Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a neurological learning disability that causes difficulties processing language. it occurs in children and adults with normal vision and intelligence.  

Dyslexia is found in 1 in every 5 people. It’s a lifelong condition that has no cure. However, most children with dyslexia can succeed in school with tutoring and specialized education programs. Psychological support also plays an important role.

Children with dyslexia are often mislabeled as ‘lazy’ or ‘stupid’ because of their lack of performance in school and in life. This is a misconception, since many people with dyslexia have an above average IQ.

To put it simply, in the brain of a person with dyslexia, there is  glitch in the ‘word analyzer’ and its connection with other parts of the brain.  

Dyslexia is caused by a problem in the brain’s ability to translate images received from the eyes into an understandable thought. It takes a person with dyslexia more time to figure out word meanings.

So, let’s try to imagine the world from a dyslexic person’s point of view. A person with dyslexia has trouble interpretting letters or words in the correct order, shape, and direction.

Here what a dyslexic person may experience:

The letters and numbers may appear reversed, mirrored, upside down, or sideways. So, s/he might confuse the letters (q and p) & (d and b), or (n,m,v,w) and the numbers (10 & 01). The word “dill” could appear as “llib.” Also the numbers (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, & 9) could be confusing to read and write.

While distinctive numbers (0,8) are easy because they look the same on both sides, also lower case letters (i, o) and uppercase (H, I, O, X) are typical in shape and therefore not as likely to be confusing

People with dyslexia might also see the letters correctly, but would be unable to sound out words; that is, unable to connect the letters to the sounds they make and understand them

Other people with dyslexia might be able to connect the letters and sound out words, but are unable to recognize words they have seen before, so that they find themselves coming back to read the same passage over and over again, in attempt to understand what they are reading.

some might process the letters and words as if they are all crammed together

Some might be processing the words as if they appear completely backwards, such as the word “bird” looking like “brid”, or “God” looking to them like “dog”

Another group may be seeing the letters and words like normal, but getting a severe headache or feeling sick to their stomach every time they try to read for prolonged periods

There are different types of dyslexia: ‘dysphonetic’, ‘dyseidetic’ and ‘dysphoneidetic’.

In Dysphonetic dyslexia, also know as “auditory dyslexia”: the person has difficulty connecting sounds to symbols, and might have difficulties sounding out words; spelling mistakes would show a very poor grasp of phonics.

The ‘dyseidetic’ person on the other hand has great difficulty with whole word recognition and spelling. This type of dyslexia is also called “visual dyslexia.”

There is also the “mixed dyslexia” or “dysphoneidetic dyslexia”. This is the most severe form of dyslexia because it involves both types of coding functions: the child can’t read (decode) and spell (encode) words either eidetically or phonetically

Dyslexia can also make mathematics, especially the algebraic forms, an especially difficult challenge. This type of dyslexia is known as “dyscalculia”, which is defined as the inability to calculate equations due to poor mental math and memory skills. Signs of dyscalculia in adulthood would include: Poor mental math, difficulty handling money, making change

Failing to notice math signs and symbols (+ = – x )

Doesn’t remember the basic math operations like addition and multiplication tables

Poor sense of direction, trouble reading maps, telling time, understanding schedules

Mistakes in working with numbers – reversals, substituting other numbers and leaving numbers out

Trouble learning musical concepts or following directions in sports.

So how is dyslexia diagnosed?

The Dyslexia Determination Test (DDT)  

Avoid confusing dyslexia with intellectual disabilities, developmental disorders or autism.  It is common however that dyslexia would be assciated with other disorders like ADHD.

I wish you great health!

Alyaa Gad

Depression – 10 Conditions

Suppose that you go to your doctor and complain of fatigue, guilt, worthlessness, irritability, insomnia, decreased appetite, loss of interest in regular life activities, persistent sadness, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide, you would probably leave your doctor’s office with the diagnosis of depression, and a prescription for Zoloft, Prozac, or another anti-dpressant drug.

But is this always the right diagnosis for such symptoms?

The answer is: NO!

Those same symptoms belong to a variety of other conditions that require treatments other than antidepressants and psychotherapy.

They may certainly look and feel like clinical depression to the outsider, but they require a different way of treatment.

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Here are 10 conditions that might show the same symptoms as clinical depression:

  1. Vitamin D deficiency

A good doctor will order a blood test to see if a patient is low on vitamin D before sending him off with a prescription for Prozac because so many of us are lacking adequate amounts of this critical vitamin.

