Daily Archives: March 20, 2016

6 Love Songs That Are Actually About Drugs

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In music, romantic love and drug use are often described in poetically similar ways. After all, “love is a drug,” isn’t it? Something that makes you feel ecstatic, but also happens to be the bane of your existence. Something that brings you to the top of the world and then subsequently smashes you into the lowest depths of despair. Something that’s both terrifying and fun, debilitating and consuming, and well, you get the picture. Love. Drugs. What really is the difference? In music, not much. That’s why there are so many songs about drugs that could be about love, too.

Do you think you’d be able to tell the difference between a song about love and a song about drugs? Considering that you share similar feelings while in love and on drugs, it’s harder than you might assume. If you’re not paying attention to the lyrics because you’re too focused on the upbeat melody, or if you’re not aware of certain drug slang, it’s possible you wrongfully assumed that love song you love is a drug song you love. Though the theme might shift from mind-altering romance to mind-altering substance, that doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy the track. Take for instance, the following “love” songs that, despite your better lyrical judgement, are really just “drug” songs in disguise.

1. “Got To Get You Into My Life” — The Beatles

Of course, we’re all aware that a large amount of Beatles songs were influenced by drugs, but this little number’s true meaning comes as a surprise. With lyrics like “did I tell you I need you/every single day of my life,” it’s easy to misconstrue this as a love song, but, in fact, it’sabout the pursuit of pot. Lots and lots of pot.

2. “There She Goes” — The La’s

“There She Goes” contains some obviously questionable lyrics — “racing through my brain/pulsing through my vein/no one else can heal my pain” — but it’s likely you never noticed the song was about heroin, probably because you were too busy humming the catchy tune.

3. “And She Was” — Talking Heads

Sounds like a sweet jam about some sort of mysterious girl who “floats above.” Which is true. But not in a metaphorical way. Apparently, “And She Was” was written about a girl on an acid trip.

4. “Waterfalls” — TLC

Though you’d remember it as more of a sad love song, there’s no doubt you thought “Waterfalls” was about a man and woman’s relationship — namely, the man’s wandering eye. Warning: I’m about to shake you to your core. The lyrics “So he goes out and he makes his money the best way he knows how/Another body laying cold in the gutter “show that the TLC song tackled the illegal drug trade — and even HIV.

5. “Beetlebum” — Blur

The title of this depressive and slow jam refers to “chasing the beetle” — a slang term for getting high on heroin. Apparently it’s all about the lead singer’s own personal bender with the drug.

6. “Brown Sugar” — D’Angelo

Surprisingly, D’Angelo’s sweet melodious song isn’t an ode to his lover. It’s an ode to marijuana.

ASK THE DOCTOR: Will my hernia kill me if it’s not repaired?

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Mr McGinley, you are a hero of modern surgery: to have had four joints replaced under local anaesthetic is a triumph. When I qualified, more than 30 years ago, not one of these joints could have been replaced.

Now you have the inguinal hernia.  It is a common problem. Around  25 per cent of men will have one at some point in their lives. What happens is that a weakness in the abdominal wall allows a section of the intestine to bulge out into an area of the groin known as the inguinal canal. They can form a visible bulge.

Hernias seem to have a genetic element, and the risk rises with age as the tissues in the abdominal wall weaken. They can also come about as a result of the strain of lifting heavy weights or persistent coughing.

As you say, it can be hazardous to leave a hernia at the groin unrepaired, as there is a chance that it can go onto strangulate.

This happens when the loop of intestine trapped in the hernia tightens and cuts off its  own blood supply, hence the  term strangulation.

Without a blood supply this tissue can start to die and can potentially prove fatal.

It can be hazardous to leave a hernia unrepaired

It can be hazardous to leave a hernia unrepaired

Surgery must be carried out at once, within hours, to ease the pressure on the strangulated section of tissue and to hopefully restore the blood supply.

If this is not immediately successful – which the surgeon can judge at the time of the operation – then that imperilled section of intestine must be removed, turning what could have been a relatively minor surgical procedure into a major operation.

However, this rarely happens these days, as once an inguinal hernia has formed surgeons normally repair it with a straightforward operation to close the gap that it pushed through.

This can then avoid the drama and danger of the more major surgery that becomes necessary if a hernia does strangulate.

The implication of what I am saying is that you are quite right: why should you not have your hernia repair surgery?

