degenerative condition

What if, due to all of the unprotected blows to the head from Joker abusing him at the asylum, Jason develops CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy)? The degenerative disease that occurs from suffering from a lot of traumatic brain injuries. Sure, he’s fine during the course of the game’s events (as far as degenerative brain conditions go, at least), but what if he were to develop it down the road? A life of continued vigilantism isn’t exactly doing him any favors. 

In some cases, CTE can present as Alzheimer’s. At first, Jason can easily brush off the symptoms as just being part of his PTSD. I mean, mood swings and impulsive behavior aren’t exactly unusual for him. But then he notices his memory beginning to deteriorate. He starts forgetting where he’s just placed something, then flat out forgets where things are – places they’ve always been. Then what he was doing earlier that day, or what he just said before. His mind becomes hazy, and it starts taking him longer to find simple solutions to problems and it’s difficult for him to concentrate on tasks. He doesn’t feel as sharp anymore, and he picks up on the gradual change in his personality over time. He has no other choice than to eventually give up his crusade against crime, and with that comes an emptiness. A lack of purpose. It feels as if his sense of self – the small shred of Jason Todd that he’s managed to regain after his confrontation with Bruce – is slipping through his fingers. He so desperately tries to cling onto whatever he has left, but knows he’s failing, and he’s absolutely terrified. Because he knows that all his hard work, all his battles with himself in order to reach a catharsis and finally feel a bit like himself again, may have been for nothing. He’s stricken with an overwhelming fear that, someday in future, he might not even know who he is anymore. But the worst part – the part that’s almost nauseating to him – is the idea that the Joker would inevitably win. Unintentionally, he will have stripped him of absolutely everything all over again, indefinitely. 

I’ve spent so much of my time since my arterial rupture, neck deep in the medical system; barely treading water, but it’s gotten me so far. Things are getting close to as under control as they’ll probably ever be, given that my conditions are degenerative and progressive.

It’s time to really pull things around and live as hard as I can again. I think I’ve always done as much as I can to be authentically me, but this year I’m determined to get back some of what I’ve lost (whatever small amount I can). It’s time to restore balance.

I’ve already come so far in the past 3-4 months and after spending hours again this week wrapped up in medical stuff sapping my energy, I’m once again reflecting on when I can finally direct all my energy to my passions again. I may never have that luxury again, and I have to be okay with that, but what I’ve been pushing for this entire time, Quality of Life, is all about having the energy, time and freedom to have a life outside of the medical complex.

I’m almost there. I can feel it.

{please don’t remove my words}

Marfan Syndrome - explained!

What is it? -

● Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder.

● It affects the body’s connective tissue that holds all the body’s cells, organs and tissue together.
(Think of it as the main glue that holds your body together)

● Marfan syndrome is caused by a defect (or mutation) in the gene that tells the body how to make fibrillin-1.
This mutation results in an increase in a protein called transforming growth factor beta, or TGF-β. The increase in TGF-β causes problems in connective tissues throughout the body, which in turn creates the features and medical problems associated with Marfan syndrome and some related disorders.

● Marfan syndrome can affect many different parts of the body.

● Features of the disorder are most often found in the heart, blood vessels, bones, joints, and eyes.

● Some Marfan features can be life threatening.

● The lungs, skin and nervous system may also be affected.

● Marfan syndrome does not affect intelligence.

Who can get Marfans? -

● 3 out of 4 people inherit it, meaning that it’s passed on from one or both parents.

● Some people can get it by having a spontaneous mutation in their DNA.

● There is a 50% chance that Marfans will be passed onto a child.

● People with Marfan syndrome are born with it, although it may not be clear right away.

● Some people have a lot of Marfan features, whilst others don’t.

● As it is a degenerative condition, people are more likely to develop symptoms & other related diseases as they grow up and age.

● Generally, Marfan syndrome deteriorates and gets worse over time.

What are the signs? -

● Enlarged aorta or heart problems.
● Long arms, legs and fingers.
● Tall and thin body type.
● Curved spine (scoliosis)
● Chest sinks in or sticks out.
● Flexible joints or hypermobile.
● Flat feet.
● Crowded teeth or high arched palate.
● Stretch marks on skin that aren’t related to weight loss, pregnancy or weight gain.
● Sudden lung collapses.
● Eye problems such as dislocated retinas, serve nearsightedness, blindness ect.
● Photosensitivity (very sensitive to lights)

Is there any cure or treatment? -

Sadly there hasn’t yet been a lot of research into Marfans, so consequently ther isn’t any cure or treatment.

However, there are ways of managing the condition/s with medication, light excersice & lifestlye changes.

Marfan syndrome needs to be kept an eye on with regular check ups for the whole body & organs.

