Migraine Sufferers have different brains

Section Of Brain That Processes Pain Thicker In Migraine Sufferers

(WebMD) Researchers have identified specific differences in the brains of migraine sufferers linked to the processing of sensory information, including pain.

In earlier research, Harvard Medical School investigators used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to show structural differences between the brains of people with and without migraines.

Specifically, the imaging showed thickening in a specific area of the brain related to the communication of sensory processing called the somatosensory cortex (SSC).

It is not clear if migraines cause the brain changes or if the brain differences cause migraines, researcher Nouchine Hadjikhani, M.D., of the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital tells WebMD.

“That is the big question,” she says. “A person could be born with these cortical differences, making them susceptible to migraines later in life. But we just don’t know.”

Migraines and the Brain

In the newly reported imaging study, researchers compared the brains of 24 people with migraines and 12 people without them. They found that the SSC was an average of 21 percent thicker in migraine sufferers. The thickness changes were especially pronounced in the part of the SSC related to sensation of the head and face.

Most study participants with migraines had experienced the severe headaches since childhood, suggesting that long-term stimulation of this sensory area of the brain could lead to structural changes, Hadjikhani says.

The study is published in the Nov. 20 online issue of the journal Neurology.

Other studies have also shown differences in cortex thickness in patients with multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.

But it is also possible that the structural changes precede migraines and actually cause them to occur.

Hadjikhani and colleagues hope to shed light on this ‘chicken and egg’ conundrum in a much larger study.

Imaging studies on young children who are at high risk for having migraines later in life because their mother or father had them may also help answer the question of which comes first.

“If we already see these changes in children who have never had a headache in their life, that will tell us something,” she says.

Whatever the outcome, it is increasingly clear that the brain’s sensory processing center plays an important role in migraines.

Treat Migraines Aggressively

It is also now clear that the brains of migraine sufferers are different from those of people without the severe headaches.

In an unrelated study, researcher Mark C. Kruit, M.D., and colleagues from Leiden University in the Netherlands identified tiny brain lesions in the brains of a significant percentage of migraine sufferers who underwent MRI.

In an interview with WebMD in 2004 , Kruit predicted that the imaging studies would “change the common perception that migraine is a trivial problem with only transient symptoms.”

The studies also point to the importance of aggressively treating migraines , Hadjikhani says, to both prevent the headaches from occurring and to manage the pain when they do occur.

She reasons that if frequent migraines cause structural damage to the brain, having fewer migraines and migraines with less intense pain may prevent this damage from happening.

“It is important not to let the pain get out of hand,” she says.

By Salynn Boyles
Reviewed by Louise Chang
©2005-2006 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved.

Read this article at it’s orginal location here.

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Wive’s tales, Superstitions, and Common Beliefs – Volume One


Superstitions. Wive’s tales. These things seem to be able to explain just about everything that life has to offer, as well as advise against certain behaviors. I am not, nor have I ever been very superstitious but I always found it fascinating how someone will change their behaviors or expectations based on what I consider to be coincidence. I’ve heard it said before that there are no coincidences. I choose to disagree. Somehow, I don’t think there are some strange omnipotent forces at work when I happen to run into someone I know, or accidentally stumble upon something beneficial. I also never met anyone whose face was once normal, but is not frozen in a state of disfigurement after sticking his or her tongue out at a sibling. 

People also say that some things were meant to be… While I still disagree, I will say that there are some things that happen to work out very nicely, some things that fit together very nicely and conveniently.
… and coincidentally.

Itchy things – Hands
I’ve heard it said that if your right hand is itchy, it means that money is coming in, whereas if your left hand is itchy, money will be going out. I always found this funny because during the course of someone’s life, some amount of money is always coming in, and some amount of money is always going out. I’d say that this is a pretty safe statement. I don’t think anyone’s every had an itchy right hand and never relieved another penny over the course of his or her life time. To believe in this statement is just as safe as believing “If I wake up, it means I’ll be going to sleep sometime in the near future.”


But where did this superstition come from?
From what I can gather, this superstition seems to be Greek in origin. Apparently, the right hand is considered to be the luckier of the two, and the left is actually thought of as unholy, hence the paying with the left and receiving with the right. The itchiness is thought to be the hand’s anticipation of a transaction. Evidentially, greek hands are prophetic. Even “profitic” at least with the right.

This is seen also in the orthodox church, Jesus seated at the right hand of the father, making the sign of the cross with the right hand, etc. (Spectacles, testicles, watch, wallet, in roman catholic church… I think it’s wallet watch in the orthodox.)

Itchy things – Nose
There also seems to be a significance to the itching of the nose. The common belief is that an itchy nose means either you’ll get kissed by a fool, or get into a fight.

I think I can single-handedly blow this superstition out of the water… I grew up with allergies to dust mites and cats. …and we had a cat. I can safely say that my nose itched from the age of eight straight through to the current day. According to the itchy nose superstition, I should either be covered in bruises, or lip prints. I assure you, I have no excess of either.

