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Why Do Girls Show Signs of Autism Later Than Boys?

New research looks at the reasons autistic characteristics show up at a later age in girls, and how that phenomenon affects diagnosis and treatment.

Why do girls seem to develop autism later than boys?

And does this affect the way girls are diagnosed and treated for the condition?

Those are questions being discussed intently at an annual conference in California.

A research team, led by William Mandy, PhD, senior lecturer in clinical psychology at University College London, says it has gained new insights into the different ways that autistic characteristics present themselves in girls during adolescence.

Mandy presented the findings today at the 16th Annual International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) in San Francisco.

The findings are new, but they echo theories offered by Hans Asperger in 1943 that were never tested. Asperger, a medical theorist, is known for his early work into autism spectrum disorders.

Mandy’s team conducted a longitudinal study, which repeatedly gathered data for the same test subjects over a period of time.

Researchers found that while boys tend to display stable, similar autistic characteristics throughout their adolescence, girls are more likely to see these characteristics ramp up during the teen and preteen years.

The findings could help explain why boys tend to be diagnosed with autism earlier than girls, and also how guidelines for diagnosing autism in children could be biased against girls.

A difficult disorder to pin down

Autism is not the easiest condition to diagnose.

“Unlike some physical health difficulties, we don’t have a biomarker for autism,” Mandy told Healthline. “We don’t have blood tests or brain scans. We can’t actually see autism itself, so instead we do what people do in all mental health disorders, pretty much. We diagnose it not by looking at the thing itself, but by looking at its manifestation, its size, and its symptoms.”

In short, diagnosing autism isn’t quite an exact science. The criteria for diagnosing autism includes a group of observable characteristics and behaviors that the medical community has come to a consensus on as representing autism.

Autism is not a black-and-white thing.
William Mandy, University College London

Generally speaking, these characteristics come down to difficulties in the realm of social communication and flexibility when it comes to things like switching activities and focus. Other autistic characteristics include sensitivity to outside stimuli like bright lights or loud noises.

“Autism is not a black and white thing,” said Mandy. “It’s a dimensional condition. So the people that we label as having autism are really just at the extreme end of a continuum that extends all the way through the population with no clear natural cut point between those that have autism and those that don’t. And what’s become clear from the research is that having autistic traits, even if they’re not at the level where we would conventionally label someone as having a clinical diagnosis of autism, that’s still a risk factor for a range of difficulties. For example, developing social anxiety problems, conduct problems, or anorexia.”

Research is first of its kind

Mandy’s team looked at autistic traits in the general population, rather than limiting itself just to those people who are at the extreme end of the spectrum.

Autistic traits for the same group of children and adolescents was measured at ages 7, 10, 13, and 16.

Boys who showed high levels of autistic traits at age 7 tended to remain consistent over time, demonstrating similar traits at older ages.

Girls, on the other hand, showed a marked increase in levels of autistic social difficulties between the ages of 10 and 16.

Mandy said the findings were surprising, as previous medical wisdom stated that girls and women with autistic traits tended to “camouflage” them as they got older.

“If anything, I expected to see a decline in autistic symptoms in girls over time,” he said. “What’s very interesting is that there was one person who suggested the opposite, and that was Hans Asperger himself. There’s this rather intriguing sentence from this paper he wrote in the 1940s, where he’s wondering why we never see girls with what he would call ‘autistic psychopathologies.’ And he said, ‘Well, maybe it’s because these traits don’t show onset until adolescence with females.’ And nobody tested that idea. So it’s intriguing that that would be what we appear to have found on this occasion.”

Possible diagnostic pitfalls

So, are girls getting short-changed when it comes to autism diagnoses?

“It’s possible — it’s likely, in fact — that our current diagnostic criteria are rather biased toward the male presentation, and biased against the female presentation, said Mandy. “And there’s always been a sort of circular situation, that almost all autism research is done on males, which means that your diagnostic criteria reflects males, which means that you can continue to recruit a predominance of males in your research, and so it goes on.”

Besides this apparent bias, there’s also a strong likelihood that girls with autism present autistic characteristics in ways that are different – and subtler – than what are seen in boys.

One characteristic of autism, that holds true with both sexes, is a strongly focused interest on a particular topic.