Studies are increasingly showing that most people are Vitamin-D deficient, and that there’s a close association between vitamin D levels and depression symptoms.

The best source of vitamin D is early morning sun. If you have no high risk for developing skin cancer, do expose large areas of your skin without applying sunscreen for around 15 minutes.

And if you can’t be in the sun, supplements are available at the local drugstores.

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  1. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is also easily mistaken for clinical depression. You feel tired and exhausted, worthless, irritable, and incapable of making a decision. Getting through each day without naps is a major accomplishment.

Hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, is one of the most undiagnosed and misdiagnosed health problems in the world.

A note to my medical colleagues, TSH testing is not enough to diagnose thyroid malfunction.

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  1. Low blood sugar

People who experience fluctuations in blood sugar  blood sugar levels on a daily basis are usually insulin-resistant, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes.

Insulin resistance has been recently linked with depression. But the good news is that simple diet modifications — like eating low-carb, high-protein foods every few hours — will help alleviate symptoms.

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  1. Dehydration.

Our thirst sensation doesn’t really appear until we are 1 or 2 percent dehydrated. By then dehydration is already setting in and starting to impact how our mind and body perform.

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  1. Food intolerance

Certain foods can trigger inflammation in our bodies, just like toxins from the environment would.

Our bodies react differently during those inflmmatory responses. So, while some people sneeze or break out in hives, others get sad and anxious.

Keep a food journal and try to figure out whether you feel bad after eating certain foods, especially red meat and dairy, and eliminate them from your diet to rgain your healthy mood.

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  1. Caffeine withdrawal.

That anxiety and depression you feel hours  after having coffee is probably because your body is going through withdrawal, and for those who are chemically sensitive to all amphetamine-like substances that raise dopamine levels, that withdrawal translates to tears, shaking, and panic attacks.

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  1. Some medications.

If you think a drug you’re taking might be causing your depression, you may be right. Certain medications prescribed for various medical conditions do cause such feelings as sadness, despair, and discouragement. And those are feelings that are often associated with depression.

Medications that cause depression appear to alter brain chemicals in some way. And even though the drugs may be necessary to treat the condition, the side effect is hardly acceptable. As an example, Accutane, which is prescribed for the treatment of acne, has been found to also sometimes cause depression. So have oral contraceptives, high blood pressure drugs, and even statins that treat high cholesterol.

If you think that your medication is causing your to get depressed, talk to your doctor about changing it.

  • Accutane
  • Alcohol
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Beta-adrenergic blockers
  • Calcium-channel blockers
  • Interferon alfa
  • Norplan
  • Opioids
  • Statins
  • Varenicline
  • Zovirax

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  1. Iron deficiency.

If you have any type of iron deficiency, one psychological symptom could be signs of depression. While an iron deficiency may not be the sole cause of depression, it can cause symptoms similar to depression such as a lack of appetite, irritability, extreme fatigue, headaches and mood swings.

Also, anxiety is a psychological issue that can stem from having low iron levels. If you have low iron levels, it could trigger panic symptoms, leading to a panic attack. Panic attack symptoms include feelings of dread, fear of dying, chest tightness, headache, fear of fainting, choking symptoms, muscle weakness, insomnia and visual disturbances.

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  1. Lack of sleep.

Normal sleep is a restorative state. When sleep is disrupted or inadequate, it can lead to increased tension, vigilance, and irritability.

Physical or emotional trauma and metabolic or other medical problems can trigger sleep disturbances. Poor sleep can lead to fatigue. With fatigue, you exercise less and that leads to a decline in your fitness level. Eventually, you find yourself in a vicious cycle of inactivity and disturbed sleep, which causes both physical and mood-related symptoms.

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  1. Heavy Metal Poisoning

Heavy metal toxicity can disturb your brain chemistry causing depression and anxiety.

Heavy metal toxicity can have a wide range of negative effects. Mercury, can cause depression and add to anxiety; mercury and cadmium (main source: smoking) can significantly compromise your immune system. Amalgam fillings still present a significant risk of mercury poisoning, mercury toxicity can also cause allergies

Lead poisoning particularly contributes to anxiety, lead also dulls your intelligence.

Lead, cadmium (from smoking) and arsenic disturb dopamine. This neurotransmitter gives the brain energy, motivation and the capacity for pleasure, when it becomes deficient you can get a low energy demotivated depression.

