drugs,
    A.  Nicotine replacement therapy: in nicotine replacement therapy nicotine is advised to relieve the bothersome withdrawal symptoms. Unlike common belief  nicotine does not cause cancer. Nicotine supplements are given via various forms like nicotine patches, chewing gums, spray,inhalers etc.
        1.Nicotine patches are applied on the skin so that nicotine is delivered to the blood stream. The patch is replaced every day with a new one. The total duration of nicotine patch treatment is 8 weeks, if craving or the symptoms is not relieved despite treatment for two weeks or more doctor should be consulted regarding the dose of the nicotine in the patch or use of other addition al drugs.
        2.Nicotine chewing gums: these gums release nicotine in the oral cavity which enters the blood stream through the linings of the mouth. Drinking and eating should be avoided immediately after chewing the gums
        3.Nicotine lozenges act in the same way as the nicotine gums by releasing nicotine in the mouth and then reaching the blood stream
        4.Nicotine nasal spray and inhalers: these are prescription drugs which when sprayed or inhaled through the nostrils gets absorbed through the mucosal lining of the nose into the blood stream.
    B.  Non nicotine drugs: there are some drugs approved for use in nicotine dependence. These are
        1.Bupropion: this antidepressant drug raises the level of dopamine in the brain just like the nicotine and relieves the withdrawal symptoms. This drug is often prescribed along with nicotine patch. Bupropion also helps to lower the weight gain following quitting smoking. people with past history of seizure or severe degree of head injury should avoid this drug.
        2.Varenicline: this drug binds with nicotine receptor and thus relieves the withdrawal symptoms and also reduces the pleasant effects experienced with nicotine use.
        3.Nortriptyline: this antidepressant helps in nicotine withdrawal by lowering noradrenalin level in the brain

2. Counseling: often drugs are combined with counseling to get maximum benefit. Counseling options are
    a.  Telephone counseling
    b.  Group counseling
    c.  Individual counseling
    d.  Internet counseling
Use of certain products may help the person to avoid smoking, although scientific evidences regarding the usefulness of these products are not very strong. These products include certain herbs, supplements, nicotine lollipops, balms, hypnosis, electronic cigarettes etc.
Certain tips are helpful to refrain from smoking, these are
1. Motivating oneself all the time
2. Do not be discouraged if slip occurs
3. Identifying individual triggering factors for smoking and the challenges to remain tobacco free
4. Seek support whenever necessary
5. Practicing self talk
6. Regularly evaluating the benefits achieved from quitting smoking
7. Avoiding alcohol
Measures to prevent nicotine dependence
The best measure to prevent nicotine dependence is complete avoidance of smoking and other tobacco containing products.
As a parent or responsible citizen certain measures can be taken; these are
1) Promotion of smoke fee environments
2) Supporting laws which increases taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco containing products
3) Talking to teenagers regarding their ideas on smoking
4) Taking part in different community services which promote avoiding tobacco

Hand gestures help kids learn better

According to a recent study, spontaneous gestures would help children learn things in a better manner.
Children(those who can hear) in their growing stage use more of gestures and actions as they acquire full-fledged spoken language slowly and gradually. These gestures and word combinations predicts how the child has picked up the language.

Susan Goldin-Meadow, a professor in department of psychology at University of Chicago, said that children always tend to understand things through gestures and actions before they are able to express it them in speech.
She also examined how gestures help learn and hear even the deaf and dumb children. Actions and gestures are one of the most flexible ways of communicating. If necessary, that can itself become a language, she added.

In the early years of growth(when the child is at 11 or 12 months old), they mostly use iconic gestures. For example, the show fight movements by punching in air. As they grow older the spoken language(verbal communication) becomes stronger and hence, the usage of gestures tend to lessen.
The ways in which gestures are used are an indication of the developmental or conceptual ability of children.
Gestures are also meant to have joint attention. When a child uses gestures to point out someone or something, the parent makes him clear with the name of the object and then the whole conversation is based on the object of concern, which causes the child to adapt things faster.

Women have higher risk of injury than men post-drinking

When compared to men, women who consume alcohol more, even after three standard drinks are more likely to undergo more injury. The risk of injury when compared to men, women have higher chances and this includes patients from India.