I accept that having two groin hernias repaired at one session is a bigger procedure than just one; but it is perfectly possible, and it is feasible under local anaesthetic, being commonly carried out in this way on older patients who have the added complexity of other health problems.
I suggest that you discuss the issue along the above lines with your GP. You should be re-referred, and although there may have to be some additional care – if, for example, you are taking warfarin for a heart rhythm irregularity, or low dose aspirin because of the previous heart bypass – but there is no reason why surgery cannot be achieved, for you are only 75, not 95.

Mrs M. Murdin,  Wellingborough, Northants.

Tourette’s Syndrome is a neurological disorder brought on by an abnormality in the way some of the regions of the brain work. It causes the child to make odd movements or sounds – we call these ‘tics’.

The affected patient has little control over these sudden moments which can include blinking, facial grimaces, jerking of the head or limbs, grunting, or, even, at times, swearing or obscene gestures.
For some these tics will be quite subtle – so much so others may not even recognise that someone has a problem. But for others  the symptoms are intense  and obvious.

In most affected children the disorder has become obvious by the age of 11, and boys are more commonly affected than girls, though it is not clear why.

Tourette’s is thought to be a genetically inherited condition, though we do not understand it well; the changes to the brain are complex and there are no consistent findings on brain scanning or other investigations.

There is no cure, although the good news is that the tics resolve by adult life in half of cases.
In the meantime what can help is for the family, teachers, and all those who know or have contact with the child to have better understanding of the condition.

It can be tempting to think the tics are somehow deliberate or within the child’s control. It is important all parties recognise that it is not a psychological disorder – nor is it in anyway ‘put on’ by the child, but stems, as I said, from an issue involving the workings of the brain.

So what can you do? The first thing is to not make too big an issue of the tic – drawing attention to a tic can make it worse. Acupuncture is not known to be of benefit, but the worst symptoms can be helped by drug treatments to try to suppress the tics’ frequency and intensity.

Behaviour training by experienced clinical psychologists has also proved helpful, the success of which can be improved by parents and others also becoming involved, as it helps with consistency and compliance.

No doubt you will have been alarmed at this diagnosis in your young relative: I very much hope that he is under the expert care of a children’s neurology unit where there is experience in helping patients and their families with the condition.

By the way… Treatment by phone is a waste of time

Recent research has shown that the Government’s decision to encourage GPs to have more telephone consultations does not reduce the workload on doctors, and  does not save costs. This comes as no surprise to me.

I parted company with the NHS some years ago and I have been working in an independent practice since then.

From the start we permitted telephone consultations in the hope that it would appeal to patients as a way of saving time and money, in a world where both commodities were fast becoming limited. Our experience has been that we made a stick for our own backs.

As a doctor you learn so much more about a person when you see them face to face, just from their appearance and general demeanour. The chance of making the wrong diagnosis is far higher when there is no chance of conducting a physical examination.

Besides, if tests are needed the patient still has to attend to provide a sample or undergo a blood test – doubling the time spent, rather than saving it.

I also have a sense that patients are more likely to request a consultation when it can be done by telephone: take an example from last week when I wrote to a patient to give her the result of a bone density scan.

I explained in the letter that her result  was normal for a woman of 53, and no action was needed. Despite this, there came a request for a telephone consultation. The patient wanted to know what she should do to keep her bone health up – a fair question, but one which resulted in a lengthy tutorial  over the phone, for someone who does not have a problem.

The only positive thought I can offer is that telephone consulting does at least enable a doctor or nurse to call through the results of tests, rather than sending them in a letter.

This is good for morale and for pastoral support and goodwill, saving the patient some time, and keeping a consultation slot free for someone who is sick.

But telephones for diagnosis and treatment? Generally second best.

Do the politicians ever think about things before they make rash promises?

7 Things You Need to Know About Probiotics

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With food intolerances at an all-time high, we are more aware than ever before of our stomachs. We’ve got more knowledge about our own digestion, and are hyperaware of our sensitivities. But some experts believe probiotics might be a simple fix for improved gut health, which for many of us who are food-sensitive, is an irresistible draw.

NYC-based dietitian Lauren Kelly, MS, RD, CDN filled us in on the many benefits of probiotics in aiding our stomachs, sensitive or not.

Probiotics Add “Good” Bacteria to Your Gut

The “gut microbiota” — also known as the “gut flora” — is made up of trillions of microorganisms. “The gut microbiota is very important not only for digestion but also in keeping your body healthy as a whole, maintaining, and building immune health,” Kelly says. These healthy bacteria are responsible for about 70 percent of your entire immune system, which means it is crucial to keep these bacteria around and working to the best of their ability.

