Bill Linanne: Magic is knowing when you have it good…and being able to enjoy it

You just can’t beat a good magic road. There are a couple of them scattered around Ireland, but the closest one to where I live – and therefore the best – is at Mahon Falls in west Waterford.

It’s hard to describe a magic road on paper, as they are effectively a grand illusion created by the collision of human endeavour – in the form of a road – and a landscape that refuses to conform to our sense of perspective. Basically, you think you’re going downhill, but you’re going uphill. You stop the car, put down the handbrake and roll up a slope. It sound ludicrous, but you really need to experience one for yourself, as even for a profound cynic like me, they inspire the same reaction that Fr Dougal had when he was told about one by Fr Ted – “this is almost as mad as that thing you told me about the loaves and fishes”.

Last Easter, in a feeble effort to instill some wonder in my kids, I decided to bring them to the local magic road. On the way there, I regaled them with tales of how amazing it is, dressing it up with some ludicrous guff about soft places where the walls between worlds were pliable and faerie folk were able to pass through. This, I explained, was why the magic road was marked with a faerie tree, a wiry windswept bush adorned with a selection of rags.

When people say there is no magic left in the world, they might be right, as some nihilist prankster cut down the faerie tree that marked where the magic road is. And so it was that I went crawling through the six-kilometre route, becoming increasingly frustrated that I was unable to find the blasted road. Perhaps its magical power is invisibility, I japed, as my children repeatedly asked where the magic road – which I had clearly oversold – was. Attempting to summon it by swearing in front of my children didn’t work, nor did looping through the entire drive a second time. Adding to my frustrations was the fact that my gearbox was acting up. Completely bothered, I drove home. It was only when I got home and angrily googled where the damn road had gone that I realised that my car wasn’t acting up, it was in fact the magic road that I was on, and I was, accordingly, in the wrong gear. Of course, I should have known exactly where it was, as I had been there previously, albeit two decades before.

Back in 1996, I went to Mahon Falls with my mum, dad and sister. We did the magic road, marvelled at the beauty of the falls, and came home. It would be the last day all four of us would spend together. Two weeks later, my sister suffered a heart attack brought on by her epilepsy, and died aged 22. She had been sick for more than half her life, to the point where I can hardly remember what she was like before the illness came.

I never really understood what my parents went through until my own daughter was diagnosed with an incurable autoimmune condition, and I find myself living in the house I grew up in, sleeping in what was my parents’ room, with a sick daughter who sleeps in my sister’s room. It sometimes feels like I am repeating history, stuck on an endless loop until I gain a deeper understanding of what it was like for my parents to have a sick child. I think I am finally starting to understand, decades too late, how much they and my sister went through.

I brought my kids back to Mahon Falls in the summer, and this time we found the magic road. They were completely unimpressed. “What’s magic about it? It’s just a road,” they asked. Magic, I informed them, was being able to discern when you are facing what you might think was an uphill battle, but you were in fact travelling downhill in the wrong gear, simply because you lacked perspective. Magic was knowing when you have it good, and being able to enjoy it, because some day it may slip away from you. The magic, I solemnly intoned, was that we were there together, that we had each other.

It turned out that real magic is knowing that you are talking to yourself, as your kids have stopped listening to you, just as you didn’t listen to your own parents.

Source: Read Full Article

“I was obsessed with exercise I didn't realise I had a problem”

When fitness Instagrammer Sarah Rav, 20, was pulled aside by the dean of the hospital where she was studying, she never thought it might be because of her weight.

“Obviously I knew I was underweight but when I looked in the mirror, it didn’t click that I was unhealthily underweight. I’ve always been on the small side,” explains Sarah.

What happened next would change Sarah’s approach to health and fitness dramatically. Sarah explains that her medical supervisor took her aside:

“He said, ‘look, there’s been concerns about your health from your tutors, your fellow students, your friends and from your teachers. They’ve reached out to me, and they said they noticed that you look really unwell and that you’ve just been really down.”

The dean went on to advise that she take some time off from university and come back once she’d seen her GP and got a medical clearance.

“Initially I thought that’s kind of weird but if that’s what I need to do, then I’d do it. I didn’t realise I had a problem at the time,” explains Sarah. “But when I saw my GP, she was pretty shocked. She weighed me (I weighed30kg at the time), and she said, ‘You need to go to the hospital tonight’.”

It was hearing the diagnosis of Orthorexia (an obsession with exercising) that made Sarah realise that she had to make some changes. Up until that point she had been running 15-20km a day, returning with her feet bleeding and exhausted, and had a ‘fear of food’ she felt were unhealthy.

After a week in hospital, however, where they monitored her because they were worried her heart might stop, she set about on a six-month program to bring her back to being a normal weight for her height and build.

“In my mind, after I was diagnosed, I was like ‘I am obviously doing things wrong. This is not the way that I should be thinking. This is unhealthy,’ ” explains Sarah.

“Given that I got into health and fitness to be healthy, it made a lot of sense that I had to fix myself.”

On the advice of experts, she stopped working out for three months and followed a pretty strict meal plan. “Something that was challenging but ultimately rewarding,” says Sarah.

“It was hard [on the meal plan] because I hadn’t had bread or carbs in three to four months maybe; I had to eat white rice with meatballs. And I was like ‘oh my God’,” remembers Sarah. “But then, at the same time, I knew that I needed to do it to get better.”

That was a year ago and now for Sarah, she’s more aware than ever how easy it is to become obsessed with being healthy and fit to the point that you become sick. Her approach to life now is all about balance.

