ON THIS DAY – March 31st

ON THIS DAY – March 31st

1889
Eiffel Tower opens

The Eiffel Tower was dedicated in Paris in a ceremony presided over by Gustave Eiffel, the tower’s designer, and attended by French Prime Minister Pierre Tirard, a handful of other dignitaries, and 200 construction workers.

In 1889, to honor of the centenary of the French Revolution, the French government planned an international exposition and announced a design competition for a monument to be built on the Champ-de-Mars in central Paris. Out of more than 100 designs submitted, the Centennial Committee chose Eiffel’s plan of an open-lattice wrought-iron tower that would reach almost 1,000 feet above Paris and be the world’s tallest man-made structure. Eiffel, a noted bridge builder, was a master of metal construction and designed the framework of the Statue of Liberty that had recently been erected in New York Harbor.

Eiffel’s tower was greeted with skepticism from critics who argued that it would be structurally unsound, and indignation from others who thought it would be an eyesore in the heart of Paris. Unperturbed, Eiffel completed his great tower under budget in just two years. Only one worker lost his life during construction, which at the time was a remarkably low casualty number for a project of that magnitude. The light, airy structure was by all accounts a technological wonder and within a few decades came to be regarded as an architectural masterpiece.

The Eiffel Tower is 984 feet tall and consists of an iron framework supported on four masonry piers, from which rise four columns that unite to form a single vertical tower. Platforms, each with an observation deck, are at three levels. Elevators ascend the piers on a curve, and Eiffel contracted the Otis Elevator Company of the United States to design the tower’s famous glass-cage elevators.

The elevators were not completed by March 31, 1889, however, so Gustave Eiffel ascended the tower’s stairs with a few hardy companions and raised an enormous French tricolor on the structure’s flagpole. Fireworks were then set off from the second platform. Eiffel and his party descended, and the architect addressed the guests and about 200 workers. In early May, the Paris International Exposition opened, and the tower served as the entrance gateway to the giant fair.

The Eiffel Tower remained the world’s tallest man-made structure until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930. Incredibly, the Eiffel Tower was almost demolished when the International Exposition’s 20-year lease on the land expired in 1909, but its value as an antenna for radio transmission saved it. It remains largely unchanged today and is one of the world’s premier tourist attractions.

source = www.history.com

ON THIS DAY – March 28th

ON THIS DAY – March 28th

1939
In Spain, the Republican defenders of Madrid raised the white flag over the city, bringing to an end the bloody three-year Spanish Civil War. In 1931, Spanish King Alfonso XIII had approved elections to decide the government of Spain, and voters overwhelmingly chose to abolish the monarchy in favor of a liberal republic. But the landed aristocracy, the church, and a large military clique had increasingly employed violence in their opposition to the republic

1969
Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States and one of the most highly regarded American generals of World War II, died in Washington, D.C., at the age of 78.

1979
The most serious nuclear accident in United States history took place at the Three Mile Island plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. when one of the reactors overheated. Fortunately, a catastrophic meltdown was averted and there were no deaths or direct injuries from the accident.

source = www.history.com

ON THIS DAY – March 27th

ON THIS DAY – March 27th

1905
Fingerprint evidence is used to solve a British murder case

The neighbours of Thomas and Ann Farrow, shopkeepers in South London, discovered their bludgeoned bodies in their home. The brutal crime was solved using the newly developed fingerprinting technique. Only three years earlier, the first English court had admitted fingerprint evidence in a petty theft case. The Farrow case was the first time that the cutting-edge technology was used in a high-profile murder case.

Since the cash box in which the Farrows stored their cash receipts was empty, it was clear to Scotland Yard investigators that robbery was the motive. One print on the box did not match the victims or any of the still-tiny file of criminal prints that Scotland Yard possessed. Fortunately, a local milkman reported seeing two young men in the vicinity of the Farrow house on the day of the murders. Soon identified as brothers Alfred and Albert Stratton, the police began interviewing their friends.

Alfred’s girlfriend told police that he had given away his coat and changed the color of his shoes the day after the murders. A week later, authorities finally caught up with the Stratton brothers and fingerprinted them. Alfred’s right thumb was a perfect match for the print on the Farrow’s cash box.

