Tag Archives: Medical News Today

North Carolina State University study: To stay positive, live in the moment — but plan ahead

26 Mar

Medical News Today described health in What is good health?

Fast facts on health
Here are some key points about health. More detail is in the main article.
• Health can be defined as physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and as a resource for living a full life.
• It refers not only to the absence of disease, but the ability to recover and bounce back from illness and other problems.
• Factors for good health include genetics, the environment, relationships, and education.
• A healthful diet, exercise, screening for diseases, and coping strategies can all enhance a person’s health….
Types
Mental and physical health are the two most commonly discussed types of health. We also talk about “spiritual health,” “emotional health,” and “financial health,” among others. These have also been linked to lower stress levels and mental and physical wellbeing.
Physical health
In a person who experiences physical health, bodily functions are working at peak performance, due not only to a lack of disease, but also to regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and adequate rest. We receive treatment, when necessary, to maintain the balance.
Physical wellbeing involves pursuing a healthful lifestyle to decrease the risk of disease. Maintaining physical fitness, for example, can protect and develop the endurance of a person’s breathing and heart function, muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition.
Physical health and well-being also help reduce the risk of an injury or health issue. Examples include minimizing hazards in the workplace, practicing safe sex, practicing good hygiene, or avoiding the use of tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs.
Mental health
Mental health refers to a person’s emotional, social, and psychological wellbeing. Mental health is as important as physical health to a full, active lifestyle.
It is harder to define mental health than physical health, because, in many cases, diagnosis depends on the individual’s perception of their experience. With improvements in testing, however, some signs of some types of mental illness are now becoming “visible” in CT scans and genetic testing.
Mental health is not only the absence of depression, anxiety, or another disorder.
It also depends on the ability to:
• enjoy life
• bounce back after difficult experiences
• achieve balance
• adapt to adversity
• feel safe and secure
• achieve your potential
Physical and mental health are linked. If chronic illness affects a person’s ability to complete their regular tasks, this may lead to depression and stress, for example, due to money problems…. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/150999#types

Mindfulness is a possible technique for coping with stress.

Psychology Today defined mindfulness in What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention to the present. This state encompasses observing one’s thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad.
To live mindfully is to live in the moment and reawaken oneself to the present, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future. Mindfulness can also be a healthy way to identify and manage latent emotions that are causing problems in personal or professional relationships.
Mindfulness is frequently used in meditation and certain kinds of therapy. It has many positive benefits, including lowering stress levels, reducing harmful ruminating, and protecting against depression and anxiety. Research even suggests that mindfulness can help people better cope with rejection and social isolation…. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/mindfulness
Mindfulness can help individuals become more resilient in difficult situations.
Tamara A. Russell and Gerson Siegmund wrote in What and who? Mindfulness in the mental health setting:
Summary and conclusions
When used as a clinical intervention for major depressive disorder, there is good evidence that MBCT can prevent relapse to a degree that is at least similar to currently available treatments. It may have advantages for particular subgroups of depressed individuals with more long-standing, recurrent depressive illness and childhood adversity. Evidence for efficacy in other domains of mental ill health is less convincing, but it is emerging. Although strong evidence exists for the application of mindfulness in the management of anxiety (generalised), this work does not seem as prevalent in the UK setting. This may be because CBT approaches are very effective for anxiety disorders so there is less of a driver to find alternatives.
The breadth of ‘mindfulness interventions’ continues to grow, from standardised protocols to peer-led drop-ins, apps and self-help materials. Navigating this growing landscape in a way that is true to the transformational possibilities of mindfulness and that allows clients to connect to mindfulness in a meaningful and healthy way presents some challenges. Some recommendations have been made here to help in this endeavour. Specifically, to know the state of the evidence, to be aware of relevant client characteristics, and to know your own limitations as a teacher or facilitator of mindfulness. Continuing personal and professional development is essential and will have an impact on efficacy. These are exciting times as the impact of mindfulness training spreads throughout our health services, offering a chance for both staff and clients to benefit and improve their mental ‘wealth’. However, it is most important that this endeavour is conducted in a mindful way – paying attention, on purpose, moment by moment and without judgement…. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5353507/

A North Carolina State University examined how to stay positive.

Science Daily reported in To stay positive, live in the moment — but plan ahead:

A recent study from North Carolina State University finds that people who manage to balance living in the moment with planning for the future are best able to weather daily stress without succumbing to negative moods.
“It’s well established that daily stressors can make us more likely to have negative affect, or bad moods,” says Shevaun Neupert, a professor of psychology at NC State and corresponding author of a paper on the recent work. “Our work here sheds additional light on which variables influence how we respond to daily stress.”
Specifically, the researchers looked at two factors that are thought to influence how we handle stress: mindfulness and proactive coping.
Mindfulness is when people are centered and living in the moment, rather than dwelling in the past or worrying about the future. Proactive coping is when people engage in planning to reduce the likelihood of future stress.
To see how these factors influence responses to stress, the researchers looked at data from 223 study participants. The study included 116 people between the ages of 60 and 90, and 107 people between the ages of 18 and 36. All of the study participants were in the United States.
All of the study participants were asked to complete an initial survey in order to establish their tendency to engage in proactive coping. Participants were then asked to complete questionnaires for eight consecutive days that explored fluctuations in mindfulness. On those eight days, participants were also asked to report daily stressors and the extent to which they experienced negative mood.
The researchers found that engaging in proactive coping was beneficial at limiting the effect of daily stressors, but that this advantage essentially disappeared on days when a participant reported low mindfulness.
“Our results show that a combination of proactive coping and high mindfulness result in study participants of all ages being more resilient against daily stressors,” Neupert says. “Basically, we found that proactive planning and mindfulness account for about a quarter of the variance in how stressors influenced negative affect…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200325130650.htm

Citation:

To stay positive, live in the moment — but plan ahead
Date: March 25, 2020
Source: North Carolina State University
Summary:
A recent study finds that people who balance living in the moment with planning for the future are best able to weather daily stress without succumbing to negative moods.