“I don’t follow any sort of set diet anymore. No calorie counting. It’s literally ‘eat what I want to eat’. Eat when I’m hungry. If I want white bread over wholegrain bread, I’ll go for it. If I want pancakes, I’ll go for it. And then, with exercise, it’s just only for my enjoyment,” she explains.  

It’s an approach she’s careful to share with her 1.7 million followers every day.

“Before all this happened, I was posting about fitness transformations and fitness info about ‘girls with abs’,” Sarah remembers. “But now I shy away from all of that and I post things that don’t focus on appearance so much as what your body can actually do, as well as other aspects [of health and fitness] that aren’t weight or appearance.”

The feedback from this shift and from Sarah’s health journey has been nothing but positive – something that she was worried about when she was first diagnosed.

View this post on Instagram

“The secret to having it all is knowing you already do” 💖 – Not gonna lie. It’s been a tough couple of weeks. Kinda been feeling like I’ve been getting no where. Kinda been feeling like I’ve been stuck in a rut. Kinda been feeling like nothing I do makes a difference. 😓 – But you know what? I took a moment today to write down every single thing that I am grateful for & 2hrs later, I’m still going 📝 . Essentially I realised I have SO MUCH to be grateful for and even though things aren’t going my way right now, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t already achieved and have been given SO MUCH. 🌟🎁 – So when things get tough, or you feel that life is treating you unfairly, take a little moment to think about just how much you actually have! 🙏🏽 (friends, family, your health, enough clothes, enough food & water….) . I could go on and on, but hopefully this makes you lift your head a little higher and smile a little brighter ☺️💖🤟🏽

A post shared by Previously @fitandfiesty (@sarahrav) on

“At first, I was really, really worried about coming out about it on Instagram because, in my mind I was like I can’t believe I have this [issue]. I didn’t want to tell anyone because I thought people are going to blame me for doing this to myself,” explains Sarah. “But once I came out, the reactions were so positive. Everyone has been so supportive and it just makes me realise that [struggling with] mental health isn’t as bad as what we perceive it to be. It’s definitely something that should be talked about more often, more openly.” 

And that’s why Sarah would like to share her story with others.

“My ultimate goal from this arduous journey is to help even just one single person with an eating disorder or mental illness – to make them understand that they are not alone, that they can get through this… and that they deserve recovery and happiness. If I can do that, then it makes everything I’ve been through worth it.”

If you are worried about yourself or someone in your care, the best thing you can do is talk to someone. Please contact the Butterfly Foundation 1800 33 4673 or chat online.

Source: Read Full Article

Many drugstores won’t dispense opioid antidote as required

(HealthDay)—People who overdose on opioids have one lifeline, the drug naloxone, but two new studies find that many pharmacies won’t offer this lifesaving antidote without a doctor’s blessing.

Though many states have passed laws mandating that naloxone be made available without a prescription, researchers from California found that fewer than 25 percent of pharmacies in that state would give the drug without a prescription. And in the second study from Texas, investigators found that although 8 in 10 drugstores would dispense the drug, less than 7 in 10 had naloxone in stock.

Why? A lack of training, a lack of desire to make room for the drug on their shelves, and outright moral objections to giving an opioid user a medication that might encourage drug abuse, the scientists said.

“We have an opioid crisis in our country, and we have a large number of opioid overdose deaths, about half of which are due to prescription opioids,” said Talia Puzantian, lead researcher of the first study, and associate professor of clinical sciences at Keck Graduate Institute School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Claremont, Calif.

People getting prescriptions for these narcotic painkillers may not think they are at risk for overdosing, she said. “But these drugs have significant safety issues,” Puzantian said.

Part of a pharmacist’s role is to educate patients about the dangers of opioids and make naloxone available when they think the patients may be at risk for an overdose, she said. These include people who are taking high doses of the painkillers or are mixing them with other drugs that can increase the risk.

Since 2016, California law has allowed pharmacists to provide naloxone without a prescription.

For the California study, Puzantian and her colleagues called more than 1,100 pharmacies asking if they would provide naloxone without a physician’s prescription. Fewer than 25 percent said they would. Of those, only about 50 percent stocked nasal spray naloxone, the researchers found.

Puzantian said that pharmacists need to be taught about the law allowing them to give patients naloxone without a prescription.

In addition, they need to have the drug on hand. Many pharmacies that don’t stock naloxone said they didn’t have the shelf space, given all the other more popular drugs they need to carry and the low demand for naloxone.

Some pharmacists have a moral objection to providing drugs to opioid users, Puzantian said. They believe that it only encourages drug abuse, but that’s not the case, she said.

“Opioid overdoses don’t only occur in people using heroin, so patients should talk with their pharmacists about whether they are at risk for overdose and whether they might be a good candidate for having naloxone on hand,” Puzantian said.

In the second study, researchers led by Kirk Evoy, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin, studied the availability of naloxone at chain pharmacies in the state. Texas also allows pharmacists to provide the drug without a prescription.

Of the 2,300 drugstores contacted, 84 percent said they would provide the drug, but only 69 percent had it on their shelves. The nasal spray form of the drug was the one most commonly available, the researchers found.

In drugstores that had the drug in stock and would provide it without a prescription, patients could walk into the pharmacy without having seen a doctor and obtain naloxone the same day in approximately 70 percent of the chain pharmacies contacted, Evoy said.

Although chain stores like CVS and Walmart stock naloxone, more need to make the drug available, he said.

“Hopefully, this study serves as a call to action for community pharmacies to better educate their pharmacists and support staff regarding naloxone access laws and company policies regarding naloxone dispensing,” Evoy said.

Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, director of screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y., said the public also needs to be educated about naloxone.

“We need to encourage education for the community, schools and hospitals to relieve apprehensions one may feel in going directly to a pharmacy to get naloxone,” said Kapoor, who was not involved with the studies.