Aluminium

Aluminium pots and pans slowly dissolve metal into the food. Use either high quality stainless steel or glass and earthenware.

To reverse this build-up and actively eliminate this type of toxin requires taking supplements over several weeks.

I wish you the best of health!

Alyaa Gad

Inducing Labor Naturally

Only around 5% of babies are born on their expected delivery date and about half of them in the 2 weeks after the EDD.

If you’ve reached or passed your expected delivery date (40 weeks of pregnancy), natural methods of induction are possible to stimulate labour or to ripen the cervix, especially when this is done to avoid undergoing a caesarean section.

Every development day your baby spends in your womb is important, particularly for their lung development, but after the 42-weeks mark, it becomes dangerous for the baby to stay inside the womb, and labor has to be induced.

But please be warned that: Inducing labor before 39 weeks increases the risk of complications of prematurity including difficulties with respiration, infection, feeding, jaundice, neonatal intensive care unit admissions, and perinatal death.

Important note prior to trying any labor induction method is to get a medical checkup and to have an approval from your doctor, especially if your pregnancy is high-risk.

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So here are some methods for natural induction of labour

1. Sex

Sex is commonly suggested for natural induction due to semen containing prostaglandins – which help to ripen the cervix.  But just make sure that ejaculation happens inside the vagina and that the membranes are intact (in other words, your water didn’t break).

Also, the female orgasm can be effective.

Orgasm induces the release of oxytocin– the labour hormone.  So, feel free to pleasure yourself.

2. Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been used successfully to induce labor in overdue pregnancy.

Induction using acupuncture generally works within 6-48 hours of having your treatment. You might end up needing one to three sessions though.

3. Acupressure and Induction Massage

A Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner can show your partner how to apply acupressure or  induction massage to induce labor.

4. Nipple Stimulation

Nipple stimulation produces oxytocin and can produce some strong effects, so you can try stimulating your nipples (including your areola, as a baby would when sucking) with your fingers, massaging one at a time. You can also ask your partner for some help!

Massage the first nipple for 5 minutes, then wait around 15 mins before doing more.

5. Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) زيت زهرة الربيع المسائية

Evening Primrose Oil has similar effect to prostaglandin, which helps to induce labor.

It can be used orally and/or vaginally.

An oral dosage is 2 of 500mg capsules daily.

If you are taking  it vaginally, you can do it by inserting 2 capsules directly to the cervix before bed.

You might like to wear a pad or liner as it can get messy.

6. Castor Oil

Castor oil acts as a stimulant to the bowels, which irritates the uterus and causes contractions.

The side effects from castor oil can include:

  • diarrhea
  • vomiting

Some practitioners do not recommend castor oil because of potential side effects like dehydration (from loose stools and/or vomiting), fetal distress and meconium in the baby.

It is always wise to talk to your midwife or doctor about how to use castor oil before doing so.

You can blend the castor oil with various fruit juices and ice. Though the higher volume of drink, the more you have to drink. Some women prefer just to do shots of castor oil and wash it down with juice or another drink. Some suggest that you use a warmer drink to remove the oily film from your mouth. You can also add it to an omelet with salsa.

Typically mothers spend a lot of time in the bathroom with diarrhea before noticing contractions. Though these contractions do not always progress to full blown labor. This can be seen as a type of cervical ripening agent anyway, which is a good step towards inducing labor soon.

7. Black Cohosh عشبة الكوهوش السوداء

Black Cohosh is a herb used to encourage contractions and facilitate labour. Please note that the wrong dose may cause problems, so always consult your therapist.

8. Raspberry Leaf ورق التوت

You can drink it as a tea. It’s safe and can be taken from the 12th week of pregnancy.

9. Spices: Curry and Cinnammon

Can get the labour started. But be aware of the fact that it can cause diarrhea. Add to a meal of your liking.

10. Dates!

A study has found out that the consumption of 6 dates daily in the last 4 weeks before labour significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labour.

11. Pineapples: eat fresh pineapples.

Tropical fruits like pineapple, mango and papaya contain an enzyme that is said to help soften the cervix, stimulate muscle contractions, and for shortening labor.

Eating large amount of fresh pineapple can also kick start your digestive system, which is also said to be a way to kick start labor.

12. Walking, and belly dancing help, but take some rest the night labour starts.

I wish you the best of health!

Alyaa Gad

Discipline

10 Ways To Guide Children Without Punishment

What can we do to guide children without “discipline”?

