Celiac disease

First ever vaccine to prevent coeliac disease could end the misery of gluten-free diets for good

Coeliac(US spelling; Celiac)  suffers can fall dangerously ill if they have even a tiny bit of gluten – but that might not be the case for much longer

COELIACS may soon find that they’re able to chow down on bread and pasta like the rest of us.

The world’s first vaccine for people living with the disease has been developed by researchers in Australia, and could see an end to restrictive gluten-free diets.

The Nexvax2 vaccine aims to reprogramme coeliacs’ immune system response to gluten.

In most people, the small bowel is where 90 per cent of digestion happens.

With coeliacs, however, gluten-rich grub damages the small bowel by inflaming cells in the gut and stops absorption.

That break in absorption can then lead to a number of serious health consequences if left untreated, including malnutrition.

It’s a serious condition and one that shouldn’t be confused with gluten sensitivity, as the consequences really can be severe.

Coeliac disease affects around one in 100 people in the UK, with research suggesting that as many as 500,000 people are living with the illness undiagnosed.

With the advent of this new vaccine, however, people could well look forward to eating foods made from wheat, rye, barley and oats.

Lead researcher and ­gastroenterologist Dr Jason Tye-Din, from WEHI and Royal Melbourne Hospital told The Herald Sun the vaccine targets gluten-specific cells – teaching the body how to handle gluten more effectively.

“If you can give [the vaccine] in successive injections, you can retrain the immune system, so it learns to develop a tolerance,” Dr Tye-Din said.

What are the symptoms of coeliac disease?

Coeliac disease is a life-long condition that can lead to:

  • bloating
  • nausea
  • tiredness
  • dermatitis herpetiformis can also happen on the elbows, knees, shoulders, the buttocks and face

It’s only treated by a change in diet.

Experts believe that it’s way more common than diagnoses suggest because it’s often written off as IBS.

Healthline describes the most common symptoms of gluten intolerance.

These are:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea, constipation and smelly faeces
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headaches
  • Feeling tired
  • Skin problems
  • Depression
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Iron-deficiency anaemia
  • Anxiety
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Leg or arm numbness
  • Brain fog

He said it could lead to a huge improvement in life quality for thousands of people, as even a few crumbs of gluten can be harmful over time – leading to things like infertility, type 1 diabetes and osteoporosis.

The next stage of development involves recruiting 150 patients from across Oz, New Zealand and the US to trial the injections.

Everyone will receive either the active injection or a placebo while undergoing three food challenges, which will test how effective the vaccine is in quashing symptoms.



5 Things You Should Know About Tinnitus

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 50 million Americans experience tinnitus. That’s over 15 percent of the U.S. population, or nearly one in every six of us.

So what is this condition that affects so many people — and what can tinnitus sufferers do about it? We cover the basics here.

1. What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the medical term for the sensation of hearing sound in your ears when no external sound is present. In most cases, tinnitus is a subjective sound, meaning only the person who has it can hear it. Typically, sufferers describe the sound as “ringing in ears,” though others describe it as hissing, buzzing, whistling, roaring and even chirping.

Just as the sound may be different for each person, the effects of tinnitus are different for every individual, too. For some, it is sporadic and “not that bad.” For others, tinnitus never stops and can make daily life awful.

But one thing everyone with tinnitus has in common is a desire for relief. For most, this desire is so great they will try anything to make their tinnitus less annoying, including resorting to acupuncture, eardrops, herbal remedies, hypnosis and more.

2. What causes tinnitus?

Scientists and health experts have yet to pinpoint the exact cause of tinnitus. But several sources are known to trigger or worsen ringing in the ears, including:

  • Loud noises and hearing loss — Exposure to loud noises can destroy the non-regenerative cilia (tiny hairs) in the cochlea, causing permanent tinnitus and/or hearing loss. Noise-induced tinnitus is often the result of exposure to loud environmental noises, such as working in a factory setting, with or around heavy machinery, or even a single event like a gunshot or loud concert.
  • Aging — Natural aging, too, gradually destroys the cilia, and is a leading cause of hearing loss. Tinnitus is a common symptom of age-related hearing loss.
  • Ototoxic medications – Some prescription medications such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antidepressants, diuretics and others can be ototoxic, meaning they are harmful to the inner ear as well as the nerve fibers connecting the cochlea to the brain.
  • Hearing conditions – Conditions such as Ménière’s disease are known to cause tinnitus.
  • Health conditions – Tinnitus has been associated with a number of health conditions, including:
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
    • Thyroid problems
    • Fibromyalgia and chronic pain
    • Head or neck trauma
    • Jaw misalignment
    • Auditory, vestibular or facial nerve tumors
    • Stress and fatigue