Journal Reference:
Melody G. Polk, Emily L. Smith, Ling-Rui Zhang, Shevaun D. Neupert. Thinking ahead and staying in the present: Implications for reactivity to daily stressors. Personality and Individual Differences, 2020; 161: 109971 DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2020.109971

Here is the press release from the University of North Carolina: March 25, 2020

To Stay Positive, Live in the Moment – But Plan Ahead

March 25, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Shevaun Neupertshevaun_neupert@ncsu.edu919.513.7952
Matt Shipmanmatt_shipman@ncsu.edu
A recent study from North Carolina State University finds that people who manage to balance living in the moment with planning for the future are best able to weather daily stress without succumbing to negative moods.
“It’s well established that daily stressors can make us more likely to have negative affect, or bad moods,” says Shevaun Neupert, a professor of psychology at NC State and corresponding author of a paper on the recent work. “Our work here sheds additional light on which variables influence how we respond to daily stress.”
Specifically, the researchers looked at two factors that are thought to influence how we handle stress: mindfulness and proactive coping.
Mindfulness is when people are centered and living in the moment, rather than dwelling in the past or worrying about the future. Proactive coping is when people engage in planning to reduce the likelihood of future stress.
To see how these factors influence responses to stress, the researchers looked at data from 223 study participants. The study included 116 people between the ages of 60 and 90, and 107 people between the ages of 18 and 36. All of the study participants were in the United States.
All of the study participants were asked to complete an initial survey in order to establish their tendency to engage in proactive coping. Participants were then asked to complete questionnaires for eight consecutive days that explored fluctuations in mindfulness. On those eight days, participants were also asked to report daily stressors and the extent to which they experienced negative mood.
The researchers found that engaging in proactive coping was beneficial at limiting the effect of daily stressors, but that this advantage essentially disappeared on days when a participant reported low mindfulness.
“Our results show that a combination of proactive coping and high mindfulness result in study participants of all ages being more resilient against daily stressors,” Neupert says. “Basically, we found that proactive planning and mindfulness account for about a quarter of the variance in how stressors influenced negative affect.
“Interventions targeting daily fluctuations in mindfulness may be especially helpful for those who are high in proactive coping and may be more inclined to think ahead to the future at the expense of remaining in the present.”
The paper, “Thinking Ahead and Staying in the Present: Implications for Reactivity to Daily Stressors,” is published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences. First author of the paper is Melody Polk, an undergraduate at NC State. The paper was co-authored by Emily Smith and Ling-Rui Zhang, graduate students at NC State. The work was done with support from NC State’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Note to Editors: The study abstract follows.
“Thinking Ahead and Staying in the Present: Implications for Reactivity to Daily Stressors”
Authors: Melody G. Polk, Emily L. Smith, Ling-Rui Zhang and Shevaun D. Neupert, North Carolina State University
Published: March 25, Personality and Individual Differences
DOI:10.1016/j.paid.2020.109971
Abstract: We examined how proactive coping and daily mindfulness may work together to predict emotional reactivity to daily stressors. Using data from the Mindfulness and Anticipatory Coping Everyday study, 116 older adults and 107 younger adults participated in a daily diary study for nine consecutive days. Results from multilevel models suggest that people high in proactive coping were more emotionally reactive to daily stressors on days with decreased mindfulness. Due to the trait-like future-oriented thinking of proactive coping and the state-like present-oriented aspect of daily mindfulness, these results underscore the importance of simultaneously considering state and trait information to elucidate antecedents, correlates, and consequences of daily stressors.

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.
Helen Keller

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University of Western Ontario study: Molecule found in oranges could reduce obesity and prevent heart disease and diabetes

8 Mar

Medical News Today reported in What to know about oranges:

As an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin C, oranges may help combat the formation of free radicals that cause cancer.
Although an adequate vitamin C intake is necessary and very beneficial, the amount a person would need for the desired therapeutic effect on cancer is more than they could realistically consume.
For example, one study concluded that medical scientists could harness the power of vitamin C from oranges to inhibit colorectal cancer cells in the future. However, the authors concede that 300 oranges’ worth of vitamin C would be necessary.
That said, in 2015, a study linked grapefruit and orange juice with a higher risk of skin cancer. Researchers found that people who consumed high amounts of whole grapefruit or orange juice were over a third more likely to develop melanoma than those who consumed low amounts. This may have been due to citrus compounds that exert photocarcinogen properties.
More research is necessary to confirm the effects of orange consumption on cancer risk.
Blood pressure
Oranges contain no sodium, which helps keep a person below their daily limit. On the other hand, a cup of orange juice can boost daily potassium intake by 14%….
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), increasing potassium intake can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
Heart health
Oranges are a good source of fiber and potassium, both of which can support heart health.
According to one 2017 review of previous meta-analyses, consuming enough fiber can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease both developing and being fatal. The review links this effect to its ability to lower cholesterol levels in the blood.
One cup of orange juice can provide 14% of a person’s daily potassium requirement….
Diabetes
A medium orange weighing 131 grams (g) contributes 3.14 g of fiber, which is nearly 10% of an adult’s daily fiber requirement. Several studies have found that fiber can improve some factors that contribute to diabetes development and progression.
For example, one 2019 study found that consuming 4 g of a dietary fiber supplement per day did not reduce blood glucose but improved how the body responds to insulin. Low insulin sensitivity can contribute to type 2 diabetes.
Weight control is also important for reducing the risk of diabetes, as obesity and overweight can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. The body processes fiber more slowly than other nutrients, so it can help a person feel fuller for longer and reduce their urge to eat snacks throughout the day.
Following a diet that contains a high proportion of fruits and vegetables can support blood sugar control and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and disease progression. That said, a diabetes friendly diet should include healthful foods from a variety of food groups.
Skin
Consuming enough vitamin C can help a person maintain skin health and appearance.
Vitamin C contributes to collagen production. Collagen supports the skin, promotes wound healing, and improves skin strength….. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/272782#benefits

The risk cited by Medical News was “People with gastroesophageal reflux disease may experience an increase in symptoms such as heartburn and regurgitation when consuming citrus fruits. This is due to their high acid content.”

Resources:

9 Health Benefits of Citrus Fruit | Health.com
https://www.health.com/nutrition/citrus-fruit-health-benefits

What Are the Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits?
https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-citrus-fruits-7925.html

Oranges 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/oranges

Science Daily reported in Molecule found in oranges could reduce obesity and prevent heart disease and diabetes:

Researchers at Western University are studying a molecule found in sweet oranges and tangerines called nobiletin, which they have shown to drastically reduce obesity in mice and reverse its negative side-effects.
But why it works remains a mystery.
New research published in the Journal of Lipid Research demonstrates that mice fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet that were also given nobiletin were noticeably leaner and had reduced levels of insulin resistance and blood fats compared to mice that were fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet alone.
“We went on to show that we can also intervene with nobiletin,” said Murray Huff, PhD, a Professor at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry who has been studying nobiletin’s effects for over a decade. “We’ve shown that in mice that already have all the negative symptoms of obesity, we can use nobelitin to reverse those symptoms, and even start to regress plaque build-up in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis.”
But Huff says he and his team at Robarts Research Institute at Western still haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly how nobiletin works. The researchers hypothesized that the molecule was likely acting on the pathway that regulates how fat is handled in the body. Called AMP Kinase, this regulator turns on the machinery in the body that burns fats to create energy, and it also blocks the manufacture of fats.
However, when the researchers studied nobiletin’s effects on mice that had been genetically modified to remove AMP Kinase, the effects were the same.
“This result told us that nobiletin is not acting on AMP Kinase, and is bypassing this major regulator of how fat is used in the body,” said Huff. “What it still leaves us with is the question — how is nobiletin doing this?” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200303140158.htm

Citation:

Molecule found in oranges could reduce obesity and prevent heart disease and diabetes

Date: March 3, 2020
Source: University of Western Ontario
Summary:
Researchers are studying a molecule found in sweet oranges and tangerines called nobiletin, which they have shown to drastically reduce obesity and reverse its negative side-effects. But why it works remains a mystery.

