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Mediterranean Anemia

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anemia

An inherited blood disorder, Thalassemia is characterized by less hemoglobin and fewer red blood cells in your body than normal and its prevalence is higher in the Mediterranean region. Recent studies in Turkey introduce better treatment opportunities with new drugs.

Thalassemia (Mediterranean anemia) is a hereditary blood disease commonly seen in those of Mediterranean origin. It emerges with a mutation in the hemoglobin in the red blood cells as a result of gene disruptions. This deterioration prevents blood, which is tasked with carrying oxygen throughout the body, from carrying oxygen, and causes anemia.

Thalassemia is a very serious disease that can result in death if not treated properly. Paleness in the skin is among the most important symptoms of the said disease in addition to fatigue and lethargy. It emerges at infancy. In case these symptoms are intense, a specialist should be contacted and a simple blood test should be conducted.Thalassemia is tested with a complete blood count and a blood test that determines the proportion of the hemoglobin types present in the blood.

If hemoglobin A2 is present at a higher rate in blood than expected, the person is identified as a carrier of thalassemia. Thalassemia major and thalassemia minor can be diagnosed – and distinguished from one another – not only through conventional clinical and blood testing, but also through molecular and genetic tests. These tests permit accurate diagnosis to be made at any time, even before birth. It is commonly found in people of Mediterranean descent, such as Italians and Greeks, as well as those from the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Africa, Southeast Asia and southern China.

The treatment of thalassemia starts with blood transfusion and supportive medication. If the bone marrow, which can be taken from healthy individuals with compatible tissues, is found, a marrow transplant can also be performed. It is crucial to make an early decision. Too many blood transfusions may make a marrow transplant difficult. The rate of success for the treatment of thalassemia in Turkey is very high with approximately 70-80 percent.

The disease is not contagious

It passes from a carrier mother and father to the child through genetic transmission, meaning that it is a genetic feature transmitted from parents just like hair color and eye color. Every feature develops with a pair of genes inherited one from the mother and the other from the father.

Parents can transfer any of this gene pair to the child. If the mother and father are carriers there is a 25 percent chance that the children are sick. So every child born to these couples will have a 25 percent chance of being sick and 50 percent chance of being a carrier. The risk of delivering a sick child is the same in every pregnancy.

However, it is not enough for only one of the parents to be sick for one to become a carrier. Both parents must carry the disease. If one of the parents suffers from thalassemia, then this person is defined as carrier. Children with a single parent suffering from the disease are usually carriers and do not have the disease. Turkey is a Mediterranean country and kinship marriages are frequent. Close relatives carry the common gene in particular. Degenerated genes are also included in this situation, and when they come together, it is inevitable for the parents to pass them on to their children. Recent studies indicate that more than 1.5 million people have been diagnosed with thalassemia in Turkey.

Thalassemia can be detected

Thalassemia can be detected and treated prenatally in the mother’s womb. Hence, doubtful couples should make it a point to take a blood test to determine if they are carriers. When the couples, who are determined to be carriers, want to have children, the Ministry of Health leads them to centers for genetic counseling and advanced genetic tests and helps them bring healthy children to the world through prenatal genetic diagnosis methods.

The Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) method has been successfully applied for about 10 years and healthy babies are selected before being placed in the mother’s womb. The egg is fertilized by the sperm with a microinjection in a laboratory dish by means of the In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) method and embryos are obtained.

Cells taken from this embryo by biopsy under microscope are examined for genetic disease. Healthy embryos are transferred to the mother. Thus, the baby is protected from this disease without being placed in the mother’s womb. In November, Turkish scientists have developed a new drug molecule to be used in the treatment of thalassemia. Following a three-year study by Üsküdar University in collaboration with Sabancı University, a new chelating drug molecule from microalgae has been developed. The European Patent has been applied to transform the drug candidate molecule into a drug that prevents iron overload, which can lead to death in patients with thalassemia.

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English Articles

Hints for Better Sleep

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Better Sleep

Sleep quality affects our health in many ways, but the worst thing that keeps us from a good night’s sleep is the blue light caused by our smartphones. In this article, we talk about the sleep quality and give a few tips for better sleep

Do you know that smartphones, which have become a great part of our lives, threaten our health? The use of smartphones causes many diseases, such as heart problems, cancer and Alzheimer’s.Surveys that focus on the relation between sleep and technology at King’s College London and Cardiff University, indicate that the use of smartphones or tablets before bedtime cause sleeplessness and leads to problems in social life the next day. Another result shows, in particular, that if social media applications on phones are always open, they promote their use. When the sleep time of participants and their use of smartphones are taken into consideration, it was determined that there is a relation between sleep quality and the period of using phones. The sleep quality of participants that spend much time with phones before sleeping is much lower. The survey results were published in PLOS One magazine.