The risk also increases vividly for women, that becomes twice the risk to men around 15 drinks and three times the risk to men around 30 drinks.
"There is an increasing risk relationship between alcohol and injury, but risk is not uniform across gender, cause of injury, or country drinking pattern" said lead author, Cheryl Cherpitel from the Alcohol Research Group (ARG) of the Public Health Institute in the US.

In this study the drinks were taken six hours before an injury. The risk of getting violence-related injury is more severe than the risk of getting other types of injuries, the study revealed.

The researchers also found that the risk of injury from violence increases more rapidly as the volume of alcohol consumed increases.The study looked at over 13,000 injured patients from 18 countries – Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Guyana, India, Ireland, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Sweden, and SwitzerlandThe study appeared online in the scientific journal Addiction.

Toilets key to improving child health in India

A study by an Indian- origin research shows that setting up toilets and washroom felicities in India, in order to reduce open defecation is the main key to significant health benefits for children in India. As many as 60 percent of rural households and slums do not have an access to sanitary felicities even after crossing 66 years of independence as per the latest government survey.

But the situation in urban India is far more better than rural one, as only a less than 9 percent of the population are lacking from the felicity.
A team of researchers led by Sumeet Patil from School of Public Health, University of California at Berkeley, and the Network for Engineering, Economics Research and Management in Mumbai conducted a randomized trial in 80 rural villages in Madhya Pradesh, from which the conclusion was made.

A total of about 18.9 percent of slum households defecate in open air and only 15. 1 percent use public toilets and latrines.
A slum settlement always lack access to adequate water supply, sanitation and hygienic living conditions. They also face other challenges and basic necessities like electricity, properly maintained roads, safe housing etc.

lack of sanitation and toilet felicities do occur due to lack of supportive infrastructure, space limitedness, low income levels of slum residents and also poor, pitiful levels of government interventions give rise to main causative factors to such situations.

"Source of drinking water is available to 56.7 percent of households within the premises in slums, 31.9 percent have the sources situated within 100 meters and 11.4 percent have to travel more than 100 meters to fetch drinking water," the report says.

Flexible work schedules of employees improve health and sleep

A new study has examined that people who have flexible work schedules have better health and they sleep properly than their counterparts.

The researchers followed 474 employees as part of a Work, Family and Health Network study conducted at an information technology company, with about half of the employees serving as the control while the other half experienced the study intervention. Both employees and their supervisors participated.

The intervention was designed to reduce conflicts between work and personal life, and focused on two main cultural shifts: allowing employees to decide on when and where they worked and training supervisors to support their employees' personal lives. Those who were assigned to the intervention were encouraged to be completely flexible about when and where they would work at the office, from home or elsewhere while still working the same number of hours as the control group. All of the participants wore a sleep-monitoring watch, a device that tracks movement to monitor periods of sleep.

At 12 months, the researchers found that employees who participated in the intervention experienced an average of eight minutes more sleep per night, which is nearly an hour more sleep per week, than the control group. Intervention participants perceptions of their sleep sufficiency also improved.

Orfeu M. Buxton, associate professor of biobehavioral health, Penn State, added that work can be a calling and inspirational, as well as a paycheck, but work should not be detrimental to health. It is possible to mitigate some of the deleterious effects of work by reducing work-family conflict and improving sleep.

Sleep disorders in kids linked to behavioral problems

Parents may please take note that toddlers having sleep difficulties are likely to experience behavioural problems.
Early sleep problems may be both a cause and consequence of children's difficulties with behavioural and emotional self-regulation, a study showed.

Inadequate sleep is associated with daytime sleepiness, less optimal pre-school adjustment and problems of irritability, hyperactivity and attention, the study noted.

"Essentially, these young children might be caught in a cycle, with sleep disruption affecting their psychiatric symptoms and psychiatric symptoms affecting their sleep-wake organisation," explained John Boekamp from Bradley Hospital, Rhode Island in the US.

"Sleep problems in young children frequently co-occur with other behavioural problems, with evidence that inadequate sleep is associated with daytime sleepiness, less optimal pre-school adjustment, and problems of irritability, hyperactivity and attention."

This study examined the nature and prevalence of diagnostically defined sleep disorders, including Sleep Onset Insomnia and Night Waking Insomnia, in a group of 183 young children.

Sleep problems were especially common in children with disruptive behaviour, attention, anxiety and mood problems."It is important for families to be aware of how important sleep is to the behavioural adjustment and well being of young children," Boekamp pointed out.The study was published online in the journal Child Psychiatry & Human Development.

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