Sleep Apnea And Quality Of Memory In Children

A recent study has investigated how obstructive sleep apnea in children can impact memory consolidation. Over the years we are finding out more secrets about sleep and the way it can alter many day to day things. It seems that a broken sleep pattern could be more harmful to our memory function than first thought. One of the many things that sleep plays a part in is memory consolidation. Rapid eye movement (REM) has always been deemed important, but science has revealed that non-REM is also of interest. If sleep helps to firm up our memories then broken sleep is not going to have a good result.

It is thought that as many as 1 in 10 children suffer from Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB). This refers to symptoms including degrees of airway collapse, such as sleep apnea and snoring. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most severe and can stop the sufferer from breathing for as long as 20-40 seconds many times a night. This causes blood oxygen levels to decrease. Fragmented sleep has been proven to have a negative result on adult memory consolidation but there have been very few studies on children.

This recent study tested 36 children aged 5-9 and, as expected, those who suffered from OSA had impaired memory consolidation. Although this was a relatively small study, it was fairly in depth and this is evidence that even mild levels of SDB and OSA can interrupt the memory process in children. Treatment for mild OSA is recommended in order to ensure your child has minimal interference with their memory consolidation. Children that have this issue for many years with out treatment are running the risk of it harming their learning and making academic life more of a struggle.


Snoring and Children’s Health

Recent studies have suggested that parents are unaware of the health issue associated with persistent snoring in children, and how it can be harmful to their quality of life. The research says that many children who snore occasionally will not suffer any harm, but more frequent snoring could be different, particularly in children with sleep apnea. This is because when snoring is persistent the quality of sleep is affected meaning the child can become sleepy in the day time, lack concentration, find learning difficult, wet the bed and even have delayed growth.

Sleep apnea is where breathing becomes shallow or pauses and is a common condition. When this occurs, you will drift from deep to light sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type, and this is where the airway becomes blocked or collapses during sleep. The recent research showed that only a third of parents of children with these symptoms went on to seek medical advice, proving that awareness is low. Many parents do not know the implications of sleep apnea and persistent snoring in children.

The most common cause for excessive snoring in children shows to be enlarged adenoids or tonsils, suggesting this issue could be treated with surgery. Parents need to be provided with the facts, so they know when to seek help to ensure their children do not suffer in their day to day life.

Further research shows that teenagers that have sleep issues find it harder to cope with stress. This can have a negative impact on their health and education, leading to falling behind with school work and even depression. This is more evidence that any sleep issue, no matter how small, should always be reviewed by a professional as it is likely something that can be easily treated early on to prevent poor health in the future.


Reasons For Tongue Pain

The tongue is an important muscular organ. We use it for speaking, eating and swallowing. If you have a sore tongue it is unlikely to be something to worry about, usually it will be a minor problem that is easy to fix. Here we look at some possible causes of a painful tongue.

  • Oral thrush – Candida is a fungus present in the mouth and throat. If this overgrows it can cause a fungal infection. This is most common in newborns and people with low immune systems. Oral thrush causes painful white or yellow patches to form in the mouth and on the tongue. Antifungal medications can treat this.
  • Biting or injuring your tongue – Accidentally biting your tongue when eating is very unpleasant and can cause a sharp pain. You can also injure your tongue by having it clamped down upon by your teeth in a fall or accident. Some illnesses that cause seizures may also lead to your tongue being bitten. It will usually take a few days and sometimes a week for your tongue to heal from this kind of injury. Gargling with warm salt water can help.
  • Sores – Ulcers and cold sores are common and very irritating. These sores can be caused by a number of things such as stress, hormonal changes, spicy foods, or being run down with a cold or virus. Cold sores are a form of the herpes virus and can be very contagious.
  • Glossitis – There are a number of types of Glossitis, almost all of which cause a painful tongue. Glossitis means inflammation of the tongue and treatment can vary depending on the person and the cause.
  • Burning mouth syndrome – This is a painful condition that causes a burning, tingling or numb sensation on the tongue. The mouth will not show physical symptoms, but the pain can last a long time. It is thought burning mouth syndrome could be caused by allergic reactions, acid reflux, thyroid issues, dry mouth and diabetes. Treatment depends on the medical history of the individual.