Where the sexes often differ, says Mandy, is in the nature of this interest.

“There’s emerging evidence, and this certainly fits with my clinical impression, that girls with autism, their special and focused interests, are a little bit unusual than autistic boys,” he said. “They’re less likely to focus on something technical and specific, and perhaps more likely to focus on the social realm.”

So while a boy with autism might show a preoccupation with something technical like trains or buildings, a girl with autism is more likely to focus on hierarchies or lists of family and friends.

“Often, girls are more likely to be almost stereotypically gender-specific,” said Mandy. “So you meet a lot of autistic girls who are really into animals or horses, or fashion. And those interests, of course, don’t jump out at you as much. If you get a kid who comes along and says, ‘I’m obsessed with the District Line on the London Underground,’ then that looks unusual, and you think autism might be an issue. If you have a girl who says, ‘I’m obsessed with wearing the latest styles,’ that obviously doesn’t seem as unusual, so it’s less likely to alert people to the presence of autism.”

Mandy also points out that the way girls’ autistic traits seem to accelerate between the ages of 10 and 16 mirrors a changing and complex social world.

“I think for girls, there’s a phenomenon where they can be doing fine at primary education,” he explained, “but as the social world starts to become more complex, as they transition over into secondary school and the social demands of the adolescent female social world rapidly accelerate, these girls can really struggle, and people often don’t understand.”

Support always key

While changing guidelines to reflect traits of autism in girls seems like an obvious partial solution, it’s really not that simple.

Because autism exists on a spectrum and, as Mandy tells us, it’s not a black-and-white diagnosis, changing diagnostic guidelines could shift the focus too much.

“I think the way to go is to keep the same fundamental diagnosis,” Mandy said. “Fundamentally, this is about difficulties with social communication, a tendency toward inflexibility, but I do think that people need to be more flexible in thinking in terms of how these manifest and whether the way these manifest in girls and women — especially girls and women with a normal range IQ — is a bit different.”

I think we need better understanding of the early presentation of autism in girls, so we can identify them in a timely way.
William Mandy, University College London

People with autistic traits can thrive, but it’s crucial that their needs are recognized and that they’re placed in an environment where they’re able to excel.

“I think we need better understanding of the early presentation of autism in girls, so we can identify them in a timely way, and for those that need help, we can put that support in place before things start to go wrong in adolescence,” said Mandy. “I think we need to get better clinically at thinking dimensionally, and not just thinking in these black-and-white terms. Trying to understand people in a more subtle way, and thinking about if they have traits or conditions for autism diagnosis, those are important.”

Mandy says that now that his team has gleaned some new insights into autism in girls, they’d like to go more in-depth in order to better understand the condition.

“I think what we need to do now is look at it in a bit more depth. Who are these girls who are apparently not showing autistic traits in childhood, and who are showing them in adolescence?” he said. “And asking questions like, ‘Are these social difficulties actually autistic in nature, or are they arising from something else?’ If they are autistic in nature, what were the early indicators that were being missed by this measure of autistic traits in childhood? So, it’s really about trying to get a more detailed picture so we can properly understand the meaning of this finding.”

Source:healthline.com

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With autism, tracking devices may ease parents’ minds

n electronic tracking device can calm worried parents who fear their child with autism might wander off and stumble into danger, a new survey shows.

With the device, “parents were more comfortable letting their child spend time with family and friends,” explained lead researcher Dr. Andrew Adesman.

“When there is such a high wandering concern, parents are often not comfortable with their children spending any time outside of their direct supervision,” Adesman said. “But an electronic tracking device provides an additional form of assurance that if something were to happen, the risks could be mitigated.”

A full 96 percent of parents surveyed who said they were using an electronic tracking device claimed it improved their quality of life, Adesman said. He is chief of developmental & behavioral pediatrics at the Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York.

“This is the largest study to date of children with autism who have wandered. It’s also the first study ever to systematically try to capture data from families about their experiences with these devices,” Adesman said.

Parents of children with autism were invited to participate in the survey via autism organizations nationwide, and Adesman’s team culled survey responses from more than 1,300 parents. All were asked specific questions about the severity of their child’s disorder, any previous wandering episodes, and what steps they’d taken to curb this behavior in the past.

