December 30, 2012

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 2:41-52. 

Each year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. 

After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. 

Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. 

After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. 

When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety." 

And he said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. 

And Jesus advanced (in) wisdom and age and favor before God and man.

December 28, 2012

Bridging the gap - a reaction on globalization

To aim for a good and prospering life in our quite endless existence nowadays takes a ton of commensurable and lasting mean. With the emergence of various possible boulevards of growth, we oftentimes take the most obvious for granted.

It is without a doubt that globalization is the core and aim of humanity currently and that we should strive within ourselves to increase our awareness to this pressing phenomenon. Globalization occurs as swift as the wind and so we must realize the importance of the key factors underlining these modern changes.

For us and those with the academe, one vital key here is communication. The importance of communication in globalization is a necessity. It acts basically as a tool in the progression of a specific act. I cannot imagine modernization without the humungous aid provided by the laurels of communication. It affects almost every aspect of globalization. Seeing the curriculum as a body of knowledge and a tool for globalization - knowledge about science, history, mathematics, geography, and so on, we tend to see teaching these skilled communication is imparting this knowledge to youth. With proper implementation couple with good governance, our aim for modernization can be reached. Locally, we can further our diplomatic ties with other countries  since communication won’t be a hindrance anymore.

Communication, together with other essential aspects in globalization working side by side, can eventually bridge the gap of global modernization and progress as a nation.


Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

·         Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up the same time each day. As creatures of habit, people have a hard time adjusting to altered sleep patterns. Sleeping later n weekends won’t fully make up for the lack of sleep during the week and will make it harder to wake up early on Monday morning.

·         Exercise is great but not too late in the day. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes on most days but not later than 5 or 6 hours before your bedtime.

·         Avoid caffeine and nicotine. Coffee, colas, certain teas, and chocolate contain the stimulant caffeine, and its effects can take as long as 8 hours to wear off fully. Therefore, a cup of coffee in the late afternoon can make it hard for you to fall asleep at night. Nicotine is also a stimulant, often causing smokers to sleep only very lightly. In addition, smokers often wake up too early in the morning because of nicotine withdrawal.

·         Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed. You may think having an alcoholic “nightcap” will help you sleep, but alcohol robs you of deep sleep and REM sleep, keeping you in the lighter stages of sleep. You also tend to wake up in the middle of the night when the effects of the alcohol have worn off.

·         Avoid large meals and beverages late at night. A light snack is okay, but a large meal can cause indigestion that interferes with sleep. Drinking too many fluids at night can cause frequent awakenings to urinate.

·         If possible, avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep. Some commonly prescribed heart, blood pressure, or asthma medications, as well as some over-the-counter and herbal remedies for coughs, colds, or allergies, can disrupt sleep patterns. If you have trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor or pharmacist to see if any drugs you’re taking might be contributing to your insomnia.

·         Don’t take naps after 3 p.m. Naps can help make up for lost sleep, but late afternoon naps can make it harder to fall asleep at night.

·         Relax before bed. Don’t overschedule your day so that no time is left for unwinding. A relaxing activity, such as reading or listening to music, should be part of your bedtime ritual.

·         Take a hot bath before bed. The drop in body temperature after getting out of the bath may help you feel sleepy, and the bath can help you relax and slow down so you’re more ready to sleep.

·         Have a good sleeping environment. Get rid of anything that might distract you from sleep, such as noises, bright lights, an uncomfortable bed, or warm temperatures. You sleep better if the temperature in your bedroom is kept on the cool side. A TV or computer in the bedroom can be a distraction and deprive you of needed sleep. Having a comfortable mattress and pillow can help promote a good night’s sleep.

·         Have the right sunlight exposure. Daylight is key to regulating daily sleep patterns. Try to get outside in natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes each day. If possible, wake up with the sun or use very bright lights in the morning. Sleep experts recommend that, if you have problems falling asleep, you should get an hour of exposure to morning sunlight.

·         Don’t lie in bed awake. If you find yourself still awake after staying in bed for more than 20 minutes, get up and do some relaxing activity until you feel sleepy. The anxiety of not being able to sleep can make it harder to fall asleep.

·  See a doctor if you continue to have trouble sleeping. If you consistently find yourself feeling tired or not well rested during the day despite spending enough time in bed at night, you may have a sleep disorder. Your family doctor or a sleep specialist should be able to help you.