Blue light affects sleep quality

One reason why smartphones and tablets cause sleeplessness is blue light, which is collected by special cells behind our eyes and destroys the sleep signals that are sent to the brain, and all blue light puts pressure on melatonin, the hormone that helps sleep timing and circadian rhythms. At night, our level of melatonin is higher than during the day. However, this level is negatively affected by blue light. In an experiment by scientists from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on 13 people in 2013, participants had to use tablets two hours before they sleep. Some of them wore orange glasses that filter blue light when using tablets, while others looked at the blue light with bare eyes. According to the results, the melatonin level of those who wore orange glasses was higher.

Blue light causes Alzheimer’s

Blue light from smartphones threatens various organs, from the retina to the heart. Memory is also weakened by the slowing down of the metabolism, especially after the age of 30. Close relations with technology cause these people to have Alzheimer’s at much early ages.

Common symptoms observed in people with Alzheimer’s are anxiety, depression, learning disability, short-term memory loss, speech disorder and disability in communication. According to the survey, 20 percent of people are at risk of having Alzheimer’s and a life based on technology can increase this risk. The works of scientists continue to look for the causes of this illness. However, we know that many factors contribute to its development, such as damaged proteins, genetics, neuronal energy deficiency, neuroinflammation and vascular illnesses.

What happens when we don’t have quality sleep?

Research shows that while men need to sleep seven or eight hours, women need six or seven-hours. What happens if we don’t sleep as much as we need?

1-Sleeplessness causes accidents. Studies associate one out of six accidents with sleeplessness. Thus, sleeplessness is much deadlier than cancer.

2-Sleeplessness numbs you and represses learning and thinking. Its effects on cognitive functions also affect your thinking ability, concentration, attention and reflections.

3-Reearch indicates that illnesses such as cardiac diseases, heart attacks, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes are more common in people with sleeping problems. There is one thing that we know: Sleeplessness causes aging in vessels and leads to tiredness; our physical appearance ages and the vessels carrying blood to our organs don’t work properly.

4-A survey in 2002 indicates that sleeplessness, regardless of sex, decreases the libido.

5-Sleeplessness hurts your decision-making ability.

6-Lack of sleep increases the risk of death.

7-Poor sleep quality weakens memory.

8-Sleeplessness ages skin.

9-Lack of sleep can be caused by depression and can cause depression.

10-Sleeplessness fattens you.

Don’t use phones at least two hours before sleeping

Previous research indicates that people should not use a phone at least two hours before sleeping. When sleeping problems are taken into consideration, people who don’t look at their notifications during the day, use their phones much more often before sleeping. Don’t forget that blue light from screens may cause learning difficulties.

Eat red fruits two times a week

Berry fruits, like strawberries and bilberry, are very healthy alternatives to protect brain health. A survey of women who consume these types of fruits two times a week for two-and-a-half years shows that their comprehension seriously increases. Dried fruits, like hazelnut, walnut and almond, are healthy for our brains. In addition, healthy oils, fibers and antioxidants that they contain are important to keep healthy. To get these benefits, consume them five days a week.

Drink chamomile tea before sleeping

People have used chamomile tea for sleep for years, and surveys support its calming effect. A Japanese study found that chamomile extract helps rats to sleep as quickly as rats given a dose of benzodiazepine, a relaxing medicine. Experts need to do more research on chamomile tea. Be sure that it is steeped properly. Use two or three teabags and wait for it to brew.

Hints for better sleep:

– Determine an interval to look at phone notifications, do not exceed this period and don’t use a phone at least two hours before going to sleep.

– If you need to use a phone at night, use glasses with a filter that prevents blue light.

– Keep noise and light at a minimum. Use earplugs, eye mask, window shutters or heavy curtains. Little night lamps are good for bedrooms and bathrooms.

– Avoid eating heavily before sleep. Light snacks are better.

– Don’t consume caffeine, including tea and soft drinks, four to six hours before sleep. Caffeine decreases melatonin.

– Read books, solve puzzles.

– Regular exercise, such as walking, decreases stress hormones and helps you sleep better. However, don’t exercise two hours before sleeping! You may have difficulty in sleeping.

– Don’t nap in the afternoon.

– Stop working an hour before sleeping to relax your brain.

– Don’t talk about emotional problems shortly before sleeping.

– If possible, keep pets away from your sleeping area.

– Be sure your bedroom is well ventilated and at the right temperature.

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Facts About Organic Foods

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organic foods

While we should prefer some organic foods because of the intensive exposure to agricultural chemicals, other foods don’t need to be organic because they have their own protection and so no chemicals are used to grow them. Let’s find out which foods we should buy organic and which ones don’t really matter.

For many years, we have been looking for the answer to the question: “Is it organic or is it conventional?” Are organics really organic? Is there a huge difference between organic foods and non-organic ones? Should we never prefer non-organic products?