The fingerprint evidence became the prosecution’s only solid evidence when the milkman was unable to positively identify the Strattons.

The Stratton brothers were convicted and hanged. Since then, fingerprint evidence has become commonplace in criminal trials.

source = www.history.com

ON THIS DAY – March 26th

ON THIS DAY.

1953
American medical researcher Dr. Jonas Salk announced on a national radio show that he had successfully tested a vaccine against poliomyelitis, the virus that causes the crippling disease of polio. For promising eventually to eradicate the disease, which is known as “infant paralysis” because it mainly affects children, Dr. Salk was celebrated as the great doctor-benefactor of his time.

Polio, a disease that has affected humanity throughout recorded history, attacks the nervous system and can cause varying degrees of paralysis. Since the virus is easily transmitted, epidemics were commonplace in the first decades of the 20th century. In the first decades of the 20th century, treatments were limited to quarantines and the infamous “iron lung,” a metal coffin-like contraption that aided respiration. Although children, and especially infants, were among the worst affected, adults were also often afflicted, including future president Franklin D. Roosevelt, who in 1921 was stricken with polio at the age of 39 and was left partially paralyzed. Roosevelt later transformed his estate in Warm Springs, Georgia, into a recovery retreat for polio victims and was instrumental in raising funds for polio-related research and the treatment of polio patients.

source = www.history.com

THE ABC OF HEALTH – Anxiety treatments

THE ABC OF HEALTH

Generalised anxiety disorder in adults – Treatment

Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is a long-term condition, but a number of different treatments can help.
Before you begin any form of treatment, your doctor should discuss all your treatment options with you. He/she should outline the pros and cons of each and make sure you’re aware of any possible risks or side effects.
With your doctor, you can make a decision on the most suitable treatment, taking into account your personal preferences and circumstances.
If you have other problems alongside GAD, such as depression and drug or alcohol misuse, these may need to be treated before having treatment specifically for GAD.

Initial treatment
At first, your doctor may suggest trying an individual self-help course for a month or two, to see if it can help you learn to cope with your anxiety.
This usually involves working from a book or computer program on your own (you’ll be given advice before you start), with only occasional contact with your doctor.
Alternatively, you may prefer to go on a group course where you and a few other people with similar problems meet with a therapist every week to learn ways to tackle your anxiety.

If these initial treatments don’t help, you’ll usually be offered either a more intensive psychological treatment or medication. These are described below.
Psychological treatment
If you’ve been diagnosed with GAD, you’ll usually be advised to try psychological treatment before you’re prescribed medication.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective treatments for GAD. Studies of different treatments for GAD have found that the benefits of CBT may last longer than those of medication, but no single treatment is best for everyone.
CBT helps you to understand how your problems, thoughts, feelings and behaviour affect each other. It can also help you to question your negative and anxious thoughts, and do things you would usually avoid because they make you anxious.
CBT usually involves meeting with a specially trained and accredited therapist for a one-hour session every week for three to four months.
Your therapist should carry out CBT in a standardised way according to a treatment manual, and they should receive regular supervision to support them in providing the most effective treatments.

Mindfulness and applied relaxation
Mindfulness and applied relaxation are alternative types of psychological treatment that can be as effective as CBT in treating GAD.
Mindfulness works by focusing your awareness on the present moment and by acknowledging and accepting certain feelings. Being mindful can reduce anxiety caused by the fear of actual situations or sensations, or anticipated ones. It helps to counter the sense of “tunnel vision” that may develop during anxiety. Although mindfulness originates from Buddhism, it doesn’t require you to change or take on any religious beliefs.

Applied relaxation focuses on relaxing your muscles in a particular way during situations that usually cause anxiety. The technique needs to be taught by a trained therapist, but generally involves:
learning how to relax your muscles
learning how to relax your muscles quickly and in response to a trigger, such as the word “relax”
practising relaxing your muscles in situations that make you anxious
As with CBT, applied relaxation therapy will usually mean meeting with a therapist for a one-hour session every week for three to four months.