Journal Reference:
Nadya M. Morrow, Amy C. Burke, Joshua P. Samsoondar, Kyle E. Seigel, Andrew Wang, Dawn E. Telford, Brian G. Sutherland, Conor O’Dwyer, Gregory R. Steinberg, Morgan D. Fullerton, Murray W. Huff. The citrus flavonoid nobiletin confers protection from metabolic dysregulation in high-fat-fed mice independent of AMPK. Journal of Lipid Research, 2020; 61 (3): 387 DOI: 10.1194/jlr.RA119000542

Here is the press release from the University of Western Ontario:

Study: Daily citrus may help combat obesity

MARCH 2, 2020 BY CRYSTAL MACKAY

The equivalent of just two or three oranges or tangerines a day could reverse obesity and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes – a benefit Western researchers attribute to nobiletin, a molecule found in popular citrus fruits.
The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry-led study showed mice fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet that were also given nobiletin were noticeably leaner and had reduced levels of insulin resistance and blood fats compared to mice that were fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet alone.
The study, The citrus flavonoid nobiletin confers protection from metabolic dysregulation in high-fat-fed mice independent of AMPK, was recently published in the Journal of Lipid Research.
“We went on to show that we can also intervene with nobiletin,” said Schulich professor Murray Huff, who has been studying nobiletin’s effects for more than a decade. “We‘ve shown that in mice that already have all the negative symptoms of obesity, we can use nobelitin to reverse those symptoms, and even start to regress plaque build-up in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis.”
But Huff says he and his team at Robarts Research Institute still haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly how nobiletin works.
Researchers hypothesized the molecule was likely acting on the pathway that regulates how fat is handled in the body. Called AMP Kinase, this regulator ‘turns on’ the machinery in the body that burns fats to create energy, and it also blocks the manufacture of fats.
However, when the researchers studied nobiletin’s effects on mice genetically modified to remove AMP Kinase, the effects were the same.
“This result told us that nobiletin is not acting on AMP Kinase and is bypassing this major regulator of how fat is used in the body,” Huff said. “What it still leaves us with is the question – how is nobiletin doing this?”
Huff says while the mystery remains, this recent result is still clinically important because it shows that nobiletin won’t interfere with other drugs that act on the AMP Kinase system. He says current therapeutics for diabetes like metformin for example, work through this pathway.
The next step is to move these studies into humans to determine if nobiletin has the same positive metabolic effects in human trials.
“Obesity and its resulting metabolic syndromes are a huge burden to our health care system, and we have very few interventions that have been shown to work effectively,” Huff said. “We need to continue this emphasis on the discovery of new therapeutics.”
Tags: Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry https://news.westernu.ca/2020/03/study-oj-ingredient-may-help-combat-obesity/

Heathline described a balanced diet:  What is a balanced diet?

A balanced diet is one that gives your body the nutrients it needs to function correctly. To get the proper nutrition from your diet, you should consume the majority of your daily calories in:
• fresh fruits
• fresh vegetables
• whole grains
• legumes
• nuts
• lean proteins
About calories
The number of calories in a food is a measurement of the amount of energy stored in that food. Your body uses calories from food for walking, thinking, breathing, and other important functions.
The average person needs to eat about 2,000 calories every day to maintain their weight. However, a person’s specific daily calorie intake can vary depending on their age, gender, and physical activity level. Men generally need more calories than women, and people who exercise need more calories than people who don’t.
The following examples of daily calorie intake are based on United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)Trusted Source guidelines:
• children ages 2 to 8 years: 1,000 to 1,400 calories
• girls ages 9 to 13 years: 1,400 to 1,600 calories
• boys ages 9 to 13 years: 1,600 to 2,000 calories
• active women ages 14 to 30 years: 2,400 calories
• sedentary women ages 14 to 30 years: 1,800 to 2,000 calories
• active men ages 14 to 30 years: 2,800 to 3,200 calories
• sedentary men ages 14 to 30 years: 2,000 to 2,600 calories
• active men and women over 30 years: 2,000 to 3,000 calories
• sedentary men and women over 30 years: 1,600 to 2,400 calories
The source of your daily calories is just as important as the number of calories you consume. You should limit your consumption of empty calories, meaning those that provide little or no nutritional value. The USDA defines empty calories as calories that come from sugars and solid fats, such as butter and shortening….
Why a balanced diet is important
A balanced diet is important because your organs and tissues need proper nutrition to work effectively. Without good nutrition, your body is more prone to disease, infection, fatigue, and poor performance. Children with a poor diet run the risk of growth and developmental problems and poor academic performance, and bad eating habits can persist for the rest of their lives. Learn more about healthy meal plans for kids.
Rising levels of obesity and diabetes in America are prime examples of the effects of a poor diet and a lack of exercise. The Center for Science in the Public Interest reports that 4 of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States are directly influenced by diet. These are:
• heart disease
• cancer
• stroke
• diabetes

https://www.healthline.com/health/balanced-diet#importance

BEFORE EMBARKING ON ANY CHANGE IN DIET OR PHYSCIAL ACTIVITY A COMPETENT MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL SHOULD BE CONSULTED.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
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http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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University of Texas at San Antonio study: Role culture plays in feeling sick

2 Mar

Medical News Today described health in What is good health?

Fast facts on health
Here are some key points about health. More detail is in the main article.
• Health can be defined as physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and as a resource for living a full life.
• It refers not only to the absence of disease, but the ability to recover and bounce back from illness and other problems.
• Factors for good health include genetics, the environment, relationships, and education.
• A healthful diet, exercise, screening for diseases, and coping strategies can all enhance a person’s health….

Types
Mental and physical health are the two most commonly discussed types of health. We also talk about “spiritual health,” “emotional health,” and “financial health,” among others. These have also been linked to lower stress levels and mental and physical wellbeing.
Physical health
In a person who experiences physical health, bodily functions are working at peak performance, due not only to a lack of disease, but also to regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and adequate rest. We receive treatment, when necessary, to maintain the balance.
Physical wellbeing involves pursuing a healthful lifestyle to decrease the risk of disease. Maintaining physical fitness, for example, can protect and develop the endurance of a person’s breathing and heart function, muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition.
Physical health and well-being also help reduce the risk of an injury or health issue. Examples include minimizing hazards in the workplace, practicing safe sex, practicing good hygiene, or avoiding the use of tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs.
Mental health
Mental health refers to a person’s emotional, social, and psychological wellbeing. Mental health is as important as physical health to a full, active lifestyle.
It is harder to define mental health than physical health, because, in many cases, diagnosis depends on the individual’s perception of their experience. With improvements in testing, however, some signs of some types of mental illness are now becoming “visible” in CT scans and genetic testing.
Mental health is not only the absence of depression, anxiety, or another disorder.
It also depends on the ability to:
• enjoy life
• bounce back after difficult experiences
• achieve balance
• adapt to adversity
• feel safe and secure
• achieve your potential
Physical and mental health are linked. If chronic illness affects a person’s ability to complete their regular tasks, this may lead to depression and stress, for example, due to money problems…. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/150999#types

University of Texas at  San Antonio studied the role culture played in an individual’s assessment of their health.