3. Is there a cure for tinnitus?

Currently, there is no known cure for tinnitus. However, according to the American Tinnitus Association (ATA), there are a few established therapies and tinnitus treatment options. Because there is no cure, the ATA notes, “the primary objective for all currently available tinnitus treatment options is to lower the perceived burden of tinnitus.”

Hearing aids are one tinnitus treatment option the ATA lists, with hearing professionals reporting that 60 percent of their tinnitus patients experience relief when wearing them.

Sound therapy is another treatment option listed by the ATA, which notes that hearing aids are an effective component to most sound therapy protocols.

Sound therapy — and hearing aids — work by masking the tinnitus sound and reducing the perception and intensity of any “ringing in the ears.” This helps take your mind off of your tinnitus, which helps lower its burden.

These are the people most at risk for tinnitus

4. What should you do if you or someone you know has tinnitus?

Since the exact cause of tinnitus is not known, the ATA recommends you visit your primary care provider and a hearing healthcare professional for evaluation. This evaluation helps them determine if tinnitus is present and what may be causing it. Specialized tests are performed to evaluate the auditory system. Some of these tests measure the specific features of the tinnitus itself, and could include:

  • Audiogram
  • Evoked response audiometry
  • Tinnitus pitch match
  • Tinnitus loudness match

5. How can you get tinnitus relief?

While there is no cure for tinnitus, Starkey’s hearing aids with our proprietary Multiflex Tinnitus Technology have been clinically proven to provide relief for ringing in the ears.

Multiflex Tinnitus Technology enhances the masking capabilities of our hearing aids even more by creating a customizable and comforting sound stimulus that you and your hearing professional can fine-tune. This sound stimulus soothes the unique, irritating sounds you hear — so you can get your mind off your tinnitus and get your life back.


Alzheimer’s Disease

By 2050, the U.S. Alzheimer’s population will double. We’re not prepared.

The Alzheimer’s Association said its new analysis and surveys “should sound an alarm regarding the future of dementia care in America.”

  • By 2050, the number of Americans over age 65 with Alzheimer’s is expected to rise from 5.8 to 13.8 million.
  • A new report from the Alzheimer’s Association highlights how the already-stressed U.S. healthcare system is not prepared to meet this surge.
  • There’s currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, which is a degenerative and potentially deadly form of dementia.

A new report from the Alzheimer’s Association forecasts a looming health-care problem: The number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to double by 2050, and unless things change, there will be a severe shortage of health-care professionals able to care for these dementia patients.

There are two key factors driving the problem: an aging U.S. population and a lack of health-care professionals trained to care for Alzheimer’s patients. There are currently about 5.8 million Americans ages 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s disease, which is about 10 percent of that age cohort. By 2050, that number is expected to hit 13.8 million. This surge poses a problem, given that the U.S. health-care system already struggles to treat people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

“According to the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis, there was already a shortage of geriatricians in 2013, and although a modest increase in supply was projected by 2025, it was not expected to meet demand,” the report states. “As a nation, we need to triple the number of geriatricians who were practicing in 2019 to have enough geriatricians to care for those 65 and older who are projected to have Alzheimer’s dementia in 2050.”

The front lines of diagnosing & treating Alzheimer’s

A broad array of practitioners help to treat Alzheimer’s, including physicians, nurses, neuropsychologists and allied health care professionals such as occupational and physical therapists and home health aides, the report notes. Primary care physicians are generally considered to be on the “front lines” of treating and diagnosing the disease. But over-relying on primary care physicians comes with costs.

