Friday, December 29, 2006

University Medical Center

Here's another one. Ohio State University Medical Center. There are two sections that especially interested me.

First is a table of symptoms categorized in a way I haven't seen before. The primary symptoms are those we all know -- such as weakness, paralysis, loss of balance. Secondary symptoms are complications as a result of the primary symptoms -- such as decreased bone activity resulting from inactivity.

The tertiary symptoms are those familiar to many of us, but rarely mentioned in a list of MS symptoms. These are social and psychological complications resulting from the first two categories -- such as loss of livelihood and depression. It is a short list here -- I think we MSers could expand it -- but I like that these conditions are recognized as symptoms.

The next section discusses diagnosis beginning with the criteria used and a list of things included in an evaluation, followed by the diagnosis procedure.

Explore the site to see the hospital care and research facilities offered by Ohio State.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

W. Ian McDonald (1933 - 2006)

After several years of visiting doctors to find out what was wrong, the MRI confirmed suspisions of MS. Thank you Professor McDonald.

His major accomplishments as a neurologist and researcher fine-tuned the diagnostic process using the McDonald Criteria and the newly developed MRI. The McDonald Criteria have been revised, but the role of the MRI has been strengthened.

Professor McDonald died this month.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

The Expert MS Patient

The Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers provides networking and research to health professionals. They also share information with MSers in the format of online videos allowing us to become expert patients. Transcripts of each session are also provided.

The short videos are divided into two sections: the fundamentals and specific topics of concern. Fundamentals covers symptoms, diagnosis, MS effects on the mind, and the future.

Specific topics include fatigue, numbness, pain, effects of heat, balance, leg drags, memory, sex, talking to children, and many others.
Many others. If you have a concern that is not covered in their list, enter your question to be answered by a nurse or doctor from the frequently asked questions.

The videos are presented by nurses who focus on the care of MSers from the International Organization of MS Nurses. This is good information. Check it out.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Focus on Your Feelings Holiday Giveaway Update

In October I wrote about an essay contest about the emotional impact of MS on your life. MSers all over the United States and Internationally wrote essays about their feelings, both ups and downs.

Ten winners of the "Focus on Your Feelings Holiday Giveaway" contest have been announced, including an MSer from South Africa.

Read the winning entries here. The essays are short (200 words or less), very personal, and they cover feelings from joy to despair, and life changes many of us have experienced.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

What Will Help?

A physical therapist asked me why I was not using a particular assistive device. The answer was easy -- I did not know about it. Before I bought my transfer board it did not occur to me that I would get from my chair to the bed by inching across a wooden board. I am sure there are many other things that would make my life easier, but I don't know. Even when I see something in a book or catalog, I don't know if it would solve a problem I have.

How is a girl to know? There are people who invent new items and others who have older, proven items, and they are ready to sell them all.

Abiities Expo a consumer show attended by persons with disabilities, caregivers, and professionals, is dedicated to improving the lives of the disabled, with assisted living products and services. At this show, you can compare similar items to see which one works better. You can try out and test the actual items. This Expo is sponsored by the Christopher and Dana Reeves Paralysis Resource Center along with other groups including the National MS Society.

The Expo is scheduled in:
San Antonio in January
New York in April
Southern California in June
Minnesota in September

This is a show truly designed for the disabled. There are loaner chairs and scooters and even personal care assistants available. Written materials are available in large type and braille, and sign language interpreters are ready to help. The Hands On Concept Services booth offers free wheelchair repair!

In addition to the vendor booths, there are scheduled workshops. Pick the Expo nearest you and check out the details.

Admission is an affordable $5, but they waive the charge for a completed form. (This is for the Texas expo, but each location had similar ticket information)

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

MS Ambassadors

The National MS Society names celebrities as ambassadors to help spread the word about MS. Some are celebrities who happen to have MS themselves. Others are not MSers, but have friends or family members who are. All of them have the opportunity to speak and inspire.

Here are some MS ambassadors' products that make great Christmas gifts.

Neil Cavuto, controversial newscaster was diagnosed in 1996.

Annette Funicello, mouseketeer and atress, who inspires us all with her grace, announced she has MS in 1987.

Clay Walker, country-western star was honored as Ambassador of the year in 2003 after being diagnosed in 1996.

Bill Pullman has a close friend whose wife has MS.