Medication
If the psychological treatments above haven’t helped or you would prefer not to try them, you’ll usually be offered medication.
Your doctor can prescribe a variety of different types of medication to treat GAD. Some medication is designed to be taken on a short-term basis, while other medicines are prescribed for longer periods.
Depending on your symptoms, you may need medicine to treat your physical symptoms, as well as your psychological ones.
If you’re considering taking medication for GAD, your GP should discuss the different options with you in detail before you start a course of treatment, including:
* the different types of medication
* length of treatment
* side effects and possible interactions with other medicines
You should also have regular appointments with your doctor to assess your progress when you’re taking medication for GAD. These will usually take place every two to four weeks for the first three months, then every three months after that.
Tell your doctor if you think you may be experiencing side effects from your medication. They may be able to adjust your dose or prescribe an alternative medication.
The main medications you may be offered to treat GAD are described below.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
In most cases, the first medication you’ll be offered will be a type of antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). This type of medication works by increasing the level of a chemical called serotonin in your brain.
Examples of SSRIs you may be prescribed include:
sertraline
escitalopram
paroxetine
SSRIs can be taken on a long-term basis but, as with all antidepressants, they can take several weeks to start working. You’ll usually be started on a low dose, which is gradually increased as your body adjusts to the medicine.
Common side effects of SSRIs include:
feeling agitated
feeling or being sick
indigestion
diarrhoea or constipation
loss of appetite and weight loss
dizziness
blurred vision
dry mouth
excessive sweating
headaches
problems sleeping (insomnia) or drowsiness
low sex drive
difficulty achieving orgasm during sex or masturbation
in men, difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction)
These side effects should improve over time, although some – such as sexual problems – can persist.
If your medication isn’t helping after about two months of treatment, or if it’s causing unpleasant side effects, your GP may prescribe an alternative SSRI.
When you and your GP decide it’s appropriate for you to stop taking your medication, you’ll normally have your dose slowly reduced over the course of a few weeks to reduce the risk of withdrawal effects. Never stop taking your medication unless your GP specifically advises you to.
Serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
If SSRIs don’t help ease your anxiety, you may be prescribed a different type of antidepressant known as a serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). This type of medicine increases the amount of serotonin and noradrenaline in your brain.
Examples of SNRIs you may be prescribed include:
venlafaxine
duloxetine
Common side effects of SNRIs include:
feeling sick
headaches
drowsiness
dizziness
dry mouth
constipation
insomnia
sweating
SNRIs can also increase your blood pressure, so your blood pressure will be monitored regularly during treatment.
As with SSRIs, some of the side effects – such as feeling sick, an upset stomach, problems sleeping and feeling agitated or more anxious – are more common in the first one or two weeks of treatment, but these usually settle as your body adjusts to the medication.
Pregabalin
If SSRIs and SNRIs aren’t suitable for you, you may be offered pregabalin. This is a medication known as an anticonvulsant, which is used to treat conditions such as epilepsy. However, it’s also been found to be beneficial in treating anxiety.
Side effects of pregabalin can include:
drowsiness
dizziness
increased appetite and weight gain
blurred vision
headaches
dry mouth
vertigo
Pregabalin is less likely to cause nausea or a low sex drive than SSRIs or SNRIs.
Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines are a type of sedative that may sometimes be used as a short-term treatment during a particularly severe period of anxiety, because they help ease the symptoms within 30 to 90 minutes of taking the medication.
If you’re prescribed a benzodiazepine, it will usually be diazepam.
Although benzodiazepines are very effective in treating the symptoms of anxiety, they can’t be used for long periods of time because they can become addictive if used for longer than four weeks. Benzodiazepines also start to lose their effectiveness after this time.
For these reasons, you won’t usually be prescribed benzodiazepines for any longer than two to four weeks at a time.
Side effects of benzodiazepines can include:
drowsiness
difficulty concentrating
headaches
vertigo
tremor (an uncontrollable shake or tremble in part of the body)
low sex drive
As drowsiness is a particularly common side effect of benzodiazepines, your ability to drive or operate machinery may be affected by taking this medication. You should avoid these activities during treatment.
Referral to a specialist
If you’ve tried the treatments mentioned above and have significant symptoms of GAD, you may want to discuss with your doctor whether you should be referred to a mental health specialist.