  • The vast majority of older Americans diagnosed with dementia never see a dementia care specialist and are overwhelmingly diagnosed and cared for by non-specialists.
  • 85% of people first diagnosed with dementia were diagnosed by a non-dementia specialist physician, usually a primary care physician.
  • More than half of PCPs say there are not enough specialists to receive patient referrals.
The Alzheimer’s Assocation

What’s especially alarming is that, even though primary care physicians are on the front lines of diagnosing and treating Alzheimer’s, some aren’t comfortable with doing so. The survey found that 39 percent of primary care physicians reported being “never or only sometimes being comfortable personally making a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or other dementias.” That’s a problem, considering Alzheimer’s treatments are more beneficial if the disease is diagnosed early.

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Ankylosing Spondylitis

10 Surprising Ways Ankylosing Spondylitis Affects the Body


Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of arthritis, so it’s not surprising that its main symptoms are pain and stiffness. That pain is usually centered in the lower back since the disease inflames joints in the spine.

But AS isn’t confined to the spine. It can affect other parts of the body, causing some surprising symptoms.

Here are 10 ways AS can affect your body that you might not expect.

1. Red, painful eyes

Between 30 to 40 percent of people with AS develop an eye complication called iritis or uveitis at least once. You can tell you have iritis when the front part of one eye becomes red and inflamed. Pain, light sensitivity, and blurred vision are other common symptoms.

See an eye doctor as soon as possible if you have these symptoms. Iritis is easy to treat with steroid eye drops. If you let the condition go untreated, you could have permanent vision loss.

2. Trouble breathing

AS can inflame joints between your ribs and spine and in the front of your chest. The scarring and stiffening of these areas make it hard to expand your chest and lungs fully enough to get a deep breath.

The disease also causes inflammation and scarring in the lungs. Between the chest tightness and lung scarring, you may develop shortness of breath and coughing, especially when you exercise.

It can be hard to tell shortness of breath caused by AS from that of a lung problem. Talk to your doctor about what’s causing this symptom.

3. Heel pain

Areas where ligaments and tendons attach to bone also become inflamed when you have AS. This creates what are called “hot spots” in areas like the pelvis, chest, and heels.

Often, the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel and the plantar fascia at the base of the heel are affected. The pain can make it difficult to walk or stand on a hard floor.

4. Tiredness

AS is an autoimmune disease. That means your immune system is launching an attack against your own body. It releases inflammatory substances called cytokines. Too much of these chemicals circulating in your body can make you feel tired.

Inflammation from the disease can also make you feel tired. It takes a lot of energy for your body to control inflammation.

AS also causes anemia — a drop in red blood cells. These cells carry oxygen to your body’s organs and tissues. When your body doesn’t get enough oxygen, you’ll feel exhausted.

5. Fever

The early symptoms of AS sometimes seem more flu-like than signs of arthritis. Along with a low fever, some people lose their appetite or feel generally ill. These confusing symptoms can make the disease harder for doctors to diagnose.

6. Swollen jaw

About 10 percent of people with AS have inflammation of the jaw. Jaw swelling and inflammation is known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Pain and swelling in your jaw can make it hard to eat.

7. Appetite loss

Appetite loss is one of the early symptoms of AS. It often goes along with general symptoms like fever, fatigue, and weight loss early in the disease.

8. Chest pain

Inflammation and scar tissue around the ribs can cause a tightness or pain in your chest. The pain may get worse when you cough or breathe in.

AS chest pain can feel like angina, which is when too little blood flow is getting to your heart. Because angina is an early warning sign of a heart attack, see a doctor immediately if you’re experiencing this symptom.

9. Bladder and bowel problems

Rarely, scars can form on the nerves at the base of your spine. This complication is called cauda equina syndrome (CES). Pressure on the nerves in your lower spine can make it hard to control urination or bowel movements.

10. Leg weakness and numbness

Weakness and numbness in your legs are other signs of CES. If you have these symptoms, see a neurologist for an exam.

The main symptoms of AS are pain and stiffness in your lower back, buttocks, and hips. Yet it is possible to have more unusual symptoms, including eye pain, a swollen jaw, and appetite loss.

No matter what symptoms you have, see a doctor for treatment. Drugs like NSAIDs and biologics help bring down inflammation and relieve symptoms. Depending on what problems you’re having, you may need to see a specialist for other types of treatment.\


Parkinson's Disease

10 Early Signs of Parkinson’s Disease

Because Parkinson’s disease is a progressive condition, it can be difficult to spot the early warning signs. However, we’ve put together a list of 10 of the most common early signs and symptoms of the disease, according to the National Parkinson Foundation.