Some of these issues are unavoidable, but practicing good oral hygiene is very important. Brushing and flossing your teeth and seeing your dentist regularly can go a long way.

If your symptoms have been persistent despite adhering to good oral hygiene, it would be worth consulting with your GP for a detailed examination. You may need some blood tests to rule out any vitamin deficiencies, and possibly  also a specialist referral in some cases.


Reasons Why Your Nose May Be Red

We have all experienced a sore, red nose after a bad cold, the flu or an allergy. In these situations, the skin on your nose will be red due to persistent wiping. There are, however, some other causes of a red nose. Here we look at those causes and possible treatment.

Rosacea and Rhinophyma

Rosacea can start as a tendency to blush easily and the redness usually starts on the cheeks, spreading to the nose, chin, ears and other parts of the face and body. Some doctors believe that Rosacea occurs when blood vessels easily expand and dilate. Lifestyle factors can be a trigger, including stress, eating spicy food or using the wrong skin creams. Rosacea is treated by identifying factors that contribute to flare-ups of the condition and eliminating them. Some drugs that contain sulfur can help treat the symptoms and sun cream can ease the redness.

Rhinophyma is caused when Rosacea is untreated, making the oil-producing glands in the nose to thicken. This can make the nose appear hard and bumpy and blood vessels may be visible. The mite Demodex folliculorum is thought to be responsible. Contrary to common misconception, the condition is not related to excessive alcohol consumption.

Once this develops it is usually permanent and the condition cannot be reversed. However, you can ease the symptoms using the above Rosacea treatments.  There are also some surgical treatments available, including serial shave excisions and laser ablation.

Dry Skin

Conditions that make the skin on the nose dry such as eczema, can be a common cause of a red nose. The irritation makes the skin sore and any scratching or wiping will irritate this. This redness will usually be temporary but the underlying condition will continue to cause it to flare-up. If your nose is red due to your skin being dry then moisturising cream can help. If you have eczema then you need to use the correct cream that eithers treats and eases the condition or one that is mild and does not agitate it. Steroid creams are a common treatment for eczema and skin conditions.

Lupus

Lupus causes the body to attack cells, it is an autoimmune disease and many sufferers develop a butterfly shaped rash on their cheeks and nose. This is known as a malar rash and it makes the nose appear bumpy and red. There are medications that relieve the symptoms of Lupus related skin irritations and help to reduce the frequency of flare-ups. Also avoiding stress and being out in the sun too long can help.

Allergies

Hay fever, pet allergies and dust allergies can all cause the skin on the nose to become red and sore. Identifying the allergy is key and avoiding anything that causes irritation will reduce the risk of a flare-up. Nasal sprays and creams can also help.


Empty Nose Syndrome

Empty Nose Syndrome (ENS) , otherwise often referred to as Atrophic Rhinitis, is a disorder of the nose and nasal passage. Sufferers of this rare condition will have clear nasal passages that appear regular but they will have a range of symptoms. People who have had nasal surgery are most likely to suffer from ENS.

 

Causes

Multiple previous operations on the nose or nasal passage will increase your chances of developing ENS. People who have had a turbinectomy of any kind may suffer symptoms of ENS but it doesn’t mean that every turbinectomy will lead to it. A turbinectomy is a procedure that removes part or all of the turbinate structure in the wall of the nose, in order to make the nasal passages larger and make breathing easier. Historically, turbinectomy was undertaken rather more aggressively with removal of a large part of the inner nasal lining. Nowadays it is customary to preserve as much functioning mucosa as possible, thereby vastly reducing the risk of developing ENS.

 

Symptoms

  • Nasal bleeding
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Soreness and inflammation
  • Weakened sense of smell and taste
  • Sleep issues
  • Inhaled air seeming too cold or dry

 

Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix or easy treatment for ENS. Temporary symptom relief is the main goal of most treatments. Saline drips and gels can help to relieve the dryness of the nose but they can also remove beneficial mucus meaning bacteria can spread to the nasal cavity more easily. Antibiotic nasal sprays are advised alongside saline treatments due to this risk.