An appropriate mental health specialist from your local team will carry out an overall reassessment of your condition. They’ll ask you about your previous treatment and how effective you found it.
They may also ask about things in your life that may be affecting your condition, or how much support you get from family and friends.
Your specialist will then be able to devise a treatment plan for you, which will aim to treat your symptoms.
As part of this plan, you may be offered a treatment you haven’t tried before, which might be one of the psychological treatments or medications mentioned above.
Alternatively, you may be offered a combination of a psychological treatment with a medication, or a combination of two different medications.

source = www.nhs.uk/conditions

THE ABC OF HEALTH – Antidepressants

THE ABC OF HEALTH

Antidepressants

Antidepressants are a type of medication used to treat clinical depression or prevent it recurring.
They can also be used to treat a number of other conditions, including:
obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
generalised anxiety disorder
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Antidepressants are also sometimes used to treat people with long-term (chronic) pain.

How antidepressants work
It’s thought that antidepressants work by increasing levels of a group of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. Certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, can improve mood and emotion, although this process isn’t fully understood.
Increasing levels of neurotransmitters can also disrupt pain signals sent by nerves, which may explain why some antidepressants can help relieve long-term pain.
While antidepressants can treat the symptoms of depression, they don’t always address its causes. This is why they’re usually used in combination with therapy to treat more severe depression or other mental health conditions caused by emotional distress.

How effective are antidepressants?
Most people benefit from taking antidepressants to some degree, but research suggests antidepressants may not be as effective as previously thought in cases of mild depression.
However, they’re the most effective treatment in relieving symptoms quickly, particularly in cases of severe depression.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK) estimates that 50-65% of people treated with an antidepressant for depression will see an improvement, compared to 25-30% of those taking inactive “dummy” pills (placebo). This means that most people do benefit from antidepressants, even if it’s sometimes a result of the placebo effect.

Doses and duration of treatment
Antidepressants are usually taken in tablet form. When they’re prescribed, you’ll start on the lowest possible dose thought necessary to improve your symptoms.
Antidepressants usually need to be taken for around seven days (without missing a dose) before the benefit is felt. It’s important not to stop taking them if you get some mild side effects early on, as these effects usually wear off quickly.
If you take an antidepressant for four weeks without feeling any benefit, speak to your GP or mental health specialist. They may recommend increasing your dose or trying an alternative medication.
A course of treatment usually lasts for six months, although a two-year course may be recommended for people with a previous history of depression. Some people with recurrent depression may be advised to take them indefinitely.

Side effects
Different antidepressants can have a range of different side effects. Always check the information leaflet that comes with your medication to see what the possible side effects are.
In general, the most common side effects of antidepressants are usually mild. Side effects should improve within a few days or weeks of treatment, as the body gets used to the medication.

Different types of antidepressants
There are different types of antidepressants. Some of the most widely used types are discussed below.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
SSRIs are the most widely prescribed type of antidepressants. They’re usually preferred over other antidepressants, as they cause fewer side effects. An overdose is also less likely to be serious.
Fluoxetine is probably the best known SSRI (sold under the brand name Prozac). Other SSRIs include citalopram (Cipramil), paroxetine (Seroxat) and sertraline (Lustral).

Serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
SNRIs are similar to SSRIs. They were designed to be a more effective antidepressant than SSRIs. However, the evidence that SNRIs are more effective in treating depression is uncertain. It seems that some people respond better to SSRIs, while others respond better to SNRIs.
Examples of SNRIs include duloxetine (Cymbalta and Yentreve) and venlafaxine (Efexor).