It might be that people feel uncomfortable asking for naloxone because of fear or the stigma associated with opioid use, he said.

“We should continue identifying barriers to utilization and focus efforts to further normalize and destigmatize substance use disorder,” Kapoor said.

Source: Read Full Article

Autism behaviors show unique brain network fingerprints in infants

A new study has identified unique functional brain networks associated with characteristic behaviors of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in 12- and 24-month old children at risk for developing ASD. The study is published in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.

The findings help pinpoint brain regions involved in particular aspects of ASD and provide clues as to how the characteristic behaviors — known as restricted and repetitive behaviors — develop in the brain from an early age.

“This study is the first to investigate which patterns of brain functional connectivity underlie the emergence of these behaviors in infancy,” said co-first author Claire McKinnon, a lab technician in the laboratory of John Pruett, MD, PhD, Washington University School of Medicine, a lead researcher of the study.

Although the behaviors assessed in the study are important for typical development during infancy, increased prevalence of the behaviors at 12 months old is one of the earliest signs that an infant might later develop ASD. Few studies have managed to examine what is happening in the brain at this time because of the difficulty of using brain imaging techniques — such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) — with infants and toddlers. The new study provides an important window into the brain during this critical time when brain circuits and ASD behaviors are developing.

“The study contributes to the growing body of evidence that changes in brain function, that can be measured in infants and young children using resting state fMRI, can reflect emerging differences in cognition and behavior that are associated with the autism spectrum and seen in children at increased risk for the disorder,” said Cameron Carter, MD, Editor of Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.

“Functional connectivity correlates of repetitive behaviors observable in infancy could be candidates for biomarkers that predict features of ASD before a clinical diagnosis, which typically is only possible after 24 months,” said Ms. McKinnon. In addition to potential as an early prediction tool, the authors also hope that the results may have use for treatments in ASD. “There is currently a lack of effective interventions targeting repetitive behaviors, and the specific neural correlates identified in this study could also be studied as potential targets for measuring response to future treatments,” said Ms. McKinnon.

The study divided the behaviors into three subcategories — restricted behaviors (e.g., limited interests), stereotyped behaviors (e.g., repetitive movements), and ritualistic/sameness behaviors (e.g., resistance to change). The abnormal functional connections associated with these subcategories involved several brain networks, including the default mode (a network typically most active at rest), visual, attention, and executive control networks. The unique associations between these networks and specific behaviors reinforces the subcategories, whereas overlapping associations indicate that some aspects of the behaviors may share common origins.

Source: Read Full Article

The first frost is dangerous for the body

In the first season the days of negative temperatures especially dangerous to health, said the doctor, Victoria Savitskaya. For the body the first frosts can be a real stress and adversely affect the internal organs, warned the specialist.

According to Savitskaya, the most comfortable for the body is room temperature. The need to adapt to the first frosts, which replaced the zero temperature perceived by the body as acute stress.

The doctor noted that under the influence of frost in the brain aktiviziruyutsya kontrinsuljarnye production of hormones that belong to the category of stress hormones. To move this change without disruption, a healthy person in General can. But who today is not a chronic disease?

“The body gradually begins to narrow the blood vessels external, but also dilates blood vessels of internal organs to warm. In the presence of chronic heart disease or problems with the vascular tone, it creates additional risks,” said the expert.
The doctor believes that the first frost is additionally useful to maintain health and to avoid hypothermia. Savitskaya recommended to wear clothing in several layers, at least three, as the layer of air between layers of clothing increase heat. In addition, the first frosts have definitely should wear warm socks made of natural materials. In footwear, you can put warm insoles. In addition, it should not be close, otherwise the blood circulation will slow, and the legs will start to freeze.

Magicforum previously wrote about what steps should be taken to save the health at the sharp cold.

11 Signs Your Headache Is Actually a Migraine

If you think your “really bad headaches” aren’t migraines, you may want to take a closer look at your symptoms—especially if you’re a woman.

More than half of all migraine sufferers are never diagnosed, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. And according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, migraines are three times more common in women than in men. Crazy, right?

By taking a few minutes to learn about migraines, you can get an idea if you’re dealing with the condition and get treatment that will actually give you relief. Read on for all the signs and symptoms you may be overlooking, plus background on why migraines happen in the first place.

So, what exactly are migraines, and why do people get them?

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a migraine is a brain disease that causes various uncomfortable symptoms that can last anywhere from four hours up to three days. (Yup, three freakin’ days!)

While the exact cause of migraine headaches is unknown, the Migraine Research Foundation says that both genes and environmental factors likely play a role. We also know that the symptoms are brought on by a change in chemical activity that impacts both the central and peripheral nervous systems, explains Jessica Ailani, M.D., director of the MedStar Georgetown Headache Center in Washington D.C.

Eek! How can I tell if I’m having a migraine or just a tension or sinus headache?

Migraine headaches can cause various symptoms before, during, and after the attack. Not all people experience all symptoms, and your migraine may be entirely different than a friend’s.

Symptoms can come on gradually or suddenly. Sometimes they start overnight, causing people to wake up with a migraine, but not always, the Mayo Clinic notes. Basically, every migraine headache is slightly different, and there’s no cut and dry list of symptoms that pertain to everyone. (Annoying, we know!)

All that said, there are a number of ways migraines differ from regular headaches. If you experience any of these symptoms, you’re likely suffering from a migraine and not something that’ll go away by popping some Advil.