1. Regulate your own emotions. You’re the role model. Don’t act when you’re upset.
Take a deep breath and wait until you’re calm before you address the situation. Resist the impulse to be punitive because it always back-fires.

2. Honor feelings. When your child is very angry he can’t learn. Try a “Time-In” where you stay with your child and let him ha-ve his meltdown in your attentive presence. If he’s aggressive, try to calm him down by hugging him.
Your goal is to provide a calm “holding environment” for your child’s upset.
Expressing emotions with a safe, attentive, accepting adult is what helps kids move through those feelings. Don’t try to reason with him during the emotional storm.
Afterwards, he’ll feel better, and closer to you, that he’ll be open to y-our guidance.

3. Remember how children learn. Consider the example of wri-ting. You show them how, and they will emulate you. The same prin-ciple holds for learning to say Thank You, waiting for your turn, wate-ring the plants, doing homework, and most everything else you can think of. Be a good role model, and they will follow. Easy, isn’t it? Try it!

4. Connect before you correct, Describe their feelings and give guidance in a loving way: “You are mad…Tell me what you need in words… no hitting or biting!”
Pick her up and kiss her: “You wish you could play longer… it’s time for bed.”
Make loving eye contact: “You are so upset right now.”
Put your hand on her shoulder: “You’re scared to tell me about the cookie.”

5. Set limits, but set them with empathy. Of course you need to insist on some rules. When you state limits, always mention why. Men-tion a logical reason, and be honest about it, and offer an alternative, also- acknowledge the feelings.
“No biting! You’re very very mad and hurt, but you need to tell your brother in words.”
“It’s bedtime now. I know you wish you could play longer.”
“You don’t want Mommy to say No, I hear you….And the answer is No. We don’t say ‘Shut Up’ to each other, even when we’re sad and mad.”
“No matter how scared you are, I need you to tell me the truth.”

6. Remember that “misbehavior” is an expression of a need.
He has a reason.
If his behavior is terrible, he must feeling terrible inside.
Maybe he needs more sleep
Maybe more time with you
Maybe he’s frustrated that he can’t express his emotions in words,
Address the underlying need and you eliminate the misbehavior.

7. Be positive. Kids will do almost anything we ask them, if we make the request in a loving and positive way.
Your child will respond with the generosity of spirit that matches y-ours.
“You are a clean boy and that’s why you’ll take a shower now.”

8. Stay connected with special time, every day. Turn off the phone, close the computer, and tell your child “Ok, I’m all yours for the next 20 minutes. What should we do?”
Follow her lead.
Laugh at silly jokes, have a pillow fight, Snuggle.
Let her tell you what’s on her mind, let her rant or cry.
Just accept all those feelings.
Be 100% present.
When kids receive that their feelings are acknowledged, they behave!

9. Forgive yourself. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. You can always repair the relationship. Start today.

10. End all struggles with a hug. Physically connecting heals all wounds.

I wish you all the best!

Alyaa Gad

*****
From Alfie Kohn’s book Unconditional Parenting

Anger Management

 

Anger management: 10 tips to tame your temper

Anger is a normal and even healthy emotion — but it’s important to deal with it in a positive way.

But uncontrolled anger can take a toll on both your health and your relationships.

I  have 10 anger management tips for you.

1. Identify possible solutions

Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand.

When you are calm and relaxed, sit down and make a list of what makes you angry. Traffic jams, your demanding boss, the noisy children, rude neighbors, etc..

Now think of each situation, and try to note a positive reaction to say and do while in that very situation. Now try to recall that reaction when the situation happens for real.

2. Think before you speak.  Remember that you might say things that will cause irreparable damage.

In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something you’ll later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything — and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.

3. If you can’t control your anger, leave the scene before you hurt someone. And once you’re calm, express your anger

As soon as you’re thinking clearly, express your frustration in an assertive but non-confrontational way. State your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.

4. Remember that violence will make the problem worse.

It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to behave exactly as you want at all times. Try to forgive, thinking that the person who did you wrong probably did not mean to.

Remember that violence will make the problem worse, and might bring your life or that of your beloved in danger.

5. Have a healthy lifestyle

Physical activity can help reduce stress that can cause you to become angry. DOing regular exericse will make much less prone to explosive spills of anger.

Also, get enough sleep, avoid junk food, eat healthily, take omega-3, sit in the early morning sun as often as you can, or take vitaminD.

