Sunday Territorian 4 Apr 2010
Sunday Territorian; NewspaperNT
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
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Nationwide News Pty. Limited
40 Sunday Territorian, Sunday, April 4, 2010 www.sundayterritorian.com.au P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 4 -A P R -2 0 1 0 P A G E : 4 0 C O L O R : C M Y K A range of remedies for those nagging migraines By DR JAMES WRIGHT SOME claim one in five suffer migraine, much like a searing red hot poker being shoved through the eye, right or left side (never both), often nausea, vomiting and abhorring bright light. Sudden onset (often at 3am), no obvious causes. Although thunderstorms, red wine, cheese, spinach, liver and choccies are said to be sometimes responsible. Its caused by arteries in the scalp dilating, starting the terrible throb. Today, the triptan family have revolutionised treatment. Usually a tablet (half or even quarter) fixes fast, although injection or nasal spray is also effective. Sumatriptan (Imigram) was the first, but Zolmitriptan is equally effective. Often this is followed by passing an enormous amount of urine, so fluid retention obviously plays a part. ASPIRIN: There has been a wide range of medications over the years. Simple aspirin is still often used as first line of therapy. One 350mg tablet (plus 10mg metoclopramide helps absorption) is effective. In recurring bouts, some take an aspirin daily. Pizotifen and ergotamine products were once widely used. COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE: Those into alternate medicine claim feverfew leaves are effective. (Some grow it in a pot outside, so have a readymade fresh supply.) It is harmless. The original beta-blocker for blood pressure, called propranolol (Inderal) can be taken regularly and often dramatically chops back attacks. Relaxation therapy (medical hypnotherapy ) is very effective, and still carried out by some psychologists. The old fashioned idea of crushed ice application to the head, and placing the feet in hot water helps some, although a pill is easier! The ice is meant to shrink the dilated arteries, and take the blood to the feet which turn red with the heat. Or so they say. There are many options to suit all tastes. Laughter is common to people of all races and we all go ha-ha-ha By SETH BORENSTEIN SO A scientist walks into a shopping mall to watch people laugh. Theres no punch line. Laughter is a serious scientific subject, one that researchers are still trying to figure out. Laughing is primal, our first way of communicating. Apes laugh. So do dogs and rats. Babies laugh long before they speak. No one teaches you how to laugh. You just do. And often you laugh involuntarily, in a specific rhythm and in certain spots in conversation. You may laugh at a prank on April Fools Day. But surprisingly, only 10 to 15 per cent of laughter is the result of someone making a joke, said Baltimore neuroscientist Robert Provine, who has studied laughter for decades. Laughter is mostly about social responses rather than reaction to a joke. Laughter above all else is a social thing, Provine said. The requirement for laughter is another person. Over the years, Provine, a professor with the University of Maryland Baltimore County, has boiled laughter down to its basics. All language groups laugh ha-ha-ha basically the same way, he said. Whether you speak Mandarin, French or English, everyone will understand laughter. ... Theres a pattern generator in our brain that produces this sound. Deaf people laugh without hearing, and people on mobile phones laugh without seeing, illustrating that laughter isnt dependent on a single sense but on social interactions, said Provine, author of Laughter: A Scientific Investigation. Dry season gardens offer richest rewards By JANE DELLOW I TS time to plant! For Top Enders the Dry is approaching fast and gardeners need to be active. Great benefits can be gained by a small effort at this time of the year. Take advantage of soft soils and natures watering system (the last of the wet season rain) to plant larger open garden plants such as trees, shrubs and palms. These plants will initiate strong root growth during the next few months, stand up better to the prevailing south easterlies through the Dry and then power away during the next build-up. The higher humidity through March and April also makes it an ideal time to re-pot more delicate indoor and containerised plants or to look at taking most hardwood cuttings or raising vegetable and other seedlings. Fertilise all new plantings and the rest of the garden, but leave lawns until early April. Rapid growth and heavy rains over recent months have removed soil nutrients, so replenish these and be rewarded with vigorous new growth. Seek advice at your local garden centre when choosing fertiliser. An organic or controlled release option will provide better, longer-term value, especially when coupled with appropriate mulching. And now to the Centre. Over many years experienced gardeners and the records of the Olive Pink Botanical Garden attest to autumn being the best planting time for native plants (and non-frost-tender ornamental garden plants). Warm soil and air temperatures encourage good root establishment before winter and plants are then set for a flush of new growth in spring. Begin preparation for your winter vegies and flowers now. You can never add too much organic matter to Central Australian soils, so work in as much compost or well rotted manures as you can. This not only helps retain moisture and nutrients, it also improves soil structure. It is important to try and keep the soil pH near the target range of around 6. Your garden centre should be able to assist with testing your soil pH and offer advice on any additives that might be required to adjust the pH. Please note that the tap water in Alice Springs gradually raises the soil pH so it will tend to become alkaline over time. Grasshoppers have been feasting on the lush new growth of your precious plants and seedlings following the recent rains. This will subside soon and you will then be able to safely plant out new plants and seedlings, and watch them thrive over autumn. Its still hot and sticky in the top half, and hot and dry in the centre, so get out there in the mornings or evenings. Visit your local garden centre for the best advice and new seasons plants and products so you dont miss the autumn gardening boat. territory pet vet with Dr Stephen Cutter Cats can transmit bugs that cause birth defects TOXOPLASMOSIS is one of the few diseases people can catch from their pets. Pregnant women in particular should be aware of this disease. When acquired during pregnancy, it can cause birth defects, miscarriage, or stillbirth. Toxoplasmosis is widespread in the community and a significant percentage of people are exposed to it. Most people who get toxoplasmosis have few symptoms or none at all. In general the symptoms are mild, short lived and flu like, such as a headache, or sore throat. Most people who catch toxoplasmosis dont know they have caught it. It is a small microscopic parasite that requires the cat to complete its lifecycle. The cat sheds the parasites eggs in its faeces. People can become infected from the faeces in the litter box or the garden. Infected cats usually show no signs and many cats are infected at some time. It is more common in kittens and outdoor cats. The other part of the lifecycle is the meat cycle. The eggs are ingested by another species of animal. The eggs then hatch and become cysts in their muscle, where they sit dormant and wait for a cat to eat the animal so it can infect a new cat. This is the point at which it infects a wide range of species, including people and wildlife. To avoid toxoplasmosis change the cat litter daily and wash the tray. If possible, someone other than the expectant mother should do this. To prevent your cat from becoming infected keep them indoors so they dont hunt and only feed it commercial cat food or well-cooked meat.