Research about this issue has continued for many years. If we leave this aside, there is something clear; you have taken a big step for your health if you choose organic vegetables and fruits. What do you see when you visit the fruit and vegetable section in any market? Bright, smooth, colorful fruits and vegetables… I know they look spectacular on the shelves, but it isn’t what it is supposed to be since plants have natural defects like people.

In the plant world, the equivalents of the beauty products we use are dozens of chemical substances that farmers use to prevent insects, herbs, fungal attacks and decay. Plants that are vulnerable to attack need more chemicals. Some are lucky from birth. They are not affected by chemicals.

In this article, I will share with you the plants that have a natural chemical-defying ability in formation and the fruits and vegetables you should prefer organic, if it’s possible since they are exposed to intense pesticides.

According to the latest meta-analysis in the British Journal of Nutrition, organic fruits and vegetables have a significant positive impact on your general state of health because organic foods contain more antioxidants and fewer chemicals. Smart lifestyle choices such as organic eating are the best way to cope with all the stress and strain of modern life.

How does organic nutrition affect our bodies?

Choosing organic food can reduce your exposure to agricultural chemicals. For example, cadmium, a poisonous metal in fertilizers, affects your body 48 percent less when you prefer organic foods. Organic products can reduce muscle aches, improve heart health and protect skin from the sunlight. It contains more antioxidants, preventing diseases, at the rate of 20-40 percent. It can reduce infections. Choosing organic meat and chicken reduces the risk of contact with super-microbes which are resistant to antibiotics and have a potential 30 percent fatality rate.

Organics reduce the likelihood of exposure to chemical pesticides. The risk of organic products containing chemicals is 30 percent less than conventional products. Exposure to chemical substances, especially neurotoxic insecticides, causes developing fetuses and young children to get harmed. Organic milk is a smart choice because it contains healthier omega-3 fatty acids in terms of heart and brain.

Choosing organic products is healthier for our bodies as they increase micronutrients, known as cancer preventive plant phenols.

Fruits, vegetables can take exposure to intensive insecticides, but you should prefer organic

Cherry

Cherries are weak fruits without any protection. They are defenseless against harmful things like fruit flies. Even if only a little bit is contaminated with bacteria or viruses, all of the fruit must be thrown out according to quarantine regulations. And so, cultivators use more insecticide with the fear of losing their products.

Celery

A total 75 percent of the crop is grown in autumn and winter when rain and wind promote the outbreak of bacterial and fungal diseases. And since we eat the whole celery stalk, a lot of chemicals must be sprayed to protect it from harmful bacteria. No one likes to find celery stalk that’s been half-eaten by caterpillars.

Peach

The peach, a sweet and juicy fruit, can be as attractive to insects as much as it is for people. Farmers apply pesticides to them every week between flowering and harvest, and peach fuzz keeps it inside. Therefore, peaches should be washed very well. It is one of the fruits that you should definitely prefer organic.

Apple

Sweet, aromatic and delicious apples can be affected by more than 30 insect species and at least 10 different diseases. Fungicides and other chemicals are applied to the apples after they are picked to prevent small stains that can occur during storage, which can be up to nine months. If you can’t find organic apples, don’t forget to wash them with plenty of water.

Nectarine

Nectarines are different from peaches in terms of the fuzzy coating. It is a fruit that emerged from the natural mutation of the peach tree; therefore, it isn’t surprising that they are sensitive to many pests including fruit moths. Thanks to their polished surface, they do not hold pesticides as much as peaches do. On the other hand, they are more vulnerable to decay and scars.

Pepper

Unlike some vegetables such as broccoli, sweet peppers do not have bitter components to be used as insect repellents. The wrinkles on peppers may cause the pesticide to accumulate, so watch out.

Spinach

Spinach is a plant preferred by various insects, including grasshoppers. At the same time, it tends to suck DDT, which is a very poisonous and stubborn insecticide, from the soil. These chemical substances can be kept in the soil for up to 10 years after being banned.

Kale

Before it is sold at markets, the outer leaves of it can’t be plucked and therefore any damage will make it unsellable. Farmers spray many insecticides on kale to prevent the insects, including the good ones because even insects that are the natural enemies of pests can be thought of as pollutants in harvested crops.

Fruits and vegetables that we don’t need to prefer organic

Above are the fruits and vegetables that you should choose organic as they are exposed to a lot of chemicals. Now, I will talk about fruits and vegetables that have their own protection shields

Onion

Onions produce their own protective chemicals. The unpleasant sulfur components prevent insects from chewing onions. Although farmers use insecticides at the beginning of the production season, drug residues are also removed since its dry outer layer crumbles during harvest.