6. Stick with the ‘I’ statements to describe your feelings about the situation

Avoid criticizing or placing blame on others — which might only increase tension — use “I” statements to describe the problem. Be respectful and specific. Mention the problem and how to solve it your opinion. For example, say, “I’m upset and I need your help around the house,” instead of, “You never do any housework.”

7. Describe the problem, offer solutions, be cooperative, and make contact.

Instead of yelling and swearing: Mention what i wrong, suggest a way to solve the problem, and be positive and encouraging.

For example if your child breaks a glass. Mention: The glass is broken (not YOU broke the glass, stupid!), say: watch your feet, and let’s get to clean this.

After it’s over, hug your child and assure him that it’s all OK.

8. Practice relaxation skills

When your temper flares, put relaxation skills to work. Practice deep-breathing exercises, imagine a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase, such as, “Take it easy.” You might also listen to music, write in a journal or do a few yoga poses — whatever it takes to encourage relaxation.

9.Take a timeout

Give yourself short breaks during times of the day that tend to be stressful. Say: I’m very angry right now, let me talk about this when I’ve cooled down.

10. Make a system and set of rules for your family and at work.

If everyone knows the system, there will be less chance for trouble.

 

I wish you all the best!

Alyaa Gad

Resolving Marital Conflicts

5 Steps for Resolving Marital Conflicts

There is no way to avoid conflict in your marriage. The question is: How will you deal with it?

We have had our share of conflict and some of our disagreements have not been pretty. Two selfish people with different backgrounds and personalities. Now add some bad habits and a bunch of expectations,  and you are bound to have conflict. It’s unavoidable.

Since every marriage has its tensions, it isn’t a question of avoiding them but of how you deal with them. Conflict can lead to a process that develops oneness or isolation. You and your spouse must choose how you will act when conflict occurs.

Step One: Knowing, accept, and adjust to your differences.

It’s important to understand the differences, and then to accept and adjust to them. remember that you can’t change the person, but you can meet half way.

Step Two:  Be less selfish.

Consider that you are different and the you love each other, and love means that you should not be selfish.

Step Three: Be fair and logical.

  • Check your motivation. Will your words help or hurt? Will bringing this up cause healing, wholeness, and oneness, or further isolation?
  • Check your attitude. Loving confrontation says, “I care about you. I respect you and I want you to respect me. I want to know how you feel.” Don’t hop on your bulldozer and run your spouse down. Approach your spouse lovingly.
  • Check the circumstances. This includes timing, location, and setting. Don’t confront your spouse, for example, when he is tired from a hard day’s work, or in the middle of settling a squabble between the children. Also, never criticize, make fun of, or argue with your spouse in public.
  • Check to see what other pressures may be present. Be sensitive to where your spouse is coming from. What’s the context of your spouse’s life right now? Is he healthy? Does he have trouble at work? A traumatic life experience?
  • Listen to your spouse. Seek to understand his or her view, and ask questions to clarify viewpoints.
  • During the discussion, stick to one issue at a time. Don’t bring up several. Don’t save up a series of complaints and let your spouse have them all at once.
  • Focus on the problem, rather than the person. For example, you need a budget and your spouse is shopaholic. Work together through plans for finances
  • Focus on behavior rather than character. This is the “you” message versus the “I” message again. You can assassinate your spouse’s character and stab him right to the heart with “you” messages like, “You’re always late—you don’t care about me at all; you don’t care about anyone but yourself.” The “I” message would say, “I feel frustrated when you don’t let me know you’ll be late. I would appreciate if you would call so we can make other plans.”
  • Focus on the facts rather than judging motives. If your spouse forgets to make an important call, deal with the consequences of what you both have to do next rather than say, “You’re so careless; you just do things to irritate me.”
  • Above all, focus on understanding your spouse rather than on who is winning or losing. When your spouse confronts you, listen carefully to what is said and what isn’t said. For example, it may be that he is upset about something that happened at work and you’re getting nothing more than the brunt of that pressure.

Step Four: Be forgiving

Step Five:  Avoid hurting feelings.

Avoid insults. Never call your spouse names, or harm him/her physically.

All the best!

Alyaa Gad

Study Smart!

The key to effective studying isn’t cramming or studying longer, but studying smarter.

You can begin studying smarter with these ten proven and effective study habits.