Probiotics Solve Many Common Issues

Recent research shows probiotics have a wide range of potential health benefits. One of the most well-known benefits is they may help treat diarrhea, particularly following antibiotic treatment (which kills off some of the helpful gut bacteria).

Probiotics may also aid in reducing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as well as urogenital problems such as a urinary tract infection (UTI), or yeast infection. Some research even shows that probiotics may be useful in treating eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis.

“Eczema is sometimes as autoimmune in nature,” Kelly says. “In other words, your body is attacking its own cells. Because probiotics help to build up the strength of your immune system (as mentioned above, your gut microbiota is responsible for approximately 70 percent of immune health), they may improve the overall status of this autoimmune disease.”

Probiotics Can Be Enhanced With Prebiotics

While probiotics are themselves good bacteria, prebiotics are ingredients in food that feed the helpful gut bacteria. Some foods that have prebiotics include beans, whole grains, bananas, onions, and garlic.

“Prebiotics are non-digestible ingredients in food products, such as dietary fiber. These are substances that our human cells cannot digest, but the good bacteria in our gut can,” Kelly says. Another way of thinking about it: The helpful bacteria get energy or “food” from these ingredients to keep them alive and thriving.

Lots of Foods Can Bring Probiotics Into Your Diet

When you eat food containing probiotics, the bacteria populates in your gut to create a more healthy balance. So, external sources of probiotics essentially just up your body’s store of good bacteria — and the more, the merrier.

You can find probiotics in fermented foods like sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso, kefir, and yogurt. “Probiotics are found in fermented foods because probiotics are the actual bacteria that “digest” (otherwise known as ferment in bacteria-world) these types of foods. Without the bacteria, they would not be fermented food, because the bacteria does the fermenting (or digesting of ingredients in these foods),” Kelly says.

Probiotics are added to certain non-fermented foods as a selling point, but Kelly says those would not be her first choice. “It’s always preferable to get probiotics from foods that naturally contain them.”

You Can Take Probiotics as Supplements

It is always recommended to get as much nutrition as possible from food alone. “I recommend probiotic supplements to people who do not have a varied diet, or anyone whose diet is made up primarily of processed foods,” Kelly says. If you already stick to a varied diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and some of the fermented foods mentioned above, you likely don’t need a probiotic supplement in addition.

“If you have irritable bowel syndrome, a persistent urinary tract infection, or eczema, I would likely recommend it as long as the supplement does not interfere with any medications you are taking. This is one reason why it is always important to check with your doctor before starting any supplements,” Kelly says.

Probiotics Don’t Have Side Effects

Kelly advises you talk to your doctor before taking a supplement. Look for lactobacilli and bifidobacterium in products — these are the bacteria types that most probiotic research is based on. Some recommended brands includeFlorastor, Renew-Life, Garden of Life Raw Probiotics, and Metagenics UltraFlora.

“All of these supplements are recommended because they have the types of bacteria that are most frequently studied. Furthermore, according to research, these supplement brands actually have the bacteria types that they state they have on the label,” Kelly says.

Probiotics Aren’t Off-Limits to Vegans

If you are following a vegan diet, it is important to be aware that sometimes these supplements are not vegan-friendly. “As a result of production methods and the form in which probiotics are naturally found in food, many probiotics are dairy-based and may have animal-based additives, such as gelatin, as do many other vitamin supplements,” Kelly says. But, Proviotic is a vegan-friendly alternative; it is also gluten-free, nut-free, and lactose-free for those with allergies or dietary restrictions.

How To Argue For Vaccinations: 7 Common Anti-Vaxxer Arguments, Debunked

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So you’re at a party, and someone says something ignorant. And while you know they’re in the wrong, your words escape you. To make sure that doesn’t happen, we’ve compiled a series of handy reference guides with the most common arguments — and your counter-arguments — for all of the hot-button issues of the day. This week’s topic: How to argue for vaccinations.

Common Argument #1: Vaccines cause autism.

Your Response: There are no two ways about it: This is wrong. There’s absolutely no evidence that vaccines cause autism, and there’s a whole lot of scientific evidence that proves they don’t.

Here’s the conclusion of a 1999 British study on the supposed link:

Our analyses do not support a causal association between MMR vaccine and autism. If such an association occurs, it is so rare that it could not be identified in this large regional sample.

A 2004 review of previously published literature on the subject came to the same conclusion:

[T]he body of epidemiological evidence favors rejection of a causal relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism.

