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What You Need to Know About Brain Fog (What Causes It, and What You Can Do)

It’s normal to have days when you can’t think clearly, forget things, or have trouble concentrating on a single task. However, if you start to experience these things on a daily basis, then you’re most likely dealing with some level of brain fog.

What is Brain Fog?
Brain fog is a symptom more than a medical condition. It’s a general term for when you have trouble thinking straight, remembering details of your day, or are just having a hard time concentrating in general.

While most people would excuse the brain fog as simply having a bad day, it can interfere with work or school when you’re not careful or don’t know how to properly deal with it.

What Causes Brain Fog
Brain fog can be caused by different things, such as the following:

• Poor diet – A poor diet can have a bigger impact on a person’s health, especially when certain vitamins such as 12 or D are missing
• Stress – When your brain is exhausted, it becomes harder for you to focus
• Allergic reactions – Food allergies, such as peanuts or dairy, can have a bad effect on the brain
• Lack of sleep – Most people need between seven and eight hours of sleep, and the lack of it can make you feel groggy and cranky
• Medication – Certain medications can have their own side effects, one of which is brain fog, but these effects will eventually subside on their own with enough rest

What You Can Do
One of the best ways to get past the brain fog on a day when you can’t focus is to simply take a break. If you’re at work, take a few moments to put the laptop away and take a few deep breaths.

There are also other ways you can deal with brain fog, such as the following:

• Eat enough healthy carbs – A lack of healthy nutrients can make you feel groggy and make it more difficult to focus on your tasks, and especially when you fill yourself with empty sugars and calories
• Learn to manage stress – When you’re dealing with stress poorly, you end up feeling more tired and lead to other problems later on cortisol accumulates in your body, putting you at risk of heart diseases later on
• Exercise – Though there’s no need to go the gym, you still need to get the blood flowing with moderate exercise. Not only will it help you feel more awake and fight fatigue, but it also improves insulin resistance and your sleep quality

If brain fog persists, you should also consider checking in with your doctor and asking for professional medical advice.

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What is Brain Fog and What Are Its Causes?

Brain fog or brain fatigue typically is considered a symptom rather than a condition itself. It’s basically when you start having more and more memory problems, you’re having difficulty concentrating, and you find it hard to think clearly. This should sound scary to us but knowing the causes of brain fog can help us avoid or reduce its effects.

Stress
One of the more obvious causes of brain fog is stress. We already know that stress affects our health negatively in a lot of ways. It causes hormonal imbalances, increases blood pressure, triggers anxiety and depression, and above all causes mental fatigue. Simply put, when we’re always stressed, our brains will not be able to function as efficiently as it should.

Lack of proper nutrition
Proper nutrition goes beyond our physical appearance, it very much helps with the wellness of our mind as well. When we lack essential vitamins and minerals from healthy food, of course, our brain will be affected. Food high in sugar, for example, can particularly promote brain fog. Glucose or sugar is the main fuel source of the brain and the body. Eating too much sugary food causes our blood sugar levels to drop down or spike uncontrollably. You can just imagine how this affects the brain.

Not having enough sleep
You’ve probably heard it a hundred times but here it is again: Most working Singaporeans do not sleep enough. We tend to disregard it but having enough sleep really has a lot of benefits for our physical, emotional and mental well-being. If you constantly say to yourself that you’ll have to sacrifice sleep to finish your work, that’s going to hurt you in the long-term. Not having enough sleep will reduce your focus, harm your creativity, and limit our productivity as a whole.

Medication
Some prescription drugs have side effects that can build to brain fog as well. Some medications like those for pain relief and high blood pressure are ones that can cause certain reactions in the brain that can eventually encourage brain fog. In this case though, brain fog is a normal side effect of the medicine. Even so, you can ask your doctor about it so he/she can lower the dosage or recommend another drug.

Hormonal changes
Pregnancy, for one, causes drastic changes to a woman’s body. More hormones are produced for the protection and nourishment of the baby. This is why some mothers find it harder to remember certain things while they are pregnant. Another example could be menopause. Naturally, this is because a woman’s reproductive period is nearing its end and typically because of old age. Women may also experience small memory problems in this stage in life.

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What You Need to Know About Brain Tumors

Not all tumors should cause panic, but the cause of the formation of a mass tissue is not yet understood. Like any tumor, brain tumors can either be cancerous or benign, but they can also pose some threats that you need to know about.

Primary Brain Tumor
The tumor forms because of cells that do not go through the normal cell aging process, because they form even if the body will not need them and they do not die. The tumor that begins in the brain, a primary brain tumor, can be cancerous or benign. However, even if the tumor is benign, they can affect other parts of the brain and cause other problems. Primary brain tumors are just one variety of brain tumors that begin in the nerve cells, brain cells, glands, and membranes called meninges. Brain tumors are considered secondary of the cancer began in other parts of the body that metastasized to the brain.

Cancerous Tumors
Brain tumors that are cancerous grow faster than benign tumors and can spread to other parts of the nervous system, they are also more difficult to remove and can possibly recur even they are removed, unlike the benign tumors. However, both types of tumors can cause damage in the brain tissues because of the pressure and inflammation in the skull.