Top 10 Sleep Myths

Myth 1: Sleep is a time when your body and brain shut down for rest and relaxation.

No evidence shows that any major organ (including the brain) or regulatory system in the body shuts down during sleep. Some physiological processes actually become more active while you sleep. For example, secretion of certain hormones is boosted, and activity of the pathways in the brain needed for learning and memory is heightened.

Myth 2: Getting just 1 hour less sleep per night than needed will not have any effect on your daytime functioning.

This lack of sleep may not make you noticeably sleepy during the day. But even slightly less sleep can affect your ability to think properly and respond quickly, and it can compromise your cardiovascular health and energy balance as well as the ability to fight infections, particularly if lack of sleep continues. If you consistently do not get enough sleep, eventually a sleep debt builds up that will make you excessively tired during the day.

Myth 3: Your body adjusts quickly to different sleep schedules.

Your biological clock makes you most alert during the daytime and most drowsy at night. Thus, even if you work the night shift, you will naturally feel sleepy when nighttime comes. Most people can reset their biological clock, but only by appropriately timed cues—and even then, by 1–2 hours per day at best.

Consequently, it can take more than a week to adjust to a dramatically altered sleep/wake cycle, such as you encounter when traveling across several time zones or switching from working the day shift to the night shift.

Myth 4: People need less sleep as they get older.

Older people don’t need less sleep, but they often get less sleep or find their sleep less refreshing. That’s because as people age, they spend less time in the deep, restful stages of sleep and are more easily awakened. Older people are also more likely to have insomnia or other medical conditions that disrupt their sleep.

Myth 5: Extra sleep at night can cure you of problems with excessive daytime fatigue.

Not only is the quantity of sleep important but also the quality of sleep. Some people sleep 8 or 9 hours a night but don’t feel well rested when they wake up because the quality of their sleep is poor. A number of sleep disorders and other medical conditions affect the quality of sleep. Sleeping more won’t alleviate the daytime sleepiness these disorders or conditions cause. However, many of these disorders or conditions can be treated effectively with changes in behavior or with medical therapies.

Myth 6: You can make up for lost sleep during the week by sleeping more on the weekends.

Although this sleeping pattern will help relieve part of a sleep debt, it will not completely make up for the lack of sleep. This pattern also will not make up for impaired performance during the week because of not sleeping enough. Furthermore, sleeping later on the weekends can affect your biological clock so that
it is much harder to go to sleep at the right time on Sunday nights and get up early on Monday mornings.

Myth 7: Naps are a waste of time.

Although naps do not substitute for a good night’s sleep, they can be restorative and help counter some of the impaired performance that results from not getting enough sleep at night.

Naps can actually help you learn how to do certain tasks quicker. But avoid taking naps later than 3 p.m., as late naps can interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night. Also, limit your naps to no longer than 1 hour because longer naps will make it harder to wake up and get back in the swing of things. If you take frequent naps during the day, you may have a sleep disorder that should be treated.

Myth 8: Snoring is a normal part of sleep.

Snoring during sleep is common, particularly as a person gets older. Evidence is growing that snoring on a regular basis can make you sleepy during the day and more susceptible to diabetes and heart disease. In addition, some studies link frequent snoring to problem behavior and poorer school achievement in children. Loud, frequent snoring can also be a sign of sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder that should be treated.

Myth 9: Children who don’t get enough sleep at night will show signs of sleepiness during the day.

Unlike adults, children who don’t get enough sleep at night typically become more active than normal during the day. They also show difficulty paying attention and behaving properly. Consequently, they may be misdiagnosed as having attention deficit hyperactivity.

Myth 10: The main cause of insomnia is worry.

Although worry or stress can cause a short bout of insomnia, a persistent inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night can be caused by a number of other factors. Certain medications and sleep disorders can keep you up at night. Other common causes of insomnia are depression, anxiety disorders, and asthma, arthritis, or other medical conditions with symptoms that become more troublesome at night. Some people who have chronic insomnia also appear to be more revved up than normal, so it is harder for them to fall asleep.

What Does Sleep Do for You?