1. Tremors and Shaking
This is one of the most recognized symptoms. Although there could be many other reasons for tremors, facial-twitching or limb-shaking is a common early warning sign of Parkinson’s disease.

2. Small Handwriting
Many Parkinson’s disease patients find that their handwriting suddenly becomes very small. The way you write may also have changed if you are in the early stages of the condition.

3. Loss of Smell
Many people temporarily lose their sense of smell due to colds or the flu, but if the loss is sustained over a length of time without any noticeable congestion, then it could be an early sign of Parkinson’s disease.

4. Sleeping Disorders
Trouble sleeping can be attributed to many illnesses and Parkinson’s disease is one of them. Waking due to sudden body movements, or thrashing your legs in your sleep could be a warning sign of the condition.

5. Stiffness in Walking and Moving
General stiffness that can’t be attributed to exercise aches and pains and doesn’t ease up when moving around could be an early warning sign of Parkinson’s disease. Many patients complain that it feels like their feet are literally stuck to the floor.

6. Constipation
Unable to move your bowels is also a common early sign of Parkinson’s disease. Although this is a common enough problem in healthy people, Parkinson’s patients are more susceptible to constipation. If you suddenly find you’re constipated and consider your diet normal then you should have a doctor check you out.

7. Low or Soft Voice
A sore throat or a cold can change the way you speak, but if you have been experiencing a sudden softness to the tone of your voice and are now speaking in a quieter or hoarser tone, this could be an early symptom of Parkinson’s disease.

8. Masked Face
A face set into what others may perceive as a bad mood or being angry or depressed is a common early sign of Parkinson’s disease. Also, an expressionless face with unblinking eyes could be a warning sign.

9. Dizziness or Fainting
Feeling faint or dizzy is an indication of low blood pressure, which is an early warning sign of Parkinson’s disease. If you are regularly feeling dizzy when you stand up then you should see your doctor.

10. Stooped
If you suddenly become stooped or your back hunches over then this could be an early warning sign of Parkinson’s disease. A slouch or hunch could be attributed to other conditions, such as arthritis or other bone diseases, but you would need to see your doctor to determine the cause. is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Parkinson's Disease

6 Possible Causes of Parkinson’s Disease


Parkinson’s disease is a chronic disorder of the nervous system. It affects at least 500,000 people in the United States, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Approximately 60,000 new cases are reported in the United States each year.

This disease isn’t fatal, but it can cause debilitating symptoms that impact everyday movement and mobility. Hallmark symptoms of this disease include tremors and gait and balance problems. These symptoms develop because the brain’s ability to communicate is damaged.

Researchers aren’t yet certain what causes Parkinson’s. There are several factors that may contribute to the disease.

1. Genetics

Some studiesTrusted Source suggest that genes play a role in the development of Parkinson’s. An estimated 15 percent of people with Parkinson’s have a family history of the condition.

The Mayo Clinic reports that someone with a close relative (e.g., a parent or sibling) who has Parkinson’s is at an increased risk of developing the disease. It also reports that the risk of developing Parkinson’s is low unless you have several family members with the disease.

How does genetics factor into Parkinson’s in some families? According to Genetics Home Reference, one possible way is through the mutation of genes responsible for producing dopamine and certain proteins essential for brain function.

2. Environment

There’s also some evidence that one’s environment can play a role. Exposure to certain chemicals has been suggested as a possible link to Parkinson’s disease. These include pesticides such as insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides. It’s also possible that Agent Orange exposure may be linked to Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s has also been potentially linked to drinking well waterTrusted Source and consuming manganeseTrusted Source.

Not everyone exposed to these environmental factors develops Parkinson’s. Some researchers suspectTrusted Source that a combination of genetics and environmental factors cause Parkinson’s.

3. Lewy bodies

Lewy bodies are abnormal clumps of proteins found in the brain stem of people with Parkinson’s disease. These clumps contain a protein that cells are unable to break down. They surround cells in the brain. In the process they interrupt the way the brain functions.

Clusters of Lewy bodies cause the brain to degenerate over time. This causes problems with motor coordination in people with Parkinson’s disease.