But where did this superstition come from?
I don’t know. 
…what, it’s not like I’m being payed to research this stuff! If I can’t find it after a few minutes of googling, I’m sorry, you’re out of luck. 
The stranger stuff
So far, there’s been nothing we haven’t heard on here. I mean, we have all heard the two I listed, we’ve all heard about black cats, walking under ladders (which I don’t think is bad luck, I think it’s just stupid, by the way) broken mirrors, opening umbrellas indoors, etc… 
But what about the stuff you don’t hear every day? Here are a few of those… (Found here: http://www2.islandnet.com/~luree/silly.html)  
  • I’ve heard that you should Wear a St. Christopher Medal when you travel. I have also heard that Historians don’t believe there ever was a Saint Christopher.
  • Counting a person’s teeth robs them of one year of life for every tooth counted, this is why some people cover their mouths when they laugh, smile or yawn.
  • When moving into a new house, never take any mirrors with you. Leave them in the old house and buy all new ones. The reason is, spirits can be transported from place to place with mirrors and to avoid taking evil ones along it is better to leave them.
Be sure to comment with one’s you’ve heard over the years, I’ll put them into future volumes!

My Battle with Weightloss

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and for that, I assume you are grateful. My apologies though, as I feel particularly loquacious today.

I have spend a significant amount of the last six months changing the way I think about food, in an effort to shed a few (like, 70) pounds and perhaps live a little longer.

I suppose I should start by at my childhood, since it explains a little about my habits. I spent a large part of it, mostly unsupervised. I don’t mean neglected, my folks were always around, but my family tended to be reclusive, always retreating to our respective rooms between meals.

My memory is unusual, I’m told, in that I remember a significant amount of my very early years. Most of the memories that I recall vividly from my early youth had to be before the age of five, and even in those memories there was food… I remember my mother baking cookies only once or twice, but I remember those damn things very well. I have yet to have a cookie that tasted the same. …or then again perhaps my memory really isn’t quite so vivid after all.

Regardless, I remember they were in a thick opaque plastic, tupperware container, that had a thick plastic lid. They were on the counter in the kitchen, and I remember looking at it. I was alone in the kitchen, but knew that I frequently got in trouble for things I did when I thought I was alone, so I was apprehensive.

I remember looking at it. I didn’t move at first, I stared at the cookies. Then, all at once, I lunged, and grabed one, and ran off. I shoved it down my throat, savoring very little. I remember the feeling though, and it was incredible. This was likely the first thing I remember getting away with. I knew I wasn’t allowed, but I did it, and there was a payoff, and no consequences. What a great cookie.

This was the first of many food-related liberties I’d taken. I remember waking in the morning, and coming downstairs alone. I’d fix myself a bowl of cereal, and have a banana. I remember the day I decided to have two bananas. My mother did notice later, and asked if I’d had two. “Yep” I said. “Oh,” she replied. I guess I didn’t do anything wrong. Perhaps tomorrow, I’d have two bananas again!

I also remember being allowed to make my own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and when nobody was looking, I’d heap the jelly on in clumps.

Never was I taught about moderation, or the fact that eating too much was a health hazard. If anything, eating everything I could was reinforced, as my folks were always taught not to waste food. “I don’t buy this stuff just to throw it out!”

Fast forward (collective sigh of relief!) to my adolescents. Still we were all mutually reclusive. We dealt with one another when necessary, otherwise we were in our own rooms. I, being the youngest, got the shittiest of rooms. The two rooms in which I spent my life from age 8 to around 12 were tiny. The first in Brighton MA was little bigger than a walk in closet. I could fit my bed, and a dresser, and had JUST enough room to step off the bed. The second room (in Brookline MA) was a tad larger, though it had a second door that lead into my parents room. Apparently, it was the room where they’d stored the coal for heating.

Unfortunately, the ceiling in that room leaked when it rained, and it wasn’t large enough for me to move the bed somewhere it wouldn’t get leaked on. By and large from 8 to 13, I slept in the living-room. I didn’t mind this though, cause nobody really used the living room other than me, and that’s where my Nintendo was anyway.

In the first house during those years, we all lived on one floor, and my parent’s room was just off of the kitchen, and it had a bi-fold louvered door. I couldn’t do anything without them hearing me. living in that living room would do nothing to contribute to the point on this post. However, in the second house, though, the bedrooms were all on the second floor, and the living room on the first… with the kitchen.

I remember many a fridge raid. It got to the point where I wasn’t doing it covertly anymore. I’d walk out there, and have whatever I wanted. At one point, I remember sitting down in the living room with a spoon, and 2/3rds of a half-gallon of butterscotch ice cream. This became the norm.

When I got to high school, I’d been picked on most of my life for being chubby. I can see where kids start to hate themselves, and turn suicidal and all that, though fortunately for me, it all just kinda rolled off of my back. I had no such emotional issues. Nor did I really harbor any ill will toward the idiots I dealt with.

However, high school hit, and so did my growth spurts. I must have grown a foot and a half, and suddenly I was rather skinny. Not only was I not fat, but I was allowed to hit the weights in gym class, so by junior / senior year I was in great shape. High school ended, and I stopped hitting the weight room, but I continued to eat like it didn’t matter. I would hit the store and get a half gallon of ice cream, and a spoon from the salad bar, and show up at a friend’s house, for the comedic value of them opening the door, and seeing me eating a half gallon of ice cream.