Common migraine symptoms you should definitely know about

1. Debilitating throbbing

“Patients will tell me, ‘I can feel my heartbeat in my head,’ or talk about touching their temple and feeling the vein throbbing, or feeling like their head will explode,” Ailani says. A run-of-the-mill headache, however, causes a dull, aching pain that’s more of an annoyance versus something that throws a wrench in your daily life.

2. Pain on only one side of your head

While migraines can be experienced on both sides of the head, the pain is typically only on one side. A tension headache, however, typically presents as pain all over, and a sinus headache presents as pressure around the cheeks, eyes, and forehead.

It’s still unclear why migraines may present as one-sided. One theory has to do with the trigeminal nerves. (There’s one on each side of the brain.) However, only one may be activated when a migraine begins, and as this continues to happen with repeated migraines over time, that one nerve becomes the “quickest, easiest path for the brain,” Ailani explains.

3. Seeing sparking lights or flashes

“When a migraine happens, there’s a slow wave of electrical activity from the back to the front of the brain,” explains Adelene Jann, M.D., a neurologist at NYU Langone Health. “When that happens, there’s also decreased blood flow to the brain, and everything slows down.” In turn, about 25 percent of suffers experience an aura either before or during their migraines, according to the Migraine Research Foundation.

A visual aura causes various forms of distorted vision, including sparkling lights, different colors, pixelated vision, flashes on one side of the visual field, or colorful zigzag lines. These types of vision changes don’t usually happen with a tension or sinus headache.

4. Weakness and tingling

Vision isn’t the only thing impacted by the decreased brain speed. Migraines can also present with a sensory aura, which causes numbness, tingling, or even weakness on one side of the body. Some people may have a speech aura and have trouble finding their words, which is eerily similar to what happens during a stroke, the Mayo Clinic notes. (But to be clear, is totally unrelated.)

5. Next level nausea

Many people who experience migraines feel nausea, dizziness, or even vomit. “Our gut has a nervous system,” Ailani explains. “When you activate the brain nerves, it’ll activate the gut as well.” Experts believe that the gut slows down during a migraine headache, which can lead to nausea. Studies have also found an association between migraines and gastrointestinal disorders, but the connection remains unclear.

6. A heightened sense of smell

When you get a migraine, the brain is hyperexcited, Jann says. “Everything is ramped up, so people notice noises, lights, and smells more.” That’s why you may be able to smell your coworker’s lunch all the way down the hall or hear your roommate’s music through multiple closed doors, according to a Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease study. It’s also why many migraine sufferers seek refuge in a dark, quiet, cool room when the pain is at its worst.

7. You’re totally out of it—even after the pain is gone

Everything from depression to irritability to euphoria has been reported before, during, and after migraine headaches, and some people have reported difficulty concentrating, notes a Journal of Neuroscience study. “Before a migraine, you may notice you’re struggling to get through the document you’are reading, and even during and after, you can feel out of it for a little bit,” Jann says. “It has to do with the slowing of the brain.”

8. The throbbing derails your entire life

A migraine is not just a headache. “A migraine is disabling; it interferes with your life,” Jann says. The severity is too intense that you cannot go about your normal day, and you may miss work or social obligations. “You’re trying to do other things, but your brain is like, ‘Sorry, I won’t let you,’” Ailani says. A typical headache, on the other hand, doesn’t usually leave you down for the count.

9. You get crazy fatigued

During all phases of a migraine, “your brain is busy having a party, and that party can be exhausting,” Ailani says. The feeling that no amount of coffee could help perk you up can last a day or two after a migraine passes. “Your brain is trying to clean up the mess, and it takes energy to do that,” Ailani explains.

10. Your neck is stiff

The trigeminal nerve is thought to play a role in migraines, the Mayo Clinic notes. When it’s activated, it communicates with a major pain pathway in the upper region of the spinal cord, Ailani explains. “When that center gets activated, it sends signals upward to the brain, and possibly sends signals into the upper neck, causing pain.”

11. The pain seems like it lasts forever

Migraines can last from four hours up to three days. You may have several a year, a few a month, or even migraines half the month, Ailani says. Regular headaches just aren’t that frequent.

When to seek medical attention

Ailani recommends seeing a health care provider if any of the following rings true to you:

Talk to your primary care provider first. She or he may refer you to a neurologist, who may refer you to a headache specialist. “Either can help you get your migraines under control so as not to run into problems in the future,” Jann says.

Source: Read Full Article

Adenomyosis causes pain, heavy periods and infertility but you’ve probably never heard of it

Adenomyosis is a condition of the uterus (womb), where the tissue that grows on the lining of the uterus (also known as the endometrium) is also present on the inside muscular wall of the uterus. Adenomyosis can cause symptoms such as heavy bleeding during your period, bleeding when you are not due for your period, period pain (dysmenorrhea), pain during or after sex (dyspareunia) and infertility.

Although women with adenomyosis often also have endometriosis, they are different conditions. With endometriosis, cells similar to those that line the uterus are found in other parts of the body such as the fallopian tubes, the ovaries or the tissue lining the pelvis (the peritoneum).

The area of the uterus affected by adenomyosis is known as the endometrial-myometrial junction, which is where the endometrium and the myometrium (the muscular part of the uterus) meet.

Disruption in the endometrial-myometrial junction is now considered an important contributor to reproductive problems such as recurrent implantation failure, a condition that can prevent women falling pregnant. Adenomyosis can either be quite spread out, known as generalised adenomyosis or localised in one place, also known as an adenomyoma.

Adenomyosis can have a number of causes though none have been definitively identified. There is an association between the presence of adenomyosis and the number of times a women has given birth: the more pregnancies, the more likely you are to have adenomyosis. Women with adenomyosis have also often had a trauma to the uterus such as surgery in the uterus, like during a caesarean section.

