Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Friday, February 27, 2015
Thursday, February 26, 2015
People who drink four to six cups of coffee daily may be less likely to get Multiple Sclerosis, according to international research out Thursday.
"Caffeine intake has been associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases," said lead author Ellen Mowry of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.
"Our study shows that coffee intake may also protect against MS, supporting the idea that the drug may have protective effects for the brain," she added.
The findings of a US and Swedish study -- released ahead of the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in Washington -- each compared more than 1,000 people with MS to a similar number of healthy people.
Researchers tracked how much coffee the subjects drank in the one, five and 10 years before symptoms began for those afflicted with MS.
People who drink 4-6 cups of coffee daily
may be less likely to get Multiple Sclerosis
After accounting for other factors such as age, sex, smoking, body mass index and sun exposure, the Swedish study found that "compared to people who drank at least six cups of coffee per day during the year before symptoms appeared, those who did not drink coffee had about 1.5 times the increased risk of developing MS."
Similar protective effects were seen among those who drank lots of coffee five to 10 years before symptoms appeared.
The US study found that "people who didn't drink coffee were also about one and a half times more likely to develop the disease than those who drank four or more cups of coffee per day in the year before symptoms started to develop."
More research is needed to determine if caffeine in coffee has any impact on relapse or long-term disability due to MS, an incurable disease of the Central Nervous System that affects well over 2.3 Million people worldwide.
The study was funded by the Swedish Medical Research Council, the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Institute on Aging.
Monday, February 23, 2015
‘But You Look So Good!’ - Challenges of Invisible Disabilities
I am permanently disabled, and until there is a cure for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or Narcolepsy, disabled I shall remain. Yet, if you just glanced my way, you would see nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, I appear quite healthy. Just the other day, someone walked over to me and while pointing at my leg asked, “How are you recovering?” At first, I was completely puzzled. Then I realized that my limp and use of a cane made him believe I had sustained a simple injury. Trying to convey to others not to believe their eyes is frustrating and, at times, demoralizing. But with practice and the right attitude, the challenges can be less stressful and even empowering as you go through life.
If Looks Could Kill . . .
It was a little more than 10 years ago that my physician strongly suggested that I apply for handicapped parking. Although I knew he was correct, actually using a placard with the words “permanently disabled” was quite difficult to accept. Over time, we have learned to appreciate its many benefits. Wider spots allow for simpler entry and exit with mobility aids. Closer parking conserves energy, keeps us cooler, and helps us to safely navigate congested locations.
Unfortunately, using handicapped parking can be quite stressful when you don’t look disabled. Sure, I use a mobility aid, but in a pinch a shopping cart is similar to a rolling walker and I always have a folding cane with me. We only take a handicapped spot when truly needed, yet continually receive incredulous looks and occasional confrontations from people who believe I am “stealing” a spot from a truly disabled person. The best course is to smile and proceed at my slow pace toward the store. Either they will get bored or the store’s security personnel can intervene. It simply is not a fight worth fighting.
Getting Others to Feel Your Pain
The sensation of pain is our body’s way to protect us from danger, as it elicits a response that we cannot ignore. MS can upset the complex balance in our nervous system, resulting in an unending cycle of pain. This cycle began early in the course of my MS. Attempting to squash the discomfort, I consulted a physician who incorrectly stated, “…MS is lack of sensation, so by definition MS surely does not cause pain”!
It took quite some time to find the correct medical team that understands and supports my fight against the many symptoms of MS. They are truly cherished. Part of that team must also include your pharmacy, and if they treat you with anything less than the respect that you deserve, speak to the manager and regional manager. It has worked for me — just be polite, but firm.
‘I’m Not Drunk, I Have MS‘
So many times I’ve wanted to make these T-shirts, helping me to feel less self-conscious about the stares I get when I slur words or stumble when I walk. Unfortunately, even when in social settings, most people are unaware that MS causes symptoms other than walking difficulties. When making small talk, I may say, “Wow, I just wonder what it looks like when my MS makes me…” This often puts them at ease and opens a dialogue between us. They may retell this with others in the group, hopefully dispelling any rumors.
All of us can educate others about living with invisible disabilities. Not only is this empowering, but the awareness also may even make our own lives less stressful.