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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.


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.


  • 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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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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Common Misconceptions About Colds & Flus

You should know that in the past 7 days, Singapore experienced the lowest temperature. Temperatures here have dropped to 2 degrees. For January 2014 alone, the daily minimum temperature ranges from 23.5-21.1 degrees Celsius. According to MSS (Meteorological Service Singapore), this is lower than the long-term average which is 22.3 degrees Celsius.


Indeed it is quite chilly here. In fact, MSS noted stronger winds. Wind gusts now reach up to 27 km/hour. This number is twice the usual speed. Despite its chill, some areas here in Singapore has been dry. Reports stated that some areas experienced less rain. The changing and the unsure condition will not do your body good. You should take care of your body because that is your greatest investment.

When it is cold, you tend to have colds and flus. It is important that you know what to do so you can prevent the spreading and the worsening of your colds and flu. You also need to be guided with the common misconceptions about the causes of colds & flus. Here are some common misconceptions about colds and flus:


1. Low immunity is the cause of colds. Many of us believe that cold only affects people with low immunity. That is not completely true. Colds can affect even the strongest people. Cold viruses affect people whether they are strong or not. We should keep that in mind.

2. Vitamin C & Zinc help prevent colds. You should know that Vitamin C & Zinc does not help prevent colds and flu. They do not even keep the colds at bay. There are studies that stresses the importance of Vitamin C and Zinc as it can shorten the cold symptoms but that is just not right.

3. Antibiotics treats colds. When people get colds, they tend to take antibiotics. That is not the solution for common colds. Remember that antibiotics only target bacteria. Colds are viruses not bacteria. No matter how many drugs you take, it will not make a difference. In fact, it will only worsen the situation. If you constantly take antibiotics, the body will develop resistance and when you need it most, it will be less effective.

It was Thomas Tallman, DO, who gave clarifications and busted the misconceptions about colds. It is important that you do not spread the virus when you are suffering from one. When you are well, that is the time that you can go back to your usual routine. As much as possible you should isolate yourself until you are recovered.

Woman Holding a Mug with a Handkerchief to Her Nose


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