oregon health science university

I’m standing on my soapbox today, so bear with me.

As early as 2008, studies began to show that Fibromyalgia was an illness with ties to “extra” nerve endings and neurogenic inflammation, though the primary culprit is considered to be “altered signaling in the brain and spinal cord.” These are physical and chemical issues within the body which generate widespread pain, tenderness in specific locations, and a host of additional symptoms. The pain of Fibromyalgia can occur in any body site (face, low back, neck, upper limb, thorax, abdominal, pelvis, urogenital region), or in a combination of body sites (widespread pain). 

The following symptoms may also occur with fibromyalgia: Digestive problems, including irritable bowel syndrome with gas, and alternating diarrhea and constipation, dizziness, dry mouth, painful menstrual periods, problems with balance, tension or migraine headaches, tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, and even urinary frequency caused by bladder spasms. Fibromyalgia is also often associated with sleep disturbance, and comorbidities (such as depression, anxiety, anger, guilt, fear, and a range of chronic medical conditions).

It’s important to note that Fibromyalgia has symptoms that resemble those of some rheumatic illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus).

I’ve got a lot to say about my experiences with Fibromyalgia and the other chronic medical conditions I suffer from, but today I want to focus on treatment options for Fibro. I’m given no treatment, as I refused to attend cognitive behavior therapy and the doctor at the Mayo Clinic, where I was diagnosed, doesn’t believe in treating Fibromyalgia with medication. He’s not alone.

The science journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases recently updated an article they published in July of 2016 which focuses on the management of Fibromyalgia. This article is interesting because it consists of 19 doctors from 12 countries combing through 2,979 studies to determine the absolute best treatment options for those who are suffering from this debilitating disorder.

Their conclusion? The only treatment they STRONGLY RECOMMEND is exercise. They decided that management for these patients, who are suffering the same as patients with similar chronic ailments, should only involve patient education and a focus on non-pharmacological therapies, mainly exercise.

Now I know and you know that exercise is a wonderful tool for regaining our health, but there’s a problem here. A big one.

Researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University recently published their own study. It concluded that four in five people with fibromyalgia do no aerobic exercise. They were started to find so many of them refusing to participate in even low-level activity, so they questioned the patients and asked why they wouldn’t exercise. The responses?

An increase in pain and fatigue was the most common reason given for not exercising.

I am one of those patients. I do exercise when I can; walking has had the least impact on my health but even that can cause major setbacks that leave me in bed for weeks– so why are doctors ignoring this? Why are they refusing to treat patients with Fibromyalgia as if they have a real illness? Let me repeat something I shared earlier:

It’s important to note that Fibromyalgia has symptoms that resemble those of some rheumatic illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

My youngest son put this is in really easy to understand terms. Its as if there is something jamming the internet at your house, so the techs recommend you upgrade the jamming device. 

Can you imagine a patient with RA being told they couldn’t have relief from their pain and that they should just take up Yoga?*

This is shameful.

For those interested in reading the article, here’s the full citation:

Macfarlane GJ, Kronisch C, Dean LE, et al EULAR revised recommendations for the management of fibromyalgia Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2017;76:318-328.

* Not that those patients don’t get their own helping of garbage from doctors, from the ridiculous run around trying to get a diagnosis to the constant fight for proper medical care. Not trying to diminish any other chronic illness; ijs.

Update: For a continuation of this rant, read this.

Construction Crane Setup Time Lapse - Portland, Oregon, South Waterfront neighborhood.  This crane is being setup to assist in the construction of the Oregon Health Science University’s (OHSU) Guest House.  Families can stay here while loved ones are in the hospital for long stays.  

For people with diabetes who take insulin, the risk of losing consciousness from low blood sugar is a constant fear. Devices called continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) can alert wearers to dropping levels, but not everyone has access to them. And even among those who do, some prefer a furrier and friendlier alert option: a service dog with special training to alert owners when their blood sugar reaches dangerously low levels.

These dogs are trained in a variety of ways, and although they receive certification, there is no universally accepted test to ensure their competence. Fully trained dogs can cost in the $20,000 range and typically aren’t covered by insurance, although some nonprofit organizations can help offset the cost.