People with the condition find that they have to be on medication for the rest of thier life, with the posibility of surgery for various complications & connected reasons.

Marfan syndrome is a rare disorder / disease, especially in the UK where getting health care & support for it is extremely difficult or near impossible.

There isn’t enough knowledge or understanding of Marfans in the UK as there is compared to the USA or Canada.

There isn’t any family support groups or clinics to go to, never mind people who have Marfans or similar disabilities.

Droplets Trivia Master Post

I did a “like this tweet for trivia” thing on ye olde Twitter last night, and I got … a pretty big turn out. I’ve compiled all the facts into one convenient master list for ya’ll who aren’t in the Twitsquad yet.

Read under the cut for trivia, world building, and sneaky, cheeky spoilers for future Droplets!

Keep reading

Crystals and Colours

Source: [“The Complete Crystal Handbook” by Cassandra Eason]

The color of a crystal is one of the easier ways of identifying the right crystal for specific healing, personal empowerment, or protection purposes. If a color is “hot” like red – associated with life blood and fire – its action will be dynamic, fast, and go straight to the root of a problem. In contrast, a green crystal represents gradual growth and nature, linked to a slow but continuing increase in any area of life. The shade of a crystal can also offer clues: a sparkling transparent clear quartz crystal, reflecting sunlight, has different energies and vibrations than a cloudier shimmering white selenite that resembles moonlight.

The power of a crystal can be enhanced by placing it near a burning candle of a similar color. It could be beneficial to build up a collection of crystals in different shades and intensities of brightness in the same color, such as soothing transparent purple amethyst and brighter opaque sugilite that is still gentle but faster acting. Feel free to try using “antidote” colors as well; for example, draw on the power of a blue crystal if someone is very angry or a situation is too fast moving.

The following are “traditional” color association for crystals and their uses. These correspondences should be used as suggestions or ideas, and are by no means concrete or absolute; personal associations within magic are generally more powerful, though these correspondences are a good base to gain inspiration or work from.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment or advice, or as a means of diagnosis. If you have - or suspect you may have - a medical condition, please consult a healthcare professional immediately. The home remedies included here should not be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any illness.

* Some of the “healing powers” sections mention specific body parts and ailments that may be triggering for some parties, so please be wary reading through.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Is EDS degenerative? Does it get worse as you get older? I've seen people claim both taht it gets worse and that it gets better as your joints get stiffer? Do you knw which one it is or is it just different fr different people?

It’s my understanding that some of the experts in the field (specifically I believe I heard this from Dr Grahame at the last EDNF National Conference) are hoping to label EDS as sort of a conditional degenerative syndrome. That’s my horrible mis-wording of his term I’m sure. Basically, what he’s suggesting is that the longer one goes undiagnosed and without proper care, education, and support for joint protection the greater the risk long term disability and degeneration. So like many of us, if you spent much of your life doing high impact activities and had no idea that your joints and tissues were not functioning properly so you had no joint protection or had improper/inadequate joint protection, the more risk there is for damage. (Now toss those, athletic or not,  in who have had surgery that fail because no one knew they had EDS) They want to add this to the EDS definition to stress the importance of early screening and diagnosis. 

I have heard the mixed pot of middle aged and or post menopausal responses as to whether things get worse or better, as well. Personally, I take both with a grain of salt although given my personal life history I tend not side eye those who are certain that things will be better for me in my old age. So, I do think that it is going t be different person to person. I know people older than me and younger than me who haven’t been in competitive sports or intensely active through out life in anything too high impact and have only since diagnosis started an exercise program and they seem to have very few issues with what works for them and their rate of improvement. I know people who haven’t been in competitive sports etc and they are just injury after injury and just completely different from me in rate at which they feel things are getting bad even though I was a lot rougher on my body. I mean it goes for healthy folks too, the more waer and tear they do, the more they don’t take good care of their bodies, the rougher aging is. Unfortunately for us we have the added issues of a system of faulty structures holding us together to begin with.  So it seems to me to be different for everyone depending on many many factors but I do feel like that early diagnosis and proper care early on is a huge, huge piece of the puzzle. And we are a huge puzzle, aren’t we?! Haha! ;)

Feel like this was maybe a bit rambley, disjointed (no pun lol), but hopefully it makes some sense and helps a bit.  And hopefully this summer at the big shot summit (that’s what I’m calling it because fog. It’s a summit of the big shot EDS doctors and other medical professionals etc.) as they are fine tuning the categories, definitions, and diagnosis processes, hopefully there will be more information, explanation, and investigation into degeneration and aging in Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. 