Brain Tumors in Children
One type of primary brain tumor that commonly affects children is craniopharyngioma. However, it’s usually benign although it can cause other health problems. Another type of brain tumor, astrocytomas are mostly benign as well. Brainstem gliomas mostly affect children and can be asymptomatic until the tumor has grown large enough to be noticed. Ependymomas can either be malignant or benign, while medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor among children. Detecting brain tumors in children isn’t easy because the symptoms usually show in the behavioral changes, but physical symptoms are rare.

Glioma Tumors and Other Brain Tumors
These type of brain tumors begin in the glial cells or those cells found in systems that provide nutrition and support to the central nervous system. Gliomas can be oligodendroglial, astrocytic, and glioblastomas. The last one is considered the most aggressive type of glioma. Tumors can also develop in the pituitaries, pineal gland, and myelin sheath.

Brain Tumors in Adults
There are various types of brain tumors depending on where the mass of abnormal tissues originated, and each will exhibit different symptoms and complications. Some of the symptoms also manifest in other parts of the body that are controlled by the affected area, however, there are tumors that are asymptomatic until they grow large enough to affect the individual’s health. There are common symptoms to look out for, such as; a headache that does not respond to the usual treatment; seizures; changes in the vision, hearing, speech, movements, and balance; and problems remembering and concentrating.

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Take Good Care of Your Eyes

Taking good care of our eyes is a necessity since we are usually surrounded by radiation everywhere which hurts our eyes and therefore tramples our vision. There are so many wonderful things in this world which we describe as “captivating to the eye”. Our eyes are definitely important and without them, a great part of our lives would be removed. Life is both around us and also in our heads, the relation of both what we see and what we feel. Taking good care of your eyes can be very hard to do if you do not necessary have good habits when it comes to taking care of your eyes.

There are a lot of factors that do not just affect the condition of our eyes but also our vision. Having healthy habits is better than having to see the doctor every once in a while. Prevention is always better than cure. One of the most popular reasons for bad eyesight is spending too much time with our gadgets. Sadly, although they are beneficial, the radiation from our gadgets affect our vision dearly and usually dry our eyes to the point that they may be functioning under stress and this could actually be destructive in the long run.

Our eyes are affected by what we expose them to and getting a healthy dose of sunlight everyday is a great way to get vitamin E which directly improves our eyesight. Eating healthy is another great way for you to get enough vitamin E inside your body. Carrots are not only a good snack but are also great for your eyesight. Another great thing about carrots is that it is not too expensive to buy and you can find them in almost every grocery store or supermarket.

Another thing we normally do that is really bad for our eyes is washing them the moment we wake up. Our eyes are very sensitive to moisture and the sudden dampness has a huge effect on the health of our eyes.

The last thing that might be the most destructive factor of them all is not getting enough sleep. Our eyes need rest. Although there are certain parts of our bodies that can last longer than others, our eyes only have the strength to stay awake for so long. The more we do not give our body the necessary hours of rest, the more it can damage our eyes in the long run. The lack of sleep plus the abuse of our eyes can cause serious damage in the long run. It is better to go easy on your eyes now rather than having to suffer the consequences later on.

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What We Need to Know About Male Breast Cancer  

 

Male breast cancer is rare but it is possible. In fact, 1% of breast cancer patients are male. Breast cancer happens when their levels of oestrogen are increased. Breast cancer can also happen if a man is exposed to radiation and has a family history of breast cancer.

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We might not hear a man suffering from breast cancer here in Singapore but it doesn’t mean that we are free from it. The most common type of breast cancer for males are carcinoma. We all know that there are different symptoms of breast cancer but the most common one is a lump beneath the nipple.

People might wonder why are men prone to breast cancer when they do not have breasts like women. Well, men possess small amount of breast (non-functioning that is) which is found at the back of the nipple, undeveloped ducts, fats and connective tissue.

The initial treatment for males with breast cancer depends on the situation. It is therefore important to consult the physician and discuss treatments. There are many specialists here in Singapore that can help us get through breast cancer. The important thing is we are willing and we do not lose hope.

Specialists will usually recommend treatments like chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and radiation therapy. For some, they consider a removal of the breast to ensure that cancer cells will not spread. This is called mastectomies. We have heard Angelina Jolie undergo mastectomies to decrease the chances of developing breast cancer.

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Although male removal of breast is uncommon, it doesn’t mean it is not recommended for men. In fact, there is a study that found out more men suffering from breast cancer are opting to get their breasts removed – even the healthy one. According to the recent study conducted by American Cancer Society, about 5.6% of men suffering from breast cancer consider mastectomies in 2011 alone.

It was mentioned earlier that even healthy breasts can be removed. This operation is called contralateral prophylactic mastectomy and this type of mastectomy is not always needed. Dr. Ahmedin Jemal of American Cancer Society warned males considering this type of mastectomy that it will not help them live longer.