Before using a tracking device, 87 percent of the parents said their concerns about wandering colored decisions about their child spending time with others. Only 60 percent of parents said this was the case while using such a device.

According to Adesman, the study tried to assess parental anxiety and stress associated with wandering concerns. The researchers wanted a better understanding of this problem, which Adesman believes has been inaccurately studied to date.

One expert said he was happy to see such a study published.

“I am not in the slightest bit surprised by this research, but I’m really glad it was done,” said Thomas Frazier, chief science officer for Autism Speaks.

The study “establishes something that we’ve suspected for a long time about individuals with autism or developmental disabilities wandering, and the need to track them for many reasons,” Frazier said. “The main one being that if they wander, they can be identified and brought back. But, also for quality-of-life issues, as the paper points out.”

Frazier’s clinical and personal experience helped him understand the increased peace of mind parents might receive from electronic tracking devices. He explained that many children with autism have no sense of boundaries, something he has personally witnessed with his son.

About 10 years ago, Frazier and his wife needed a police dog to find their young son who had wandered into the woods. He believes that scenario could have been avoided with an electronic tracking device.

Adesman said much has changed in the past decade.

“In recent years, there has been an increased appreciation of how common it is for children with autism spectrum disorders or other disorders to wander,” he said.

A recent survey from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that about a quarter of a million children with autism or developmental disorders wander each year, Adesman noted.

“It’s a staggering figure. Sometimes these wandering episodes are benign, or sometimes they have tragic endings such as a drowning, motor vehicle accident or other forms of injury. Wandering is one of the most common causes of death in school-age children with autism, typically because of drowning,” he added.

While Adesman suggested that electronic tracking devices could help parents find their child before a tragedy occurs, there are still several issues parents included in the survey said they faced.

Forty-two percent of parents who do not use these devices avoid them because their child either would not like wearing it or it would not fit. Additionally, 44 percent said the cost of the devices was too high, the findings showed.

Frazier said the tracking devices can cost somewhere around $200, depending on the product and the company selling it.

He added that the devices have changed dramatically over the years. They are no longer bulky, and come in a variety of options that can be worn on the wrist or clipped to clothing. He encourages parents to research styles to determine what would work best for their child.

“For families that don’t have a lot of means, sometimes there are local resources, such as the county board for developmental disabilities or other local groups who are willing to provide a grant or funding,” Frazier recommended. “This is possibly one of the best uses of that funding that you can get.”

source:chicagotribune.com

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Deaths Have Decreased

While disability rates among people with RA have risen slightly, mortality rates are declining for the first time in years.

Many study findings about rheumatoid arthritis (RA) sound negative, but patients with the disease are now getting some encouraging news.

A study published last month on the progress and advancements in RA treatment and management revealed that for the first time in years the mortality rate among people with RA has decreased.

Researchers also noted that people with the disease experience much less disability than in decades past.

 

The mortality numbers

Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that RA was listed as the underlying cause of death in 8,428 cases in 2011.

That was a decrease from 9,281 deaths in 1987.

The age-standardized mortality rate of RA declined by 3 percent annually from 1987 to 2011.

But people with RA still have a higher mortality rate than the general population.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that early treatment — within six months of diagnosis — is ideal to help curb aggressive disease activity or early deaths from RA.

What is working?

Researchers are now trying to ascertain which specific approaches have helped bring down the RA mortality rate.

In general, it seems that the long-term outlook for people with RA is improving — but only with early treatment. This was evidenced in a study following a group of people with RA for 20 years.

Early treatment means getting the right diagnosis and “catching” the RA early in the progression of the disease.

There are some mixed opinions within the rheumatology community about what the first line of defense is in RA treatment, but the general consensus is that a more aggressive approach in the earlier stages is best.

This research emphasizes the importance of early treatment and the long-term benefits of early treatment.
Suzanne Verstappen, University of Manchester

People with lower disease activity tended to fare better long term.

But, overall, while people with RA reported a lower disease activity early on, disability rates did tend to rise in people with RA seven years after diagnosis.

The disability reported was moderate but still better than compared with previous decades.