But as the popularity of diabetes alert dogs to detect hypoglycemia has increased dramatically, their effectiveness is largely unknown, according to Evan Los, a pediatric endocrinologist at Oregon Health & Science University who has studied their use. “Though dog trainers and dog users are generally enthusiastic,” he notes.

Moreover, it’s not clear exactly what the dogs may be detecting. Are they actually “smelling” low blood sugar, or are they reacting to typical hypoglycemia symptoms in their owner, such as sweating or shaking?

Can Diabetes Alert Dogs Help Sniff Out Low Blood Sugar?

Photo: Frank Wisneski/Flickr

Skin cancer cells from a mouse show how cells attach at contact points

These skin cancer cells come from a mouse, an animal commonly used to study human diseases (including many types of cancer) and to test the effectiveness of drugs. The two cells shown here are connected by actin (green), a protein in the cellular skeleton. Although actin is required by many cells for normal movement, it also enables cancer cells to spread to other parts of the body. 

Image courtesy of Catherine and James Galbraith, Oregon Health and Science University, Knight Cancer Institute. Part of the exhibit Life:Magnified by ASCB and NIGMS.

source

Made with Flickr
7

This is my 11 year old sister Haley Lawhorn. On Monday December 8th, she was taken to Salem Hospital after losing consciousness while riding bikes with her friend. The EMT found blood in her brain and she was lifelighted to Oregon Health and Science University and then admitted to Doernbechers Children’s Hospital with a ruptured aneurysm and blood clot in her brain. There was a 12% chance of her surviving through surgery and then the night.

Here we are two days later with her sleeping in the PICU while her brain prepares to have the clot removed on Friday. She is a tough little girl. She competes on horses and in derby races. She loves fashion and helping me make clothes and accessories. She has an interest in history and science. She plays flute and is involved in choir. She has so much she’s going to do. But after this surgery, we’ll have to spend a little extra time {and money} to get her back on track to her future. She will need rehabilitation at Randall’s Children’s hospital to relearn how to use the right side of her body. This effects speech, movement, and comprehension. She also has a loving family who is doing everything to be with her and make sure she comes though well and happy. If you can spare a few dollars to help pay for these life saving tests and procedures, we would be very thankful. She means the world to me and so many others You can also donate on PayPal with the send money to family option to vallawhorn@hotmail.com

If you’ve ever listened to karaoke at a bar, you know that drinking can affect how well someone can sing. Christopher Olson and his colleagues at Oregon Health and Science University recently set out to find if the same was true for birds, specifically zebra finches.

“We just showed up in the morning and mixed a little bit of juice with 6 percent alcohol, and put it in their water bottles and put it in the cages,” Olson told All Things Considered’s Arun Rath. “At first we were thinking that they wouldn’t drink on their own because, you know, a lot of animals just won’t touch the stuff. But they seem to tolerate it pretty well and be somewhat willing to consume it.”

The finches long have been used as a model to study human vocal learning, or how people learn to communicate using language, Olson said. Obviously, alcohol affects human speech, so Olson and his team checked for similar problems with the birds.

The blood-alcohol levels achieved — .05 to .08 percent — would be laughed off by many college students, but because birds metabolize alcohol differently it was plenty to produce the effects the scientists were looking for.

Listen to the audio, and you’ll hear that the finches’ song gets a bit quieter and just a little slurred, or as Olson puts it, “a bit less organized in their sound production” — like a roommate calling from a bar to get a ride home.

Scientists Discover That Drunk Birds Sing Like Drunks

Photo credit: Liza Gross/Courtesy Public Library of Science

Scientists Discover That Drunk Birds Sing Like Drunks

If you’ve ever listened to karaoke at a bar, you know that drinking can affect how well someone can sing. Christopher Olson and his colleagues at Oregon Health and Science University recently set out to find if the same was true for birds, specifically zebra finches.

“We just showed up in the morning and mixed a little bit of juice with 6 percent alcohol, and put it in their water bottles and put it in the cages,” Olson told All Things Considered’s Arun Rath. “At first we were thinking that they wouldn’t drink on their own because, you know, a lot of animals just won’t touch the stuff. But they seem to tolerate it pretty well and be somewhat willing to consume it.”