Oof I’ve had the most rotten migraine since yesterday’s appointment. Just checking in to say, Happy Wheelchair Day! I had to overcome a lot of internalized ableism and self worth struggles before I finally agreed to try using a wheelchair. I was progressively housebound for almost two years before I managed to get to that point mentally. Having degenerative conditions and growing up surrounded by subtly and quietly ableist attitudes and worlds is quite a different situation to being injured or indeed growing up with the use of a wheelchair. All situations have their own challenges… My own was very much internal.

When I finally let my doctors know I was ready for a wheelchair they seemed relieved and very encouraging. Clearly they had been thinking it, but again, likely due to society’s ableist ideas had been reluctant to suggest it. My entire life has changed since I ‘succumbed’ to rolling around and it is 100% for the better. I feel so free and positive these days. I feel like I’m getting a huge part of myself back (and my upper body strength is the best it’s ever been which for someone with muscular and joint problems is a big deal!).

While I was absolutely housebound I strongly resent the phrase 'wheelchair bound’ I am a wheelchair user. It gives me freedom and life. It gives me the ability to participate and enjoy most things I want to. Only society is to blame for any barriers I face as a wheelchair user. I’m still anxiously awaiting my new chair that will hopefully fit me like a fancy glove, and I will write more then, but for now, here is a photo of me about a month ago, my first time on a gravel 'trail’.

{please don’t remove my words}

The Strange Case of the Woman Who Can’t Remember Her Past-Or Imagine Her Future (Part 2)

Story by Erika Hayasaki

MCKINNON FIRST BEGAN to realize that her memory was not the same as everyone else’s back in 1977, when a friend from high school, who was studying to be a physician’s assistant, asked if she would participate in a memory test as part of a school assignment. When her friend asked basic questions about her childhood as part of the test, McKinnon would reply, “Why are you asking stuff like this? No one remembers that!” She knew that other people claimed to have detailed memories, but she always thought they embellished and made stuff up—just like she did.

McKinnon’s friend was so disturbed by her responses that she suggested McKinnon get her memory checked by a professional. McKinnon put the exchange aside for almost three decades. Then one day in 2004, she came across an article about Endel Tulving, the researcher who had originally characterized the difference between episodic and semantic memory.
McKinnon read about how, at the University of Toronto, Tulving studied an amnesic patient, K. C., who was in a motorcycle accident at 30 that resulted in brain damage affecting his episodic memory. He could not remember anything in his life except experiences from the last minute or two. Yet despite this deficiency, the patient could remember basic knowledge learned before his accident, like math and history, and when taught new information in experiments, he could retain lessons, even though he could not recall visits to the laboratory where he was taught. His case became crucial to Tulving’s theories about memory.

Like McKinnon, people with amnesia usually lose their episodic memories and keep their semantic ones. But amnesiacs tend to come by their memory loss through brain trauma, developmental disorders, or degenerative conditions. And they are often impaired in their day-to-day functioning; they cannot live normal lives. Reading about Tulving’s case studies, McKinnon recognized a resemblance to her own experiences—minus the brain lesions, injuries, or debilitating side effects. Her brain and life, as far as she knew, seemed to be healthy and intact.

One of Tulving’s arguments struck a particular chord. A profile of the psychologist reported his belief “that some perfectly intelligent and healthy people also lack the ability to remember personal experiences. These people have no episodic memory; they know but do not remember. Such people have not yet been identified, but Tulving predicts they soon will be.”
McKinnon felt too intimidated to contact Tulving himself; he seemed too famous. So instead she set her sights on Brian Levine, a senior scientist at the Rotman Research Institute in Toronto who had worked closely with Tulving and whose expertise in episodic and autobiographical memory caught her eye.

On August 25, 2006, McKinnon sent Levine an email that referenced Tulving’s prediction about healthy people with no episodic memories:“I think there’s at least a possibility that I might be one of the people he was describing.

“I’m 52 y/o, extremely stable, with a very satisfying life & well-developed sense of humor. Contacting you is a big (and, frankly, scary) step for me … I’ll appreciate any guidance you may be able to give me.”

“I GET A lot of emails from people with various issues,” Levine says. “With Susie, I felt like this was worth pursuing.” So Levine invitedMcKinnon to his lab in Toronto. His first move, in collaboration with researcher Daniela Palombo, was to begin looking for some underlying physiological or psychological explanation for McKin­non’s apparent lack of episodic memories: a neurological condition, trauma, or brain damage caused by anoxia at birth. They found no such thing.

Next, Levine ran McKinnon through something called an autobiographical interview, to vet her own report that she lacks episodic memories. Before the interview, his lab team spoke with Green, a close friend of McKinnon’s, and McKinnon’s brother and mother, asking each for stories about McKinnon that they would try to verify with her.

When Levine and colleagues quizzed McKinnon about events that her friends and relatives described—like the time she was in The Sound of Music during high school—she had no such recollections, even when she was probed with follow-up questions like “Do you remember any objects in the environment?” The interview seemed to confirm that, sure enough, McKinnon had no recognizable episodic memories.