A press release about these discoveries noted that “patients who received treatment within the first six months had a lower risk of death than those who did not receive treatment, after controlling for disease severity.”

“This research emphasizes the importance of early treatment and the long-term benefits of early treatment,” said Suzanne Verstappen, PhD, a senior research fellow at the University of Manchester, and a lead researcher on these study, said in a press statement. “In the early 1990s, when this study started, only 30 percent of patients received early treatment, but this number has increased significantly in the last decade. It’s expected that in the next 10 years, newly diagnosed patients will have a better future with respect to functional ability, less severe disease activity, and improved quality of life.”

Issues associated with survival

In the past, there was a higher RA mortality rate due to complications such as lung and heart issues associated with severe RA disease activity.

Other people succumbed to fatal infections from RA medications, or other unique complications associated with RA and its comorbidities.

The higher survival rate is welcome news for people with RA, but there are issues related to living longer with the disease.

“Although increased survival with rheumatoid arthritis is great news, it might lead to a greater share of our aging population having the disease and in need of health services. This needs to be accounted for in healthcare planning,” said study lead author Aliasghar Kiadaliri, PhD, of Lund University in Sweden, in a statement to the press.

I would love to live a longer and healthier life even with having a serious illness like RA.
Jacqueline Dickson, living with rheumatoid arthritis

People with RA, though, still look at this news as a positive thing.

“With so much bad news regarding the healthcare bill and funding for NIH research being cut and just the difficulties of RA in general, it is nice to get good news for once. I would love to live a longer and healthier life even with having a serious illness like RA,” said Jacqueline Dickson of North Carolina.

“I am only 23 and was just recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis,” added Michelle Herbert of Nevada. “I wondered if it would affect my life expectancy, and told my doctor that I’d try whatever she suggested to make sure my disease didn’t progress too badly. It’s good to know that aggressive treatment early in the disease is seen as a positive, but I just hope my doctors caught it in time because I had so many years of pain.”

Source:healthline.com

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People with autism can hear more than most – which can be a strength and a challenge

A noisy environment can be hell for a person with autism. On the plus side, they are more likely to have perfect pitch than a non-autistic person.

A group of friends are sitting in the garden chatting – only one person hears the ice cream van in the distance. That one person is autistic. He is also able to hear the buzzing of electricity in the walls and sometimes finds it overwhelming to be in a very noisy environment.

Our most recent work, published in Cognition, the international journal of cognitive science, suggests why that might be the case: people on the autistic spectrum can take in more sounds at any given moment compared with non-autistic people.

Over the past few years, there has been growing awareness that sensory experiences are different in autism. What is also becoming clear, however, is that different doesn’t mean worse. There are many reports of autistic people doing better than non-autistic people on visual and auditory tasks. For example, compared with non-autistic people, autistic individuals spotted more continuity errors in videos and are much more likely to have perfect pitch.

Do you have perfect pitch?

We suggest that the reason behind this is that autistic people have a higher perceptual capacity, which means that they are able to process more information at once. Having this extra processing space would be useful in some situations but problematic in others.

For example, when copying a complicated drawing you need to take in lots of information as efficiently as possible. On the other hand, if you don’t need much information to perform a task (such as when having a conversation with someone) then the extra capacity automatically processes other things in the room. This can distract you from what you are trying to do, or make you feel overwhelmed by lots of different sensory stimuli.

A sound advantage

To test out this idea, we asked a group of autistic and non-autistic adults to carry out two computer-based tasks.

The first was a listening-search task where having greater perceptual capacity would be useful and help you perform well. Participants were asked to listen to short bursts of animal sounds, played simultaneously, and figure out whether there was a dog’s bark or a lion’s roar in the group. At the same time, they also had to listen for the sound of a car, which was there in half the trials.

The autistic adults were much better than the non-autistic adults at picking out the car sound at the same time as doing the animal task correctly.

The second task involved listening to a recording of a group of people preparing for a party and focusing on the women’s conversation to be able to answer questions about it at the end. In this case, the task was easy and having extra capacity might leave you at risk of being more easily distracted by information that isn’t needed for the task.

