The Diseases We Tackle

The Damien Foundation mainly deals with both leprosy and tuberculosis.

Occasionally, we support NGOs who tackle both diseases. First and foremost however, we support national programmes.

We also support a national programme against leishmaniasis in Nicaragua.

We do not support isolated HIV programmes. However, we do encourage a better coordination between HIV programmes and tuberculosis programmes. We also encourage efforts to improve the care given to patients suffering from HIV-tuberculosis.

What is leprosy?

Leishmaniasis in a few words Leishmaniasis, or "leprosy of the mountains" as it is called in Nicaragua, prevails in isolated regions that are difficult to get to. Four main variants exist and the worst of these causes death if it is not treated in time. How to find out more about the disease How to treat leishmaniasis On average, the cost of treating a patient is €135. Our Foundation also started the campaign against leishmaniasis. It is a long-term battle. Treating patients is not the sole criterion. It is crucial to actually track them down as well. How to discover more about our approach Leishmaniasis today Every year throughout the world, about 600,000 new cases of the disease are registered. Although it rages in eighty different countries, 90% of cases are crammed into just a few regions. These are usually remote and hard to get to. Leprosy is a disease.
It is produced by a bacterium which multiplies very slowly. Find out what causes the disease, how it evolves and the dramatic consequences of this terrible scourge. More information about leprosy.

How to treat leprosy
There is an efficient treatment which is free and exists all over the world. The Damien Foundation has engaged in a long-term battle against the disease. We support programmes which detect and treat patients. These programmes help patients to rebuild their lives.

Leprosy today
During the past 15 years, the number of patients with leprosy has fallen dramatically. This is due to shorter periods of treatment, more meticulously held records, increased international awareness and coordinated international cooperation. In some regions however, the number of cases recorded remains high.

Tuberculosis in a few words

mycobacterium tuberculosisTuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium. Without treatment, within two years it will prove lethal for half of the persons suffering from the disease. With adequate treatment, 95 % of patients can be completely cured. However, each year almost two million people die from the disease. Each year, eight to ten million people contract the disease. Of these cases, only half are detected, treated and recorded. One third of the world’s population are carriers of tuberculosis without actually developing the disease. Once a person’s immune defence level is lowered, the disease can strike again at any moment. More information about tuberculosis

Treatment of Tuberculosis
Most people can be cured through a frontline treatment called DOTS. This treatment is very cost effective.

Tuberculosis today
Around the beginning of the twentieth century, tuberculosis used to kill one person out of seven in Western Europe. Then, people called it the “white plague”. Improved living conditions on the one hand, and on the other, more efficient methods of treatment have allowed us to arrive at a much less dramatic turn of events. We thought that we had won the battle against the disease, but no…

Leishmaniasis in a few words

leishmaniasisLeishmaniasis, or “leprosy of the mountains” as it is called in Nicaragua, prevails in isolated regions that are difficult to get to. Four main variants exist and the worst of these causes death if it is not treated in time.

How to treat leishmaniasis
On average, the cost of treating a patient is €135. Our Foundation also started the campaign against leishmaniasis. It is a long-term battle. Treating patients is not the sole criterion. It is crucial to actually track them down as well.

Leishmaniasis today
Every year throughout the world, about 600,000 new cases of the disease are registered. Although it rages in eighty different countries, 90% of cases are crammed into just a few regions. These are usually remote and hard to get to.

How to Keep Your Bedroom Dust-Free

How would you like to sleep in a squeaky clean bedroom? Of course, most of us would prefer going home to a clean house and a bedroom that’s dust-free and smells nice. A clean house and bedroom would make you want to go home early all the time.

But how can we really maintain a neat and orderly bedroom? Here are some tips for you to try:

1. Do spring cleaning every once in a while

If you have some stuff in your bedroom that you have not been using for quite some time, maybe it’s high time you let them go. That would give you more space in the room, and you will not accumulate dust for something stuck in your room that you’re not using anymore. If you spot some creeping organisms, call the pest control exterminators to get rid of them fast.

2. Be carpet-free

Magnified dust mites in carpetIf you cannot sweep and vacuum-clean your bedroom floor every day, then it would be best to get rid of the carpet in your room. Rugs, carpets, and mats tend to accumulate a lot of dust and even become the abode of dust mites. And admittedly, carpets are quite hard to wash, so the tendency is to let the carpet sit in the room for weeks to months or maybe even years without washing it. Can you just imagine just how much dusts it will already have by that time? This will not make your room dustier; it is not good for your health as well. When you have carpet in the room, you are more prone to coughs and colds.