How common is adenomyosis?

Like endometriosis, we don’t know exactly how many women may be affected by the condition. What makes the impact of adenomyosis so tricky to determine is that it is quite commonly found during regular screening tests, even when women are not complaining of any symptoms, which means many women may have it and not know about it.

Because it’s often found in women with other conditions like endometriosis, it’s difficult to determine which condition caused the symptoms. We don’t currently know why some women with adenomyosis have symptoms and others don’t.

There are also a number of different criteria for diagnosing adenomyosis, which can differ in important factors. For instance, the number of sections of adenomyosis that need to be affected for a diagosis when looking at tissue samples under a microscope. This makes it a problem when we try to work out how common adenomyosis is.

There can also be differences of opinion among the experts who look at these tissue samples. Experts can look at the same slides and come to very different conclusions.

How is it diagnosed?

Unlike endometriosis, which can only be definitively diagnosed through a key-hole surgery, a diagnosis of adenomyosis can be done through both invasive and non-invasive methods. The most common invasive method is a uterine biopsy (tissue sampling). A biopsy of the uterus can also be performed to make the diagnosis by an abdominal key-hole surgical procedure (laparoscopy) but this remains limited to clinical trials.

Biopsies going through the vagina up to the uterus may have a role in the diagnosis of adenomyosis, but can potentially damage the uterus and therefore are avoided in women wishing to fall pregnant. The ultimate biopsy is a hysterectomy (the removal of the uterus). This is the most accurate method but is obviously a significant surgical procedure and will prevent women having children. A diagnosis of adenomyosis has been made in between 10-88% of hysterectomy specimens showing how common this condition is.

Non-invasive diagnosis can be made by different types of imaging. Ultrasound is commonly available and can be done either using the probe on the abdomen or, preferably, placing the probe in the vagina.

However, ultrasound isn’t always the best choice as it only detects adenomyosis about 50-87% of the time. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a better choice as there are a number of typical features seen during MRI. These vary throughout the cycle and in response to hormonal therapy but can reliably predict adenomyosis.

What are the treatments?

Management options for adenomyosis include hormonal therapy and surgery. These are mainly targeted at reducing symptoms such as pain. There isn’t much research into whether these increase the chance of getting pregnant.

Hormonal treatments focus on suppressing menstruation. This can be achieved by combined oestrogen and progesterone therapy (such as the combined oral contraceptive pill), progestogen-only treatment (such as a Mirena) or placing women into an “induced” menopause (through GnRH analogs).

Surgical treatment is most effective when the adenomyosis is localised to a smaller area and can be removed, and this type of surgery doesn’t prevent women falling pregnant in the future. If the adenomyosis is spread throughout a larger area then treatments include destroying the lining of the uterus (endometrial ablation) provided adenomyosis is not too deep, and hysterectomy, both of which will prevent further pregnancy.

Other treatment options are interventional radiology such as uterine artery embolisation, where the blood supply to the uterus is cut off and magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound where the adenomyosis is destroyed with ultrasound energy.

Does it affect fertility?

There is some evidence adenomyosis can reduce fertility, but this is still controversial. Clinical studies are limited by difficulties and differences in diagnosis and their study designs have problems.

Some MRI studies show changes consistent with infertility, but because patients presenting with infertility in their 30s and 40s are more likely to be diagnosed with adenomyosis, it’s difficult to say if adenomyosis is the cause of their fertility issues.

Source: Read Full Article

Cancer-stricken mother, 40, claims the NHS is ‘leaving her to die’

Mother, 40, battling breast cancer is frantically trying to raise £90,000 for a life-extending drug in the US after claiming the NHS is leaving her to die

  • Emma Shaw was diagnosed with secondary triple negative breast cancer
  • Diagnosis is terminal, with doctors saying she has just a year left to live
  • She claims the NHS will not provide potentially life-saving treatments
  • Hopes to be treated with a drug in the US that is not available on the NHS 

A mother has been forced to raise £90,000 for a life-extending drug after claiming the NHS is leaving her to die.

Emma Shaw, 40, from Rothley, Leicestershire, was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in August – just nine months after being given the ‘all clear’ from the disease.

The tumours have since invaded her liver, with doctors giving her just a year to live. 

Due to her type of cancer – triple negative breast cancer – and her terminal diagnosis, Ms Shaw claims the NHS will only provide palliative chemotherapy rather than life-prolonging treatment.

But the mother-of-one is refusing to give up and is determined to show her eight-year-old son Theo that his ‘mummy tried her best to see him grow up’.

After researching her options online, Ms Shaw is fundraising £90,000 in the hope of receiving a drug in the US that is not routinely available on the NHS.

Emma Shaw has been forced to raise £90,000 for a life-extending drug after claiming the NHS is leaving her to die. She is pictured with her son Theo, eight, before being diagnosed with breast cancer last March. It then spread to her liver and she has been given just a year to live

Pictured after undergoing chemotherapy, Ms Shaw claims the NHS has told her there is nothing they can do to treat her triple negative breast cancer given the fact it is terminal. But she is determined not to give up and wants to show Theo she fought hard to see him grow up 

Pictured with her boyfriend Darren, Ms Shaw accepts her cancer cannot be cured but wants to be around for as long as possible. She is fundraising to get the drug Keytruda in the US, which is not routinely available on the NHS. It stops cancer cells from hiding from the immune system

Other patients battling different types of cancer have previously raised money to access the drug, called pembrolizumab, privately in the UK.

Speaking of her diagnosis, Ms Shaw said: ‘Being told your only option is to die is awful, I am still having chemotherapy with the NHS but no one is sure if this will shrink the cancer or keep me stable.