Teri Garr oscar-nominated movie star announced her MS in 2002.

MS did not stop these ambassadors from continuing in their careers, and succeeding. Now that is inspiring!

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Friday, December 08, 2006

What can a grandchild teach me?

I cannot walk. I spend my day in the chair of my Amigo scooter. When the grandkids were very young, each one of them, in their own time and in their own way, asked me why I couldn't walk. I did my best to explain to them about my MS.

Taylor, nearly a toddler herself, was the first to offer to teach me to walk. She was so sure she could teach me, because it really isn't too difficult. She learned to walk, so surely I could learn, too. She wasn't one to give up, and we went through that scenario several times.

Michael was the next to offer. He added a couple of extras to the offer. First, he wanted me to lean on him for my first few steps, and don't worry -- he would not let go. After I declined that offer, he pulled out one of my canes -- unused for years -- and tried to explain to me that the cane would keep me from falling.

No, kids, it's not that I haven't learned how to walk, but that I haven't learned how to walk without using my legs. What I learned, however, is how very sweet and caring you each can be. I will always remember your loving concern, and I thank you very much.

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But You Don't Look Sick

Here is a site with a message board, an online store, a mailing list, and even more.

Browse the home page for a variety of interesting reading, such as 'Sick Humor,' hobby suggestions including instructions, and product reviews. There are essays reminiscent of a blog and poetry including one about Medicare's Plan D.

The forum index includes a list of topics about the forum, topics common to invisible diseases, and a long list of forums for specific diseases. Multiple Sclerosis is one. You must register before participating, you must register. Don't worry if you don't know the lingo, a helpful list of abbreviations is provided.

Give it a try and enjoy.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Gifts for the MSer

It is almost Christmas, and a new question comes to mind. What do you get for an MSer at Christmas? Teddy bears are nice, but sometimes you might want something more specific.

Here are 10 Great Gift Ideas for MSers.
Happy Shopping!

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Eat your Fruits and Especially Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables have many benefits for your health, we all know that, but now a Rush University Medical Center study has identified another benefit of eating vegetables.

The 6-year study compared people who eat one serving with those who eat three servings of vegetables. This
study found eating more vegetables results in slowing cognitive decline, by about 5 years. Although the study was conducted with participants over 65, but controlled for lifestyle variables such as exercise, age, sex, and race, and concluded vegetables were the deciding factor in stronger cognitive skills.

Vegetables, especially green, leafy ones, are rich in antioxidant compounds like vitamin E, flavonoids and cartenoids. So remember when your mother told you to eat your vegetables? If you eat your vegetables, you would remember.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

International Day of Disabled Persons

This is our day!

The International Day of Disabled Persons, established by the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons increases awareness of disability issues and promotes integration , equal opportunity and participation of disabled persons in society. Sounds good to me.

The theme for 2006 is 'E-Accessibility,' allowing everyone the opportunity to reach their full potential. Read links to the news and learning materials, and other links including the European Social Charter, effectively a civil rights declaration signed in 1961 to encourage securing social rights and trying to improve the standard of living for Europe.

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

What about T'ai Chi and MS?

Earlier this month, I wrote a post about Yoga and MS. A favorite reader left a comment recommending Tai Chi as well and left a site as reference.

Now I see the MS Foundation agrees.

T'ai Chi translated means "great ultimate energy." The slow meditative movements are designed from martial arts and the natural movements of birds and animals. A small group of older women (average age 71) found regular practice of t'ai chi resulted in significant improvements in lower-extremity strength, balance, and flexibility. The study focused on women, but it works for men too.

There are plenty of recommendations for T'ai Chi, and I need the flexibility. I will try it. What about you?

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Wheelchair Performance Art

There was a time I was a dancer. Not a professional and not an award winner, but a dancer. I liked the way it felt to partner with someone to music. I liked the kicks and turns and plies of performance art. But I lost my balance, an important element in the art of dance, then I lost my ambulation. My shoulders and hands (or at least one hand) could keep a beat, but I lost my dancing.

But wait. The Dancing Queen shows us that it can be done, complete with pictures. She talks about her frustration that she cannot do it like "that other girl," but then she can do it, and she can make the dance her own. Dance is, after all, more than foot patterns and gyrations.

Performance art, just like other aspects of life, can be adapted. Pick a piece and make it your own.

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