Your Hormones

When you were young, your mother may have told you that you need to get enough sleep to grow strong and tall. She may have been right! Deep sleep triggers more release of growth hormone, which fuels growth in children and boosts muscle mass and the repair of cells and tissues in children and adults. Sleep’s effect on the release of sex hormones also encourages puberty and fertility.

Consequently, women who work at night and tend to lack sleep are, therefore, more likely to have trouble conceiving or to miscarry. Your mother also probably was right if she told you that getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis would help keep you from getting sick and help you get better if you do get sick. During sleep, your body creates more cytokines—cellular hormones that help the immune system fight various infections. Lack of sleep can reduce the ability to fight off common infections. Research also reveals that a lack of sleep can reduce the body’s response to the flu vaccine.

For example, sleep-deprived volunteers given the flu vaccine produced less than half as many flu antibodies as those who were well rested and given the same vaccine. Although lack of exercise and other factors are important contributors, the current epidemic of diabetes and obesity appears to be related, at least in part, to chronically getting inadequate sleep.

Evidence is growing that sleep is a powerful regulator of appetite, energy use, and weight control. During sleep, the body’s production of the appetite suppressor leptin increases, and the appetite stimulant grehlin decreases. Studies find that the less people sleep, the more likely they are to be overweight or obese and prefer eating foods that are higher in calories and carbohydrates. People who report an average total sleep time of 5 hours a night, for example, are much more likely to become obese compared to people who sleep 7–8 hours a night.

A number of hormones released during sleep also control the body’s use of energy. A distinct rise and fall of blood sugar levels during sleep appears to be linked to sleep stage. Not getting enough sleep overall or enough of each stage of sleep disrupts this pattern. One study found that, when healthy young men slept only 4 hours a night for 6 nights in a row, their insulin and blood sugar levels mimicked those seen in people who were developing diabetes. Another study found that women who slept less than 7 hours a night were more likely to develop diabetes over time than those who slept between 7 and 8 hours a night.

Where Does Autism Come From?

Familial patterns                 

Research has found that autism clusters in families. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( has data showing the following diagnosis rates among family members:

  • Identical twins, who have the same genetic makeup, have about a 75 percent concordance rate (meaning that both twins have autism). 
  • Fraternal (nonidentical) twins have a 3-percent concordance rate.
  • The risk of autism in normal siblings ranges from 2 to 8 percent.
  • Among families that contain diagnoses of autism, research shows a 10- to 40-percent increase in the diagnoses of other developmental disabilities, such as language delays and learning disabilities.

Researchers have concluded that families that carry autism genes also carry other conditions in members who don’t necessarily have autism. The inheritance pattern for autism spectrum disorders is complex and suggests that mutations in a number of different genes (at least 10) may be involved, according to some research. That explains what Temple Grandin, an author and professor who has autism, calls the “highly variable nature” of autism.

Craig Newschaffer at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine estimates that 60 to 90 percent of all autism cases are genetically based. However, because of the complex nature of autism genetics, scientists don’t have a test parents can order to see if their children are at an increased risk of developing the disorder.

Autism also tends to occur more frequently among individuals who have certain inherited medical conditions, including Fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, congenital rubella syndrome, and untreated phenylketonuria (PKU).

Asperger Syndrome

Individuals with Asperger Syndrome range from people who may be considered a little eccentric to people who have serious difficulties socially, educationally, and professionally because they lack basic understanding of human interactions. People in the latter group often have to learn by rote things that other people consider common sense, such as how to read facial expressions, tones of voice (like sarcasm), and verbal expressions (such as “raining cats and dogs”).

Many people with Asperger’s have brilliant intellects yet are na├»ve and easily taken advantage of by others because they interpret situations at face value and miss social cues. Generally, “Aspies” lack common emotional responses and must learn appropriate social skills to function within society, but they’re typically considered high functioning and may never be diagnosed at all. No obvious language delay comes with Asperger Syndrome; however, language tends to develop in a unique manner. Professionals dispute whether Asperger’s should even be considered a disorder. People affected don’t show the same delays in cognitive development or curiosity about their environment that people with classic autism do in childhood.