The finches long have been used as a model to study human vocal learning, or how people learn to communicate using language, Olson said. Obviously, alcohol affects human speech, so Olson and his team checked for similar problems with the birds.

The blood alcohol levels achieved — .05 to .08 percent — would be laughed off by many college students, but because birds metabolize alcohol differently it was plenty to produce the effects the scientists were looking for.

Listen to the audio, and you’ll hear that the finches’ song gets a bit quieter and just a little slurred, or as Olson puts it, “a bit less organized in their sound production” — like a roommate calling from a bar to get a ride home.

Recent research has shown that zebra finches sing differently when drunk. Liza Gross/Courtesy Public Library of Science

GO HOME BIRD YOU’RE DRUNK

5 Eerily Familiar Things Animals Do When They’re Drunk

#5. They Are Terrible Singers
Since scientists get bored sometimes, Christopher Olson from the Oregon Health & Science University decided to find out if the birds he worked with would also suffer vocally if they had a little alcohol in them. So one day he added some to their juice, in an act that would be totally illegal if it involved humans, but it was just some finches, so fuck it.
The scientist said he wasn’t even sure the finches would drink the booze, but that in the end they were “somewhat willing to consume it,” which I can only assume means it took hours of peer pressure about how they needed to be cooler if lady finches were ever going to go out with them. The results were pretty much what you would expect, but way funnier because they are birds. The finches’ songs became “less organized” and they slurred whatever the avian equivalent of words are.

Read More

Low-fat diet helps fatigue in people with MS

People with multiple sclerosis who for one year followed a plant-based diet very low in saturated fat had much less MS-related fatigue at the end of that year — and significantly less fatigue than a control group of people with MS who didn’t follow the diet, according to an Oregon Health & Science University study being presented today at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in Philadelphia, Pa.

The study was the first randomized-controlled trial to examine the potential benefits of the low fat diet on the management of MS. The study found no significant differences between the two groups in brain lesions detected on MRI brain scans or on other measures of MS. But while the number of trial participants was relatively small, study leaders believe the significantly improved fatigue symptoms merited further and larger studies of the diet.

“Fatigue can be a debilitating problem for many people living with relapsing-remitting MS,” said Vijayshree Yadav, M.D., an associate professor of neurology in the OHSU School of Medicine and clinical medical director of the OHSU Multiple Sclerosis Center. “So this study’s results — showing some notable improvement in fatigue for people who follow this diet — are a hopeful hint of something that could help many people with MS.”

The study investigated the effects of following a diet called the McDougall Diet, devised by John McDougall, M.D. The diet is partly based on an MS-fighting diet developed in the 1940s and 1950s by the late Roy Swank, M.D., a former head of the division of neurology at OHSU. The McDougall diet, very low in saturated fat, focuses on eating starches, fruits and vegetables and does not include meat, fish or dairy products.

The study, which began in 2008, looked at the diet’s effect on the most common form of MS, called relapsing-remitting MS. About 85 percent of people with MS have relapsing-remitting MS, characterized by clearly defined attacks of worsening neurological function followed by recovery periods when symptoms improve partially or completely.

The study measured indicators of MS among a group of people who followed the McDougall Diet for 12 months and a control group that did not. The study measured a range of MS indicators and symptoms, including brain lesions on MRI brain scans of study participants, relapse rate, disabilities caused by the disease, body weight and cholesterol levels.

It found no difference between the diet group and the control group in the number of MS-caused brain lesions detected on the MRI scans. It also found no difference between the two groups in relapse rate or level of disability caused by the disease. People who followed the diet did lose significantly more weight than the control group and had significantly lower cholesterol levels. People who followed the diet also had higher scores on a questionnaire that measured their quality of life and overall mood.

The study’s sample size was relatively small. Fifty-three people completed the study, with 27 in the control group and 22 people in the diet group who complied with the diet’s restrictions.

“This study showed the low-fat diet might offer some promising help with the fatigue that often comes with MS,” said Dennis Bourdette, M.D., F.A.A.N., chair of OHSU’s Department of Neurology, director of OHSU’s MS Center and a study co-author. “But further study is needed, hopefully with a larger trial where we can more closely look at how the diet might help fatigue and possibly affect other symptoms of MS.”