4. Loss of dopamine

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter chemical that aids in passing messages between different sections of the brain. The cells that produce dopamine are damaged in people with Parkinson’s disease.

Without an adequate supply of dopamine the brain is unable to properly send and receive messages. This disruption affects the body’s ability to coordinate movement. It can cause problems with walking and balance.

5. Age and gender

Aging also plays a role in Parkinson’s disease. Advanced age is the most significant risk factor for developing Parkinson’s disease.

Scientists believe that brain and dopamine function begin to declineTrusted Source as the body ages. This makes a person more susceptible to Parkinson’s.

Gender also plays a role in Parkinson’s. Men are more susceptible to developing Parkinson’s than women.

6. Occupations

Some research suggests that certain occupations may put a person at greater risk for developing Parkinson’s. In particular, Parkinson’s disease may be more likely for people who have jobs in welding, agriculture, and industrial work. This may be because individuals in these occupations are exposed to toxic chemicals. However, study results have been inconsistentTrusted Source and more research needs to be done.

Future research

We have some clues as to why Parkinson’s disease develops, but there’s still a lot that we don’t know. Early detection and treatment are key in minimizing symptoms of Parkinson’s.

There are treatments that help with Parkinson’s symptoms, but currently there is no cure. More research is needed to identify the exact role that genetics and environment play in causing this disease.

Multiple sclerosis

9 Tips for Beating MS Fatigue

Common fatigue

Almost everyone who has multiple sclerosis (MS) also has fatigue. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), around 80 percent of those diagnosed with the condition will experience fatigue at some point during the course of the disease. However, the exact cause of MS-related fatigue remains unknown.

Read on for nine tips that can help you increase your energy and reduce your fatigue.

A different kind of tired

Before learning how to beat fatigue, it’s useful to understand the types of fatigue you may face when you have MS. Researchers have started to identify a number of distinct characteristics associated specifically with MS that make it quite different from garden-variety tiredness, such as:

  • Onset: It can begin suddenly.
  • Frequency: It often occurs every day.
  • Time of day: It can occur in the morning, despite your having slept the night before.
  • Progression: It commonly worsens throughout the day.
  • Sensitivity to heat: Heat and humidity may aggravate it.
  • Severity: It tends to be more severe than other types of fatigue.
  • Effect on activities: It’s more likely than regular fatigue to disrupt your ability to perform everyday tasks.

Tip 1: Exercise often

According to the Cleveland Clinic, regular physical activity can help fight fatigue related to MS. Sticking with a consistent exercise program can help with endurance, balance, weight loss, and general well-being — all important for people living with MS.

However, there is one caveat: while exercise helps some people with MS, there are others with the condition who won’t have the same benefit. If in doubt, talk to your doctor before starting any kind of new fitness program, and remember that the goal of exercise is to give you more energy, not make you feel more tired.

Tip 2: Conserve energy

Energy conservation isn’t just important for the environment, it’s also a key principle for those with MS.

What’s your best time of day to get things done (i.e., the time when you feel the most energetic)? If you notice that you feel less fatigue in the morning, take advantage of your extra energy to take care of tasks like shopping and cleaning. Then you can conserve your energy later when you feel more fatigued, knowing you’ve already accomplished key tasks for the day.

Tip 3: Stay cool

MS patients may be especially sensitive to heat. As a result, they may experience more fatigue when they’re in a warmer environment or become overheated. Try these techniques to cool down:

  • Use air conditioning as needed, especially in the summer months.
  • Wear a cooling vest.
  • Take a cool shower.
  • Jump in a swimming pool.
  • Drink icy beverages.
  • Wear lightweight clothes.

Tip 4: Try therapy

If your own lifestyle changes don’t give you the energy boost you need, you may want to try occupational or physical therapy.

With occupational therapy, a trained specialist helps you simplify activities in your work or home environments. This may involve using adaptive equipment or changing your environment to help increase your physical and mental energy.

With physical therapy, a trained professional helps you perform daily physical tasks more effectively. For instance, you may use techniques or devices that can help you to conserve energy while walking.

Tip 5: Regulate your sleep

Sleep problems are often behind the fatigue that people with MS experience. Whether you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting the amount and type of sleep you need to awaken feeling refreshed, the result is the same: you’ll feel tired.