Here’s a 2012 study courtesy of the Cochrane Collaboration:

We could assess no significant association between MMR immunisation and the following conditions: autism, asthma, leukaemia, hay fever, type 1 diabetes, gait disturbance, Crohn’s disease, demyelinating diseases, or bacterial or viral infections.

And here’s the Mayo Clinic:

Vaccines do not cause autism. Despite much controversy on the topic, researchers haven’t found a connection between autism and childhood vaccines…Although signs of autism may appear at about the same time children receive certain vaccines — such as the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine — this is simply a coincidence.

The Center for Disease Control, American Academy of Pediatrics, World Health Organization, and Institute of Medicine all reject the idea that there’sa link between vaccines and autism.

Common Argument #2: But I have a study right here that shows that there is a link between the two.

Your Response: You mean the 1998 Lancet article by Andrew Wakefield? That’s been thoroughly discredited. Lancet retracted it in 2010, and Wakefield was stripped of his medical license after the shoddy methodology of that piece was exposed. A 2005 Salon article by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr,, which also purported to demonstrate the evils of vaccination, was later retracted.

Common Argument #3: But we can’t say for sure that vaccines don’t cause autism, so we should err on the side of caution.

Your Response: Considering how many deaths are prevented by vaccines (see below), declining to get them most certainly is not erring on the side of caution — if your worry is indeed preventing unnecessary illness and death.

(Image: Centers for Disease Control)

Common Argument #4: Every year, there are 30,000 reports of children getting sick after receiving vaccines. Even the CDC admits that.

Your Response: That’s true — and 85-90 percent of those reports are what the CDC calls “mild adverse effects,” which include things like fevers, crying, mild irritability, and local reactions. In other words, mild side effects that aren’t anywhere close to life threatening.

Common Argument #5: But what about the remaining 15 percent? That’s 4,500 kids who are having serious and sometimes life-threatening reactions to vaccinations.

Your Response: Not exactly. For one, correlation doesn’t equal causation. These are reports of events that occurred in children after they got vaccinated, but that doesn’t mean the events were actually caused by the vaccines.

But for the sake of argument, let’s suppose that all of those 4,500 cases were in fact caused by vaccinations (which is a very generous assumption to make). Even if that were the case, vaccinations prevent around 33,000 deathsevery year, and save off 10.5 million infectious illnesses during the same period. If preventing death and other adverse health effects is what you care about, being against vaccinations makes precisely zero sense.

Common Argument #6: Parents should have the right to make decisions about vaccinations on their own. They shouldn’t be forced to vaccinate their kids.

Your Response: Before the measles vaccine was introduced, the disease killed around 380 American children every year. Now, annual child deaths in the U.S. from measles average around one.

Failing to vaccinate children is a public health risk, and not just for the children of anti-vaxxers. There’s a small percentage of the population that can’t get vaccinations due to various health conditions (chemotherapy patients, for example). These people have to rely on a highly-immunized population at large in order to be protected from certain illnesses, a phenomenon known as “herd immunity.” The health of such people is directly endangered by the anti-vaccination movement, which is why some physicians believe that getting vaccinated is a social responsibility, not just a personal one.

Common Argument #7: Vaccines provide an artificial protection against illnesses, which result in the child having a weaker immune system than they might otherwise have.

Your Response: What’s the value of a “better immune system” if you’re potentially going to die an avoidable death — or cause one? The reason we developed vaccines to begin with was because, often, our natural immune systems aren’t strong enough.

Measles killed over two and a half million people every year before the vaccine was widely administered. Now, there are only around 122,000 measles deaths every year. Does the theoretical benefit of having a “stronger immune system” amount to anything at all if it means millions more preventable deaths every year?

Bethany Townsend, Crohn’s Disease Survivor and Aspiring Model, Redefines Beauty

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Bethany Townsend is a make-up artist from Worcester, England. She’s also an aspiring model. But what makes her different from most girls who dream of seeing their faces in Vogue is that she was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at three years old. And in 2010, had to be fitted with two colostomy bags. What makes her even more different is that instead of isolating herself, abandoning her dreams, or shutting herself away from the love and attention of others, she has embraced her condition — and redefined beauty along the way.