One well-known person with Asperger Syndrome is Liane Holliday Willey — a doctor of education, a writer, and a researcher — who realized she had the syndrome only after her daughter received a diagnosis. In her book, Pretending to be Normal: Living with Asperger’s Syndrome (Jessica Kingsley Publishers), Willey explains how an undiagnosed individual often feels different from others but doesn’t know why. The person doesn’t seek a cure, only acceptance. “No matter what the hardships,” Willey writes, “I do not wish for a cure to Asperger Syndrome. What I wish for is a cure for the common ill that pervades too many lives; the ill that makes people compare themselves to a normal that is measured in terms of perfect and absolute standards, most of which are impossible for anyone to reach.” Co-author Stephen Shore was once considered uneducable, but he has written poignantly about his struggles to understand social protocols that others take for granted. Now considered to have Asperger Syndrome, Shore has written two other books and numerous articles.

You must understand that people with Asperger’s don’t lack feelings; their brains just function in such a way that they have trouble accessing and expressing feelings to others in a traditional manner.

Severe (or “classic”) autism

Sometimes referred to as Kanner’s Syndrome, severe autism is the classic type of autism that books and films often portray to great dramatic effect. You may also hear it called infantile autism, childhood autism, or simply autism disorder.

Individuals with the classic type of autism may have more, and are more heavily affected by, symptoms within the areas of communication, social development, and activities and interests or they may have only a few obvious ones. Some of the symptoms can be so debilitating — like a lack of functional communication — and the sensory issues so severe that the afflicted can barely stand to remain in their own skin. Other symptoms may be mild; a person may have good verbal communication skills but is unable to understand pragmatics, or the meaning “between the words”.

People who are less-severely impaired by their autism are said to have high functioning autism (HFA) or Asperger Syndrome (see the section “Asperger Syndrome” for more on, well, Asperger Syndrome). Language develops late or not at all in people with Kanner’s Syndrome, which is the main distinction between classic autism and Asperger’s, as of this writing. Dr. Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University who lectures and writes frequently on autism, and Kathy Grant, a political science graduate and autism advocate who has chronicled her sensory sensitivities, are some famous examples of high-functioning people with classic autism.

Autism symptoms

Professionals diagnose autism based upon symptoms shown in the categories of social interaction, communication, and behavior. Early diagnosis and intervention — before the age of 3 — are very important, because research shows that many features of autism respond better when you deal with them early. Sadly, some children don’t receive an official diagnosis until years after their parents first suspect that something is wrong, which means they lose valuable time. Even some doctors don’t have the necessary facts to provide an accurate diagnosis. You know your child better than any doctor, so if you disagree with a doctor’s assessment, you should get a second opinion. Trust your instincts if you think your child isn’t developing normally.

Behavior (activities and interests)

Autistic children often have obsessions or preoccupations with objects or with fantasy worlds (they may have trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality) that go beyond the normal interests of a developing child. For example, a child may play exclusively with string or believe she’s an animal. She may have trouble transitioning from one activity to the next and insist on sticking to a ritual or routine — even one that seems to have no meaning. Repeated mannerisms such as hand flapping, rocking, or walking on one’s toes may become habits.
Doctors are certain that autism affects the way the brain functions (and autopsies of autistic brains show abnormalities in different areas), causing a sometimes distinctive set of behavioral symptoms. Each behavioral symptom can range from mild to severe. To complicate things further, not all children diagnosed as autistic display all the behavioral symptoms. The behavioural symptoms govern the diagnosis, making treatment problematic.

Social development

People with autism — partly because of the problems they have with communication — have difficulty developing friendships and playing cooperatively with others. Often, kids with autism don’t imitate others’ behaviors, as children usually do, and they don’t share their thoughts and observations. They also don’t spontaneously try to connect with others, as other children will.

Despite the challenges children with autism face regarding social interaction, they still have the desire to interact. Children with autism may just need direct instruction to learn what others pick up by mere observation. Even mildly autistic children who have normal language development find it difficult to form peer relationships because of their problems in understanding social protocols and others’ motivations. This social awkwardness can happen even if a child’s IQ is off the charts. Children on this end of the autism spectrum display little understanding of appropriate behaviors, and they may be criticized for being “brutally honest,” but many people note that they commonly lack pretension, dishonesty, flattery, and guile. However, they can also be quite hurt by their inability to connect socially, although they may not be able to express these emotions. Most people on this part of the spectrum lack the emotional vocabulary.