To help prevent these problems, it’s important to regulate your sleep. This might involve identifying and treating other symptoms of MS that cause sleep problems — for example, urinary dysfunction. If all else fails, you might talk with your doctor about using sleep medications for a short period of time.

Tip 6: Avoid problem behaviors

Certain behaviors may seem to help with fatigue, but in the end may cause more problems than they solve. While drinking a hot beverage may sound like a good way to wind down if you’re having trouble sleeping, be sure to check if your drink contains caffeine. Coffee and tea typically contain caffeine, which can prevent you from falling asleep, leading to fatigue the next day.

Similarly, while alcohol may help you feel sleepy after you first drink it, it can later make it harder to get a restful night’s sleep. Review your behaviors that may be contributing to poor sleep habits and fatigue, and take steps to avoid them.

Tip 7: Eat right

Poor nutrition can make anyone feel tired or fatigued, and the same may be even more true for people with MS. StudiesTrusted Source show that your diet can affect your symptoms and how you feel, and may even impact the progression of your disease.

Good nutrition advice for most people includes eating lots of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. This advice holds true for you, too. And some tips, such as making sure you consume enough healthy fats and vitamin D, may be especially important if you have MS.

If you have questions about how you should be eating, talk to your doctor. They can help advise you, or refer you to a nutritionist who can help create a healthy eating plan just for you.

Tip 8: Keep stress in check

Just like a poor diet may affect a person with MS more than someone without it, stress could have a bigger impact on you than on your friend without MS.

Among other effects, anyone with stress can experience insomnia, which can lead to fatigue. But for people with MS, stress can actually worsen your condition. Research has shown that stress could cause increased MS lesions in the brain. And advanced disease can increase your symptoms, including fatigue.

Eating well, exercising, and even listening to music can help reduce stress. Meditation is also a proven way to help you relax and ease stress. For more ideas, talk to your doctor. But don’t stress about it — stress is a part of everyday life, so your goal should be to simply keep it under control, not get rid of it entirely.

Tip 9: Manage your medications

If you’re taking medications for other symptoms, check their side effects to make sure they aren’t adding to your fatigue. Talk to your doctor about each medication you take, and work together to determine whether you can stop taking those that can cause fatigue.

In terms of medication to help ease fatigue, your doctor can help you decide what’s right for you. While some medications including aspirin can help with fatigue management, the Cleveland Clinic recommends avoiding using medications to treat tiredness. This is because as an MS patient, you may already be taking other medications, and it’s best to limit the number of drugs you take when possible.

However, everyone’s MS symptoms are different, and if you try the tips in this article and nothing works to manage your fatigue, there are medication options to help reduce fatigue. Amantadine and modafinil are two off-label drugs that may help. That said, they’re still being studied as treatment for MS fatigue, and may not be covered by your insurance for this purpose. For more information about these drugs, talk to your doctor.

Awakening to the problem

Fatigue from MS can wreak havoc on your life for many reasons, both at work and home. It may severely limit the types of activities you can do, and may even result in you having to leave your job. So, it’s worth it to learn how to manage the fatigue caused by MS.

If you have questions or concerns about your fatigue or level of energy, talk to your doctor for guidance. They’ll work with you to find ways to address your fatigue and help you have more energy in your daily life.



6 weird, wacky facts about hearing

Tinnitus is defined as  is the hearing of sound when no external sound is present.

The way our ears are put together and how they function is pretty amazing. They take vibrations and turn them into understandable words and recognizable sound patterns. But they have their oddities, as well, especially where hearing loss and tinnitus (phantom ringing in the ears) are concerned. The following are six strange and unusual hearing-related facts.

1. You hear with hair.

Hair cells (stereocilia) to be exact. Inside the cochlea of your ear are hair cells that serve as the sensory conductors of sound to your brain. The more of these cells you lose due to noise or other damage, the less you’re able to hear. And if they’re destroyed, you lose your hearing entirely — and since they can’t regenerate, that loss is permanent.

2. You never stop listening.

Your ears don’t stop hearing even when you’re asleep. Instead, your brain just ignores the incoming sounds. Some brains are better at this than others — hence a “light” sleeper might startle awake at every household creak and groan, while a “heavy” sleeper can blissfully ignore thunderstorms and barking dogs.