3. Regularly clean the hardwood and hard surfaces

Wipe the dust off your wooden table or even bed frame on a regular basis. When you see that there’s already dusts on the table, wipe it off immediately. You have to be more proactive when it comes to dust. Remember that when there’s a lot of dust, chances are spiders and other insects can start living on them.

4. Close the window

Floor covered in dustWhen you leave the house, and no one is staying in the room, it would be better just to close the window and the curtains. That way, your room will be free from the dust particles brought about by the sun’s rays. Moreover, it can avoid the insects from the outside to go inside your room through the window.

5. Seal the carpet or linoleum

If you use a carpet in the room, make sure it can cover the entire room, and it is sealed using wax, oil or other sealing products. This also goes the same for linoleums. Make sure that mites and other insects will not be able to enter and stay underneath your carpet or linoleum.

Make it a regular habit to clean your room. No, you do not have to do it every day, but at least make it twice or thrice a week. Dust off the surfaces, sweep the floor and wipe it to make sure that your room is dust-free and insect free. Don’t give the insects a foothold and reason for them to make your room their habitat. If you maintain this cleanliness routine in your room, you will be able to keep your bedroom neat and orderly at all times.

How Music Helps A Person with Dementia

Dementia is a sad reality, especially amongst the old people. It is one of the most common illnesses that aging people suffer from. And while there is no specific way to prevent dementia, there are some therapies you can provide your aging patients. One of it is through music.

Music therapy can treat AlzheimersSuccessful Intervention

According to most people helping or treating people with dementia, one of the most successful interventions they use is the music therapy. These therapists believe that music serves as a medium of communication for specific moments when the function of language has been lost because of the dementia condition. It is because language is said to be a new brain function while music is familiar and relevant to all cultures. Moreover, music is being processed by different parts of the brain and not just one piece. Like a guitar teacher teaching various elements of music like rhythm, pitch, and melody, the brain handles these elements differently.

According to the well-known music therapy advocate, Oliver Sacks, we actually listen to music through our muscles. The arousal happens in the brain stem while the dynamic registers in the basal ganglia. Since music is being collected and treated in the brain stem, it makes sound primal among humans. Thus, people who are suffering from memory loss tend to respond to music better than using verbal languages.

Dr. Kimmo Lehtonen of the University of Turku in Finland, thought that music therapy has many faces. He says music exhibits a microcosmos which has a close relationship with our deep, inner feelings. These feelings don’t leave us even if our minds already forgot about it. Dr. Lehtonen sites an example wherein he usually plays wartime songs to his old patients who may have already been around during the war era. This music can bring back old memories to his patients, and their minds can be activated.

Relieving Mind Stress

Seniors can still learn to play the guitarMusic therapists further stress that music helps improve the general physical and mental well-being of patients with dementia. Through music, the patient can have more probability for memory recall, and there is a definite change in his or her moods and emotional condition. Through these changes, the patient also becomes more open to meet people and be sociable again. Another plus factor of music is that you do not need to buy expensive medicines to treat dementia patients. Or let them undergo through some medical help to manage their discomfort and pain. Just play some music, and their weary minds can be relaxed and be still. Moreover, music makes the patient be comfortable with his or her therapists. It serves as a connecting link between the patient and the doctor or therapist, thus making the treatment progress faster and better.

Indeed, there is really more to music than just what we hear. It does not only help change our mood or relieve our stress, but it can also help a lot in the treatment of patients suffering from memory loss.

How to Compare Wrinkle Creams

With so many wrinkle creams available in the market today, it is somehow hard to choose which one is the best. It would be too costly and somehow absurd to try them all. Plus, not all of them might be in tune with your skin type. So the risk of having irritation is high. It would be best if you will follow certain criteria in choosing the most effective and safe wrinkle cream for you.

Clinically Proven

Choosing a safe wrinkle creamThe first thing you need to check is which of the wrinkle creams you’re eyeing is clinically proven or not. It is hard just to trust what other people say. Especially if they don’t know much about treating the skin or skin medications. Thus, it would be best if you will look for labels which are clinically proven. Because it means that that product underwent series of tests. These had been certified by registered dermatologists or medical experts. Of course, you wouldn’t want to spend on products which are not safe for your skin.