Crohn’s Disease in is an inflammatory bowel condition. Normally, the intestines suffer most, and in extreme cases (like Townsend’s) the intestine actually needs to be partially removed in order to bring the healthy part out as a stoma (or artificial opening). It is in these cases that patients are fitted with colostomy bags in their lower abdomens to facilitate digestion and bowel movements. The surgery in and of itself is life changing. It is traumatic. It makes it so for the rest of their lives, people will have an extra weight to carry, physically and emotionally. And so what Townsend did by posing in photos with her bags in full view, and then sharing them with the world via social media, isn’t just brave; it’s beautiful. Now seen by over nine-million people, and liked over 190,000 times on Facebook, it’s no surprise that viewers are gravitating to this young woman who has dared show off what makes her unique.

The average age for stomate surgeries is 68. Townsend is only 23. To have to undergo such a difficult operation whilst still so young is undoubtedly more difficult than most of us can ever imagine. But with the help of her now husband, Ian, Townsend found a renewed sense of confidence despite the colostomy. She told Huffington Post UK, “When I met Ian I showed him my bags straight away, but he didn’t bat an eye lid… He taught me that there was more to me than the bags and would always encourage me to show off my figure.” Looking at photos of Townsend, there is life in her eyes. And she really is stunning — with the petite, angular figure so many agencies would die to have in their books.

In a world so focused on aesthetics, where differences and “flaws” are rejected rather than embraced, Townsend is the type of person really making a change. Her courage is reminiscent of that of Elly Mayday, plus-size model and cancer survivor who has posed with scars and shaven head in full view. It is these individuals — unapologetically bold individuals — who will inspire change and encourage those with scars or imperfections to proudly showcase their bodies, and themselves.

Despite being devastated post-surgery, waking up to find the bags already in place unexpectedly, Townsend has truly turned things around. She told HuffPost, “If I can inspire or help other people in my position to feel a little more comfortable in their own skin then I’m really happy.” But the thing is, I can’t imagine her photos will only inspire Crohn’s patients; they’ll inspire everyone. They’ll inspire everyone feeling bad about their bodies. They’ll inspire those suffering through the same condition to not shut the world out. They’ll inspire anyone who deviates from the expected norm. They’ll inspire those who see beauty everywhere, not just in the “traditional” model or “perfect” body.

Some might claim all Townsend has done is post a photo of herself on her Facebook page — something we all do on a daily basis. But most of us don’t have colostomies. Most of us hide away our flaws, because we’re too scared to show our raw selves to the public eye. And that’s what truly makes this woman different, and a genuine emblem of body positivity and self love.

What’s An Invisible Disability? 7 Things You Need To Know

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Think of the word “disability”. What do you see? The people of the Special Olympics, swimming and running and jumping in wheelchairs or without limbs? Guide dogs? Stephen Hawking? People rudely using disabled parking spots without actually “looking” disabled? One thing that, unless you have personal experience with it, may not have immediately popped into your head is the phrase “invisible disability”. But a huge range of disabilities currently recognized in today’s medical community are completely invisible, even to the trained eye. It’s time for us all to change our mental image of what being disabled means.

A disability is literally speaking the opposite of an ability — but in real life, it’s not always that simple. Chronic pain, for instance, may leave you capable some days and absolutely flattened on others; epilepsy, another disability classified as invisible, can create a seizure with no warning whatsoever. And many people with invisible disabilities will suffer as much from their problem’s hidden nature as from its symptoms.

So it’s time to bring general knowledge about invisible disabilities into the light. Here’s what you need to know — so that if anybody decides to confide about their ID status (no, not One Direction) to you, you’ll know how to avoid making an absolute idiot of yourself.

1. They Span A Huge Range Of Symptoms

“Invisible disability” really is a massively catch-all term for a huge range of things. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) an individual with a disability is a person who: “Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment.”As you may have clocked, that can cover huge swathes of things, from severe chronic pain to mental illnesses to diabetes to hearing or sight loss to learning difficulties. Phew. Exhausted yet?

The one real distinguishing factor that separates these disabilities from others is that you can’t tell they’re there by looking at somebody. There’s even an award given by the Invisible Disabilities Association of America called the “But You LOOK Good Award”. Some invisible disabilities will become obvious once you come to know a person better, but many may remain completely hidden unless the person chooses to disclose their condition to you. And that leads to some problems — not least people giving them the stink-eye when they use disabled parking spots or bathrooms.

2. They’re More Common Than You Think

Disability, both visible and invisible, is more widespread in the community than you may believe. The rarity of seeing a person in a wheelchair may have convinced you otherwise, but that’s just skimming the surface. If you ask the Invisible Disabilities Association, they’ll explain that 26 million Americans are estimated to have a severe disability, and that up to three-fourths of them don’t use a cane or wheelchair to get around — which is our main signifier of disability.