To see if that was the case, an unexpected and unusual addition was made to the middle of the scene: a man walked in saying, “I’m a gorilla,” over and over again. As predicted, many more of the autistic participants (47 per cent) noticed the “gorilla man”, compared with 12 per cent of the non-autistic group.

So it seems that increased capacity for processing sounds in autism could be linked to both difficulties and enhanced auditory abilities that are found in the condition.

Changing perceptions

Understanding that differences in autistic attention might be due to this extra capacity, rather than an inability to filter out irrelevant information, can change the way we understand the condition and how we might intervene to help those who are struggling.

Our findings suggest that to reduce unwanted distraction, autistic people need to fill their extra capacity with information that won’t interfere with the task at hand. For example, it might be helpful to listen to music while reading. This challenges the common approach taken to simplify the classroom environment for autistic children, although care should still be taken to avoid a sensory overload.

While we must not downplay the challenges associated with autism, our study raises awareness of a more positive side to the condition. By promoting evidence of autistic strengths, we embrace diversity and undermine the traditional view that autism is only associated with deficits.

Understanding that differences in autistic attention might be due to this extra capacity, rather than an inability to filter out irrelevant information, can change the way we understand the condition and how we might intervene to help those who are struggling.

Our findings suggest that to reduce unwanted distraction, autistic people need to fill their extra capacity with information that won’t interfere with the task at hand. For example, it might be helpful to listen to music while reading. This challenges the common approach taken to simplify the classroom environment for autistic children, although care should still be taken to avoid a sensory overload.

While we must not downplay the challenges associated with autism, our study raises awareness of a more positive side to the condition. By promoting evidence of autistic strengths, we embrace diversity and undermine the traditional view that autism is only associated with deficits.

Source:independent.co.uk

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10 Things I wish I’d known about having a child with autism

There’s a saying that’s often repeated because it’s true: If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism. That’s because children (and adults) on the autism spectrum are very different from one another. There is no one correct road map to follow when raising, teaching and loving them.

April is Autism Awareness Month, and TODAY spoke to numerous parents and loved ones about what they have learned — and would like to tell others — on their particular autism journeys.

1. Don’t worry about what other people are thinking

“The most freeing moment of this journey for us was when we stopped worrying about public appearance. Your child needs for you to be 100 percent in tune with them and what they are experiencing, not worried about how you are perceived.”

—Sarah McKamey, son Micah, 9, Manchester, Tenn

2. When it comes to autism, one size doesn’t fit all

“I wish I knew that autism is not the disease — ignorance is. If you put a PlayStation game into an Xbox would it work? Of course not. So does that mean the Xbox is broken? No. The same thing applies for a child with autism. Just because they don’t learn the way ‘typical’ children do doesn’t mean there is something wrong with them. It means that we as parents, caregivers, friends, neighbors and teachers need to find different ways to try and make a connection.”

—Laura Jones, children Kate 12, Jack 11, Maxx 9, Lambertville, N.J.

Laura Jones and family.

3. Know that medical issues can be involved

“I wish I had known about the invisible medical issues of autism right from the start. For years, I had no idea that gastrointestinal dysfunction, including constipation, acid reflux, inflammation and pain, could dramatically affect my son’s sleep patterns, mood, irritability, aggression, attention, and even communication. Our son had to power through those problems all by himself on a daily basis, and it breaks my heart that we never suspected the cause of many of his struggles.”

—Janet Lintala, son Evan, 22, West Virginia

 

4. Be grateful for the strong connection you and your child will forge

“In reflecting over the last 24 years of our journey, I will say this: My son gives me 100 kisses and hugs every day, he is always happy to see me and he will always be with me. He doesn’t lie and he doesn’t judge. He is welcoming to anyone that wants to enter his world. On the other hand, my father sees me about twice a year since we live 1000 miles apart. So which dad is better off? It’s not better or worse, it’s just different. Once you understand that, your road will be smoother.”

—Scott Sanes, son Jache, 24, Great Barrington, Mass.

Scott Sanes

Scott Sanes says his son, Jache, shown, gives him 100 kisses and hugs a day.

5. Prioritize independence and communication

“After baseline medical needs are met and you figure out how to deal with the ‘everyday,’ I recommend that parents pay particular attention to the areas of communication, self-help and socially appropriate skills. A child who has a high academic ability, but poor communication skills, hygiene or a proclivity to hurt others will greatly limit their opportunities.”