‘The NHS staff at Leicester Royal Infirmary were amazing the first time I was diagnosed last March but the second time around you feel like you’re just forgotten and there’s no hope for the future.

‘I’m too young to just accept that I have just months left to live so I’m clinging onto hope.’

Ms Shaw is raising money towards paying for the drug Keytruda (pembrolizumab), which prevents cancer cells from hiding from the immune system so it can attack them.    

In June this year, NHS England announced it would be making the drug more routinely available – but only for lung cancer that has spread.  

  • Lawyer, 34, was given just ONE WEEK to live after her doctor…

    ‘Dad was told – this is your wheelchair, get used to it. No…

    The surprising supplements doctors take themselves: From…

    The most dangerous machine in the opearating room? The man:…

Share this article

‘I’m not blaming the NHS as I know they have procedures to follow but it’s just so scary fighting this alone,’ Ms Shaw said.

‘There’s so many people who are going through the same horrendous ordeal as me, I wake up every day shaking with anxiety.

‘Every second of every day I feel terrified that I’m going to die and that I can’t get help here.’

Ms Shaw is hoping the money she raises will cover her travel costs to the US, as well as her treatment, which she expects she will require for the rest of her life.   

‘America is very much ahead of their game when it comes to treatment but it comes at a very big price,’ she said.

‘I can’t put a cost on my life and time with Theo, so I am determined to make this work so at least I can say I tried.

‘Theo needs to see his mummy trying to fight this awful disease. I also hope my story shows other women there are other options when the NHS can’t help.

‘I don’t want anyone to think I’m being negative about the hospital I have been treated at as they’re amazing, it’s just a shame they don’t offer anymore options when it’s secondary.’

Pictured recently with Theo, Ms Shaw claims she wakes up every day ‘shaking with anxiety’ that she may die at any moment. With her terminal diagnosis, she feels ‘forgotten’ by doctors

Pictured this year with Darren and Theo, Ms Shaw says she is too young to accept life is over


Keytruda (pembrolizumab) is an IV immunotherapy that works with a cancer patient’s immune system to help them fight the disease.

It does this by blocking PD-L1 on the surface of cancer cells. This takes the brakes off the immune system, setting it free to attack cancer cells.  

Keytruda, developed by Merck, has been approved by the FDA to treat the following cancers:

  • Advanced melanoma
  • Advanced non-small lung
  • Head and neck squamos cell
  • Classical Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma
  • Bladder and urinary tract 
  • Advanced stomach
  • Advanced cervical 
  • Those with a ‘DNA mismatch repair’, which can include breast 

In the US, Keytruda – injected twice a week – can be used in adults or children with any of the above cancers that cannot be surgically removed or have progressed following treatment. 

In June 2018, NHS England announced the drug will be routinely available on the health service for patients with lung cancers that have spread. It can already be dished out for patients with melanoma or Hodgkin lymphoma.

Studies show the drug can shrink different types of tumours and boost a patient’s response to other treatments.  

But Keytruda can also cause the immune system to attack healthy organs and tissue, which can be life threatening. Complications may include colitis, hepatitis or kidney failure. 


Ms Shaw was told her breast cancer had returned and spread to her liver in August after being diagnosed with pneumonia.

Doctors scanned her lungs and the surrounding areas to assess the infection, only to discover her cancer had come back. 

‘I felt really unwell as soon as I got back from holiday,’ she said. ‘I couldn’t believe it when I was told my cancer was back.

‘I’d had a lumpectomy after my first diagnosis the year before but having a mastectomy now isn’t an option as the cancer is so aggressive.

‘It has been a whirlwind ever since but, despite it all, I have tried to enjoy as much time with my son, Theo, and boyfriend, Darren, as possible.’

After starting her fundraising page last week, Ms Shaw has already raised more than £19,000.

‘I’m so grateful to everyone who has already donated,’ she said.

‘I am hoping I’ll be able to go to America at the start of next year for the immunotherapy treatment.

‘It won’t cure me but it could make my cancer stable.’ 

NHS England and NICE have both been approached for comment.  

She claims she cannot put a cost on her life or her remaining time with Theo, which motivates her to keep fundraising so she can ‘at least say she tried’. They are pictured this year 

Ms Shaw celebrated her ‘last’ chemo session for triple negative breast cancer on September 12 last year. Months later she was given the all clear, only to discover it had returned and invaded her liver last August while being treated for pneumonia. She is pictured with her parents

Source: Read Full Article

Ebola outbreak in the DR Congo is the ‘worst in the country’s history’

Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the ‘worst in the country’s history’ as death toll reaches 198 and the killer infection continues to spread

  • At least 319 people have been infected by Ebola in the DR Congo since August
  • Health workers are being attacked, kidnapped and killed by armed groups
  • And 27 children have died from the virus, which experts say is unusual
  • e-mail



The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the worst to ever rock the country since the horror disease was discovered there in 1976.

Health officials in the African nation say they have never seen such a fierce outbreak. Figures show the current one has infected at least 319 people and killed 198. 

And, unusually, children are being badly affected because they’re catching the virus while in medical clinics for other reasons, experts say.

‘No other epidemic in the world has been as complex as the one we are currently experiencing,’ said Dr Oly Ilunga Kalenga, the DRC’s health minister.

Armed groups have attacked, kidnapped and killed medical staff trying to combat the outbreak, equipment has been destroyed, making it difficult to help victims.

Ebola has now killed at least 198 people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, making it the worst outbreak ever in the central African country, the government says

The outbreak is happening in the Ituri and North Kivu provinces in the north east of the African nation, which borders Uganda and South Sudan.