Autistic individuals have trouble with language development, sometimes losing speech at 18-24 months (known as regressive autism), talking only late in development, or not talking at all. Children may repeat words and phrases like television commercials (a condition known as echolalia), having no apparent understanding of their meaning. The children may hear words but not be able to make sense of what they mean.

Non-verbal communication is also impaired in children with autism. Commonly, autistic individuals may not understand what gestures mean. They won’t point to objects. They may not make eye contact or smile when smiled at. Their responses or lack of responses can be isolating, resulting in communication barriers rising between them and other people.

Coexisting issues

Other conditions often coexist with autism, further complicating the diagnostic and treatment picture. Some of the more common coexisting conditions include the following:

·         Mental retardation
·         Hyperlexia
·         Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
·         Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)
·         Dyslexia

Conditions are considered comorbid if they occur at the same time as the autistic symptoms and are deemed to have roughly equal “weight” by the diagnostician. Other associative conditions such as depression are often secondary to the autism — in other words, a person’s difficulties in interacting with the environment and connecting with others result in a depressive disorder.

more on this...

December 27, 2012

Scheduling your time and creating a routine

Sticking to a time-scheduling system can’t guarantee the return of your longlost vacation days, but by regularly tracking your meetings, appointments, and obligations, you reduce your odds of double-booking and scheduling appointments too close. And by planning ahead, you make sure to make time for all the important things first.

The system ensures that you put your priorities first (starting with routines and then moving to individual tasks/activities) before scheduling in commitments and activities of lesser importance. Such time-management techniques are just as applicable to the other spheres of your life. There’s a reason why I advise you to plug in your personal commitments first when filling in your time-blocking schedule: Your personal time is worthy of protection, and you can further enhance that time by applying time-management principles.


Questions in fibromyalgia diagnosing

Now, here’s some explanation of what may be happening to you, depending on your answers to Questions 1 through 10. Keep in mind, though, that only your doctor can actually diagnose you with fibromyalgia.

Question 1: If you’re experiencing pain in specific parts of your body, but you’re not seeing bruises or any apparent evidence of tissue damage (and neither is your doctor), these painful areas may be the muscle pains characteristic of fibromyalgia.
Question 2: If you said that your pain is sometimes very severe, this is another indicator that you may have fibromyalgia. Be sure to consult a physician to find out.
Question 3: If you have trouble sleeping three or more nights per week, this is serious. The problem may or may not be connected with fibromyalgia (although nearly everyone with FMS has sleep problems), but it’s important to resolve your serious sleep deficit. If you’re a walking zombie because you’re not getting enough sleep, you can’t perform well at work or home, nor will you be a happy person. Also, if you’re prone to developing fibromyalgia, this continuing bad pattern of a lack of sleep every night will make your other symptoms, such as your pain and fatigue, much worse.
Question 4: Severe fatigue is a chronic problem among nearly everyone who has fibromyalgia. Often, it’s linked to a lack of sleep. But it may also be an element of FMS as a medical problem. You may also have chronic fatigue syndrome or thyroid disease, and your doctor will need to help you sort it out.
Question 5: If you agreed that those you care about, or maybe even strangers around you, are commenting that you look sick, something about you probably doesn’t look right. You may be displaying your chronic pain and associated depression on your face without even knowing it.
On the other hand, other people tell individuals with fibromyalgia that they look “fine” and “great,” and the pain and symptoms are not reflected in the face or body language of the fibro sufferer. If this has happened to you, you’re definitely not alone.
Question 6: If you’re turning down invitations that you would have accepted in the past, have a serious talk with yourself to find out why. Is it because of pain and fatigue? Or could you be having a problem with depression or anxiety — both very common problems for people with and without fibromyalgia?
Question 7: When your pain is constant and chronic, asking yourself if it’s ever going to end is only natural. But what you need to do is consult with a physician. You may have fibromyalgia, or you may have another problem altogether. Don’t wait for the pain to magically disappear. Take action.
Question 8: If you constantly lose things or forget things, you may have the “fibro fog” that often stems from fibromyalgia. You may also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Another possibility is that you may have neither of these but you’re simply trying to do too many things at once, and you need to take some things off your plate.
How do you know which it is? You make a stab at analyzing what you’re forgetting and when. If you can’t even begin to do that, and you’re also experiencing chronic pain, fatigue, and sleep problems, you may have fibromyalgia. But see your doctor to find out for sure.
Question 9: If your pain is severe on some days and then far less of a problem on other days, and you think there doesn’t seem to be any pattern to it at all, you may be experiencing the chronic ups and downs of fibromyalgia. Pain that can appear in one part of your body one day and migrate elsewhere on another day is a common symptom of FMS, as are days when you feel really bad and other days when you feel only mildly bad.
Question 10: If you don’t seem to enjoy anything anymore and maybe are sort of overwhelmed by your many aches and pains, you may have depression. Many people with fibromyalgia have both depression and FMS. You could also have a problem with an anxiety disorder, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), where you are overwhelmed with extreme worry.