—Nicole Sugrue, son Adem, 19, Port Washington, N.Y.

6. Trust your instincts even with the doctor’s advice

“What I wish I knew way back then is that it’s OK to get a second opinion when your gut tells you the doctor is wrong. We knew that Gavin had autism. Yet, we were told he had ADHD, that he had anxiety and depression. It took his first psychiatric hospitalization at age eight for a psychiatrist to finally say he thought Gavin had Asperger’s. We were always told, ‘Why is a diagnosis so important to you anyway? It’s just a label.’ Because the right diagnosis means the proper treatment. Now he has a job, he’s involved in school activities. He’s going to college in the fall to become a chemistry teacher.”

—Shannon Smyth, son Gavin Nelson, 18, Lake Ariel, Penn.

7. Seek out a mentor

“Looking back, it would have been helpful to have had a mentor or someone who had already walked the road that I faced. Initially, the diagnosis was overwhelming. Just as a driver on a road trip stops at visitor centers for information, I found myself searching for directions on how to not only cope with the future as his primary caregiver, but also how to fund his immediate and future medical expenses and care. My experiences have instilled in me a desire to mentor those with whom I come in contact who are facing the future I faced.”

—Lisa Bamburg, son Joel 20, Jacksonville, Ark.

8. Watch for depression signs in older children and young adults

“While it’s a good thing to integrate your autistic child into a regular school system, be aware that most autistic children that can be integrated are fully aware that they are autistic and as they become teenagers and into their twenties that awareness of being different can lead to depression. My brother went into the system at a young age and even graduated from college. Even highly intelligent children on the spectrum have difficulty finding their place in the world. It’s not talked about very often, but it’s a very important thing to bring more awareness to.”

—Tanya Ryno, 47, brother, 24, Alpine, N.J. and Maine9. When you change your expectations, the world will grow

“I wish we knew that autism just means different, not less. Instead of baseball games in elementary school we would have sensory integration programs. I wish we knew then that it will be okay some days will be hard, some days will be beautiful and at the end of each of them when we tuck our son into bed, the most important thing we can do is make sure he knows he is loved.”

—Tabatha and Tony Rainwater, son Junior, 5, Knoxville, Tenn.

Grayden Grossman with his parents.

10. Celebrate all of your child’s achievements

“I wish I had known that unlike other parents we can’t take even the smallest achievement or milestone for granted. When our son started wearing his coat without a fight and expressed that he was cold, when he was able to participate in circle time during music class and when he got up on stage with the other kids at his school show we celebrated.”

 

Source:today.com

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5 Things My Loved Ones Should Know About Life With Rheumatoid Arthritis

There are so many things I do not know how to express or explain to the people who love me. The next five bullet points are some of the most important to me.

1. I never wanted to become sick.

I pray every day that God will see fit to heal me. At this point in my illness I do not even fully understand what is going on in my body most days. I just made a list of symptoms to show my doctor which was about 20 bullet points. I am hoping they will connect them to form a more solid diagnosis. I am hoping they have answers, that there is something to be found that is fixable. I have rheumatoid arthritis and have ignored it for many years. Not facing it has only made my symptoms worse. It can take six months sometimes for my body to recover from a flare, surgery, injury or infection.

2. Please be considerate and know I am trying my best.

I am actively involved in a couple different ministries and charities and I love the opportunity to serve. However, if I am there, know it is taking all my energy to get by. Please do not judge me for not being extra social or participating in every event. Please do not exclude me from group activities. I tend to leave as soon as the event is over and I sometimes get left out of group pictures and after event lunches or activities. It can be a painful reminder that I am disappearing from the lives of my friends.

3. There are weeks when I do not leave the house for days.

Texting and social media are very much a lifeline for me right now. Getting up and out of the house is taking an increasing amount of energy. So, I connect with friends via my phone. Sometimes I just need to text and share that I am having a bad day. Even if I do not receive a response, just being able to share it lightens the burden. The friends I do have in my life are very important to me. So, if one of them needs me, even if I cannot make it out, I am always available by phone or text.