Science Daily reported in Role culture plays in feeling sick:

The physical and mental sensations we associate with feeling sick are a natural biological response to inflammation within the body. However, the strength and severity of these sensations go beyond biology and may be affected by gender, ethnicity and various social norms we’ve all internalized. These are the latest research findings, according to social scientists at UTSA, who have discovered a link between a person’s culture and how one classifies being ill.
Social scientists think that a person’s values may shape internal views on “socially appropriate sickness.” This has implications for how different individuals may take more action in dealing with illness rather than spreading further disease.
Eric Shattuck, a biological anthropologist with UTSA’s Institute for Health Disparities Research; sociology professor Thankam Sunil, who is director of the IHDR; and Xiaohe Xu, chair of UTSA’s Department of Sociology, found that sickness expression is affected by gender, income and cultural values.
Specifically, study participants who (1) earned less than the U.S. median household income, (2) claimed to be stoics with a high tolerance for pain or (3) had symptoms of depression were more likely to express being sick. In men with stronger family bonds, feeling sick was also more likely to be reported.
“It’s ironic. You think that being a stoic would mean that you are more likely to be reserved, but according to our survey, it has the opposite effect,” said Shattuck. “Stoics could own up to being ill as a bragging right and maintain a disease for longer than is necessary.”
According to the researchers, stoics — regardless of gender — and individuals with household incomes lower than $60,000 were more likely to claim being ill.
“In regard to lower income levels, perhaps those individuals were more likely to claim to have been sick because they didn’t necessarily have the means to seek medical attention and, therefore, symptoms became severe,” added Shattuck. “This perhaps made them remember the illness.”
The researchers also pointed that men with stronger family ties were more likely to report stronger sickness sensations over the past year.
“It could be that family support allows men to feel more cared for and therefore rely on that social safety net,” said Shattuck.
The researchers analyzed the self-reported surveys of 1,259 respondents who claimed to have been sick with influenza or the common cold in the past year. Participants were also asked to rate their current feelings of sickness from “not sick” to “severely sick” using a Likert-type scale in order to control for any possible compounding effect.
Sickness behavior, including lethargy, social withdrawal and appetite changes, is “one of the responses that all living creatures from ants to bees to humans seem to have in common. Yet socioeconomic and cultural norms play a part with us,” said Shattuck. “For example, other researchers have shown that the majority of individuals who work in many fields, including medicine, are often likely to show up to work while being sick. If you think about it, this is about work culture and it has consequences.”
The next step for the researchers is to repeat the study with individuals who are actively sick versus those that had to recall an illness. Areas of future investigation will explore how the severity of an illness affects reporting being sick…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200302113312.htm

Citation:

Role culture plays in feeling sick
Date: March 2, 2020
Source: University of Texas at San Antonio
Summary:
Scientists think that a person’s values may shape views on ”socially appropriate sickness.” This has implications for how individuals may take more action in dealing with illness rather than spreading further disease. According to the researchers, stoics or individuals with incomes lower than $60,000 were more likely to claim being ill. People may be comfortable reporting being sick when it’s a common cold but questions arise with stigmatized infections, such as HIV and now coronavirus.

Journal Reference:
Eric C. Shattuck, Jessica K. Perrotte, Colton L. Daniels, Xiaohe Xu, Thankam S. Sunil. The Contribution of Sociocultural Factors in Shaping Self-Reported Sickness Behavior. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2020; 14 DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2020.00004

Here is the press release from University of Texas at San Antonio:

MARCH 2, 2020

Researchers study role culture plays in feeling sick
by Milady Nazir, University of Texas at San Antonio

The physical and mental sensations we associate with feeling sick are a natural biological response to inflammation within the body. However, the strength and severity of these sensations go beyond biology and may be affected by gender, ethnicity and various social norms we’ve all internalized. These are the latest research findings, according to social scientists at UTSA, who have discovered a link between a person’s culture and how one classifies being ill.
Social scientists think that a person’s values may shape internal views on “socially appropriate sickness.” This has implications for how different individuals may take more action in dealing with illness rather than spreading further disease.
Eric Shattuck, a biological anthropologist with UTSA’s Institute for Health Disparities Research; sociology professor Thankam Sunil, who is director of the IHDR; and Xiaohe Xu, chair of UTSA’s Department of Sociology, found that sickness expression is affected by gender, income and cultural values.
Specifically, study participants who (1) earned less than the U.S. median household income, (2) claimed to be stoics with a high tolerance for pain or (3) had symptoms of depression were more likely to express being sick. In men with stronger family bonds, feeling sick was also more likely to be reported.
“It’s ironic. You think that being a stoic would mean that you are more likely to be reserved, but according to our survey, it has the opposite effect,” said Shattuck. “Stoics could own up to being ill as a bragging right and maintain a disease for longer than is necessary.”
According to the researchers, stoics—regardless of gender—and individuals with household incomes lower than $60,000 were more likely to claim being ill.
“In regard to lower income levels, perhaps those individuals were more likely to claim to have been sick because they didn’t necessarily have the means to seek medical attention and, therefore, symptoms became severe,” added Shattuck. “This perhaps made them remember the illness.”
The researchers also pointed that men with stronger family ties were more likely to report stronger sickness sensations over the past year.
“It could be that family support allows men to feel more cared for and therefore rely on that social safety net,” said Shattuck.
The researchers analyzed the self-reported surveys of 1,259 respondents who claimed to have been sick with influenza or the common cold in the past year. Participants were also asked to rate their current feelings of sickness from “not sick” to “severely sick” using a Likert-type scale in order to control for any possible compounding effect.
Sickness behavior, including lethargy, social withdrawal and appetite changes, is “one of the responses that all living creatures from ants to bees to humans seem to have in common. Yet socioeconomic and cultural norms play a part with us,” said Shattuck. “For example, other researchers have shown that the majority of individuals who work in many fields, including medicine, are often likely to show up to work while being sick. If you think about it, this is about work culture and it has consequences.”
The next step for the researchers is to repeat the study with individuals who are actively sick versus those that had to recall an illness. Areas of future investigation will explore how the severity of an illness affects reporting being sick.
“Maybe people are more comfortable reporting being sick when it’s a common cold,” Shattuck said, “but what about those stigmatized infections, such as HIV. What about the coronavirus? How are infectious diseases claimed using a cultural or economic lens?”
________________________________________
Explore further
Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
________________________________________
More information: Eric C. Shattuck et al. The Contribution of Sociocultural Factors in Shaping Self-Reported Sickness Behavior, Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience (2020). DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2020.00004
Provided by University of Texas at San Antonio

More research should be aimed at why some folk have an illness, but display less severe symptoms.

