Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I Want A Green Scooter

Here's an idea -- what if my Amigo scooter was solar powered?

Matt Alvey, a student at the University of Nottingham is working on converting electronic scooters to solar power for his dissertation. With the threat of global warming in the news, albeit amid controversy, why not recharge my Amigo using renewable energy such as sunlight instead of electricity? Besides doing my part to save the environment, I could also reduce my electric bill.

Sounds like a good deal to me.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Here's A New One

Symptom, that is.

I have done a bit of reading on symptoms, and never came across this one until I described it to my doctor. Well, it could be a secondary symptom, because it is caused by damaged myelin. But it is
actually a whole new disease, trigeminal neuralgia (TN), also known as tic douloureux.

It feels like a lightning storm in my mouth. Wow.

It doesn't hurt, it HURTS.

The good news is TN is rare, and it isn't constant. It gives breaks between episodes. Like MS, it affects more women than men.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

What Does It Mean?

Oligoclonal bands
Scanning speech
Visual evoked potential
Sometimes I run across an unfamiliar term when reading about MS. Look it up in the Glossary of MS Terminology collected by Fire Lady, an MSer for more than a decade. If you find an omission, submit it.

Also check out her links in MS Index.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Does MS Mean Bones Are Going to Break?

Bone health is not usually included in a list of MS symptoms, but maybe it should be -- at least as a secondary symptom, or one caused as a result of primary symptoms.

Women with MS are at increased risk of also developing osteoporosis. A critical preventive strategy for osteoporosis is exercise, especially weight-bearing and resistance exercise. Not so easy for many MSers.

May is National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month. As an MSer, be aware that you are at risk. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends five steps to bone health:
1. Take daily recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D.
2. Engage in regular weight-bearing exercise.
3. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol.
4. Talk to your doctor about bone health.
5. Have a bone density case and take medication when appropriate.
These steps are also beneficial when caring for MS, too.
Vitamin D is making the news more and more as having positive effects on MS. Exercise may be restricted by ability, but movement begets more movement. Smoking and drinking should always be done in moderation.

Osteoporosis is generally considered a woman's disease. Eighty percent of the 10 million people affected are women, but men have it, too. MS is increasingly affecting more women then men. When I was diagnosed in 1989, two out of three MSers were women. Now that ratio is four out of five. Women, and men, too, should be aware that MS and osteoporosis often attack together.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Defense Spending for MS

The National MS Society testified before the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee for increased funding for MS research?

Defense? What does MS have to do with defense? There is increased evidence of MS among veterans. That relationship is interesting this Armed Forces Day.

And, this may be a new source of federal funding.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Health Talk and Post Cards

Health Talk is a site developed by cancer survivor Andrew Schorr to provide a source of information for people with chronic conditions. There is a link to Health Talk Radio and a weekly schedule of health topics. The real heart of this site is a collection of blogs, including Andrew's blog.

Most of the blogs are categorized by chronic condition and written by people like you and me who are intimately involved day to day. In addition, there are reference sources.

And this is great --
Postcards drawn by MSers about MS. They are colorful and clever, cute and poignant, interesting. You can make comments on the cards, or you can submit your own!

Listen to the audio files where MSers tell their stories. Again, you can comment on the stories, or you can submit your own.

And, of course, HeathTalk is the host of Trevis Gleason's blog Life with MS. He writes frequently and has many, many comments with personal stories.


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Monday, May 14, 2007

MS and Stress

There is controversy whether MS exacerbations are related to stress. The National MS Society says the jury is still out on this issue.

Stress is what happens when we must adjust to life circumstances, both negative and positive. It is accused of affecting health, including chronic diseases such as MS. But is stress really to blame, and if so, what can we do about it?

This study says that stress can trigger attacks. Further, different levels of intensity of the stress factor are equally related to the onset of exacerbations.

WebMD, one of my favorite sources, has suggestions for recognizing and handling stress.

Revolution Health, a source I'm tapping more and more, offers a long list of articles on stress management, avoiding stress in the first place, relieving stress, and then adds links from around the web.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Ha Ha and Heehee

On this date in 1754, the first cartoon was printed in a newspaper in the USA. Of course, in 1754 there was no USA, so I assume it was printed in a newspaper in the Colonies.

We often hear that laughter is the best medicine, so take your medicine. Read a daily joke or check out these cartoons.

It's always more meaningful when you can relate to the humor. My favorite upright wrote some cartoons specifically about the disabled. Here's a favorite --

Jim Cameron was an artist when he was diagnosed with MS, experience vision difficulties and numbness in his drawing hand. Now, Cameron is an artist. His page on the British MS Society site offers a download of his comic strip documenting his MS.

We need laughter, and one newspaper in the New World started a trend in this budding country that made it easier to find humor in our daily lives. Read a comic today, or write one that tells your story.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

MS and Electricity

At one time I asked my neurologist about TENS devices. She said they were not recommended for MSers, something about the electrical stimulation and the already impaired nervous system. TENS devices use a non-invasive technique to deliver electrical current in patterns determined by the needed treatment. Not so good.

However, that was years ago, and things may have changed.

I found an article in Revolution Health that explains the background and theory of using electricity for pain. Did you know the Egyptians used electric fish to treat pain in 2500 BC? This article says TENS remains controversial and better research is needed, but preliminary evidence is promising. The article continues with evidence for specific conditions and includes MS in the list of conditions with no evidence.

MSIF reported a study of TENS in MS that may lead to a change in that article. This study was designed to around spasticity, but found TENS may be useful for pain and muscle spasms in MSers.

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