  1. Do some active sports for 20-30 minutes a day. This will improve your circulation and hence your brain functions
  2. Eat healthy food, avoid junk food, drink loads of water or diluted fruit juices take Omega-3 and vitamin B rich foods, sit in the sun to make vitamin D, which is vital for your cognitive functions
  3. Tidy up your room, get rid of everything that can distract you. Mobile off. TV off. Have a plant to provide you with oxygen, but put it out of the room at night because it produces CO2 then. Take a shower and brush your teeth, wear comfy clothes.
  4. Figure out whether your memory is visual or auditory. If you are visual, make flash cards, if auditory, record your voice while reading the subjects and listen to yourself while doing other activities. You can also apply both approaches.
  5. If you’re addicted to Facebook, find others in a group that discusses your study subjects. Have an online discusstion.
  6. Use mnemonics
  7. If you’re addicted to sites like porn sites, you can block them with special applications
  8. Google! Google the boring subject. There’s probably an interesting article or video about it that will make it easier to understand and recall.
  9. Learn to read with a purpose. Ask yourself: Am I looking for the keywords? Do I want to memorize the whole text? Make a summary? Flow chart? Make an intention before you read.
  10. If you can’t concentrate while being alone, try sitting in the library. Also, try listening to your favorite music, but only listen to music, without singing, or it will distract you. Classical music is the best.

Remember: One hour a day from the start of the year can save you a lot of panicking at the end of it. Cramming doesn’t work. Not having enough sleep is the worst thing you can do before the exam.

 

Best of luck!

Alyaa Gad

Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle Cell Anemia is a disease that affects the red blood cells. Anemia means: a problem with the blood cells. And sickle cell is one disease that makes the blood cells look like sickles or crescent.

A normal blood cell would look a bit like a donut. It’s circular in shape and has three very important features. It has iron on it that binds temporarily to oxygen, until it reaches the tissues of the body and then releases the oxygen. Number 2 is that it lives up to ninety days, three months, and then it brakes down and the body remakes new cells. And then also it’s very flexible. So, if it goes into the small capillaries, the small blood vessels, it can bend itself to fit into the very tiny blood vessels.

On the other hand, a patient with sickle cell anemia, his cells look like this, like crescents. They have three main defects. The iron on it cannot bind so well to oxygen, so the oxygen will remain in the blood without being able to get into the tissues. That’s one thing that causes the tissues of the body to lack oxygen in the patient. Number 2 is that it only lives ten to twenty days. So, a long period of time when the patient’s body is missing red blood cells. Number 3, the third and very important problem, is that the red blood cells that are normal can go into the big blood vessels easily, and then bend themselves to go through the tiny blood vessels. They’re very flexible. No let’s see what happens with the sickle cells. The sickle cells go easily through the big ones, big blood vessels, and then get stuck at the edge of the small blood vessels. They cannot get inside. They’re not flexible enough. And then they cause clumping here, and then in the end this organ will lack the blood supply, whatever it is. It can be the brain or hand or the penis or any tissue that is unlucky to have this attack of shortage of blood supply.

And as a result you’ll have attacks of hypoxia, which means lack of oxygen arriving to the tissues, and this can cause severe pain, sometimes death of the tissue or at least an infection occurring there.

So, the sickle cell patient mainly has anemia problems, because he’s lacking always red blood cell functions, so he’s always tired, having short breath, headaches, is always pale, sometimes he’s yellow skinned, because the sickle cells, when they die, the breakdown material is yellow in color. And then another thing is that he’s suffering from pain all the time, because these attacks are happening, so the cells are getting stuck at the edge of the tiny blood vessels. So you’re always expecting the patient to end up having either an attack of pain or an attack of being very tired and not able to function normally. Let alone other diseases that can occur, several infections in the lung can occur. So, the patient is continuously in need of medical care and checkup and prevention of certain diseases.

Another problem is the delayed growth of young people, because of the lack of blood supply to their organs. So, a sickle cell patient unfortunately is in need of continuous medical care to help the growth and prevent complications.

Currently there’s no permanent treatment of sickle cell anemia, but we try to give medications to prevent medication and also vaccinations to help the patient overcome, or not catch, infections all the time. There’s new lines of gene therapy and bone marrow transplantations, but it’s very important to also screen before marriage, do premarital screening to expect the outcome of the marriage and explain that to the parents. So, health education is very important. We also need to diagnose early if the child will be having the disease, so we can take a sample from the amniotic fluid to find out whether the mother is carrying a child with the disease.