3. Hearing music when none is around.

This form of auditory hallucination is also known as Musical Ear Syndrome or sometimes musical tinnitus, and it’s a phenomenon that has nothing to do with schizophrenia or other psychological disorder. People with MES typically already have hearing loss. They complain of hearing everything from random notes to complete melodies, and think the songs are coming from a specific direction.

4. Your recorded voice sounds wrong.

Have you ever cringed when listening to a recording of your own speaking voice? You’re not alone. Most people find the sound of their recorded voice odd at best and hateful in the extreme. This is because of how our ears listen to sound coming from our throats versus from an external source. Vibrations from your vocal cords are partially transmitted by the bones in your neck and head into your inner ear for processing, meaning you actually hear your voice coming from outside and inside your head at the same time. Only you hear your voice this way and so you think that’s how you sound to everyone. But actually, your recorded voice is closer to how you really sound.

5. Not every living creature uses ears to hear.

You might assume creatures without ears are unable to hear, but in most cases you’d be wrong. For example, male mosquitoes use thousands of tiny hairs that grow along their antennae to hear. Fish use changes in pressure along a lateral line of hair cells, similar to what we have in our ears, just below their skin surface and internal ear components. Reptiles like newts and snakes use their jawbones, while a type of tiny frog called a Gardiner’s frog, which doesn’t have an eardrum or middle ear, uses its mouth cavity and tissue to transmit sound directly into their inner ears.

6. Women hear differently than men.

Studies have shown that men only use one side of their brain to listen (the left) while women use both. There’s also some evidence that women are “wired” to hear higher-pitched sounds better than men, and tend to lose their hearing later than their male counterparts. And while there are some indications that female voices are easier to understand — likely due to the average woman pronouncing her vowels more distinctly than the average man — the idea that women’s voices are simply easier to hear due to their higher pitch is untrue.

Multiple sclerosis

11 Celebrities with Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that impacts the brain and spinal cord. These are the main components of the central nervous system. The central nervous system controls nearly everything we do, from walking to doing a complex math problem.

MS can manifest in many different types of complications. It affects the coverings of nerve endings within the central nervous system. This can result in diminished vision, motor function, tingling, and pain in the extremities.

MS can be a challenging condition, but many people with the disease lead healthy and active lives. Here’s what some celebrities have to say about living with MS.  

1. Joan Didion

Joan Didion

Joan Didion is an award-winning American author and screenwriter. Known for her vivid descriptions, biting irony, and candor, Didion wrote about her diagnosis in “The White Album.” The essay is from her nonfiction collection “Slouching Toward Bethlehem.” She wrote, “I had … a sharp apprehension of what it was like to open the door to the stranger and find that the stranger did indeed have the knife.”

Didion’s work was a channel for the uncertainties she felt while adjusting to her condition. At 82, Didion is still writing. In 2013, President Obama awarded her the National Medal of Arts and Humanities.

2. Rachel Miner

Rachel Miner

Rachel Miner is an American actress who is best known for her portrayal of Meg Masters in The CW Network series “Supernatural.”

Miner spoke out about her diagnosis at the Dallas Comic Convention in 2013. She continues to manage her symptoms, but in 2009 had to leave the show due to the physical complications of MS. “The physical constraints were at the point that I feared I couldn’t do Meg or the writing justice,” she told a fan blog.

Although she maintains she didn’t officially leave the show because of the disease, she also asserts the importance of knowing your limits and listening to your body.

3. Jack Osbourne

Jack Osbourne

Jack Osbourne, son of British rock star Ozzy Osbourne, was introduced to American audiences in the early 2000s as a teenager on the MTV reality show about his family. He publicly announced he has multiple sclerosis in 2012.

Since his diagnosis, Osbourne’s motto is “Adapt and Overcome.” He uses the hashtag #Jackshaft on Twitter to talk about his experience with MS. “I will never say that I am thankful for MS,” he said in an open letter. “But I will say that without MS, I don’t know if I would have made the necessary changes in my life that have changed me for the better.”

4. Clay Walker

Clay Walker

At age 26, country music star Clay Walker received a diagnosis of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis after experiencing tingling and twitching in his face and extremities. Walker says he struggled after he was first diagnosed: “I realized that I needed to stop dwelling on being diagnosed with a chronic disease, and instead focus on finding a groove.”