Natural Ingredients

Made out of natural ingredientsIn comparing wrinkle creams, it would be best if you will check which one is made of just natural or organic ingredients which are effective and safe to use. Check also which one is not made of chemicals or synthetic ingredients that might hurt the skin. It is also essential that the label shows the exact list of ingredients that products consist of. Like those featured in the viral Korean skin care routine. Fragrances might irritate the skin so don’t go for wrinkle creams which contain any fragrances. A good wrinkle cream must also contain potent antioxidants to protect the skin from oxidation and free radicals. You must also choose a product that has an active ingredient which activates the regrowth of collagen and elastin in the body. Most of all, the wrinkle cream you will want must be able to moisturize the skin.

If you follow these criteria in choosing the right wrinkle cream for you, you will be able to compare brands easily. Just take off the ones that do not follow the guidelines. Moreover, do not think that only because a specific brand costs more, it already means it is a lot more useful than less expensive ones. Remember that the components or the ingredients are very much vital. Since, they are the ones that work together to make a product safe and useful for you.

Discover the Health Insurance Options You Have in St. Louis

Health insurance helps to cover at least part of the cost of health care expenses that the insured person has. If they go to the hospital or they need surgery, these are usually covered by health insurance. The type that a person gets will determine how much of a deductible that they must pay and any other expenses that they will need to pay and the rest will be taken care of by the insurance.

Skyline in St Louis MissouriWhen it comes to health insurance options in St. Louis, it’s possible you might be eligible to get group insurance provided through your employer or you may need to get private insurance. There’s also government-issued insurance in the form of Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare is an insurance that most living in St. Louis will qualify for once they reach the age of 65 and in some cases if disabled. Medicaid is offered to those who fall under a certain income bracket.

When a resident of St. Louis gets private health insurance, they will have to choose among a variety of plans. If they want to pay the lowest premium possible, then this type of insurance will likely have a high deductible and limited coverage, which you could apply for nursing homes like http://www.privatehomecarestl.com/. If the individual or family wants insurance that will more substantially cover any health care issue, then the premiums are likely to be more.

Choosing The Right Health Insurance In St. Louis, MO

choose your coverageBecause the future is unpredictable, it’s sometimes difficult to know which plan is best to choose. Some people try to anticipate the future by looking at the past. They look at the last year or the last couple of years to see how much in health care expenses that they had. This can be a help in figuring out how much coverage an individual needs but as a person ages their healthcare costs go up, and this should be anticipated.

The first type of coverage that a person can get in St. Louis is called catastrophic insurance. This has the lowest monthly fees because it will pay the least and only in certain situations. If you feel you’re likely to need to go to the doctor more often or that you may occasionally have a hospital stay, then it’s likely you might want to consider a higher premium for more coverage.

The Different Types Of Health Insurance Coverage You Can Get In St. Louis

seniors should have their coverage in checkThe different plans offer a variety of premium payments, and the type determines how convenient it is to use. For example, some programs will require that you use designated doctors, and in some cases, you may have a doctor that you like, but they’re not available to use under your coverage. The types that are available are PPO, HSA, HMO, POS, FSA, MSA, among other choices.

An HMO will require you to see a designated health care physician and that physician will monitor all of your basic needs. If for some reason you need a specialist you’ll have to go to that designated doctor and then if that doctor feels you do indeed need a specialist, then he will refer you to one.

With a PPO you have more flexibility in ST. Louis because there is a vast network of providers and you can choose the one you like within that network. A POS in many ways combines the benefits that an insured person gets from an HMO and a PPO. These are some of the health insurance options you have in St. Louis.

What Is The Origin And Function Of Qi?

Chi (pronounced “chi” or “khi”) is believed to be a vital force that forms part of all living things. The word literally translates as breath, gas, or air and figuratively as ‘life force’ or ‘energy flow,’ or ‘material energy. Qi is the fundamental underlying principle in Chinese traditional medicine and Chinese martial arts. Despite the extensive general belief in the reality of qi, it remains an unverifiable and non-scientific concept.

What Does Qi Mean?

qi in Chinese martial artsAccording to ancient Chinese, and how they understood natural phenomena, the primary substance the world is comprised of is Qi and everything in the entire universe results from these changes and movement of qi. The concept of Qi was introduced and became a characteristic of TCM, where acupuncture is rooted from and you can try this acupuncture clinic in Midtown, New York to experience qi. The meaning of qi in TCM comprises:

– The vital substances that make up the human body and maintain its life activities (water, the essence of food, breathing nutrients, etc.);
– The physiological functions of the bowels and viscera, collaterals and channels (qi of the lung, heart, spleen, and stomach, etc.).