Soon, Levine discovered two more healthy individuals who also seemed to lack episodic memories. Both were middle-aged men with successful jobs, one of them a PhD. One was in a long-term relationship. Levine put both men through the same battery of tests in his lab. He also ran all three of his patients through an MRI machine. Each showed reduced activity in regions of the brain crucial to the mind’s understanding of the self, the ability to mentally time travel, and the capacity to form episodic memories.

Levine published a study about Mc­Kinnon and his two other subjects in Neuropsychologia in April 2015. Since then, hundreds of people claiming to have severely deficient autobiographical memory have reached out to Levine’s team. Each must go through a set of tests as well, he says, and results might lead to only a dozen or so provable cases. But the response suggests that the discovery of McKinnon and the other two subjects wasn’t a fluke. “It raises fairly large questions,” Levine says. “What exactly does recollection do for us?” If members of our species can get by so well without episodic memories, why did we evolve to have them in the first place? And how long are they liable to stick around?

SPEND ENOUGH TIME with McKinnon and it’s hard to escape the creeping sense that she’s not just different—she’s lucky. Memories that would be searing to anyone else leave little impression on her. Like the time in 1986 when the couple was living in Arizona and Green was jumped by a group of white men while out fishing. When he came home, his head was covered with welts. “She went to get ice and she started crying,” Green says. He began to cry too. They felt terrorized.

Once again, McKinnon knows the salient facts of the story, but the details and the painful associations all reside with Green. ForMcKinnon, the memory doesn’t trigger the trauma and fear associated with it. “I can imagine being upset and scared, but I don’t remember that at all,” she says. “I can’t put myself back there. I can only imagine what it would have been like.”

McKinnon also quickly forgets arguments, which might be the reason she and Green have stayed together so long, she jokes. She cannot hold a grudge. She is unfamiliar with the feeling of regret and oblivious to the diminishments of aging. A 1972 yearbook photo shows that she was once a petite brunette with a delicate face framed by a pixie cut. (“Dorky little innocent thing,” she says, looking at the picture.) On an intellectual level, McKinnon knows that this is her; but put the picture away and, in her mind, she has always been the 60-year-old woman she is now, broad-­shouldered and fair, her face pinkish and time-lined, her closely cropped hair white and gray. She doesn’t know what it’s like to linger in a memory, to long for the past, to dwell in it.

More than a decade ago a woman named Jill Price came to the attention of scientists at UC Irvine. She exhibited a condition that is pretty much the direct opposite of McKinnon’s: the researchers called it hyperthymestic syndrome, or highly superior autobiographical memory. Price has an extraordinary ability to recall just about any fact that has intersected with her life: July 18, 1984, was a quiet Wednesday, as she writes in her memoir, and Price picked up the book Helter Skelter and read it for the second time. Monday, February 28, 1983, the final episode of M*A*S*H aired, and it was raining. The next day Price’s windshield wipers stopped working as she drove.

In contrast to McKinnon, who has received relatively little press attention, Price became an instant media sensation. Diane Sawyer had her on air twice in one day. Her powers of memory, after all, seemed supremely enviable, superhuman.

But as the UC Irvine researchers—and a story in WIRED—noted, Price’s extraordinary feats of recollection were accompanied by a kind of obsessive-compulsive fixation on recording the details of her life, one that appeared to have taken root after a “traumatizing” move to LA when she was a girl. As an adult in her 40s, she still lived with her parents. And she buttressed her memory with cramped pages full of notes on everything that happened to her in any given day.

Which is all just to say: When it comes to people with highly unusual memories, it’s not clear that we as a culture are so good at choosing who to envy.

YOU MIGHT THINK that McKinnon would lean on technology to help compensate for her disorder. After all, she lives at a moment when software companies are churning out products that are, essentially, surrogates for the very faculties she lacks. Isn’t a Facebook feed a kind of prosthetic autobiographical memory? Google Photos will even form gauzy retrospective mental associations for you: The artificially intelligent software plunges straight into your photo library, plucks out faces and related events, and automatically generates poignant little videos—synthetic episodic memories. Other software tools aim to capture your entire life in documents—emails, calendar reminders, schoolwork, voicemails, texts, snapshots, videos, and other bits of recordable data—to provide a searchable database of your memories.

And yet the life-logging impulse is lost on McKinnon. Once, she decided to keep a journal to see if she could preserve her memories. “I stopped doing that after two or three days,” she says. “If I get so obsessed with capturing every moment because I’m afraid of losing the memory, I’m never going to experience those moments.” And what else, really, does she have?
She does use email, which sometimes serves as a useful reference. But she doesn’t make a special effort to log her experiences there. And she doesn’t use social media. No Pinterest. No Instagram. She had a Facebook account, but she quit using it. It didn’t interest her.