There are some home remedies that can relieve the symptoms of ENS:

  • Using a humidifier at night
  • Using a CPAP machine to help with breathing
  • Hot soups and hot liquids can ease symptoms
  • Living somewhere warm and humid

ENS is often diagnosed once other conditions that can cause similar symptoms have been ruled out. A cotton test used to be performed by the doctor if they suspected ENS, which involved a small piece of wet cotton being held where the turbinate would be. If this gives relief than the person could be an ENS sufferer. This test is rarely performed nowadays as it is not sufficiently reliable.


The Best Food And Drink For A Sore Throat

Having a sore throat can be a horrible experience, making it difficult and painful to eat and swallow. Obviously, eating and drinking are essential for your health. Here we look at the food and drink you should be consuming to help your sore throat and the ones to avoid.

 

Foods And Drinks That Are Good For A Sore Throat

  • Bananas – A soft fruit that will be easy on the throat and is healthy and filling too.
  • Pomegranate Juice – Studies suggest pomegranate juice can reduce inflammation and fight off infection.
  • Frozen Fruit – Fruit sherbets and popsicles can soothe the inflammation.
  • Honey – Studies suggest honey can heal wounds and fight infection, as well as being tasty and soothing.
  • Chicken Soup – Chicken soup has been said to have inflammatory properties that can clear airways, relieving the symptoms of a sore throat.
  • Tea – Teas and other hot drinks can soothe the throat.
  • Yoghurts And Smoothies – These are packed with nutrition and can be sipped throw a straw to make consumption easier.
  • Scrambled Eggs – The texture makes scrambled eggs soft and easy to consume. Also eggs are a great source of protein.
  • Vegetables (Well Cooked) – As long as they are cooked until they are soft, vegetables such as potatoes, cabbage and carrots are a good option if you have a sore throat.

 

Foods And Drinks To Stay Clear Of

  • Anything Citrus – Citrus fruits and juices are acidic meaning they can irritate a sore throat further.
  • Hard Or Crunchy Foods – Dry toast, nuts and crackers all have sharp edges that could cause more pain to an already inflamed throat.
  • Tomato Sauces – Tomatoes are also acidic which can anger a sore throat.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol and mouthwashes that contain alcohol can cause stinging to a sore throat. Alcohol can also make you dehydrated which can cause further problems.
  • Tobacco – Smoking and inhaling second hand smoke will only aggravate a sore throat.
  • Some Spices – Some spices such as chillies, nutmeg and hot sauces can make an inflamed throat even worse.
  • Sour Or Pickled Food – Any foods made with vinegar or salt can irritate an inflammation further.

 

As with any aspect of life, a balance is the ideal, however sticking to the advice above may help you manage a sore throat better.


Could Snorting Chocolate Powder Be The New Energy Buzz?

An Orlando based company called Legal Lean are promoting snorting the chocolate powder known as ‘Coco Loko’, for a legal and drug free buzz, selling the product in a tin of 10 servings for $24.99 (£19.30).

The trend that has been catching on in Europe is expected to become more popular with chocolate powder potentially replacing caffeinated drinks. The buzz is said to last anywhere from 30 – 60 minutes and works by the ingredients of the substance being dissolved into the nasal mucus membranes.

Ear Nose And Throat (ENT) specialist Dr Paul Chatrath has explained that whilst there are understandable medical reasons why inhaling chocolate through the nose could give the desired effects, there could be some potentially negative side effects of snorting the powder that are currently not known. Telling the independent: “We simply don’t know the negative effects of snorting the powder over a period of time”.

To read the full article click here: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/snorting-chocolate-powder-coco-loko-energy-buzz-legal-drug-free-caffeine-guarana-ginko-biloba-a7827111.html


Vertigo – All You Need To Know

What Is Vertigo?

Vertigo can be caused by a number of conditions. It is a very specific form of dizziness in which the person feels as though the room is spinning around them. It can arise when there is an issue with the brain, ear or sensory nerve pathway. You often hear people associating vertigo with a fear of heights but this is not medically correct. The correct term for a fear of heights is Acrophobia.

Vertigo can occur at any time but it usually happens after the age of 65 and can be temporary or long term.