4. I have a “knee-jerk” reaction to apologize.

I am always saying I am sorry. I apologize for apologizing too much. I have been trying to shift my behavior to saying thank you instead. Thank you for understanding, thank you for your help, thank you for including me and so on and so forth. Apologizing for my illness only makes me a victim to it, versus having gratitude for what I can do.

5. I do not want to hear how high your pain tolerance is.

That is a phrase I really do not like to hear. It is dismissive, ignorant and comes with an air of superiority. People with chronic pain probably have a high pain tolerance but the pain never goes away! It would wear down the toughest of the tough if there was no end in sight. I am really glad that your pain tolerance is high; that is a good thing. It is just very insensitive to say that to someone who has shared their struggle in chronic pain with you.

Please do not ever take your health for granted because we rarely get warning when things go bad. Becoming chronically ill can go from bad to worse very quickly. If you love someone with a chronic illness, tell them you appreciate the things they can do. Listen to them cry and resist the need to “fix” them. The more you try to fix them, the more broken they feel.

Source:themighty.com

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Soon a blood test will help detect brain injury in infants

A team of scientists has come up with a new medical test that may help identify infants who may have had bleeding of the brain as a result of abusive head trauma, sometimes referred to as shaken baby syndrome.

Developed by the researchers at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, the serum-based test, which needs to be validated in a larger population and receive regulatory approval before being used in clinical practice, would be the first-of-its-kind to be used to detect acute intracranial hemorrhage or bleeding of the brain.

Infants who test positive would then have further evaluation via brain imaging to determine the source of the bleeding.

“Abusive head trauma (AHT) is the leading cause of death from traumatic brain injury in infants and the leading cause of death from physical abuse in the United States,” said senior author Rachel Berger.

Missed diagnoses can be catastrophic as abusive head trauma can lead to permanent brain damage and even death. (AFP/iStock)

However, approximately 30% of AHT diagnoses are missed when caretakers provide inaccurate histories or when infants have nonspecific symptoms such as vomiting or fussiness. Missed diagnoses can be catastrophic as AHT can lead to permanent brain damage and even death.

The researchers collaborated with Axela, a Canadian molecular diagnostics company, to develop a sensitive test that could reduce the chances of a missed diagnosis by using a combination of three biomarkers along with a measure of the patient’s level of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in blood.

Axela’s automated testing system allowed the researchers to measure multiple biomarkers simultaneously using an extremely small amount of blood, an important characteristic of a test designed to be used in infants.

The test correctly detected acute intracranial hemorrhage because of abusive head trauma approximately 90% of the time, a much higher rate than the sensitivity of clinical judgement, which is approximately 70%.

“The test is not intended to replace clinical judgement, which is crucial,” said Berger. “Rather, we believe that it can supplement clinical evaluation and in cases where symptoms may be unclear, help physicians make a decision about whether an infant needs brain imaging.”

The specificity of the test or the ability to correctly identify an infant without bleeding of the brain who would not require further evaluation was 48%. The researchers aimed for the test to be highly sensitive rather than maximizing accuracy, since missing a diagnosis has more serious consequences than performing brain imaging in babies without the condition.

“This study illustrates the benefits of being able to perform highly sensitive tests at the point of care,” said co-author Paul Smith.

Source:.hindustantimes.com

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5 Ways to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis Naturally

Go on a Fast

Fasting is one of the first things many natural health doctors suggest to patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Not eating at all often results in a significant reduction in symptoms, including pain, swelling and inflammation. During a fast, which usually lasts from 3 days to 1 week, you’ll drink plenty of water and get lots of rest. People on juice fasts can go for up to 2 weeks without solid food. Just make sure the juice is fresh and organic. However, you should never fast unless you’re under the supervision of a doctor since some people have underlying conditions that make them unable to fast safely.

Try an Elimination Diet

Many people with arthritis find that they are sensitive to certain foods. When they eat these foods, their rheumatoid-arthritis symptoms get worse. To determine whether you have any food sensitivities that may be causing you undue pain and suffering, try to remember what you ate in the hours before a bad arthritis attack. Eliminate that food from your diet for 2 weeks. If you experience a flareup of symptoms again after you re-introduce it to your diet, permanently remove it from the list of foods you eat.