He spent some time working with his neurologist. And with the help of his family, he’s settled into a routine that enables him to better manage his symptoms.

Activism is one important component of Walker’s routine. He started Band Against MS, an organization to help educate others with MS.

5. Ann Romney

Ann Romney

Ann Romney is the wife of politician Mitt Romney. In her book “In This Together: My Story,” she shared that her life changed in 1997 when she was diagnosed with MS. Since then, she works hard not to let her condition define her.

“Finding joy in your life is another really important component,” she said in an interview with PBS. “And losing yourself in doing something else, and not always dwelling on your illness is very important.”

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Evil Headache + 39 More Migraine Symptoms You Need to Know

When you hear the word “migraine,” that pulsing, unbearable headache often comes to mind. Maybe you associate Migraine with the unpleasant sensations of nausea or sensitivity to light.

But Migraine is a mysterious neurological disease that has wide-reaching effects on body and mind.

This condition affects 1B people globally and is the 6th leading cause of disability worldwide (1).

Some people struggling with Migraine may not even be aware that it’s impacting their life. And that’s because Migraine is so much more than an evil headache. Read on for our definitive list of 40 symptoms of Migraine.

Your Senses

Image: Migraine Action Art Collection: Image 515, Unnamed artist, Untitled (1985)

People experiencing Migraine with aura report a series of changes to their senses just before and during an attack. These changes, collectively called “aura,” are often warning signs that a Migraine attack is on the way.

They typically appear 10 to 60 minutes before the onset of headache (2) and usually last no more than an hour.


1. Visual disturbances

A common sign of Migraine with aura, disturbances to vision include blind spots, zigzags, flashing and flickering lights, floaters, dots in the vision, double vision, tunnel vision, and visual snow.

This is the brain’s signal of an impending Migraine attack. Changes in vision may occur before, during or after the pain subsides. Vision symptoms may also appear with no pain. Visual disturbances occur in about 25% of Migraine patients (3).

2. Sensitivity to light (photophobia)

Hiding in a dark room is a common way to cope with a Migraine attack. That’s because Migraine heightens the senses, including sensitivity to light also known as photophobia.

People experiencing Migraine are often bothered by fluorescent lighting in grocery or retail stores, flickering or strobe light effects, LED lights and the blue light emitted by computer screens.


3. Tinnitus

It’s one of the most aggravating symptoms of Migraine. That ringing or buzzing in your ear is called tinnitus.

Phantom sounds are a common hallmark of Migraine and can vary in volume, pitch and which side of the head they affect. You may hear ringing, clicking, buzzing, whooshing, hissing or even something like your heartbeat in your ear, called pulsatile tinnitus.

Tinnitus is associated with many other conditions but often presents in people living with Migraine.

Woman annoyed while the man is snoring

Sensitivity to sound, including repetitive noises, increases with Migraine.

4. Sensitivity to sound (phonophobia)

Shhhh. Silence is golden to a person experiencing Migraine and that’s because sensitivity to sound, known as phonophobia, increases before an attack, making noise downright painful.

Repetitive noises that typically get filtered out as background noise become unbearable (the leaf blower, the bass from a stereo, the barking of a neighbor’s dog), and unexpected sounds make you positively jump out of your skin.


5. Sensitivity to touch (allodynia)

Have you ever experienced a painful ponytail or sensitive scalp? Or just feel grumpy and irritated when someone tries to touch you?

You may be dealing with a symptom called allodynia, pain due to a stimulus that does not typically provoke pain.

According to the American Migraine Foundation, up to 80% of people experience symptoms of allodynia during a Migraine attack (4).

Tactile allodynia is a painful sensation after a light touch or pressure on the skin like a tap on the shoulder or glasses resting on your nose.

Mechanical allodynia is pain from movement across the skin like brushing the scalp with a hairbrush or pulling the bed sheets across the body.

Thermal allodynia is sensitivity to temperature changes, even as small as a few drops of cold water on the skin.

6. Tingling in the limbs or face, pins and needles feeling, numbness (paresthesia) 

Migraine aura often comes with a pins and needles feeling or numbness known as paresthesia. The tingling, prickling, stinging or burning sensation is felt in the extremities or on one side of the face and often accompanies an increased sensitivity to touch.

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