In the treatment of sickle cell anemia we are highly depending on the health education of the parents and the caregivers of the child, so that we would prevent complications. So, early diagnosis, proper treatment and prevention will help the child grow up in a healthy way and we will help them have as much normal life as possible. So, don’t forget health education is the most important thing you should have if you find out that your child is carrying the disease.

I wish you the best of health!

Alyaa Gad

Alcoholism

Alcohol has been used for thousands of years as a social drink. But the excessive use of alcohol can lead to health, social and legal problems. We receive conflicting messages about alcohol. Is it cool to drink alcohol? Is it healthy? Or is it bad for us? We need to make an educated decision on whether we should drink alcohol, and how much, and how often, before we use it.

There’s a mistake some people have in their minds that they think they are invincible with alcohol. They think they can drink whatever they want without having any problems. Anybody can have problems with alcohol and anybody can become addicted to alcohol. But there are people who have more chance of getting addicted, because of their background or their genetics, and there’s also prove that alcohol causes brain damage.

This is an image of a person who does not drink alcohol and this is an image of someone who’s been drinking alcohol for a long time. They’re both the same age.

There are three forms of using alcohol. There’s normal use, there is abuse, and there’s alcoholism. I would be hoping that everybody would be using alcohol normally or not drinking alcohol at all. That’s two types of being normal and healthy. Another type of people would be abusing alcohol, what does that mean? Alcohol abuse means that you use it when you’re not supposed to, like when you are younger than 18 years of age, or when you are pregnant, or when you are not supposed to be drinking while for example driving or working. So, alcohol abuse is using alcohol in the wrong situations.

Alcoholism, on the other hand, means that you are drinking alcohol all the time and not able to stop drinking alcohol, and you have problems when you are not drinking. Health problems and behavioral problems. Alcoholism is a disease. It does not mean that the person is weak or a bad person. It’s a disease and we consider an alcoholic as a patient. So, people under the influence of alcohol are considered criminal if they do a crime, but alcoholics are considered also as patients and need treatment.

People have different concentrations in their blood when they drink alcohol, and the blood alcohol concentration is a value that we can measure. We can measure it in the breath of the people – that’s when you get tested for example in the street by the traffic police sometimes. But there are differences between people in their ability to have the alcohol concentration in their blood, even if they’ve had the same amount of alcohol. The food that you’ve had affects your blood alcohol concentration, so if you’ve been drinking after having eaten something, especially fatty foods, you will slow down the absorption of alcohol into your blood. So, eating before drinking might help you a bit lower the effect of alcohol on your body. But this does not mean that it will diminish that, make it less. No, it will just slow it down. But all of a sudden it might come back and give you a lot of effect from a big amount of alcohol you’ve been drinking. So be careful with that. Also your weight makes a difference. So, a bigger person would have less trouble with more amounts of alcohol than as smaller person. Also women get drunk faster – with the same amount of alcohol – than men, so, the gender makes a difference.

You also need to know that “a drink” does not mean a certain amount of the drink, but it’s the percentage of alcohol that we need to address. So, you could be drinking for example this drink, and it says here that it’s 4% vol. So, we’re talking about 4cc of alcohol every 100cc of the drink. While here, this drink, is 40% vol., so almost half of the 100cc, so you’re drinking almost 40cc of alcohol from each 100cc of this drink. This means that you are not supposed to consider this amount always as this amount, because this amount here from a highly concentrated drink of alcohol might be more harmful to you than this one. So be very careful with the percentage of alcohol in drinks.

Also in some drinks they add nice taste or fruit juices to the drinks, so the young people are fooled by the delicious taste and they keep drinking and drinking and not noticing how much they’ve had. So be very careful with slowing down the process of the effect of alcohol on your body by eating while drinking but also drinking very slowly.

The biological process of taking into your body and making use of it and then getting rid of it goes into three steps. There is absorption of alcohol, which happens in the stomach, partly, and in the small intestines, and then the alcohol goes to the liver. And the liver is responsible for changing it into other forms. So, it goes into the liver and the ethanol changes into CO2 and water, so we breathe it out and a small part of it stays in our body to affect our organs especially our brain. And then the elimination: then it goes out via our lungs, we breathe it out, and the rest of it we urinate it, because it’s water soluble.

The problem happens when you are drinking too much, much faster than your liver’s ability to break down the alcohol. And in this case you get intoxicated and drunk and you have behavioral effects. The behavioral effects from alcohol we will discuss in the next video.