Even if she had a Facebook feed, she would have very little to put there in the way of photos or videos. McKinnon once borrowed a video camera to film one of their departures on a Caribbean cruise, but she didn’t enjoy it. She lost the feeling of the moment, she says. She likewise doesn’t take photos. She says she doesn’t find them that compelling to look at. Sure enough, I notice there are no pictures on the ­couple’s refrigerator, shelves, or walls. No framed wedding portraits. No posed beach shots. There are just a few photo albums in an upstairs office.

McKinnon pulls down the album of her 1981 courthouse wedding to Green in Maywood, Illinois. There’s a shot of the friends who surprised the newlyweds on the steps outside. There’s one of Green opening a gag gift—a set of four mugs with images of cats having sex. McKinnon is practiced at laughing through all the anecdotes about the day that she has memorized over the years, with help from the album. But looking at the pictures, she says, feels like observing somebody else’s wedding.

Today, though, she learns something new about the day she married Green. As we look over the album, Green mentions a close friend who attended the wedding. “I didn’t even know she was there,” McKinnon says. That’s because there are no photos of this friend. Because she was the one behind the camera.

This actually feels like the kind of error anyone could make: Doesn’t the person behind the camera often get edited out of recall? Even when the person behind the camera is you?

While it’s abundantly clear that McKinnon isn’t using technology to become more like us, it’s conceivable that technology could, over the long run, make us all a bit more like McKinnon. My iPhone now holds 1,217 photos and 159 videos just from the past eight months. By focusing on clicking picture after picture, I may actually be blurring away my memories of these experiences through something researchers call “the photo-taking impairment effect.” And by automatically storing all those photos in the cloud—which relieves my mind of the burden of cataloging a bunch of memories—I may be short-circuiting some part of my own process of episodic memory formation.

“What would humanity lose if they lost some of that ability?”McKinnon asks during one of our conversations, as if wondering aloud for me. “If they had technology to replace it, what would be lost? The human experience would change, but would it be a plus? Or a minus? Or—just a change?”
I CAN HEAR McKinnon sniffling. We’re sitting in a dark movie theater at Olympia’s Capital Mall, watching Inside Out. Out of the corner of my eye, I see that she’s crying. Most of the movie takes place in the mind of an 11-year-old girl named Riley. The girl’s emotions, represented as cartoon workers in a control room, are on an emergency mission to save her from psychological catastrophe: the loss of her core memories, which look like little glowing orbs with video loops playing across their surface. The core memories power her personality islands, which—well, it’s hard to describe, but suffice it to say the structures of Riley’s personality begin to crumble when her core memories go missing.

McKinnon loves the movie, despite the fact that it seems to present her daily reality as an utter catastrophe. (When we talk about the islands of personality, core memories, and the control room of Riley’s consciousness, McKinnon laughs. “If I have the islands,” she says, “I’m not sure there’s any connections to headquarters.”)

I’m surprised to find out that, even though she doesn’t experience her own life as a narrative, McKinnon loves stories. Especially fantasy and sci-fi: Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games. She’s read all the books, seen all the movies and episodes. She can’t remember what they were about, but that just makes it better. Each time she rereads or rewatches something, it’s like experiencing it for the first time. (Here’s another thing to envy about her: She is impervious to spoilers.)

But she cannot for the life of her make up a story. She does not daydream. Her mind does not wander. This lack of imagination is common among amnesiacs. Most of us can visualize a beach scene on command, for example: We can picture lounging on a chair with a piña colada in hand, roaring waves, grains of sand between our toes. When McKinnon tries this mental exercise, she can visualize a hammock, maybe. “And then there’s probably a palm tree. As soon as, in my mind, I’d try to grab that palm tree, I lose the hammock.” She cannot fit the images together into a finished puzzle. She also cannot play chess, even though her husband plays often. “I can’t hold in my mind more than one move ahead.” In other words, not only does McKinnon lack a window into the past, she also lacks a window into the future.

McKinnon and I did a lot that day. We ate, we spoke, we walked around the mall. But of course, she doesn’t remember the details, nor does she seem to mind. While most of us experience life as a story of gain and loss, McKinnon exists always and only in her own denouement. There is no inciting incident. No conflict. And no anxious sense of momentum toward the finale. She achieves effortlessly what some people spend years striving for: She lives entirely in the present.

Photograph by Alma Haser

Source: Wired

Human Central Nervous System and Peripheral Nervous System Connections

The central nervous system (CNS) of the human consists of the brain, spinal cord, and cranial nerve II (the optic nerve which connects to the eyeball).