The Medical News Today article, What to know about general adaptation syndrome points to a possible research direction:

General adaptation syndrome is a three-stage response that the body has to stress. But what do the different stages involve and what examples are there of GAS in action?
Stress is sometimes thought of as a mental pressure, but it also has a physical effect on the body. Understanding the stages the body goes through when exposed to stress helps people become more aware of these physical signs of stress when they occur….

The three stages of GAS are:
• alarm reaction
• resistance
• exhaustion
What happens within the body during each of these stages is explored below.

Alarm reaction stage

At the alarm reaction stage, a distress signal is sent to a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus enables the release of hormones called glucocorticoids.
Glucocorticoids trigger the release of adrenaline and cortisol, which is a stress hormone. The adrenaline gives a person a boost of energy. Their heart rate increases and their blood pressure rises. Meanwhile, blood sugar levels also go up.
These physiological changes are governed by a part of a person’s autonomic nervous system (ANS) called the sympathetic branch.
The alarm reaction stage of the GAS prepares a person to respond to the stressor they are experiencing. This is often known as a “fight or flight” response.

Resistance

During the resistance stage, the body tries to counteract the physiological changes that happened during the alarm reaction stage. The resistance stage is governed by a part of the ANS called the parasympathetic.
The parasympathetic branch of the ANS tries to return the body to normal by reducing the amount of cortisol produced. The heart rate and blood pressure begin to return to normal.
If the stressful situation comes to an end, during the resistance stage, the body will then return to normal.
However, if the stressor remains, the body will stay in a state of alert, and stress hormones continue to be produced.
This physical response can lead to a person struggling to concentrate and becoming irritable.

Exhaustion stage

After an extended period of stress, the body goes into the final stage of GAS, known as the exhaustion stage. At this stage, the body has depleted its energy resources by continually trying but failing to recover from the initial alarm reaction stage.

Once it reaches the exhaustion stage, a person’s body is no longer equipped to fight stress. They may experience:
• tiredness
• depression
• anxiety
• feeling unable to cope

If a person does not find ways to manage stress levels at this stage, they are at risk of developing stress-related health conditions…. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320172#the-three-stages-of-gas

An important research question is why some individuals are more resilient when dealing with illness?

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Dyslexia is difficult to correctly diagnose

2 Mar

The National Center for Learning Disabilities described dyslexia in What Is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia at a Glance
Dyslexia is the name for specific learning disabilities in reading. Dyslexia is often characterized by difficulties with accurate word recognition, decoding and spelling. Dyslexia may cause problems with reading comprehension and slow down vocabulary growth. Dyslexia may result in poor reading fluency and reading out loud. Dyslexia is neurological and often genetic. Dyslexia is not the result of poor instruction. With the proper support, almost all people with dyslexia can become good readers and writers.
As with other learning disabilities, dyslexia is a lifelong challenge that people are born with. This language processing disorder can hinder reading, writing, spelling and sometimes even speaking. Dyslexia is not a sign of poor intelligence or laziness. It is also not the result of impaired vision. Children and adults with dyslexia simply have a neurological disorder that causes their brains to process and interpret information differently.
Dyslexia occurs among people of all economic and ethnic backgrounds. Often more than one member of a family has dyslexia. According to the National Institute of Child and Human Development, as many as 15 percent of Americans have major troubles with reading.
Much of what happens in a classroom is based on reading and writing. So it’s important to identify dyslexia as early as possible. Using alternate learning methods, people with dyslexia can achieve success.
http://www.ncld.org/types-learning-disabilities/dyslexia/what-is-dyslexia

Dyslexia is a neurological and genetic disease.

Medical News Today reported in the article, What Is Dyslexia? What Causes Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a specific reading disability due to a defect in the brain’s processing of graphic symbols. It is a learning disability that alters the way the brain processes written material. It is typically characterized by difficulties in word recognition, spelling and decoding. People with dyslexia have problems with reading comprehension.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities1 says that dyslexia is a neurological and often genetic condition, and not the result of poor teaching, instruction or upbringing.
Dyslexia is not linked to intelligence.
What is dyslexia?
The problem in dyslexia is a linguistic one, not a visual one. Dyslexia in no way stems from any lack of intelligence. People with severe dyslexia can be brilliant.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955) lived with dyslexia.
The effects of dyslexia, in fact, vary from person to person. The only shared trait among people with dyslexia is that they read at levels significantly lower than typical for people of their age. Dyslexia is different from reading retardation which may reflect mental retardation or cultural deprivation.
According to the University of Michigan Health System, dyslexia is the most common learning disability2. Eighty percent of students with learning disabilities have dyslexia.
The International Dyslexia Association3 estimates that 15% to 20% of the American population have some of the symptoms of dyslexia, including slow or inaccurate reading, poor spelling, poor writing, or mixing up similar words.
The National Health Service4, UK, estimates that 4-8% of all schoolchildren in England have some degree of dyslexia.
It is estimated that boys are one-and-a-half to three times more likely to develop dyslexia than girls. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/186787.php

Since individuals manifest the condition of dyslexia in different ways, a debate is occurring about whether the diagnosis of dyslexia has meaning.

Nick Morrison wrote in the Forbes article, ‘Dyslexia’ Is A Meaningless Label And Should Be Ditched:

For millions of parents, a dyslexia diagnosis that not only unlocks the door to extra help, but also allows them to understand why their child has problems reading. So it is no surprise that a suggestion the term is overused and should be ditched has been greeted with howls of protest.
But once the initial furore has died down, it is worth wondering whether affixing a label makes any real difference. Perhaps we should spend more time making sure children get the help they need than working out whether they fall into a neat category.
The controversy centers on a book co-authored by academics either side of the Atlantic: Julian Elliott, professor of education at Durham University in the U.K., and Elena L. Grigorenko, professor of psychology at Yale in the U.S.
In The Dyslexia Debate, they argue a diagnosis of dyslexia is often highly questionable and the term has become a meaningless catch-all that encompasses a wide variety of problems with reading. In addition, the pair argue that parents are often mistaken if they believe that a diagnosis will mean their children get the help they need…
Amid the sound and fury it is easy to overlook the fact that Elliott is not suggesting that dyslexia itself does not exist.
Studies show that some people do have real and complex problems with decoding text and relating sounds in spoken language to written symbols. These affect about 1-2% of the population and are thought to be caused by one or more of genetic, immunological or nutritional factors. They are also often linked to difficulties in sequencing, putting the numbers, months, days of the week in order, and telling left and right apart, as well as allergies.
Elliott’s argument is that dyslexia is so misused it encompasses virtually any difficulty where there is a discrepancy between reading performance and IQ. Although the numbers involved have not been quantified, an estimated 5-10% of the population are classed as dyslexic.
But far from helping children, a dyslexia diagnosis could get in the way of the targeted support they need. By taking a wide range of difficulties under its umbrella, it makes it harder to find specific solutions for specific problems….. http://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorrison/2014/02/27/dyslexia-is-a-meaningless-label-and-should-be-ditched/

The diagnosis of dyslexia is complex.