Having started on August 1, it is the 10th outbreak since the disease, which causes extreme fever, bleeding and diarrhoea, was first discovered 42 years ago.

‘This epidemic remains dangerous and unpredictable, and we must not let our guard down,’ said Dr Kalenga.

  • Yes, you really can think yourself thin! So say the… Why falling in love is good for blood pressure, pain relief… Single woman who was so desperate to be a mother she found a… Men and women really do think differently, say scientists…

Share this article

‘We must continue to pursue a very dynamic response that requires permanent readjustments and real ownership at the community level.’

He added: ‘Since their arrival in the region, the response teams have faced threats, physical assaults, repeated destruction of their equipment, and kidnapping.

‘Two of our colleagues in the Rapid Response Medical Unit even lost their lives in an attack.’

Dr Kalenga said teams responding to the outbreak are violently attacked, on average, three to four times a week.

In October, militants killed 11 civilians and a soldier in Beni, a city with a population of around 230,000 people where the outbreak is thought to have started.

Among the 198 people who have died in the outbreak, 163 of them were confirmed to have had Ebola, with 35 of them ‘probable’ cases.

Around 100 people are thought to have survived the incurable virus.

A Congolese health worker administers an experimental Ebola vaccine to a boy who had been in close contact with a confirmed sufferer in Mangina, North Kivu

Congolese soldiers are pictured patrolling an Ebola treatment centre in Beni in the aftermath of an attack that killed more than a dozen civilians 

A doctor is pictured caring for a patient inside an isolated cube at the Alliance for International Medical Action treatment centre in Beni

Despite facing resistance from people who don’t want health workers treating them, the government has managed to vaccinate more than 27,000 people.

Those who are known to have come into contact with others who had the disease have been targeted by the vaccination programme.

The head of UN peacekeeping operations vowed this week to do more with DRC’s government to help improve security in the country’s east.


DRC escaped the brutal Ebola pandemic that began in 2014, which was finally declared over in January 2016 – but it was struck by a smaller outbreak last year.

Four DRC residents died from the virus in 2017. The outbreak lasted just 42 days and international aid teams were praised for their prompt responses.

The new outbreak is the DRC’s tenth since the discovery of Ebola in the country in 1976, named after the river. The outbreak earlier this summer was its ninth.

Health experts credit an awareness of the disease among the population and local medical staff’s experience treating for past successes containing its spread.

DRC’s vast, remote geography also gives it an advantage, as outbreaks are often localised and relatively easy to isolate.

The majority of the Ebola cases have been in the city of Beni – at least 120 confirmed cases have occurred there.

And at least 30 of these – 27 of them fatal – have hit children under the age of 10, officials revealed last month, meaning children are dying at an unprecedented rate.

Jessica Illunga, a spokesperson for the health ministry in DRC said in October: ‘There is an abnormally high number of children who have contracted and died of Ebola in Beni.

‘Normally, in every Ebola epidemic, children are not as affected.’

Dr Peter Salama, emergency response chief at the World Health Organization (WHO), last month warned the current Ebola outbreak would only get worse.

The combination of rebel violence and pre-election unrest is creating a ‘perfect storm’ for an even worse epidemic, he said.

Armed opposition attacks in North Kivu province have risen in recent weeks.

Refugee workers were even forced to evacuate Beni due to a deadly raid that left more than a dozen locals dead.

Fears and misconceptions about the virus are also being exploited by politicians ahead of the DRC’s December election, which is causing the public to lose faith in health workers, according to Dr Salama.

Last month, Ebola was found to be responsible for the death of a woman in Butembo, which has a population of around 1.4 million.

In response, Dr Salama said ‘no-one should be sleeping well tonight around the world’.


Ebola, a haemorrhagic fever, killed at least 11,000 across the world after it decimated West Africa and spread rapidly over the space of two years.

That pandemic was officially declared over back in January 2016, when Liberia was announced to be Ebola-free by the WHO.

The country, rocked by back-to-back civil wars that ended in 2003, was hit the hardest by the fever, with 40 per cent of the deaths having occurred there.

Sierra Leone reported the highest number of Ebola cases, with nearly of all those infected having been residents of the nation.


An analysis, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found the outbreak began in Guinea – which neighbours Liberia and Sierra Leone.

A team of international researchers were able to trace the pandemic back to a two-year-old boy in Meliandou – about 400 miles (650km) from the capital, Conakry.

Emile Ouamouno, known more commonly as Patient Zero, may have contracted the deadly virus by playing with bats in a hollow tree, a study suggested.


Figures show nearly 29,000 people were infected from Ebola – meaning the virus killed around 40 per cent of those it struck.

Cases and deaths were also reported in Nigeria, Mali and the US – but on a much smaller scale, with 15 fatalities between the three nations.

Health officials in Guinea reported a mysterious bug in the south-eastern regions of the country before the WHO confirmed it was Ebola. 

Ebola was first identified by scientists in 1976, but the most recent outbreak dwarfed all other ones recorded in history, figures show.


Scientists believe Ebola is most often passed to humans by fruit bats, but antelope, porcupines, gorillas and chimpanzees could also be to blame.

It can be transmitted between humans through blood, secretions and other bodily fluids of people – and surfaces – that have been infected.


The WHO warns that there is ‘no proven treatment’ for Ebola – but dozens of drugs and jabs are being tested in case of a similarly devastating outbreak.

Hope exists though, after an experimental vaccine, called rVSV-ZEBOV, protected nearly 6,000 people. The results were published in The Lancet journal. 