Let’s take a few better-known invisible disabilities for example. Eighty-sevenpeople are diagnosed with epilepsy every day, and one in 50 will have epilepsy at some point in their lives. At least 9.3 percent of the entire American population suffers from diabetes. And a whopping 1.5 billion people worldwide are estimated to have chronic pain. This is not a small problem; the chances are pretty good that the next new person you meet will have an invisible disability of some kind or other.

3. Sufferers May Appear Perfectly “Normal”

This is the thing that may piss off sufferers more than anything else, aside from the problems of managing their disability. It’s that they often look completely “normal,” or at least don’t fit our sense of “disability” as it’s normally defined. We’re prepared to categorize people without limbs or with severe, obvious difficulty in mobility as disabled, but when it comes to something like an insulin pump or severe depression, we balk. If they can walk to the store, surely they must be fine, right? Wrong.

4. Some Of Your Favorite Celebs Have One

Given their widespread nature, it’s not unexpected that some of the most famous people on the planet have an invisible disability. Avril Lavigne’s got the headlines most recently with her struggle with Lyme Disease, an infectious disease caused by a tick bite, including the revelation that it wasmisdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome and depression (both also invisible disabilities) before a doctor hit the nail on the head. But she’s not the only one.

Nick Cannon has lupus, Lil Wayne suffers from epilepsy — and even Morgan Freeman, in whose voice you are now reading this post, suffers from fibromyalgia, a little-known chronic pain condition. Even the brilliant and wealthy aren’t immune.

5. People With Invisible Disabilities Often Suffer Huge Discrimination In The Workplace

Employment law definitely protects employees with every kind of disability, obvious or not — but it often doesn’t work out that way. According to a report by NPR, the biggest proportion of complaints made to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission between 2005 and 2010 were to do with invisible disabilities. Clearly the situation for people who look like they should be able to work like a non-disabled person, but can’t, is not great.

Some people cope with this by simply not disclosing their condition to their work and workmates, even though, Psychology Today notes, that just creates an added psychological burden of secrecy — and the false impression that, if they can’t do something, it’s just because they’re incompetent. Which is about 400 types of not great.

6. It May Take A While To Reach Diagnosis

As Avril Lavigne can testify, one of the most frustrating elements of invisible disability can be the lack of immediate, obvious diagnosis. It’s listed as one of the most common challenges facing invisible disability sufferers, and a 2002 collection of studies revealed that many people with invisible disabilities go through the medical ringer for years, collecting diagnoses, medical bills, and no real closure at all. They may not realize anything is wrong or abnormal until their early adulthood — or later — and may struggle for years to be believed or find a capable physician. That has got to suck.

7. It’s The Sufferer’s Information To Disclose

Reading this, you may believe that your duty, if you’re an able-bodied person, to reveal as much about a person’s disability to your coworkers and friends as possible, to make sure they’re clued up and aware of the laws. Good on you for being supportive! But that is seriously not your job.

As much as disclosure may seem like a good idea to you, people with invisible disabilities suffer a heap of discrimination, including the idea that they must somehow have an “easier” time than visibly disabled people (note: not true). Do you really want to expose your friend to invasive questions, smug “you don’t LOOK sick” responses, skepticism, or harassment? Thought not. It’s their call.

GOOD NEWS: Heroin overdose cure to be available over the counter as drug makes a comeback

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Naloxone, a medication that reverses the effects of opioid drug overdose, will soon be available over the counter in Australia.

It comes as professionals warn that once more heroin use is on the rise nationally.

When the change comes into effect in February, Australia will become just the second country in the world to make Naloxone available without a prescription, making the drug as easy to purchase as high strength cold and flu tablets.

Naloxone is described as being a life-saving medication with minimal side effects.

The drug works by reversing the overdose; it has no effect on somebody who does not have opioids in their system, and it is not addictive.

Australian Medical Association vice president Stephen Parnis said emergency department doctors used the drug on patients who they suspected had overdosed on heroin or morphine.

He said it was a drug he would only administer when a patient was at risk of dying at any moment.

”They have stopped breathing, they are blue,” Dr Parnis said.

”It’s often quite satisfying to know that very soon after giving that drug into a muscle or into a vein they start breathing again and recover fairly quickly.”

For years reform campaigners have argued that the drug’s life-saving effectiveness means that Naloxone should be available over the counter.