When compared to the peripheral nervous system (PNS), the CNS differs in several key ways. It’s largely autonomic (requires no input for it to work) instead of voluntary, is much more protected (by bone and the blood-brain barrier), and interprets input, rather than integrating it.

As the PNS is much less protected, it’s vulnerable to damage by toxins, disease, mechanical injury, and autoimmune disorders. The degenerative conditions of the CNS are almost always hereditary.

Dictionnaire Universel d'Histoire Naturelle. Charles d'Orbigny, 1849.

y’know all the canon vulcan conditions that affect emotions?

i wonder if those started manifesting in greater number after surak…

it wouldn’t be a stretch to conjecture that a lifestyle of self-suppression spreading throughout an entire species would affect the neurology of said species

like… it’s a proven thing that social convention does have bearing on neurology and certain disorders do have prevalence in certain populations because of that

and i’d wager that stuff like bendii syndrome and whatever degenerative condition tuvok is revealed to have in endgame is caused by the vulcan need to temper their emotions

and it’s not a bad thing

it’s not

because that’s what’s normal for vulcans 

and as someone who has to constantly control their emotions due to trauma and other stuff uhhh migraines are very much a thing as well as other neurological symptoms so like. that’s my normal.

so certain species being prone to certain conditions is definitely a thing yeah

Okay, deep breath. If you’ve read the acknowledgments in Six of Crows, you may know I have a degenerative condition that makes walking pretty painful. It’s called avascular or osteonecrosis and it showed up in my 20s. Pretty unusual for someone my age and in good health, but there you have it. Some days are easy, some days every step hurts like hell. The hardest part is not being able to do things I used to really love in the same way. Dancing, exploring cities on foot, running— ok, I never loved running, but you get the idea.

 Anyway, I realized my (ableist) reluctance to use a cane has meant missing out on a lot of good things, and that is some serious bs. So for the last leg (hey o!) of the Magic and Mayhem tour, you may see me with my @dellamorteco cane (technically a raven’s skull, Kaz would not approve) or my @lekiusa hiking cane.

 I’m not great at talking about personal stuff on social media, but I’m trying to be more up front about the situation. It’s part of the reason I wrote Kaz, and it’s not something I’m interested in hiding. My plan is to acquire a lot of awesome walking sticks and to be as candid as possible about the good days and the bad days. Thanks for letting me share both. And my sweet new mani.

Ethan’s Awful Life

I can’t stop thinking what a terrible time it’s been for Ethan the last few months. I mean jesus.

His brother steals from him.

His brother finds out he’s a dad so Ethan has a baby thrust upon him and his flat and his life.

The baby isn’t Cal’s and she is taken away from them.

He loses confidence in his work after Olivia and Jess.

He tries to deal with it and then a patient kills himself and he feels responsible.

He resigns from his job.

Changes his mind and realises he should stick it out.

Finds out his mother isn’t his real mother and his birth mother has a genetic degenerative life shortening condition.

Finds out his brother lied about it to him for months.

Finds out she’s dying imminently.

His mother dies and he finds out he has been tested for the disease behind his back and subsequently has the gene.

Bloody hell. Poor guys it’s surprising and a testament to his character that he hasn’t had a breakdown yet. Seriously. Talk about a series of unfortunate events.

And cal has the audacity to say Ethan lives in an ‘antiseptic Ethan bubble’ where he 'loves to control everything’ well can you blame the poor guy? His life is always trying to break him no wonder he tries as hard as he can to control that.
6 Superfoods Your Body Will Love!

We should all eat a varied and balanced diet but there are a few ingredients that are exceptionally good for you. Our mate Layla shows us some of the ones everybody’s talking about right now… with the help of Jamie… in a Morph suit!

Grab a sneak preview of today’s video, then check out a bit more info on each food below! :) 


- The wide selection of healthy fats and nutrients found in avocados – (oleic acid, lutein, folate, vitamin E, monounsaturated fats and glutathione to name a few) can help protect your body from heart disease, cancer, degenerative eye and brain diseases.

- Avocado is one of the best sources of beta-sitosterol from a whole food. It’s basically a healthier version of animal cholesterol and your body prefers to use it if both are present, therefore lowering cholesterol in the blood and as a result reducing heart disease.

- The Brazilian football team enjoyed a sweetened avocado smoothie for breakfast during the world cup as it gives a slow release of healthy fats and proteins throughout the day.

- Be careful though… the avocado is also the UK’s most dangerous fruit. There are more admittances to A&E because of avocado preparations than any other fruit!


- A gluten-free plant from Ethiopia. The smallest grain in the world… about the same size as poppy seeds. 

- Teff has 5x more calcium than wheat so is ideal to those on dairy-free diets. 

- Not just that, but teff contains the full range of eight amino acids essential for humans, so is excellent for vegetarians. 