Noradrenaline and specific serotonergic antidepressants (NASSAs)
NASSAs may be effective for some people who are unable to take SSRIs. The side effects of NASSAs are similar to those of SSRIs, but they’re thought to cause fewer sexual problems. However, they may also cause more drowsiness at first.
The main NASSA prescribed in the UK is mirtazapine (Zispin).
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)

TCAs are an older type of antidepressant. They’re no longer usually recommended as a first-line treatment for depression because they can be more dangerous if an overdose is taken. They also cause more unpleasant side effects than SSRIs and SNRIs.
Exceptions are sometimes made for people with severe depression that fail to respond to other treatments. TCAs may also be recommended for other mental health conditions, such as OCD and bipolar disorder.
Examples of TCAs include amitriptyline (Tryptizol), clomipramine (Anafranil), imipramine (Tofranil), lofepramine (Gamanil) and nortriptyline (Allegron).
Some types of TCAs, such as amitriptyline, can also be used to treat chronic nerve pain.

Alternatives to antidepressants
Alternative treatments for depression include talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
Increasingly, people with moderate to severe depression are treated using a combination of antidepressants and CBT. Antidepressants work quickly in reducing symptoms, whereas CBT takes time to deal with causes of depression and ways of overcoming it.
Regular exercise has also been shown to be useful for those with mild depression.

source = www.nhs.uk/conditions

ON THIS DAY – Maundy Thursday

ON THIS DAY.

Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Sheer Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries) is the Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the Maundy and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels. It is the fifth day of Holy Week, and is preceded by Holy Wednesday and followed by Good Friday.

The date is always between 19 March and 22 April inclusive, but these dates fall on different days depending on whether the Gregorian or Julian calendar is used. The liturgy held on the evening of Maundy Thursday initiates the Easter Triduum, the period which commemorates the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ; this period includes Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and ends on the evening of Easter. The Mass or service of worship is normally celebrated in the evening, when Friday begins according to Jewish tradition, as, according to the three Synoptic Gospels, the Last Supper was held on the feast of Passover.

Use of the names “Maundy Thursday”, and the others is not evenly distributed. What is considered the normal name for the day varies according to geographical area and religious allegiance. Thus, although in England “Maundy Thursday” is the normal term, the term is rarely used in Ireland, Scotland or Canada. People may use one term in a religious context and another in the context of the civil calendar of the country in which they live. The day is sometimes confusingly called Easter Thursday, which more correctly refers to the following Thursday after Easter.

source = wikipedia

THE ABC OF HEALTH – Antibiotics

THE ABC OF HEALTH

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are medications used to treat – and, in some cases, prevent – bacterial infections.
They can be used to treat relatively mild conditions such as acne, as well as potentially life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia.
However, antibiotics often have no benefit for many other types of infection. Using them unnecessarily would only increase the risk of antibiotic resistance, so they are not routinely used.

How do I take antibiotics?
Take antibiotics as directed on the packet or the patient information leaflet that comes with the medicine, or as instructed by your doctor or pharmacist.
Doses of antibiotics can be provided in several ways:
oral antibiotics – tablets, pills and capsules or a liquid that you drink, which can be used to treat most types of mild to moderate infections in the body
topical antibiotics – creams, lotions, sprays or drops, which are often used to treat skin infections
injections of antibiotics – these can be given as an injection or infusion through a drip directly into the blood or muscle, and are usually reserved for more serious infections
It’s essential to finish taking a prescribed course of antibiotics, even if you feel better, unless a healthcare professional tells you otherwise. If you stop taking an antibiotic part way through a course, the bacteria can become resistant to the antibiotic.

Missing a dose of antibiotics
If you forget to take a dose of your antibiotics, take that dose as soon as you remember and then continue to take your course of antibiotics as normal.
However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
There is an increased risk of side effects if you have to take two doses closer together than normal.
Accidentally taking an extra dose
Accidentally taking one extra dose of your antibiotic is unlikely to cause you any serious harm.
However, it will increase your chances of experiencing side effects such as pain in your stomach, diarrhoea, and feeling or being sick.
If you accidentally take more than one extra dose of your antibiotic, are worried or experiencing severe side effects, speak to your doctor or callan emergency line as soon as possible.