I wish you the best of health!

Alyaa Gad

Pinworm

Pinworm, seat worm, threadworm, itchy butt worm, enterobius vermicularis or oxiuris are all names of one intestinal worm that infects school children at a certain age (between 5 and 15) and it can cause a lot of trouble for them.

The children who go to school get infected and then go back home and infect the other family members and then go back to school again and infect other children. So there’s the vicious circle of infection happening around the house and the school. Maybe even the parent would infect their colleagues at work or friends, and so on. So, dealing with that worm will have to involve mass treatment of the house and the school at the same time.

That worm lives in the intestines of the infected person and actually we get infected with the egg of the worm by eating contaminated food or touching contaminated surfaces and then putting our hands in our mouth. Now, what happens next is that the worm comes out of the egg inside the intestines, in the form of larva. Larvae are very small worms. And then, they hang on the inside wall of the intestines and then grow up to be fully grown worms. In this case they can immigrate to the outside of the anus, around the anal area. So, from the rectum and the anus area you will find the adult worms laying eggs at night. And that causes the symptoms. The child will probably have nightmares about snakes crawling on them. That’s a sign that this could be an infection with a pinworm. So the problem’s that the child will wake up at night crying and itching around the anal area. And what you will see, maybe, if you check the anus at night, you might find these little worms around the anus. Sometimes you won’t see them. Some parents would take a torch and check around the anal area like this. Some other parents would take a tape and go around the anal area and stick it around the anal area like this and will see the little worms on the tape. So in fact these worms come out and have eggs laid around the anus and also might have an effect on the vaginal area of girls, so sometimes you’ll have vaginal discharge or inflammation around the vagina of the girl and then you are worried that there might have been any form of sexual assault on her. Please make sure that it’s not this pinworm.

On the underwear of the children, on the towels, on the bed sheets and especially on the toilet seats and on everything they touch with their little hands, especially their toys, all these toys can be affected with the eggs of the worm. The biggest cause of the spread of the infection is actually having long nails. So, the child has to have always very short nails and also other members of the family, the mother especially. So, you have to be careful that this should be a ritual, that you’re always clipping your child’s nails. Now we have the problem of itching at night, that might cause nightmares, and it might cause insomnia, and then the child would go to school not having had enough sleep, and this could affect their educational process. So, you will have to make sure that your child is having a good night’s sleep. How can you do that? As soon as your child cries and complains of the itching there’s an idea to use zinc oxide cream or Nivea cream, any thick cream. Take a little bit of it and put it around the anal area and a little bit inside the anus or around the infected area or inflamed area. Just put the cream around this area, like this. In this case, the worm will get kind of trapped into the cream and will not cause this irritation of the skin anymore. So, that’s a good way to make your child sleep peacefully.

Sometimes children will suffer from bed wetting because of that, so don’t get angry at them, make sure that they don’t have that infection.

And now, let’s see what we should do around the house to prevent the infection from happening and re-happening. First of all, prevent autoinfection. Autoinfection means to infect yourself. So, the child would scratch around the anus and then go eat something, the eggs are inside the nails, and then the eggs come inside again and have new worms. So, what you need is to cut the circle. So,  you will have to cut the nails always, you’ll have to spray the toilet seat everyday with disinfectant spray, there’s special spray to spray the toys of the child. Change there underwear everyday and wash them on very high temperature. Also towels and bed sheets, be very careful that they are clean and washed regularly. Don’t forget that one of the most important measures to prevent getting infected with this worm is washing hands before eating and after using the toilet. Teach your child to always do this. “Never forget to wash your hands after the toilet and before eating.” It’s very important also to inform the school and ask them to contribute to a sanitation program also around the school. So, maybe send out messages to other parents to do the same program at home. Also the toilet seats and the toys at school should be sprayed with disinfectant spray regularly.

At a doctors office you will take medication that can treat the worms from inside the intestines. But also you need to repeat it two weeks later. But remember that the worms outside are not affected by the medication, so washing everyday very well the anal area is very important.

Remember that this is not such a harmful worm, in the sense of doesn’t affect your child’s health and doesn’t cause any disease from inside, but it disturbs their sleeping pattern, and that’s the main problem. So, you need the child to get enough sleep to make sure that the educational process and his development would not be affected.

I wish you the best of health!

Alyaa Gad