The Mayo Clinic staff wrote in Tests and diagnosis:

There’s no one test that can diagnose dyslexia. Your child’s doctor will consider a number of things, such as:
•Answers to a number of questions. These will likely include questions about your child’s development, education and medical history. The doctor may also want to know about any conditions that run in your child’s family, and may ask if any family members have a learning disability.
•Questionnaires. Your child’s doctor may have your child, family members or teachers answer written questions. Your child may be asked to take tests to identify his or her reading and language abilities.
•Vision, hearing and brain (neurological) tests. These can help determine whether another disorder may be causing or adding to your child’s poor reading ability.
•Psychological testing. The doctor may ask you or your child questions to better understand your child’s psychological state. This can help determine whether social problems, anxiety or depression may be limiting your child’s abilities.
•Testing reading and other academic skills. Your child may take a set of educational tests and have the process and quality of his or her reading skills analyzed by a reading expert. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dyslexia/basics/tests-diagnosis/con-20021904

There are certain cues that will lead parents to find a competent physician to examine their child for signs of a learning disability.

Sally Shaywitz, M.D. wrote in the Great Schools article, Should My Child Be Evaluated for Dyslexia?

Clues to Dyslexia in Early Childhood
The earliest clues involve mostly spoken language. The very first clue to a language (and reading) problem may be delayed language. Once the child begins to speak, look for the following problems:
The Preschool Years
• Trouble learning common nursery rhymes such as “Jack and Jill” and “Humpty Dumpty”
• A lack of appreciation of rhymes
• Mispronounced words; persistent baby talk
• Difficulty in learning (and remembering) names of letters
• Failure to know the letters in his own name
Kindergarten and First Grade
• Failure to understand that words come apart; for example, that batboy can be pulled apart into bat and boy, and, later on, that the word bat can be broken down still further and sounded out as: “b” “aaaa” “t”
• Inability to learn to associate letters with sounds, such as being unable to connect the letter b with the “b” sound
• Reading errors that show no connection to the sounds of the letters; for example, the word big is read as goat
• The inability to read common one-syllable words or to sound out even the simplest of words, such as mat, cat, hop, nap
• Complaints about how hard reading is, or running and hiding when it is time to read
• A history of reading problems in parents or siblings.
In addition to the problems of speaking and reading, you should be looking for these indications of strengths in higher-level thinking processes:
• Curiosity
• A great imagination
• The ability to figure things out
• Eager embrace of new ideas
• Getting the gist of things
• A good understanding of new concepts
• Surprising maturity
• A large vocabulary for the age group
• Enjoyment in solving puzzles
• Talent at building models
• Excellent comprehension of stories read or told to him http://www.greatschools.org/special-education/LD-ADHD/845-should-my-child-be-evaluated-for-dyslexia.gs?page=all

Shaywitz’s article is quite extensive and is a good resource for parents. It includes information about possible symptoms from second grade on and symptoms for young adults and adults. The earlier the diagnosis, the better the treatment and more options which are available.

Angela Stevens of the Reading Corner wrote How to Get a Professional Dyslexia Diagnosis:

Another problem that you may encounter even if you do find the proper professional to assist you is that most professionals require that your child is school aged before they will conduct a diagnosis.
Licensed Psychologists:
Licensed psychologists are most commonly suggested for obtaining a dyslexia diagnosis, specifically neuropsychologists. Because neuropsychologists specialize in brain functioning, and dyslexics have a unique wiring in their brain, neuropsychologists can usually offer a proper diagnosis as well as the best additional information for helping your child or loved one with their dyslexia. Another option you may want to pursue is child psychologists.
Medical Doctor:
Contacting your family physician about getting a diagnosis, or where to get a diagnosis could also prove to be effective. Some people offer this as a good approach while others haven’t had success.
Universities:
Another venue you can receive a professional diagnosis from is the speech pathology or special education department of various universities. This option is not widely known, but there are universities that offer this service.
Schools:
There is a surprising amount of controversy surrounding the option of obtaining a dyslexia diagnosis through your child’s school. There are parents that have successfully got their child diagnosed through their school, but there are many more that say schools will not specifically diagnose dyslexia. We have received many calls from parents that are frustrated by their child’s school because it refuses to diagnose dyslexia.
Schools are required by law to test to see if a child is eligible for special education services, but in the case of dyslexia they are often only able to show a “language learning deficit.” This is mostly due to a lack of professional ability, because neuropsychologists are not typically staffed in school. It has become a barrier for parents to receive help, but schools can and often do provide direction on where and how you can get a child diagnosed.
If a school does offer a dyslexia diagnosis, it will most likely not be a professional diagnosis. If the school has a licensed neuropsychologist then the diagnosis will likely be official, however, if they simply perform assessments it may simply be an evaluation and will not be a formal diagnosis.
Eye Doctors:
Eye Doctors sometimes offer a dyslexia diagnosis; however, technically an eye doctor can only test for a visual perception disorder. This disorder is called Irlen Syndrome and often occurs with dyslexia, however, does not dictate that a child or adult truly does have dyslexia.
Dyslexia Centers:
There are many dyslexia centers that assess dyslexia, but unless the assessor is a licensed professional, their diagnosis will not be official.
Because many parents want their child to get a diagnosis before they are school aged, a general assessment may be helpful to help you understand if this may be a problem for your child so you can begin to remediate it as quickly as possible.
Reading Horizons offers a free assessment that although it will not provide you with a professional diagnosis, it is of a professional grade and similar to the assessments used by licensed professionals. It can be found at: http://athome.readinghorizons.com/assessments/dyslexic-assessment-part1.aspx
Also there is a list of dyslexia centers and professionals by state at this website: http://www.iser.com/dyslexia.html http://athome.readinghorizons.com/community/blog/how-to-get-a-professional-dyslexia-diagnosis/

Lifescript Doctor has reviews for doctors all over the country http://www.lifescript.com/doctor-directory/condition/d-dyslexia.aspx?gclid=CPbzja799LwCFZRqfgodGhAAUw&ef_id=UxO40gAABQoDQqAf:20140302231438:s
Getting a correct early diagnosis of dyslexia, which is a learning disability is crucial to a child’s academic success.