The formation and classification of qi in the human body come from two sources: the vital innate substance inherited from parents; the essence supplied by food, air, and water in the natural world.

The Process of Qi Formation

According to Chinese Medicine, the innate vital substance in a human body is acted upon by the kidney and comes out of the portion between the kidneys (known as the Gate of Life). It travels up to the Middle Warmer where it combines with the essence of food coming from the spleen. From here it continues upwards to mix with the air inhaled by the lungs and finally turns into Qi. From the above process, it can be seen that qi is formed in the human body through the joint participation of the kidneys, spleen, stomach, and lungs which combines with the innate vital substance received from the parents, fresh air from nature, and food essence from food and water.

Function of Qi

Chinese prayer wheels in Tibet to enhance qiQi is a kind of essence filled with a vitality that promotes action. It helps to activate the development and growth of the body, promotes the physiological functions of the bowels, viscera, channels, organs, and tissues, and speeds up the circulation and formation of blood as well as the metabolism of the body fluid. Weakening of the above-named functions as a result of a deficiency of Qi or vital energy can result in the following:

– Senilism – slow or late growth and development of the body;
– Weakening of the functions of the bowels and viscera, the collaterals and the channels, the organs, and tissues of the body;
– Disturbances in body fluid metabolism;
– Stagnation or insufficient blood formation in the blood vessels;
– Lowered body temperatures, cold limbs, and intolerance to cold. The warming action of qi is the largest source of heat the body needs to keep a constant temperature.

The Movement of Qi in The Human Body

The different functions of qi are all accomplished by the movement of qi. Different types move in a variety of ways, but theoretically, they can be placed in four fundamental ways: descending (referring to movement from above); ascending (relating to movement from below); exiting (referring to movement from the interior); entering (referring to movement from the exterior).

These movements of Qi that constantly occur in the human body are vital to life, and once they stop, life will come to an end.

Find Out More about Tuberculosis

The cause
Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium called Koch bacillus after the scientist who discovered it.

Transmission
Mycobacterium causing tuberculosisMost individuals become infected when they breathe in droplets containing the tuberculosis bacterium. When untreated, a patient with infectious pulmonary tuberculosis will expel these droplets.

The consequences
Infection does not necessarily lead to illness. In many cases, an individual’s own immunity will hold the infection in check all through life. In 10% of cases, the infection becomes an active disease. Individuals infected with HIV will have more than one chance in two to develop active tuberculosis in the course of their lives.

Infection and illness
Tuberculosis may affect any part of the body. Most sufferers develop pulmonary tuberculosis.
The consequences of tuberculosis

Detection
A diagnosis can only be confirmed with certainty after a bacterium has been detected. Many ill individuals expel the bacteria in his sputum. When that happens, examining the sputum under a microscope will confirm whether the disease is there. A chest X-ray examination may reveal a suspicious picture, but no picture will provide a sure diagnosis.

Treatment
Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, treatment must be applied. The WHO recommends the Directly Observed Treatment Strategy short course, or directly supervised monthly ambulatory treatment. The patient follows a treatment scheme proven for its efficiency in the presence of an individual trained to this effect. This individual may be a health worker, a responsible member of the community or maybe a member of the family. Treatment consists of an intensive phase lasting 2-3 months with three to five drugs, followed by a continuation phase lasting 4-6 months with 2-3 drugs.

The Directly Observed Treatment Strategy

In order to be cured, a tuberculosis patient has to take 2-3 drugs a day for 6-9 months. This is not easy. Many patients feel like ending their treatment no sooner they feel better, after a few months that is. However, breaking off treatment half-way is the worst thing one can do because the disease will very likely recur. Some patients develop drug resistance as a result.

The WHO recommends the Directly Observed Treatment Strategy
In order to guarantee complete and adequate treatment, the WHO recommends DOTS. According to recent figures, 77% of tuberculosis patients currently live in areas where DOTS is applied. The Damien Foundation has helped 15 countries to apply the strategy.

The basic Directly Observed Treatment Strategy involves five factors :

  1. The local authorities’ political commitment towards tuberculosis control.
  2. Confirming diagnosis by detecting the Koch bacillus contained in sputum.
  3. Full standard treatment with directly supervised drug administration for at least the infectious cases.
  4. A constant supply of high quality drugs.
  5. Standard recording and reporting.