Types of antibiotics
There are now hundreds of different types of antibiotics, but most of them can be broadly classified into six groups. These are outlined below.
* penicillin – widely used to treat a variety of infections, including skin infections, chest infections and urinary tract infections
* cephalosporins – can be used to treat a wide range of infections, but are also effective for treating more serious infections, such as septicaemia and meningitis
* aminoglycosides – tend to only be used to treat very serious illnesses such as septicaemia, as they can cause serious side effects, including hearing loss and kidney damage; they break down quickly inside the digestive system, so they have to be given by injection, but are also used as drops for some ear or eye infections
* tetracyclines – can be used to treat a wide range of infections; commonly used to treat moderate to severe acne and rosacea, which causes flushing of the skin and spots
* macrolides – can be particularly useful for treating lung and chest infections; can also be a useful alternative for people with a penicillin allergy or to treat penicillin-resistant strains of bacteria
* fluoroquinolones – broad-spectrum antibiotics that can be used to treat a wide range of infections

Side effects
As with any medication, antibiotics can cause side effects. Most antibiotics don’t cause problems for people who take them if they’re used properly, and serious side effects are rare.
The most common side effects of antibiotics include:
being sick
feeling sick
bloating and indigestion
diarrhoea
Around 1 person in 15 has an allergic reaction to antibiotics, especially penicillin and cephalosporins. In very rare cases, this can lead to a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), which is a medical emergency.

Considerations and interactions
Some antibiotics are not suitable for people with certain medical conditions, or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. You should only ever take antibiotics prescribed for you – never “borrow” them from a friend or family member.
Some antibiotics can also react unpredictably with other medications, such as the oral contraceptive pill and alcohol. It is therefore important to read the information leaflet that comes with your medication carefully.

Health organisations across the world are trying to reduce the use of antibiotics, especially for conditions that are not serious.
This is to try to combat the problem of antibiotic resistance, which is when a strain of bacteria no longer responds to treatment with one or more types of antibiotics.
Antibiotic resistance can occur in several ways. Strains of bacteria can change (mutate) and, over time, become resistant to a specific antibiotic. The chance of this increases if a person does not finish the course of antibiotics they have been prescribed, as some bacteria may be left to develop resistance.
Antibiotics can also destroy many of the harmless strains of bacteria that live in and on the body. This allows resistant bacteria to multiply quickly and replace them.
The overuse of antibiotics in recent years has played a major part in antibiotic resistance. This includes using antibiotics to treat minor conditions that would have got better anyway.
It has led to the emergence of “superbugs”. These are strains of bacteria that have developed resistance to many different types of antibiotics. They include:
meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
Clostridium difficile (C. diff)
the bacteria that cause multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB)
Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE)
These types of infections can be serious and challenging to treat, and are becoming an increasing cause of disability and death across the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there are around 170,000 deaths related to MDR-TB each year.
The biggest worry is new strains of bacteria may emerge that cannot be effectively treated by any existing antibiotics.
Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae are one such emerging group of bacteria, with several types. These bacteria are widespread in some parts of the world, including parts of Europe, and are beginning to be seen in the UK.

Antibiotics don’t work for many colds, coughs, flu or sore throats.

source = www.nhs.uk/conditions

ON THIS DAY – March 23rd

ON THIS DAY – March 23rd

1839
The initials “O.K.” were first published in The Boston Morning Post. Meant as an abbreviation for “oll korrect,” a popular slang misspelling of “all correct” at the time, OK steadily made its way into the everyday speech of Americans.

During the late 1830s, it was a favorite practice among younger, educated circles to misspell words intentionally, then abbreviate them and use them as slang when talking to one another. Just as teenagers today have their own slang based on distortions of common words, such as “kewl” for “cool” or “DZ” for “these,” the “in crowd” of the 1830s had a whole host of slang terms they abbreviated. Popular abbreviations included “KY” for “No use” (“know yuse”), “KG” for “No go” (“Know go”), and “OW” for all right (“oll wright”).