- The grain is pretty versatile too and can be added to breads, biscuits and savoury dishes likes stews, casseroles or soups.


- This is currently classed as the most nutrient dense superfood… otherwise called a ‘Powerhouse Fruit and Vegetable’. This means it has , on average, 10% or more daily value per 100 kcal of all 17 qualifying nutrients.

- It’s a good source of loads of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A,K and C which are brilliant for maintaining healthy hair, eyes, skin and nails.

- Plus, it’s got stacks of iron, calcium, potassium and also phytochemicals and antioxidants which provide protection against heart disease, cancer and other degenerative conditions

- It is also beneficial in treating cough, bronchitis and constipation and improves general appetite and digestion.

Chia Seeds

- Chia seeds are probably the most trendy right now. They’ve become a bit of a celeb superfood, but also popular among athletes at the commonwealth games.

- They are high in fibre which most can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, some cancers, and improve digestive health. 

- Chia seeds have 15 x more magnesium than broccoli and 8 x times more Omega 3 than salmon. Both of which are handy for contributing towards healthy cognitive brain function.

Maca Root

- We had ours as a powder which is ground up from the Maca Root which grows in the Andes in Peru.

- It’s super high in Vitamin B2, C, Calcium, Copper, Iron and Zinc.

- These vitamins and minerals helps your body with fertility, libido and menopausal health.

- It can also reduce tiredness meaning you can enjoy life more as you’re full of energy. 

- Also brill for sexual health… thanks to the Zinc in Maca which contributes to normal fertility and reproduction.

Acai berries

- A natural berry native to South America that has a taste somewhere between blueberries and chocolate

- The berries have a phenomenal concentration of antioxidants that help combat premature aging, with 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes. So if the doctors say a glass of red wine a day is good… just think what Acai berry juice could do!

- Acai is particularly high in the antioxidant Glutathione, which plays an important role in carcinogenic detoxification (I.e. It’s anti-cancer fighting).

Isn’t man an amazing animal? He kills wildlife - birds, kangaroos, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice, foxes and dingoes - by the million in order to protect his domestic animals and their feed. Then he kills domestic animals by the billion and eats them. This in turn kills man by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative - and fatal- health conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, and cancer. So then man tortures and kills millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases. Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals.
—  From Old MacDonald’s Factory Farm by C. David Coats
Notes on Taimi

From the Dev live stream

Taimi is 13 years old (though she’s a lot more advance than a lot of her peers), she’s on the cusp of leaving progeny-hood.

Scruffy has a ton of defensive protocols to keep Taimi safe at all times.

There’s no set age for progeny->adult. It varies  between individuals as they judge based on how advance they are and whatnot.

Braham is the second youngest of the Living Story biconics, so that’s one reason why Taimi latched onto him.

Eventually Taimi will kind of temper Zojja just like how Zojja tempered Taimi.

As revealed in Edge of the Mists, she has a degenerative bone condition (her legs don’t work very well; she walks slowly and with a bad limp).

This will be explored more later on and it has a chance that it will spread to the rest of the body. 

Taimi designed and created Scruffy.


Facing Fears with Dark Art Artist @standarkart

To discover more dark art, and experience the world through Stanislav’s eyes, follow @standarkart on Instagram.

Born with cerebral palsy and suffering from a degenerative eye condition, Ukrainian Stanislav Krawczyk (@standarkart) remembers his childhood as a constant battle. Confined and isolated by hospital walls, Stanislav developed the urge to express himself, and by the age of 13, he knew he wanted to become an artist. In art, particularly dark art, he found a way to echo his emotions and channel his inner chaos and pain.

“Dark art for me is a more radical form of surreal,” he says. “If surreal is the combination of dream and reality, dark art is the combination of reality and nightmares.” One year ago, Stanislav left his home country and joined likeminded artists in Los Angeles in order to start a new, self-determined life. “I was just a blind disabled in the Ukraine,” he says. “Here I am part of the dark art society and cultural life of the city. And the main thing is, I can make a living. I have friends, a lot of friends, and I’m not alone.”


My aunt needs spinal surgery, please help her, signal boost and donate (if you can)

“I never thought I’d have to make one of these pages, or at least I hoped I’d never have to (who ever does?). But, as many of you know, I have been living in China, teaching at an International School. I’ve struggled with chronic back issues for 4 years now, which is most likely caused by a degenerative condition called spondylosis. With this condition there is a narrowing of the vertebrate, causing discs to protrude and narrow the spinal canal, which has caused chronic pain in my muscles and nerves over the years, including multiple bulging discs throughout my cervical and thoracic spine. This can be caused by many things, especially sports as a young child. I’ve taken 2 X-Rays, 3 MRI’s , and one CT scan of my spine, tried multiple prescription pain medications, but nothing has given me quite enough relief. I’ve spent more money than I can say trying to control and overcome this condition, but so far, not much has helped to control the issue. I’ve tried acupuncture, with no luck, and recently I’ve been going to a physical therapist and chiropractor every weekend from Hangzhou to Shanghai and back to Hangzhou to teach on the week days.  I try my best to focus on helping children grow and learn, which has been my greatest achievement and enjoyment thus far in life, despite my back issues. “


Appreciating the Small Joys with @lovewalkeatsee

For more photos through Lara’s eyes, follow @lovewalkeatsee on Instagram.