Parkinson’s disease and other related conditions

Several neurological conditions may appear to be idiopathic (without known cause) PD at first, but they eventually trace back to known causes, progress differently, and respond differently to therapy. These other conditions include the following:

Essential tremor (ET) is perhaps the most common type of tremor, affecting as many as five million Americans. ET differs from the tremor in idiopathic PD in several ways: ET occurs when the hand is active (as in eating, grasping, writing, and such). It may also occur in the face, voice, and arms. The renowned actress, Katherine Hepburn, had ET, not PD. Differentiating ET from PD is very important because each condition responds to completely different sets of medications.

Parkinson-plus syndromes may initially have the same symptoms as PD. But these syndromes also cause early and severe problems with balance, blood pressure, vision, and cognition and usually have a much faster progression compared to PD.

Secondary parkinsonism can result from head trauma or from damage to the brain due to multiple small strokes (atherosclerotic or vascular parkinsonism). Both forms can be ruled out through scans (CTs or MRIs) that produce images of the brain.

Pseudoparkinsonism can appear to be PD when in fact the person has another condition (such as depression) that can mimic the inexpressive face of PWP.

Drug - or toxin-induced parkinsonism can occur from taking antipsychotic medications (drug-induced) or from exposure to toxins such as carbon monoxide and manganese dust (toxin-induced). Drug-induced symptoms are usually (but not always) reversible; toxin-induced symptoms usually aren’t.

The subtleties of diagnosing idiopathic PD may lead your family doctor to send you to a neurologist, a specialist in the treatment of neurological conditions. If that happens, don’t panic. Getting the correct diagnosis is the first step toward figuring out what comes next for you.

Who Gets Fibromyalgia

Just about anyone of any age can develop fibromyalgia, but most research so far indicates that the majority of people with FMS (Fibromyalgia Syndrome) are of the female persuasion, partly because women are more sensitive to pain than men. This is a time where a little equal opportunity of pain would be preferable (if you’re a woman). But who gets fibromyalgia isn’t about fairness.

Although women are the primary sufferers of fibromyalgia, many men have been diagnosed with FMS, too, and some men with fibromyalgia go undiagnosed for years. For more information about some of the major patterns that have been identified so far among people who develop fibromyalgia, which you may share with these fellow sufferers.

What about children and adolescents? Do they have fibromyalgia? Sadly, yes. If your child or teenager has FMS, he may have a difficult time because most physicians, as well as the general public, still don’t realize that kids can experience chronic pain from FMS. Instead, they think kids are faking it when they say that they’re too sick to go to school. Maybe they are, but then again, maybe they’re not.

How serious is osteoporosis?

Statistics related to osteoporosis are staggering. Consider just a few from the 2004 Surgeon General’s report:

·         Around 1.5 million people have a fracture related to osteoporosis each year.
·         Hip fractures are responsible for 300,000 hospitalizations each year.

·         Up to 700,000 vertebral compression fractures and 250,000 wrist fractures occur in the United States each year.

·         The cost for treating osteoporotic fractures each year is around $18 billion — $38 million a day.

·         Approximately 20 percent of seniors who suffer a hip fracture will die within one year.

·         Around 20 percent of seniors with a hip fracture will be in a nursing home within a year.

·         White women older than age 65 are twice as likely to fracture something as African American women. Latino women’s fracture rates fall between the two groups. A woman’s risk of hip fracture is equal to her risk of developing breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer combined.

·         By the year 2050, men will have one half of all hip fractures in the United States.