It is an argument the regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration [TGA], now accepts.

Professor Paul Dietze, from the Burnet Institute for medical research and public health action, said it appeared to be a recognition that people were continuing to die from drug overdoses.

”The numbers are increasing a little at the moment, it has sort of brought it back onto the agenda and finally, thankfully, we’re actually moving towards making it more available.”

Australians are generally recognised as heavier consumers of illicit drugs

The United Nations’ World Drug Report in 2014 stated that heroin seizures by police were up substantially.

So too are deaths blamed on the drug, according to the TGA.

More than 600 people died in 2010 from heroin and other similar drugs.

Professor Dietze said it was important to note that the approval of Naloxone was a change in schedule, rather than a reschedule.

Scheduling is a national classification system that controls how medicines and poisons are made available to the Australian public.

”So, it means that Naloxone will still be scheduled on Schedule 4, which means you can still obtain it on prescription.

”But it will also be available on Schedule 3, which means it can be obtained over the counter through a pharmacy,” Professor Dietze said.

That is important when it comes to cost; those with a prescription could pay as little as $6 for a single use injectable.

Bad News: Deadly Suicide Bombing Hits Istanbul Read Now

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It was the fourth suicide attack in Turkey this year.

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – A suicide bomber killed four people on Saturday in a busy shopping district in the heart of Istanbul, pushing the death toll from four separate suicide attacks in Turkey this year to more than 80.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the blast was “inhumane” and would not stop Turkey, which has been targeted by Kurdish and Islamic State militants, from fighting “centers of terrorism”.

Israel said two of its citizens died in the attack, Washington said two Americans had been killed and a Turkish official said one victim was Iranian, suggesting that some of the dead may have had dual nationality.

The blast, which also wounded at least 36 people, was a few hundred meters from an area where police buses are often stationed. It sent panicked shoppers scurrying into alleys off Istiklal Street, a long pedestrian avenue lined with international stores and foreign consulates.

“There is information that it is an attack carried out by an ISIS member, but this is preliminary information, we are still checking it,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters, using another name for Islamic State.

He said a third Israeli may have died. Israel also said 11 of its citizens had been wounded while Ireland said “a number” of Irish were hurt.

The attack will raise further questions about the ability of NATO member Turkey to protect itself against a spillover of violence from the war in neighboring Syria.

Turkey is battling a widening Kurdish insurgency in its southeast, which it sees as fueled by the territorial gains of Kurdish militia fighters in northern Syria, and has also blamed some of the recent bombings on Islamic State militants who crossed from its southern neighbor.

“No center of terrorism will reach its aim with such monstrous attacks,” Davutoglu said in a written statement. “Our struggle will continue with the same resolution and determination until terrorism ends completely.”


Germany had shut its diplomatic missions and schools on Thursday, citing a specific threat. U.S. and other European embassies had warned their citizens to be vigilant ahead of Newroz celebrations this weekend, a spring festival largely marked by Kurds that has turned violent in the past.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Two senior officials said the attack could have been carried out by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), fighting for Kurdish autonomy in the southeast, or by an Islamic State militant.

A PKK offshoot claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings in the capital Ankara over the past month which killed 66 people. Islamic State was blamed for a suicide bombing in Istanbul in January which killed at least 12 German tourists.

One of the officials said Saturday’s bomber, who also died in the blast, had planned to hit a more crowded location but was deterred by the police presence.

“The attacker detonated the bomb before reaching the target point because they were scared of the police,” the official said, declining to be named as the investigation is ongoing.

A girl cries in front of injured people in the aftermath of the blast. No group has yet claimed responsibility.

Another official said investigations were focusing on three possible suspects, all of them male and two of them from the southern city of Gaziantep near the Syrian border. There was no further confirmation of this.

Armed police sealed off the shopping street where half a dozen ambulances gathered. Forensic teams in white suits searched for evidence as police helicopters buzzed overhead.

“I saw a body on the street. No one was treating him but then I saw someone who appeared to be a regular citizen trying to do something to the body. That was enough for me and I turned and went back,” one resident told Reuters.

Istiklal Street, usually thronged with shoppers at weekends, was quieter than normal as more people are staying home after a series of deadly bombings.

Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu said 36 people had been wounded, seven of them in serious condition. At least 24 of the wounded were foreigners, according to Istanbul’s governor.

It was the fourth suicide attack in Turkey already this year. Pictured, a police officer guards Taksim square after Saturday’s bombing.


