Friday, 31 October 2014

Brain differences linked to chronic fatigue syndrome

It must be remembered this research only used a very small sample of 15 people with CFS from the US, who may not be representative of the many thousands of people affected by this condition in the UK or elsewhere.

For example, these were people who had severe and persisting memory or concentration problems, such that their doctor thought brain imaging was required to make sure no other disease process was going on. The differences seen between these 15 people with CFS and 14 without may not be identical to differences that may be seen in a different sample.

Also, as this is a cross-sectional study, it cannot prove cause and effect: it can't tell us the order in which events happened. For example, it can't tell us whether these are structural features that occurred before people developed CFS, which may have been involved in the development of the condition, or whether these are changes that happened after the people developed CFS.

Further imagining studies in larger samples of people with this condition may reveal whether these results are consistent observations in the brain structure of people with CFS. The next step would then be to try to understand how these differences are associated with the condition's development.

These findings have no immediate treatment or preventative implications for CFS.

Brain differences linked to chronic fatigue syndrome

Thursday, 30 October 2014

US firm Maximus 'awarded contract to assess fitness-to-work'

American company Maximus is taking over the contract to assess the fitness of benefits claimants to work, the BBC understands.

French firm Atos, the previous service provider, quit the contract in March.

It has been estimated the new deal will be worth approximately £500 million over three-and-a-half years.

Maximus is already used by the Department for Work and Pensions to carry out welfare-to-work schemes in the south-east of England.

US firm Maximus 'awarded contract to assess fitness-to-work'

Cuts to employment and support allowance are being “considered” by ministers

Cameron pledged in 2010 that only those with the “broadest shoulders” would be expected to carry the burden of austerity cuts. Perhaps he needs someone to explain to him that this doesn’t actually mean handing out tax payers’money to millionaires, whilst savagely cutting vulnerable people’s lifeline benefits and services.

Cuts to employment and support allowance are being “considered” by ministers

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Study finds brain abnormalities in chronic fatigue patients

The analysis yielded three noteworthy results, the researchers said. First, an MRI showed that overall white-matter content of CFS patients’ brains, compared with that of healthy subjects’ brains, was reduced. The term “white matter” largely denotes the long, cablelike nerve tracts carrying signals among broadly dispersed concentrations of “gray matter.” The latter areas specialize in processing information, and the former in conveying the information from one part of the brain to another.

That finding wasn’t entirely unexpected, Zeineh said. CFS is thought to involve chronic inflammation, quite possibly as a protracted immunological response to an as-yet unspecified viral infection. Inflammation, meanwhile, is known to take a particular toll on white matter.

Study finds brain abnormalities in chronic fatigue patients | News Center | Stanford Medicine

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Sensory Distress: The Other Side of Fibromyalgia

We know, though, that FM is about more than pain. People with Fibromyalgia report they have problems with sensitivity to stimuli in general. They tend to become more fatigued in stimuli-saturated environments, and they tend to retreat to less stimulating environments such as their bedroom. Research studies have borne out FM patients’ experiences, confirming that they are more sensitive to   stimuli like heat, sound and touch.

This suggests FM is not just a pain condition, but that the FM patient’s entire sensory apparatus is a bit out of kilter. Just how and why that’s happening is another question.

Sensory Distress: The Other Side of Fibromyalgia

Sunday, 26 October 2014

A strong welfare state mitigates the impact of the Great Recession

There is a general correlation between unemployment and suicide among men. But the weaker the unemployment protection in the country, the stronger the connection. These findings are reported in a comparative study covering thirty countries, focusing the impact of the Great Recession on unemployment and suicide rates. The paper is published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

A strong welfare state mitigates the impact of the Great Recession

New clues reveal how weight loss is regulated

The fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) hormone has been a key target for developing weight-loss drugs because the protein increases energy expenditure, causing the body to burn calories. But how the hormone worked wasn't known until now.

UT Southwestern researchers tracking the hormone discovered that FGF21 acts directly on the brain, activating another hormone called corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF). CRF then stimulates the nervous system, activating brown adipose tissue, which generates body heat by burning fat.

New clues reveal how weight loss is regulated

Friday, 24 October 2014

Article in APA Monitor Reaches 130,000 Professionals in the Field of Psychology, Seeks to Dispel Myths about CFS

Treating ME/CFS as a psychosomatic disorder is a practice that simply must end. It is our hope that this article in the hands of more than 130,000 professionals that are in a position to incite that change will begin to move us all forward.

Article in APA Monitor Reaches 130,000 Professionals in the Field of Psychology, Seeks to Dispel Myths about CFS | Solve ME/CFS Initiative

Privatisation of the NHS

Most of you won’t realise that the privatisation of the NHS has already happened and even more will not have grasped the full extent of the coalition’s sale of what was, of course, our property. Do you remember giving them permission to do this? Didn’t think so.

What will happen when those of us with chronic illnesses are no longer welcome at GP practices and also cannot get insured for our pre-existing conditions – never mind the fact that we couldn’t afford insurance anyway from our ever-dwindling to non-existent benefits?

It will make many of us afraid to go to the doctor too often as it is. An added anxiety we could well do without.

Of course we won’t simply be “left to die” because our conditions might not kill us. At least not quickly. They’ll just make us wish we were dead and about the only humane thing left in this country will be euthanasia.

Oh, I forgot that’s illegal.

Palliative care for ME?

Consider this, “End of life care: If you are approaching the end of life, you have a right to good palliative care – to control pain and other symptoms – as well as psychological, social and spiritual support.”