Of all the abbreviations used during that time, OK was propelled into the limelight when it was printed in the Boston Morning Post as part of a joke. Its popularity exploded when it was picked up by contemporary politicians. When the incumbent president Martin Van Buren was up for reelection, his Democratic supporters organized a band of thugs to influence voters. This group was formally called the “O.K. Club,” which referred both to Van Buren’s nickname “Old Kinderhook” (based on his hometown of Kinderhook, New York), and to the term recently made popular in the papers. At the same time, the opposing Whig Party made use of “OK” to denigrate Van Buren’s political mentor Andrew Jackson. According to the Whigs, Jackson invented the abbreviation “OK” to cover up his own misspelling of “all correct.”

The man responsible for unraveling the mystery behind “OK” was an American linguist named Allen Walker Read, an English professor at Columbia University, Read dispelled a host of erroneous theories on the origins of “OK,” ranging from the name of a popular Army biscuit (Orrin Kendall) to the name of a Haitian port famed for its rum (Aux Cayes) to the signature of a Choctaw chief named Old Keokuk. Whatever its origins, “OK” has become one of the most ubiquitous terms in the world, and certainly one of America’s greatest lingual exports.

source = www.history.com

THE ABC OF HEALTH – Anorexia Nervosa

THE ABC OF HEALTH

Anorexia nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is a serious mental health condition. It’s an eating disorder where a person keeps their body weight as low as possible.
People with anorexia usually do this by restricting the amount of food they eat, making themselves vomit, and exercising excessively.
The condition often develops out of an anxiety about body shape and weight that originates from a fear of being fat or a desire to be thin. Many people with anorexia have a distorted image of themselves, thinking they’re fat when they’re not.
Anorexia most commonly affects girls and women, although it has become more common in boys and men in recent years. On average, the condition first develops at around the age of 16 to 17.

Signs and symptoms of anorexia
People with anorexia often go to great lengths to hide their behaviour from family and friends by lying about what they’ve eaten or pretending to have eaten earlier.
Signs someone may have anorexia or another eating disorder include:
missing meals, eating very little, or avoiding eating any fatty foods
obsessively counting calories in food
leaving the table immediately after eating so they can vomit
taking appetite suppressants, laxatives, or diuretics (a type of medication that helps remove fluid from the body)
repeatedly weighing themselves or checking their body in the mirror
physical problems, such as feeling lightheaded or dizzy, hair loss, or dry skin
Anorexia can also be associated with other psychological problems, such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, alcohol misuse, and self-harm.

Getting help
People with anorexia often don’t seek help, perhaps because they’re afraid or don’t recognise they have a problem. Many have hidden their condition for a long time – sometimes years.
The most important first step is for someone with anorexia to realise they need help and want to get better.
If you think someone you know has anorexia, try talking to them about your worries and encourage them to seek help.
This can be a very difficult conversation because they may be defensive and refuse to accept they have a problem. However, it’s important not to criticise or pressure them as this can make things worse.
You may want to seek advice from an eating disorder support group about the best way to raise the subject.
If you think you may have anorexia, try to seek help as soon as possible. You could start by talking to a person you trust, such as a member of your family or a friend, and perhaps ask them to go with you to see your doctor.

Treating anorexia
Before anorexia can be treated, a physical, psychological and social needs assessment will need to be carried out by a doctor or an eating disorders specialist. This will help them work out a suitable care plan.
In most cases, treatment will involve a combination of psychological therapy and individually tailored advice on eating and nutrition to help gain weight safely.
A range of different healthcare professionals will usually be involved in your care, such as doctors, psychiatrists, specialist nurses and dietitians.
Most people are able to be treated on an outpatient basis, which means you can go home between appointments. More serious cases are treated in hospital or specialist eating disorder clinics.

Outlook
It can take several years of treatment to fully recover from anorexia, and relapses are common. For example, a woman may relapse if she tries to lose weight gained during pregnancy.
Around half of people with anorexia will continue to have some level of eating problem despite treatment.
If anorexia remains unsuccessfully treated for a long time, a number of other serious problems can develop. These can include fragile bones (osteoporosis), infertility, an irregular heartbeat, and other heart problems.
Despite being an uncommon condition, anorexia is one of the leading causes of mental health-related deaths. This can be because of the effects of malnutrition or as a result of suicide.

source = www.nhs.uk/conditions