Source: Read Full Article

Country roads: Meet the families swapping the big smoke for fresh air

In recent months, the challenges facing rural Ireland have materialised in quick succession – the delay in the National Broadband Plan, the proposed closure of over 100 rural post offices nationwide and the anxiety around the prospect of a no-deal Brexit and its implications for the agri-food sector. Despite the gloom and doom, there are some brave souls who choose to flee from city streets and all their amenities to quieter, greener environs and a more tranquil life.

These refugees from overpopulated, unaffordable cities and their stressful, arduous commutes, air pollution and rat-race aggression have certainly defied convention in their migration from urban to rural. However, by moving against national population trends, people are also carving out new opportunities and a better quality of life for themselves, and their families.

Advantages such as clean air, cheaper housing, a vibrant sense of community, and more space are appealing reasons to move to rural locations, but other aspects of rural life – including the lack of public transport, long, dark winters complicated by extreme weather events, erratic rural broadband, lack of employment and the revised drink driving legislation – present obstacles to those pursuing bucolic bliss.

John Bassett and Mijke Jansen of Bassett’s Restaurant in Thomastown made the move from Holland to Kilkenny 14 years ago. While John is originally from Inistioge, Mijke is from the Netherlands. They met in London and subsequently returned to Dublin, but unable to settle, they then moved to Mijke’s native Holland for six years. However, John’s plans always included a return to Ireland to start a family: “I couldn’t imagine myself having kids anywhere other than back home.” The couple’s three children, Amber (13), George (11) and Emmy (9) were all born in Ireland.

In 2004, they returned to open a restaurant in the Woodstock estate in Inistioge, which they were forced to close after the 2008 crash. Lean years followed but John recalls that their idyllic rural location, along with their “back to basics attitude” and young family provided consolation.

Last year, they launched the new Bassett’s Restaurant in Thomastown, which John describes as “quite a vibrant town”.

Mijke, who was initially wary about cultural differences in rural Ireland versus densely populated Holland – she describes how the Dutch “really protect their personal space” and how here “everybody kind of wants to know each other’s business and you know… I’m a very private person” – is now “so integrated”.

She elaborates: “There’s another side to it as well… there’s social cohesion still in these small communities and that’s what’s missing in cities and in other cultures.

“Living where we do now gives a good quality of life. Things are just not as hectic. There’s a sense of community… I think the fact that everybody knows each other can be a bit oppressive sometimes, but it also gives a lot of comfort.

“When you get to the stage of settling down and having children, I don’t think you could find a better place for children to grow up than in an area like this.”

Kela Hodgins and her family, who relocated from Blackrock, Co Dublin, to Ardfield, outside Clonakilty in West Cork, experienced a transformative change in the process. Five years ago, when she and her husband, Stephen, were in their mid-40s and “doing the corporate thing and just finding that everything was just a drag”, they found Dunowen House (the former home of bass player Noel Redding from The Jimi Hendrix Experience) and within six weeks had sold their house in Dublin and moved to Cork. “A whirlwind,” she says.

They now run Dunowen House as a private luxury holiday rental home, while Kela also works on other projects and her husband works in consultancy. She is effusive about their new home: “The house is right – Clonakilty, West Cork, the community around us here made the transition just so much easier.” Her three children, (two boys and a girl) have flourished in the countryside. “They really adapted well, but they say now – ‘God, those first six months were tough’.

“We didn’t even have country cousins. Having the children is a good way of meeting new people. “I’ve been banging this drum for a couple of years… as I keep saying to people ‘I’m such a convert now to the idea [of relocating to the country from the cities]’. We still do a bit of work up in Dublin and we go up and I cannot believe the traffic… or the price of houses and the price of rent. I think, ‘why are not more people not thinking about doing it?’.”

But she concedes: “It’s not for everyone. I know a lot of our friends in Dublin, they do think we’re mad. When we moved, people were saying ‘Oh my God, you’re so brave,’ but I always thought they were saying ‘brave’ but they meant ‘crazy’.”

Kela lists varied advantages to their new home, including a closer connection to nature and the seasons, a better social life and a healthier diet and lifestyle: “I think we’ve added years to our life down here.”

Jane Gormley, mum to Paddy (13) and newborn daughter Clara, has made a new home in Allenwood, Co Kildare, having left Greystones in 2017 to live with her partner, William Mulhall, who runs a fourth generation farm that is now organic. She works for Recruiter Nation, a recruitment consultancy in Dublin, and when she informed them of her move to Kildare, they facilitated her (and other employees who lived in Kildare and Meath) by opening a Naas office. Jane explains: “So I was able to bring my job, which was brilliant, and the impact it has is amazing.”

Jane helps individuals find roles outside Dublin – “80pc of the work we do is focusing on people who want to get out of Dublin”.

In her previous working life she put in a 12-hour day: “You look at my situation with Paddy – I had a great job and really nice infrastructure around me in Greystones, and a lovely place to live, but the two of us were out of our house at 7am and we wouldn’t be back until 7pm. It was a panic station from Monday to Friday.”

Paddy now attends secondary school locally. “He’s now in a secondary school in Clane which is a nearby town… and he’s getting on really well.” She also loves him being “out in the fields and trees”.

For herself, Jane relishes “the feeling of space and sky”, “more overlap” with her son’s daily life and “a more dignified life” where she’s not chasing her tail.

She criticises the housing situation in Dublin as “not human”.

“We’re aware there are better ways of living, but it takes someone to take charge of it and I don’t think as an individual you can control all that, but you can control what you decide to do.”

Dublin-centric policies have driven people to the capital in Ireland, but cheaper and better housing, a gentler way of life, and more personal and family time continue to lure others in the opposite direction. As Kela Hodgins offers: “I feel down here we’re having a chance at a second life.”

Source: Read Full Article

1 33 34 35 36 37 45