 

Symptoms

Someone who is suffering from vertigo will feel that they or their surroundings are rotating or spinning when there is no actual movement occurring. The following symptoms are often associated with vertigo :

  • Light-headedness and issues with balance
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • A feeling of motion sickness
  • Tinnitus

 

Causes

Causes can depend on the type of vertigo. There are two main types, Peripheral and central vertigo.

  • Peripheral Vertigo – This happens when there is a problem with the balance organs of the inner ear. Usually this will be caused by an inflammation or viral infection. It can also come on following ear surgery, a heady injury, prolonged bed rest, labyrinthitis and vertebrobasilar. Other causes include a positional vertigo (‘BPPV’) or Meniere’s disease.
  • Central Vertigo – This happens when there are problems with the sensory nerve pathways of the brain. Migraine headaches are the most common cause. Less common causes are brain tumours, strokes, multiple sclerosis, transient ischemic attacks and acoustic neuroma.

 

Treatment

Some cases of vertigo can resolve in time without any form of treatment needed. However, if there is an underlying issue, I.e. a bacterial infection, then this will need to be addressed. There are drugs that can relieve the symptoms of vertigo, for example anti-emetics to reduce nausea and motion sickness. The treatment will largely depend on the cause. Antibiotics or steroids may also be prescribed. If the vertigo does not improve within 2 weeks, it would be worth getting a referral to an ENT specialist for further investigation.


Don’t Tell The Doctor

Paul Chatrath featured in an episode of Channel 5’s ‘Don’t tell the Doctor’ recently. A young musician was referred to him to have his hearing thoroughly assessed and to discuss treatment going forward due to a loss of hearing a suspected tinnitus.

The patient explained that he has noticed very low volume and a high pitched ringing sound in his ears. Paul examined the patient’s ears and noticed that one ear drum was clean and healthy but the other had quite a build up of wax which he advised should be removed. He then performed a test using a tuning fork placed on the forehead which revealed the young man’s eardrums were normal. This showed that the cause of the tinnitus was not in the ear drum or middle ear but most likely the noise exposure due to the loud music the patient encounters when performing as a live musician. Paul went on to explain that this could be a temporary issue or it could actually be long term if there has been some damage to the inner ear that is not reversible. This does not mean that further damage is unavoidable as there are some changes that can be made to protect against this, such as using ear plugs and avoiding loud music events when possible. The tinnitus is unlikely to be permanent and may improve in time.

Tinnitus is partly generated by the ear but also partly by the brain, therefore over time people tend to adjust to it. Paul explained that within a few months the tinnitus should become less of a problem as the brain adapts to the small amount of damage, resulting in the symptoms subsiding and therefore the high pitched ringing sound decreasing and even stopping. This was a relief for the young musician who feared a much longer struggle.


Split Earlobe Repair

The Problem

Stretched ear lobes can, over time, cause a painful and potentially embarrassing but fairly common problem – Split ear lobes. This is when an earlobe has been torn by the usage of heavy ear rings or stretched by things such as flesh tunnels. This can actually cause the earlobe to tear leaving a painful and unattractive area on the side of your head. The old saying “Pain is Beauty” can apply to many things, but while suffering a small blister to enjoy the party heels is one thing, a torn ear lobe is something more permanent and can not be hidden away so easily, especially if you have short hair!

 

Earlobe Repair Surgery – What It Entails

Earlobe repair surgery is an option to fix the issue of both torn and stretched earlobes, whether severe or slight. This is a minor procedure that is performed under local anaesthetic and usually takes no more than 20 – 30 minutes to complete per ear. The excess tissue is removed and very fine, dissolvable stitches are then used to carefully stitch back together the two split areas. If the procedure is being performed on stretched ears it could take a little longer depending on how big the hole that needs to be repaired is. The fact that this minor procedure is very quick means that you can have it done and walk out of the clinic the same day. This means minimal disruption to your schedule, which is always a bonus!

 

Life After Earlobe Repair Surgery

It generally takes around four to six months for the ear to heal. You may have a small, subtle scar on your ear but this will fade over time and will certainly be far less obvious than the tear or stretching that it fixed. After six months you can re pierce ears if you wish, but it is advised that you seek advice from a practitioner first as to the best place for the holes so as to ensure no further damage to your ear lobes.