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Study: Migraines affect a child’s school performance

29 Oct

According to Tara Parker Pope in the New York Times article, Returning to Classrooms, and to Severe Headaches:

Doctors say frequent headaches and migraines are among the most common childhood health complaints, yet the problem gets surprisingly little attention from the medical community. Many pediatricians and parents view migraines as an adult condition. And because many children complain of headaches more often during the school year than the summer, parents often think a child is exaggerating symptoms to get out of schoolwork….

Parents often have a hard time distinguishing between real pain and the imaginary maladies that young children sometimes invent. Dr. Hershey tells the story of a 6-year-old boy with daily headaches, whose parents thought he was just trying to avoid school. His parents finally sought treatment and by the time he was in the third grade the headaches were under control. “He was a different kid, more active and happy all the time,” said Dr. Hershey. “The parents realized he really had been having headaches, but they had been denying it.”

But parents also say they have struggled to find doctors who take a child’s headache complaints seriously. When Cathy Glaser’s daughter began suffering migraines as a toddler, her New York pediatrician couldn’t help. By the age of 15, her daughter was virtually disabled by migraines, but finally found help at the Michigan Headache and Neurological Institute in Chelsea, Mich.

The experience prompted Ms. Glaser to help create the Migraine Research Foundation. The group’s “For Our Children” initiative raises awareness and money for pediatric migraine research. The group’s Web site, www.migraineresearchfoundation.org, also offers a list of headache centers that treat children. “It’s astounding that so little attention is being paid to such a disabling and socially expensive problem,” she says. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/30/returning-to-classrooms-and-to-severe-headaches/

Parents need to be alert for the possibility that a child’s complaints about headaches may be serious.

Medical News Today is reporting in the article, Migraines Linked To Behavioral Problems In Kids:

Marco Arruda, director of the Glia Institute in São Paulo, Brazil, together with Marcelo Bigal of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, conducted a study of 1,856 Brazilian children ages 5 to 11 which looked at the connection of emotional symptoms with migraine and tension-type headaches (TTH).

The study used headache surveys, in addition to the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), to measure emotional symptoms. The researchers instructed teachers how to walk parents through the questionnaires, step by step.

Children with migraines had a much greater probability of irregular behavioral scores than children without headaches, primarily in social, anxiety-depressive, internalizing, and attention areas.

Children with TTH were affected in the same areas, but to a lesser extent. With more frequency of headaches, abnormal behavioral scores increased. Over half of the migraine sufferers had issues with internalizing behaviors. Externalizing behaviors, such as breaking rules or becoming aggressive, were no more likely among the children with headaches. The authors advised that the CBCL may not be efficient enough to measure this correlation in detail.

Arruda explains:

“As previously reported by others, we found that migraine was associated with social problems. The ‘social’ domain identifies difficulties in social engagement as well as infantilized behavior for the age and this may be associated with important impact on the personal and social life.”Children frequently suffer from migraines, which affect over three percent to one fifth of children from early childhood to adolescence. Earlier research has suggested that children with migraines are more likely to have other psychological and physical problems, including depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, and attention disorders. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/250331.php

Citation:

Migraine and migraine subtypes in preadolescent children

Association with school performance

  1. Marco A. Arruda, MD, PhD and
  2. Marcelo E. Bigal, MD, PhD

+ Author Affiliations

  1. From the Glia Institute (M.A.A.), Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil; Global Center for Scientific Affairs, Office of the Chief Medical Officer (M.E.B.), Merck & Co., Inc., West Point, PA; and Department of Neurology (M.E.B.), Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY.
  1. Correspondence & reprint requests to Dr. Bigal: Marcelo_Bigal@merck.com

View Complete Disclosures

Abstract

Objectives: To conduct a population-based study describing school performance in children with episodic migraine (EM), chronic migraine (CM), and probable migraine (PM), relative to controls.

Methods: Children (n = 5,671) from 87 cities and 18 Brazilian states were interviewed by their teachers (n = 124). First, teachers were asked to provide information on the performance of the students while at school, which consisted of the same information provided to the educational board, with measurements of the overall achievement of competencies for the school year. The MTA-SNAP-IV scale was then used to capture symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and to provide objective information on the performance of the students. Parents were interviewed using a validated headache questionnaire and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, which measures behavior in 5 domains. Multivariate models estimated determinants of school performance as a function of headache status.

Results: EM occurred in 9% of the children, PM in 17.6%, and CM in 0.6%. Poor performance at school was significantly more likely in children with EM and CM, relative to children without headaches, and was significantly influenced by severity (p < 0.001) and duration (p < 0.001) of headache attacks, by abnormal scores of mental health (p < 0.001), and by nausea (p < 0.001), as well as by headache frequency, use of analgesics, and gender.

Conclusion: Children with migraine are at an increased risk of having impairments in their school performance and factors associated with impairment have been mapped. Future studies should address the directionality of the association and putative mechanisms to explain it.

Footnotes

  • Study funding: This study was conducted without financial support.
  • Received February 21, 2012.
  • Accepted July 9, 2012.
  • Copyright © 2012 by AAN Enterprises, Inc.

Articles citing this article

See, Migraines May Affect Children’s School Performance, Study Suggests http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/29/migraines-school-performance_n_2041082.html?utm_hp_ref=education&ir=Education

The Cleveland Clinic has an excellent article, Migraines in Children and Adolescents:

Migraines in Children and Adolescents

Migraine is a moderate-to-severe headache that lasts from 2 to 4 hours and usually occurs two to four times per month. (These episodic migraines are also called acute recurrent headaches.)

Migraines affect about 2% of children by age 7 and about 7 to 10% of children and adolescents by age 15. Disability from headaches – anything that interferes with activities – can be significant.

In early childhood and before puberty, migraines are more frequent among boys. In adolescence, migraines affect young women more than young men. As adults, women are three times more likely to suffer from migraines than men.

What causes a migraine?

Migraines tend to run in families – that is, they are hereditary. Approximately 70% of people who have migraines also have an immediate family member (mother, father, sister or brother) who suffers, or may have suffered, from migraines in their childhood. Migraines cause a person to experience significant discomfort and disability, but they do not usually cause damage to the body. Migraines are not related to brain tumors or strokes.

Until recently, the cause of migraine was thought to be vascular – caused by the constriction and expansion of blood vessels in the brain. Today, migraine is thought to be an episodic brain malfunction –”a central nervous system (CNS) disorder” of primarily the brain and nerves, and secondarily of the blood vessels. The “malfunction” is caused, in part, by changes in the level of circulating neurotransmitters (chemicals in the CNS), and involving serotonin in particular.

What are the types of migraine in children and adolescents?

  • Common migraine or migraine without aura* — is the most frequent type in children and adolescents, accounting for 70 to 85% of all migraines.
  • Classic migraine or migraine with aura* — is less frequent than common migraine, accounting for about 15 to 30% of all migraines. In young children, migraine often begins in the late afternoon. As the child gets older, the onset of migraine may change to early morning.