We certainly do not get that level of support as ME patients, in fact, bugger it, we mostly don't get any of that and I think that’s the least we should get!

Yet, Mark Loveless, an infectious disease specialist and head of the AIDS and M.E. Clinic at Oregon Health Sciences University, found that M.E. patients whom he saw had far lower scores on the Karnofsky performance scale than his HIV patients even in the last week of their life. He testified that a M.E. patient, ‘feels effectively the same every day as an AIDS patient feels two weeks before death’” [Source]

Which got me thinking ... ME patients ought to be demanding a right to palliative care too.

5 All-Natural Ways To Fight Fatigue If You Have A Chronic Illness

Of all the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, fatigue is possibly the most frustrating and debilitating. Like sandbags tied around your waist, fatigue constantly pulls you down. Every day is a push.

And at the end of each long and exhausting day, sleep is yet another challenge. Oddly, the more exhausted a person with fibromyalgia becomes during the day, the worse sleep is at night. After a restless night of tossing and turning, the cycle begins again at dawn.

5 All-Natural Ways To Fight Fatigue If You Have A Chronic Illness

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Lose the weight, not the potatoes, study says

People can eat potatoes and still lose weight, a new study demonstrates. The study sought to gain a better understanding of the role of calorie reduction and the glycemic index in weight loss when potatoes are included in the diet. “Some people have questioned the role of potatoes in a weight loss regimen because of the vegetable’s designation as a high glycemic index food,” explained the lead investigator of the study. “However, the results of this study confirm what health professionals and nutrition experts have said for years: it is not about eliminating a certain food or food groups, rather, it is reducing calories that count.”

Lose the weight, not the potatoes, study says

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Christchurch Model Railway Club 2014 Exhibition

Allotments on the Wimborne, Dorset (OO) layout.

On Sunday, October 19th we paid a visit to the Christchurch Model Railway Club  2014 Model Railway Exhibition. This shot is of the allotments on the Wimborne, Dorset (OO) layout. If you could see the image full size you would probably be able to see the snail, but I'm not going to give away the location. We won't try to model a snail in n gauge!

Paternalistic Libertarianism and Freud’s comments in context

It’s taken just four years since Labour’s Equality Act was implemented for it to appear reasonable for a government minister to propose that disabled people have fewer rights and are of less worth than everyone else. Only a corprocratic Tory would call exploiting disabled people for profit “support” and try and make out they are doing us a favour.

Paternalistic Libertarianism and Freud’s comments in context | Politics and Insights

Cold sores increase risk of dementia, research suggests

Infection with herpes simplex virus increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease, researchers claim. "Our results clearly show that there is a link between infections of herpes simplex virus and the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. This also means that we have new opportunities to develop treatment forms to stop the disease," says one of the researchers behind the study.

Cold sores increase risk of dementia, research suggests

HIV, Heart Disease, Diabetes… and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? The Unutmaz Project to Decode ME/CFS

Inflammation didn’t used to be taken seriously, but in the past ten years it has been.  Called the “silent killer”, low levels of inflammation are associated with almost all the major killers in the western world including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and respiratory illnesses.

Unutmaz’s hypothesis puts Chronic  Fatigue Syndrome in the same company as these major disorders; he proposes that chronic inflammation is responsible for most of the symptoms of ME/CFS.

HIV, Heart Disease, Diabetes... and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? The Unutmaz Project to Decode ME/CFS

Why your brain makes you reach for junk food

"Earlier studies found that children and adults tend to choose high-calorie food" says Dr. Alain Dagher, neurologist at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital and lead author of the study. "The easy availability and low cost of high-calorie food has been blamed for the rise in obesity. Their consumption is largely governed by the anticipated effects of these foods, which are likely learned through experience. Our study sought to determine how people's awareness of caloric content influenced the brain areas known to be implicated in evaluating food options. We found that brain activity tracked the true caloric content of foods."

Why your brain makes you reach for junk food

Sunday, 19 October 2014

A Picture Paints A Thousand Words

How on Earth do members of the ministerial team at the DWP remain in the House of Lords or in the Privy Council - or even on the public payroll?  ALL THEY HAD TO DO was stick to the DWP's long-term plan and by now they would have been boasting about the decent sums of money saved (while still protecting the vulnerable and helping people with disabilities into work). But they had to stick their oar in, putting disabled people through the wringer and spraying away half a billionquid on fruitless work capability assessments without generating a single penny in savings.

A Picture Paints A Thousand Words

Monday, 6 October 2014

The CFS/ME Brain Is Inflamed

For most people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) central nervous system function is abnormal. However, we don’t understand the mechanisms involved. Many experts suspect an inflammatory component, but the results from cytokine studies of cerebrospinal fluid have been uncertain.

Now, researchers at the RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies in Hyogo, Japan, have directly measured neural inflammation using a combination of PET scan and MRI imaging. (1)

Their key findings: Compared to healthy controls, nine patients with CFS/ME showed evidence of abnormal activation of microglia and/or astrocyte immune cells within the brain. In specific brain areas the degree of immune activation correlated closely with the severity of the patients’ symptoms.

The CFS/ME Brain Is Inflamed

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Porthkeres Model Railway

Porthkeres (Cherry Port) is a fictional port somewhere in the west of Cornwall. It has a small harbour served by a branch line that would undoubtedly have been closed by Dr Beeching in 1963 - if it ever got that far. Set at the end of the 1940's, Porthkeres still relies on agriculture and sea trade, while the railway is looking a bit austerity-stricken in the post-war era around nationalisation. It will be modelled in n gauge.

Oh yeah and it's designed by a GIRL!

One stone loss


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