“When I look at a landscape, I don’t see a landscape. I see a snippet within it,” says Australia native Lara Miller (@lovewalkeatsee). Lara has a degenerative eye condition that causes tunnel vision, which means she sees the world through a tight circle. But through her unique view, she notices things others might miss. Lara and her husband, David (@chiefmillso), are currently traveling through Europe and Southeast Asia. When the couple watches a sun rise, they look in different directions and later share their alternate viewpoints. “I turn my back and look at the colors playing across the building and the sky and the long shadows — the golden glow off everything,” she says.

Lara describes her photography as emotionally-motivated: “If it makes me feel something — whether it’s awe of the land, vitality from fresh food, inspired by small producers, the optimism of urban greenery or all gooey with cuddly animals — then I will post.”

Lara says it is unknown if and when she will lose her vision entirely. “In many ways, I kind of feel like the awareness of a precious thing deteriorating, my vision, has actually made me far more aware of little details, appreciating the small joys every day,” she says. “I mean, my husband will ring me up on the way home from work and say, ‘Look outside the window at the moon, it’s rising.’”

Isn’t man an amazing animal?
He kills wildlife - birds, kangaroos, deer,
all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers,
groundhogs, mice, foxes and dingoes -
by the million in order to protect his domestic
animals and their feed. Then he kills domestic
animals by the billion and eats them. This in
turn kills man by the millions, because eating
all those animals leads to degenerative
- and fatal - health conditions like heart disease,
kidney disease, and cancer. So then man
tortures and kills millions more animals to
look for cures for these diseases. Elsewhere,
millions of other human beings are being
killed by hunger and malnutrition because
food they could eat is being used to fatten
domestic animals. Meanwhile, some people are
dying of sad laughter at the absurdity of man,
who kills so easily and so violently, and once a
year, sends out cards praying for Peace on Earth.
—  David Coates

Finding Beauty in Darkness with Io Echo Singer Ioanna Gika

To see more from Io Echo, check out @ioecho on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

After undergoing life-threatening lung surgery at 9 years old, Io Echo (@ioecho) singer Ioanna Gika found solace in the movie Beetlejuice. “I confronted the concept of death very early on,” she says. “A film like that made death seem like such a party because they were dead but they were finding moments of comedy. That was comforting for me.”

That balance between light and dark is something Ioanna has fully embraced in her work. Before forming Io Echo with Leopold Ross — the brother of composer Atticus Ross — she lived briefly in Jakarta, Indonesia, where her stepfather and mother were stationed, and then spent time staying with her aunt in Tokyo. Her experience in Asia would go on to have a major influence on the Los Angeles-based band’s debut full-length, Ministry of Love, from the use of Chinese violins to the Japanese koto harp.

More broadly, though, Ioanna is inspired by literature and paintings created for a bigger purpose. (“I connect with art and literature that rouses and electrifies a feeling, and sometimes that’s art with a social message.”) She cites artist Ai Weiwei, painter Allison Schulnik, photographer Ren Hang and activist Malala Yousafzai as recent examples of people who’ve informed her work. There are also some personal struggles that find their way into her writing: Her father passed away from a degenerative brain condition as Io Echo was finishing up its debut album, and her stepfather was nearly killed in a 2004 terrorist bombing near the Greek embassy in Jakarta.

“They had targeted the Australian embassy but the force mainly impacted the Greek offices, so much so that my mom’s passport was in my stepdad’s drawer, and the copies of the papers ended up on the street below so they thought something had happened to my mom,” she says. “It was a tumultuous time.”

While she recently accepted a role in a performance piece called 20/20 Accelerando by artist Lita Albuquerque at the University of Southern California, Ionna is mostly spending time with her bandmate on the second Io Echo album, which is already halfway done and set to drop some time this year.

“This will be different than our first album,” she says. “[Ministry of Love] was influenced a lot by my time in Southeast Asia, but since that album, a lot has changed. My father died as we were finishing it, a long-term relationship broke down and I can feel that our sound is evolving as I push myself. I want to expand and improve through the various personal vicissitudes. I want to be more open.”

—Dan Reilly for Instagram @music