Pineapple

Most of the pesticides used in pineapple cultivation are applied at the early part of the production season. Therefore, the minimal remains can be seen after the harvest. After peeling off, the chemicals discompose

Avocado

Most of the insecticides used for avocado fruits, which is popular in our country recently, accumulate on their rinds. Therefore, you can consume these fruits with peace of mind.

Sweet Corn

Since corn is peeled before eating, the chemicals used during production are thrown away. Corn is one of the foods that you don’t need to prefer organic.

Peas

Peas, the indispensable little vegetables in our meals, are protected from chemicals thanks to their rinds.

Kiwi

Hornets help control the pests feeding on kiwi. Therefore, there is no need for chemicals.

Cabbage

Insecticides are used in their production, but the outer leaves that absorb the harmful chemicals are thrown away before they take their place in market shelves.

Melon and Watermelon

Melons and watermelons have thick coats that aren’t consumed. And so, we aren’t affected even if pesticides are sprayed on them.

Eggplant

The slippery rind of eggplants holds all the insecticides. Therefore, you can safely consume it after washing it well.

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What Diabetic Patients Fighting Influenza Should Do

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Diabetic Patients Fighting Influenza

The flu and cold make winter hard for anyone who catches these ‘winteresque’ diseases, but things might become harder for diabetes patients who fight twice as hard with these viruses

In the winter months, dealing with influenza and similar winter diseases becomes difficult for all of us. However, the situation may be more challenging for diabetic patients than others. Increasing infectious diseases can make it difficult to regulate blood sugar throughout the illness by causing the blood sugar to rise. Professor Yaşar Küçükardalı, one of the leading experts in this field, wrote a detailed and useful article about what diabetic patients fighting influenza should do. You can find the highlights below:

As soon as it gets cold, the debate concerning having a flu shot comes to the fore of the agenda. As I have said before, I am a physician who finds flu shots useful. I think that the rates of other diseases or even deaths caused by influenza are much more serious than those claimed to be caused by flu shots. The first winter advice for diabetics is to get a flu shot. Studies indicate that the influenza vaccination in patients with diabetes reduces the frequency of admission to hospitals by 52 percent, while it reduces flu-related deaths by up to 70 percent.

It may cause anorexia

There is something that happens to all of us when we are fighting diseases such as flu, which is the loss of appetite. Patients with diabetes believe that their blood sugar values do not fall since they eat less during this period. For this reason, they may neglect their measurements. Trying to get rid of an infectious disease leads to stress in the body, which causes certain hormones to rise. Therefore, even if you eat very little, your blood sugar values will increase. Moreover, if you get sick, especially if you have a fever, it is difficult to assess your blood sugar based on how you feel.

Medicines heal when they are diagnosed correctly and taken in the right quantities. However, if they are misused, they do not serve as healers anymore. When diabetic patients need medication for any illness, they must pay attention to the content. In particular, cough syrup contains sugar and diabetic patients who struggle with influenza can raise their blood sugar values without noticing if they uncontrollably consume this type of syrup. Studies also show that some flu medicines raise blood pressure.

Measure your blood sugar at different times

Fasting blood sugar before breakfast

It shows how well your body can regulate blood sugar at night.

Blood sugar two hours after meal

It shows how the choice of food and portion of the meal affects blood sugar. This, in turn, indicates whether the drug is suitable for controlling postprandial sugar.

Blood sugar before the next meal

It shows whether blood sugar returned to the target value after the meal.

Blood sugar before physical activity

It indicates whether a snack is needed to start physical activity.

Blood sugar when we feel sick

It shows how disease or stress affects blood sugar.

There are some rules that are independent of the season or disease when it comes to the diets of diabetics. Particular attention should be paid to the diet during periods of illness, especially when the immune system is weakened. Under normal circumstances, up to 50 percent of diabetics’ daily calories can consist of carbohydrates. These carbohydrates should be selected from those with low sugar content. Experts say diabetics should have five food groups in their daily diet, namely cereals and starches, meat and alternatives, vegetables, fruits, milk and alternatives: 1/4 plate fruit, 1/4 plate vegetable, 1/4 plate protein, 1/4 plate grain and a glass of milk.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the likelihood of influenza to cause death in healthy adults is rather poor, with two deaths in 100,000 cases. The risk of death due to influenza is increased by 52 times in patients with cardiovascular disease, 120 times in patients with pulmonary disease and 241 times in patients with diabetes and cardiovascular disease, compared to healthy adults. These numbers, which are extremely serious and frightening, prove that diabetic patients should be much more careful.

What if you do not already know that you are suffering from diabetes? Diabetes is a very serious disease that usually requires life-long treatment. In order not to miss the chance of early detection, it is necessary to know the symptoms. People with diabetes often have the following symptoms: fatigue, excessive appetite, excessive thirst and water consumption, frequent urination, weight loss, blurred vision, skin infections and non-healing injuries.

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