Don’t Eat Inflammatory Foods

Some foods promote inflammation, which you definitely want to avoid if you have rheumatoid arthritis. Dairy products are among the worst offenders in this category. Sugar, hydrogenated oils, white flour and fried foods all contribute to inflammation in the body. Instead, eat anti-inflammatory foods, such as salmon, olive oil, blueberries, ginger and garlic.

Take Cetyl Myristoleate

Cetyl myristoleate is a fatty acid that occurs naturally in some foods. When it’s extracted and taken orally for at least 2 months, it has been shown to stop the disease process of rheumatoid arthritis in some people. Cetyl myristoleate was discovered when it was noticed that albino mice don’t get rheumatoid arthritis. Naturally high levels of cetyl myristoleate in these mice were found to be the protective factor.

Urine May Help

Many people have found that their rheumatoid arthritis symptoms were successfully managed or even cured by urine therapy. It sounds horrible, but it’s really not. Urine is a powerful immune-system modulator, and drinking your own can correct the imbalances in your immune system that have caused it to attack your joints. A typical protocol for urine therapy is to put one drop of your first morning urine in a full glass of water and drink it. Each day, increase the number of drops of urine by five to 10, until you’re drinking 1 to 2 oz. of urine each day. Some people are able to increase the amount of urine they drink more quickly than this, as their senses readily adjust to accept the taste and smell of it.

Once you’ve reached 1 to 2 oz. of urine, take note of how your joints feel. Since you can’t overdose on urine, you can increase your dose at that point if you’re not feeling better yet. Keep increasing your dose until you notice an improvement in your symptoms, and then continue taking that dose of urine each day for the rest of your life.

Source:livestrong

carly-autism-voice

Take 2 Minutes and Experience Autism Through Carly’s Eyes—It’s Breathtaking

This is breathtaking. See inside the mind of someone with autism, and you’ll never look at people with this condition the same way again.

When Carly was just two-years-old, she was diagnosed with severe autism. Her condition stopped her from speaking and doctors said she would likely never intellectually develop beyond the mind of a child.

However, she made progress with her therapists, and after years of effort in behavioral and communication therapy, she had a huge breakthrough. One day during therapy she reached out for a laptop and typed, “HELP TEETH HURT,” and it blew everyone away.

This event started Carly’s new journey of hope and helped crush stereotypes about people who suffer from severe autism.

Experience autism through Carly’s eyes in this amazing first-person video.

Source:http://faithit.com

tea-heals-fibromyalgia-rheumatoid-arthritis-hashimotos-multiple-sclerosis

This Tea Heals Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hashimoto’s, Multiple Sclerosis, And More…

Thyme has been popular for centuries, and it has been commonly used to treat various ailments, from flu to epileptic seizures.

During the middle ages, people mixed thyme with lavender in equal amounts and sprinkled on the floors of churches to get rid of any unwanted odors. Moreover, it has also been used to heal wounds and prevent infections, and it was applied crushed on the affected areas.

Its volatile essential oils are high in antiviral, anti-rheumatic, antiseptic, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal properties.

Its regular use will lower the viral load in the body, so it is excellent in the case of lupus, tinnitus, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, vertigo, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and rheumatoid arthritis. All you need to do to treat these conditions is to drink thyme tea every morning.

Thyme is high in vitamins and minerals, including iron, potassium, and calcium, all of which are extremely beneficial for proper red blood cell formation, blood pressure regulation, and distribution of antioxidants in the body. It is also abundant in folic acid, B-complex vitamins, vitamin A, and C.

It also contains various  bioflavonoids and volatile oils, including thymol, an essential oil with potent antioxidant properties.

Furthermore, it has powerful cancer preventive properties, as it is rich in terpenoids such as rosmarinic and ursolic acids. Studies have shown that the regular intake of thyme raises the amount of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid) in the kidney, brain, and heart cell membranes.

The essential oils in thyme have strong expectorant and bronchial antispasmodic properties and are thus excellent in the treatment and prevention of:

  • gingivitis
  • laryngitis
  • asthma
  • throat infections
  • acute and chronic bronchitis
  • sore throats
  • coughs
  • inflammation of the mouth

Source:healthyfoodhouse.com