Turkey is still in shock from a suicide car bombing last Sunday at a crowded transport hub in the capital Ankara which killed 37 people and a similar bombing in Ankara last month in which 29 died. A PKK offshoot claimed responsibility for both.

The latest attack brought widespread condemnation.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, on an official visit to Istanbul, said it showed “the ugly face of terrorism”. France condemned it as “despicable and cowardly”.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg described it as “another terrorist outrage against innocent civilians”, while the U.S. State Department said it was the latest “indefensible violence targeting innocent people throughout Turkey”.

The Kurdish-rooted opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) condemned the bombing. The PKK’s umbrella group said it opposed targeting civilians and condemned attacks on them.

A 2-1/2-year PKK ceasefire collapsed last July, triggering the worst violence in the southeast since the 1990s. Hundreds have since died.

Separately, a police officer and a soldier died in clashes with militants in the southeastern city of Nusaybin, security sources said.

In its armed campaign in Turkey, the PKK has historically struck directly at the security forces but recent bombings suggest it could be shifting tactics.

At the height of the PKK insurgency in the 1990s, the Newroz festival often saw clashes between Kurdish protesters and security forces.

A vegan diet free of gluten improves the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis: the effects on arthritis correlate with a reduction in antibodies to food antigens.

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Whether food intake can modify the course of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an issue of continued scientific and public interest. However, data from controlled clinical trials are sparse. We thus decided to study the clinical effects of a vegan diet free of gluten in RA and to quantify the levels of antibodies to key food antigens not present in the vegan diet.


Sixty-six patients with active RA were randomized to either a vegan diet free of gluten (38 patients) or a well-balanced non-vegan diet (28 patients) for 1 yr. All patients were instructed and followed-up in the same manner. They were analysed at baseline and after 3, 6 and 12 months, according to the response criteria of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). Furthermore, levels of antibodies against gliadin and beta-lactoglobulin were assessed and radiographs of the hands and feet were performed.


Twenty-two patients in the vegan group and 25 patients in the non-vegan diet group completed 9 months or more on the diet regimens. Of these diet completers, 40.5% (nine patients) in the vegan group fulfilled the ACR20 improvement criteria compared with 4% (one patient) in the non-vegan group. Corresponding figures for the intention to treat populations were 34.3 and 3.8%, respectively. The immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody levels against gliadin and beta-lactoglobulin decreased in the responder subgroup in the vegan diet-treated patients, but not in the other analysed groups. No retardation of radiological destruction was apparent in any of the groups.

Vitiligo Causes and Loss of Skin Color Read Now

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Vitiligo is a condition in which white patches develop on the skin. Any location on the body can be affected and most people with vitiligo have white patches on many areas of the body.

Causes of Vitiligo
Melanin is the pigment that gives the skin its characteristic color. Vitiligo is caused by a loss of pigment in the skin, due to destruction of pigment-forming cells known as melanocytes. The exact cause of the destruction of these cells is not known. One possible explanation might be that the body’s immune system destroys the cells, as in other autoimmune conditions. Although vitiligo affects all races equally, it is more noticeable in dark-skinned people.

Risk Factors for Vitiligo
Vitiligo affects up to 2% of the population, and it is estimated that two to five million Americans have the condition. In most cases, vitiligo develops early in life, between the ages of 10 and 30 years. Ninety-five percent of those affected will develop the disorder before age 40. Both men and women are equally likely to develop vitiligo. Vitiligo may run in families; those with a family history of vitiligo or premature graying of the hair are at increased risk for the development of vitiligo. Other risk factors that increase one’s chances of developing vitiligo include having autoimmune diseases, such as autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis).

Symptoms of Vitiligo
Symptoms of vitiligo include an often rapid pigment loss on several areas of the skin. The initial appearance of the white patches can be followed by a stable period without any progression of the condition. Later on, further cycles of pigment loss and stability may be observed. Vitiligo commonly affects areas on the skin that are exposed to sun, body folds (such as armpits), previous sites of injury, areas around moles, or areas around body openings. It is rare for pigment to return once the white patches have developed. Vitiligo can also affect the eyelids and hair.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Vitiligo
Your doctor can usually make the diagnosis of vitiligo during a physical exam. There is no known way to prevent or cure vitiligo. However, several methods, including cosmetics, re-pigmentation using UV light therapy, corticosteroid creams, depigmentation of unaffected skin areas, and skin grafting, can be used to improve the appearance of skin severely affected by vitiligo.