The researchers were not astounded by the increase of males undergoing mastectomy because they observed the pattern of women. Women with breast cancer undergoing mastectomy increased in the past decade from 2.8% in 1998 to 11% in 2011.

The researchers advise that males should evaluate the benefits and harms of mastectomy before actually considering it.       blog_male-breast-cancer

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Anxious Brains are Hereditary  

 

A new study found out that anxious brains are hereditary. What does this tell us? This tells us that we might inherit our parent’s temperament. According to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison lead by Dr. Ned Kalin, anxiety is explained by our family’s history.

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The study was presented in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on July 6, 2015. The researchers focused their attention on rhesus monkeys. Rhesus monkeys were chosen because like us, they have this “anxious temperament”.

What were their findings? Here’s a peak:

  • Early temperament: 50 percent of kids with anxious temperaments have high risk of developing mental disorders later in their lives. Dr. Kalin and his colleagues are trying to figure the basis of the temperament and hope to develop prompt interventions that can shove kids away from depression and other anxiety problems.

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  • Anxious brains: Since the researchers know how monkeys are related in their study, they were able to track the inheritance of such anxious behaviours with the use of their family tree. Dr. Kalin and fellow researchers found out that 35 percent could be explained by genes passed down by fathers and mothers.

The study leads Dr. Kalin and his colleagues to believe that we inherit overactivity from our parents. This overactivity may leave us susceptible to develop anxiety and depression later in our lives. However, 70 percent of anxiety and depression variations are not genetic – which means there is hope for intervention and treatment.

This study makes sense when we hear our mother or father say “you are your mother’s daughter” or “you are your father’s son”. Now we are one step closer in understanding our anxious brains. It is crucial that we understand it because there are many Singaporeans who are one.

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Children’s of the Night  

There are people who suffer a rare condition that if they are exposed to the sun, it will provoke cancers. This condition is called Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP). There is no news if there are patients here in Singapore suffering from this rare condition but there are two patients who are famous.

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These patients are from France and they are twins. The twins are Thomas and Vincent Seris. During their normal days, we can see them wearing spacesuits. This sounds out of this world but the suits keep the twins safe from the sun’s exposure. Apart from spacesuits, the twins also wear ski masks and thick gloves to protect their skin.

XP is colloquially referred as “Children of the Night” (or in French Les Enfants de la Lune). It was mentioned earlier that any exposure to the sun could cause serious skin cancer. Patients are not only at risk outdoors because if they are exposed to neon lights and halogen lights, they will suffer fatality. As long as the light emits UV, XP patients are at risk.

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According to the Association of Les Enfants de la Lune, there are 5 to 10 thousand cases in the world. The family of patients are living in darkness just to protect the people they love. In the case of the twins, their mother installed shutters and eventually UV-blocking film so her kids can live a normal life even inside the house.

It did not stop there because their school at the University of Bordeaux also installed protective filters specifically on their windows to allow the twins to have a regular education. No matter the condition, the important thing is the understanding of the people around them.

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Everything You Need to Know about the Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease

AD (Alzheimer’s disease) is also called SDAT (Senile Dementia-Alzheimer’s Type). The battle with AD is global. That means all countries deal with this. You should know that there are two types of AD to include early onset and late onset. The former appears before you turn 60. The latter is the common type and it usually appears after you turn 60. Scientists still study its causes but it seems that the environment and your genes play a part in AD’s development.

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If in this case you have an elder in your household, you should learn everything you can about AD so you will know what to do. The first thing that you should do is identify the symptoms. Symptoms include personality changes, language problems, misplacing things, difficulty in performing day-to-day tasks and getting lost. As AD progresses, the patient will suffer agitation, delusions, depression, forgetting, changing of sleep patterns, hallucinations, violent behaviour, poor judgment and many more.

If you noticed that your elder has symptoms mentioned above, you should bring him/her to your doctor to be diagnosed immediately. The bad news here is that there is no cure for AD but there are certain treatments that should be undertaken to slow its progression. There are drugs that are developed to help slow the progression of AD.

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Have you heard about the Bapineuzumab (by Johnson and Johnson) and Solanezumab (by Eli Lilly)? For years, the drugs were developed to fight the accumulation of the plaques in the brain for AD patients. But on January 22, 2014, scientists yielded and said that they were unsuccessful. Scientists failed but they gained lessons from it. You should not lose hope. Meanwhile, you can consider main drugs used for AD patients to include:

Donepezil, Rivastigmine & Galantamine

Scientists discovered that the brains of AD patients demonstrates nerve cells loss. The nerve cells use a chemical (called acetycholine) that serves as a chemical messenger. The loss of these nerve cells are linked with the seriousness of symptoms of patients. The good news is that donepezil, rivastigmine & galantamine can prevent acetycholine which can lead to the escalation of communication amongst nerve cells.

Memantine

Memantine is different from the drugs mentioned above for it is more complex. In the case of memantine, it effectively impedes a chemical messenger called glutamate. When the brain cells are destroyed by AD, glutamate is discharged which can cause further damage in the brain cells. Memantine will impede or block the extra glutamate present in the brain.

It is better if you ask your doctors about drugs and other treatments.

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