Habitat: Native to Mexico; grown in Indian gardens.English: Angel's Trumpet.Action: Leaf and flower—used to treat asthma; to induce hallucinations. Can cause severe toxicity.All parts of the plant contain tropane alkaloids (concentration highest in the foliage and seeds), particularly atropine, hyoscyamine and hyoscine (scopolamine.)... Indian Medicinal Plants
Carried out as two separate exercises – one by a privately funded American team; another by an international joint venture between tax-funded American laboratories, a charitably funded British one and several other smaller research teams from around the world – the ?rst results were announced on 26 June 2000. In February 2001 the privately funded American group, known as Celera Genomics, announced that it had identi?ed 26,558 genes. At the same time the Human Genome Project consortium reported that it had identi?ed 31,000. Allowing for margins of error, this gives a ?gure much lower than the 100,000 or more human genes previously forecast by scientists. Interestingly, genes were found to make up only 3 per cent of the human genome. The remaining 97 per cent of the genome comprises non-coding DNA which, though not involved in producing the protein-initiating genetic activity, does have signi?cant roles in the structure, function and evolution of the genome.
One surprise from the Project so far is that the genetic di?erences between humans and other species seem much smaller than previously expected. For example, the Celera team found that people have only 300 genes that mice do not have; yet, the common ancestor of mice and men probably lived 100 million years or more in the past. Mice and humans, however, have around twice as many genes as the humble fruit ?y.
Cells die out when they become redundant during embryonic development: genes also die out during evolution, according to evidence from the Genome Project – a ?nding that supports the constant evolutionary changes apparent in living things; the Darwinian concept of survival of the ?ttest.
Apart from expanding our scienti?c knowledge, the new information – and promise of much more as the Genome Project continues – should enhance and expand the use of genetic engineering in the prevention and cure of disease. Studies are in progress on the gene for a receptor protein in the brain which will shed light on how the important neurotransmitter SEROTONIN in the brain works, and this, for example, should help the development of better drugs for the treatment of DEPRESSION. Another gene has been found that is relevant to the development of ASTHMA and yet another that is involved in the production of amyloid, a complex protein which is deposited in excessive amounts in both DOWN’S (DOWN) SYNDROME and ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE.... Medical Dictionary
Visceral leishmaniasis (kala-azar) A systemic infection caused by Leishmania donovani which occurs in tropical and subtropical Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean littoral (and some islands), and in tropical South America. Onset is frequently insidious; incubation period is 2–6 months. Enlargement of spleen and liver may be gross; fever, anaemia, and generalised lymphadenopathy are usually present. Diagnosis is usually made from a bone-marrow specimen, splenic-aspirate, or liver-biopsy specimen; amastigotes (Leishman-Donovan bodies) of L. donovani can be visualised. Several serological tests are of value in diagnosis.
Untreated, the infection is fatal within two years, in approximately 70 per cent of patients. Treatment traditionally involved sodium stibogluconate, but other chemotherapeutic agents (including allupurinol, ketoconazole, and immunotherapy) are now in use, the most recently used being liposomal amphotericin B. Although immunointact persons usually respond satisfactorily, they are likely to relapse if they have HIV infection (see AIDS/HIV).
Cutaneous leishmaniasis This form is caused by infection with L. tropica, L. major,
L. aethiopica, and other species. The disease is widely distributed in the Mediterranean region, Middle East, Asia, Africa, Central and South America, and the former Soviet Union. It is characterised by localised cutaneous ulcers
– usually situated on exposed areas of the body. Diagnosis is by demonstration of the causative organism in a skin biopsy-specimen; the leishmanin skin test is of value. Most patients respond to sodium stibogluconate (see above); local heat therapy is also used. Paromomycin cream has been successfully applied locally.
Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis This form is caused by L. braziliensis and rarely L. mexicana. It is present in Central and South America, particularly the Amazon basin, and characterised by highly destructive, ulcerative, granulomatous lesions of the skin and mucous membranes, especially involving the mucocutaneous junctions of the mouth, nasopharynx, genitalia, and rectum. Infection is usually via a super?cial skin lesion at the site of a sand?y bite. However, spread is by haematogenous routes (usually after several years) to a mucocutaneous location. Diagnosis and treatment are the same as for cutaneous leishmaniasis.... Medical Dictionary
what can go wrong?
how likely is it to happen?
how bad would it be if it happened?
The combined answers allow an estimate to be made of the risk. Given the scope for clinical mishaps in the NHS – let alone sta? and corporate risks – the need for a credible, operational risk strategy is substantial.... Community Health
While mercury sphygmomanometers are simple, accurate and easily serviced, there is concern about possible mercury toxicity for users, those servicing the devices and the environment. Use of them has already been banned in some European hospitals. Although it may be a few years before they are widely replaced, automated blood-pressure-measuring devices will increasingly be in routine use. A wide variety of ambulatory blood-pressuremeasuring devices are already available and may be ?tted in general practice or hospital settings, where the patient is advised on the technique. Blood-pressure readings can be taken half-hourly – or more often, if required – with little disturbance of the patient’s daily activities or sleep. (See also BLOOD PRESSURE; HYPERTENSION.)... Medical Dictionary
Valsalva’s manoeuvre is involuntarily performed when a person strains to open his or her bowels: in these circumstances the passage of air to the lungs is blocked by instinctive closure of the vocal cords in the LARYNX. The resultant raised abdominal pressure helps to expel the bowel contents. The manoeuvre is also used in the study of cardiovascular physiology because the rise in pressure in the chest restricts the return of venous blood to the right atrium of the HEART. Pressure in the peripheral VEINS is raised and the amount of blood entering and leaving the heart falls. This drop in cardiac output may cause the subject to faint because the supply of oxygenated blood to the brain is reduced.... Medical Dictionary