What exactly is osteoporosis? The standard World Health organization (WHO) definition is that osteoporosis is “a skeletal disorder characterized by compromised bone strength predisposing a person to an increased risk of fracture,” which is certainly a mouthful, if not a particularly enlightening one. Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease by far, but it’s a disease many people don’t understand.

Most people think of osteoporosis only in terms of bone fractures or loss of height, but osteoporosis is far more complicated. You’d probably understand osteoporosis most clearly if you could see a bone specimen affected by osteoporosis under the microscope, but you’re not likely to ever be privy to a bone biopsy. Doctors don’t usually perform bone biopsies in their patients to diagnosis osteoporosis, although pathological examination of bone is still the gold standard in diagnosing osteoporosis. Normal bone has a network of strong plates and bands. In osteoporosis the bands become thinner and weakened, and worse yet there are tiny breaks in the plates and bands.

Another way to define osteoporosis is that osteoporosis is present if bone mineral testing value is more than 2.5 standard deviations below the average adult, even if there’s no history of fractures. The word “osteoporosis” actually means porous bones. If something is porous, it has holes in it. Although all bone has cavities filled with cells and blood, in osteoporosis, the normal bony cavities enlarge. When the “holes” become larger, bone becomes more fragile and more susceptible to breaking. Minimal trauma can cause a fracture when you have osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a systemic disorder that affects the entire skeleton. Bone is in a constant state of remodeling; old bone is broken down and replaced with new bone. Osteoporosis can occur when you lose more bone than you rebuild, or when more bone than normal is broken down.

Bone mass decreases between 1 and 5 percent per year after age 40 in women, and less than 1 percent in men. Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis because they generally have less bone mass to start with than men do. The sudden loss of estrogen, a sex hormone that is instrumental in building healthy bone, in menopause also contributes to women’s increased risk of osteoporosis.

December 26, 2012

Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s — A Movement Disorder

Parkinson’s disease is a disease in a group of conditions called movement disorders — disorders that result from a loss of the brain’s control on voluntary movements. Dopamine (a neurotransmitter in the brain) relays signals from the substantia nigra to those brain regions (putamen, caudate, and globus pallidus — collectively named the basal ganglia — in the striatum) that control movement, balance, and coordination. In the brain of people with Parkinson’s (PWP), cells that produce this essential substance die earlier than normal.

Although a whole group of conditions are known as parkinsonism, the one that most people know is called idiopathic PD, a Greek word that means arising spontaneously from an unknown cause. As the term suggests, the jury is still out as to the underlying cause (though theories do exist).

Go into a room filled with 50 people with Parkinson’s (PWP) and ask how they first suspected they had PD. You’re likely to hear 50 different stories. Take ten of those people who were diagnosed at approximately the same time and you’re likely to see varying signs of PD progression — from almost no progression to more rapid onset of symptoms. Similarly, you’re likely to experience a variety of attitudes and outlooks from the individuals dealing with their PD.

When you’re diagnosed with PD, you set out on a unique journey — one where your outlook, lifestyle changes, and medical treatment can be key directional maneuvers along the way. In truth, this disease is one that you can live with, surrender to, or fight with everything you’ve got. The road veers and curves differently for each person. Some people may choose one path for managing symptoms, and some people choose another. Sometimes the disease itself sets the course. The bottom line? No clear roadmaps are available. But one fact is certain: Understanding the chronic and progressive nature of PD can take you a long way toward effectively managing your symptoms and living a full life.

Eating disorders as “solutions”

Nobody has an eating disorder for the fun of it. If you’ve developed an eating disorder, it’s because something hasn’t been working in your life. You’ve turned to your eating disorder because it seems to help; never mind the terrible price you’re paying for it.

Sadly, your eating disorder is a vote of no-confidence in your personal ability to solve problems, manage feelings, or create a life to be proud of. Depending on your disorder, you’ve discovered that weight loss brings admiration, dieting gives you a sense of control, bingeing provides temporary comfort, or purging offers a sense of release and relief. Each makes the eating disorder seem like a powerful and readily available ally.

The tricky thing about eating disorder symptoms is that the more they appear to solve for you, the more you ask them to solve — and the more you believe in them as problem-solvers. When a symptom seems to fix so much, it can achieve a very “dug-in” place in your life.