1. Local authorities’ political commitment towards tuberculosis control
Without the local authorities’ cooperation, we cannot combat tuberculosis effectively.

2. A diagnosis based on examining sputum
Clinical symptoms and X-rays are insufficient evidence to prove the presence of tuberculosis. Only the presence of the Koch bacillus in sputum proves that tuberculosis is the cause of signs and symptoms that were observed. Any diagnosis based only on X-rays bears the risk of “over-diagnosing” and treating individuals who are not affected by tuberculosis

3. A complete treatment
All cases of tuberculosis require full treatment. However, direct observation of drug administration is more important in infectious cases. These patients run a greater risk of dying than of developing drug resistance if they do not take the full course of treatment or if they break off their treatment prematurely.

4. Available drugs
There are very efficient anti-tuberculosis drugs. However, in order to be efficient, all drugs have to be available for all patients undergoing treatment, unfailingly and without delay.

5. Standardised recording and retrieval
All patients have to be recorded. Treatment results must also be set on record each time and reported in standardised way. This will enable us to monitor a programme, detect problem areas and, if necessary, modify our support.

A Closer Look at the Mycobacterium leprae

A mycobacterium

Leprosy is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, also known as Hansen’s Bacillus. Hansen was a Norwegian doctor who discovered the bacillus in 1873. It has not been possible up to now to cultivate the bacillus in an artificial environment. This slows down the study of the disease. However, it is possible to grow it by inoculation into the sole of mice and wild armadillos (Dacypus novemcinctus). The armadillo is a small mammal living in the south of the United States and Mexico. With the exception of the armadillo, where the disease is endemic, and some species of monkey, leprosy appears to be an exclusively human disease. The bacillus is resistant to acids and alcohol, 1 to 8 mm long and 0.3 wide. It takes the form of small rods that take the classic red colour after Ziehl-Neelsen staining. It is an obligatorily intra-cellular parasite that mainly infects macrophages. In the space of from 11 to 13 days, it will reproduce itself.

Direct contact

Many aspects of leprosy epidemiology and infection are still not very well known. However, it does seem that the microbe is transmitted by direct contact between a sick person and a healthy individual. The exit and entry points of the disease are believed to be mainly respiratory. However, there are descriptions of transcutaneous transmission, especially after scarification or tattooing. From the point of view of transmission, only the fraction of patients infected with lepromatous or multibacilliary leprosy would appear to be of importance. Once a person has become infected, her or his resistance to the disease actually developing will depend upon the individual’s natural defences, more particularly immunity of the cellular type. Dependent upon the level of defence in the face of the leprosy bacillus, what will usually happen is that the infected person will never actually develop the disease. Perhaps the patient will develop a couple of the characteristic marks. These may disappear spontaneously in the course of a few weeks. Otherwise, they may develop into a localised, clinical form described as tuberculoid, i.e. limited bacilli or otherwise generalised and described as multi bacilliary.

Characteristics

The bacillus attacks mainly the skin and peripheral nerves. It is at these two levels that clinical symptoms become apparent. It usually happens after an incubation period of a number of years.. The characteristic signs of leprosy which permit its diagnosis in those regions where it is endemic are as follows,

Stains on the skin that are clear or reddish in colour with a loss of sensibility. Attack of peripheral trunk nerves resulting in hypertrophy and loss of sensibility. The presence of leprosy bacilli in a smear test of skin fluid.

The consequences of leprosy

Insensibility and paralysis
What makes leprosy so important as a problem of public health is crippling and malformation resulting from the attack upon peripheral nerves. These attacks may cause loss of sensation in the extremities and also paralysis. The numbness may lead to wounds and traumata left untreated or badly treated – these may in turn become a source of repeated infection that can go as far as osteitis or progressive bone erosion.

3 million persons
The paralysis we most often see is of the fourth and fifth finger in cubital nerve paralysis. Then there is paralysis of the opposition of the thumb in median nerve paralysis. After that, we have external popliteal sciatic nerve paralysis or, more commonly, foot drop. Finally, there is paralysis of the facial nerve referred to as lagopthalmos. Leprosy is one of the main reasons for blindness in the world.. These attacks upon the nervous system and the complications that ensue may crop up in any type of leprosy. However, they are frequent above all in multibacillery cases. Reactions leading to acute symptoms of attack on the nervous system known as neuritis may ensue as the disease develops further. Estimates tell us there are currently in the world about three million former leprosy patients who are incapacitated or suffer from malformations. Such malformation may mean that the patient becomes a social outcast.

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