* An aura is a warning sign that a migraine is about to begin. An aura usually occurs about 10 to 30 minutes before the onset of a migraine. The most common auras are visual and include blurred or distorted vision; blind spots; or brightly colored, flashing or moving lights or lines. Other auras may include speech disturbances, motor weakness or sensory changes. The duration of an aura varies, but it generally lasts about 20 minutes.

  • Complicated migraine syndromes are associated with neurological symptoms, including:
    • Ophthalmoplegic migraine, which causes abnormal paralysis of the motor nerves of the eye and a dilated pupil
    • Hemiplegic migraine, which causes weakness on one side of the body
    • Basilar artery migraine, which causes pain at the base of the skull as well as numbness, tingling, visual changes and balance difficulties (such as vertigo, a spinning sensation)
    • Confusional migraine, which causes a temporary period of confusion and speech and language problems, and is often initiated by minor head injury

Patients with complicated migraine syndromes require a complete neurological evaluation, which may require laboratory tests and two types of imaging tests, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and MRA (magnetic resonance imaging of the arteries) scans. These tests allow the tissues and arteries within the brain to be seen and evaluated. Most patients with complicated migraine recover completely, and a structural abnormality is rarely found.

  • Migraine variants are disorders in which the symptoms appear and disappear from time to time. Headache may be absent. Migraine variants, which are more common in children, include:
    •  Paroxysmal vertigo—dizziness and vertigo (spinning) that is brief, sudden, and intense
    • Paroxysmal torticollis—sudden contraction of one side of the neck muscles that causes the head to “tilt” to one side
    • Cyclic vomiting—uncontrolled vomiting that lasts about 24 hours and occurs every 30 to 60 days. Many have a family history of and/or develop migraine later in life.

The key to diagnosing these migraine variants, which can be confused with other neurological syndromes, is their tendency to recur at intervals. The person does not have symptoms between attacks. Patients with migraine variants may also have a positive family history of migraine, and have a history of or develop migraine headaches.

What are the symptoms of migraine?

Although symptoms can vary from person to person, the general symptoms of common and classic migraine are:

  • Pounding or throbbing head pain. In children, the pain usually affects the front or both sides of the head. In adolescents and adults, the pain usually affects one side of the head.
  • Pallor, or paleness of the skin
  • Irritability
  • Phonophobia or sensitivity to sound
  • Photophobia or sensitivity to light
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and/or vomiting, abdominal pain

What are some migraine triggers?

In many children and adolescents, migraines are triggered by external factors. These “triggers” vary for each person. Some common migraine triggers include:

  • Stress—especially resulting from school and family problems. Carefully reviewing what causes stress can help determine what stress factors to avoid. Stress management includes regular exercise, adequate rest and diet, and promoting pleasant activities such as enjoyable hobbies.
  • Lack of sleep—results in less energy for coping with stress.
  • Menstruation—normal hormonal changes caused by the menstrual cycle can trigger migraines.
  • Changes in normal eating patterns—skipping meals lowers the body’s blood sugar and can cause migraines. Eating three regular meals and not skipping breakfast can help.
  • Caffeine—Caffeine is a habit-forming substance and headache is a major symptom of caffeine ingestion and withdrawal. If you are trying to cut back on caffeine, do so gradually.
  • Weather changes—volatile weather, such as storm fronts or changes in barometric pressure, trigger migraines in some people.
  • Medications—some medications—such as oral contraceptives (birth control pills), asthma treatments, and stimulants (including many of the drugs used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder [ADHD])—may trigger a migraine. Ask your doctor if there are alternatives to these medications.
  • Alcohol—may cause the brain’s arteries to expand, resulting in a migraine.
  • Travel —the motion sickness sometimes caused by travel in a car or boat can trigger a migraine.
  • Diet—some migraine sufferers find that certain foods or food additives trigger a migraine. These foods include aged cheeses, pizza, luncheon meats, sausage or hot dogs (which contain nitrates), chocolate, caffeine, Doritos®, Ramen® noodles, monosodium glutamate or MSG (a seasoning used in Oriental foods). Recalling what was eaten prior to a migraine attack may help identify certain foods that are potential triggers so you can avoid them in the future.
  • Changes in regular routine—such as lack of sleep, travel, or illness can trigger a migraine. Exercising regularly and getting adequate rest can decrease the number of migraine attacks.

By identifying your migraine triggers, you can take steps to avoid the trigger to decrease the frequency and severity of your migraines and make life more enjoyable. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/headaches/hic_migraines_in_children_and_adolescents.aspx

The Migraine Foundation’s article, Migraine in Children recommends:

Treatment for childhood and adolescent migraine depends on the age of the child and the frequency and severity of the attacks. Expert help from headache doctors or centers specializing in migraine may be indicated for children for whom diagnosis is difficult or who don’t respond to typical first-line treatments.

  • For some children, sleep alone is an effective treatment.   
  • Although there are well over 100 drugs used to prevent or treat migraine symptoms, none has been approved for use in children. However, they have been studied by researchers and are prescribed.  These drugs include triptans, ergot preparations, and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).  
  • Certain over-the-counter products may relieve some migraines.  For mild to moderate migraine, general pain medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen sodium (Alleve) used early in the course of the headache are often effective.
  • Since lack of appetite, abdominal pain, and vomiting occur in 90% of child sufferers, drugs that treat nausea and vomiting specifically (antiemetics) can be useful. 
  • Because of the potential for medication-overuse (rebound) headaches, all medications should be used with care, including over-the-counter drugs and barbiturates. If a child is taking any medication for headache more than twice a week, a doctor should be consulted.

There are three general approaches to treatment:

1. Acute treatment uses drugs to relieve the symptoms when they occur. 

2.Preventive treatmentuses drugs taken daily to reduce the number of attacks and lessen the intensity of the pain.  If a child has three or four disabling headaches a month, the doctor should consider using preventive medication, which includes certain anticonvulsants, antidepressants, antihistamines, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and NSAIDs. Sometimes herbals and supplements, such as butterbur, magnesium, riboflavin, CoQ10, and feverfew, are recommended.

3.Complementary treatment does not use drugs and includes relaxation techniques (biofeedback, imagery, hypnosis, etc.), cognitive-behavioral therapy, acupuncture, exercise, and proper rest and diet to help avoid attack triggers.  For some children, eating a balanced diet without skipping meals, getting regular exercise, and rising and going to bed at the same time every day help reduce migraine frequency and severity. http://www.migraineresearchfoundation.org/Migraine%20in%20Children.html

Diagnosing a migraine in a child must be undertaken by a skilled medical professional. Any treatment of a child’s migraine must be conducted under supervision by a medical professional. The National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions can direct you toward competent medical professionals in your state. http://www.childrenshospitals.net//AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home3

Resources:

Your Child’s Headache or Migraine                            http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/guide/your-childs-headache

Migraine Headache in Children                       http://www.emedicinehealth.com/migraine_headache_in_children/article_em.htm

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