Yes, comedic value. That shit’s funny, when you’re not fat. It quickly became not-all-that-funny…

At my largest, I was having what I thought were hunger pains, all the time. I didn’t get any professional help or anything, but I think what was going on was I was misinterpreting the sensation of NOT being full, as being hungry. I’d get awful gnawing “hunger” pains, and even while I was eating, they’d persist. They wouldn’t go away until I was stuffed. Not just full, but stuffed. They’d come back again twenty minutes later.

Over the years I’d tried a few different diets, with varying degrees of success. I did the South Beach diet, and lost a few pounds, I did a 3-day diet, which was a great way to break carb cravings, which has always been my downfall.

The problem was though, that when the “diet” was over, or when I was tired of feeling deprived I’d return to my old ways before long. Diets do not work.

Long story short (don’t laugh, I COULD make it longer!) I find myself having just turned 33 since my last post, at 241 lbs, having fought my way down from 260. Another 50 lbs or so would be nice.

It took a picture that was taken at my daughter’s thanksgiving event in kindergarten, that was published in the local news paper to make me realize how large I’d become. I could have put my tray down on my belly as I was standing in line…. ok. perhaps it wasn’t quite THAT bad, but it was bad.

At any rate, I joined Weight Watchers online. WW is a great program, it gives you a point value based on how tall you are, and your age and gender, and gives you a goal to reach with the food you eat, based on where you want to be, etc… I lost 20lbs in about three months with WW. Then I realized there’s an app called My Fitness Pal, which does basically the exact same thing, for free…

My biggest challenge was the “hunger” pains. Once I realized what they were (or what I believe they were) I was able to deal with them. It took about three weeks of ignoring them to get them to finally stop. By the end, I kind of thought of them the way weight lifters talk about “the burn!”.

Having spent the majority of my life, thinking that I’d just be fat, and believing that genetics were causing it, and being told “You’re not fat, you’re husky”, I really believed that it’s how things would be. Now I have a plan, it’s working, and realizing that if I stray a bit, it’s not the end of the world is huge.

Having read back through this post, there sure is a lot of yapping. I guess if you walk away from this post with nothing, then that’s fine. I make no promises of amusement. Although, I feel I owe you something. If you’re one of those “I eat what I want and stay thin anyway” jackasses and glean no inspiration from this post, then read on, maybe you’ll get a chuckle or a “hmm…” .

Who doesn’t love complex math!? …other than me.

Polly here!

Polly gone!

 

But wait…

Polygons!

Alright, that’s all I got. I’m tired, have a cold… And hey, it’s more than I promised, so…

What about you, got any weight loss stories? Weight gain stories? Bad puns you go through more trouble to deliver than their worth? Do you know where Polly went??

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The Best Things in Life

The best things in life are free, or so they say. While I believe this, I think it’s a little bit more complicated that so simple a statement. What are these best things in life, anyway? Love certainly springs to mind. Friendship, a close second, though one might argue that friendship is simply a different form of love. Harmony, perhaps? I would be very surprised if one were able to find harmony on anything but a fractional scale for free.

Let’s stick with love for now, as it’s something that’s most likely (hopefully) touched each of us at some point along the way, and in all honesty I believe it is the best thing in life. Love doesn’t care what you look like. Love doesn’t care where you live. Love doesn’t care how much money you have in your bank account or 401k. Love doesn’t care what car you drive, or if you drive at all.

Love in it’s purest, simplest form, does not cost money. One can never buy love. Love is freely given. But to love means to protect, to provide for, to enhance the beloved. We buy houses, we buy security, we buy food, we buy health. These are the debts we pay for this free thing, and we’ll pay whatever price is necessary. This is made necessary by greed, which preys on love.

Greed could arguably be the worst thing in life, though it is free, like the best things. Greed is the reason professional sports players get the money that they do, because there are those who love the sport, and will pay to see it played. Greed is the reason health insurance companies can raise their rates by 20% each year, because we’ll do everything we can to make sure our loved ones are covered. Greed is the reason there are wars. Greed is the reason we compromise on the things we want just to make sure we have the things our loved ones need.

It can be irritating that we’re born into this world and have to go through twenty years of school, just so that we can survive, and that’s even if we’re not lucky enough to find someone to love! Greed, like original sin is a debt for the simple privilege of being born!

I do not regret or the best things, nor do I begrudge the worst. I’d never rather go without the best, and would pay whatever price I could for those I hold dear, as I’m sure anyone else would.

I have been blessed with love in my life, and as a bonus I’ve experienced many of the other free things as well. I’ve been enchanted by stories. I have been moved by music. I’ve had my breath taken away by nature. I’ve shared laughs. I’ve spread joy.

The best things in life are free, and the worst things in life are forced upon us all. But perhaps it’s the worst things that make us appreciate the best even more? How can one love, without knowing hate? Without hate, is there love? Without grudge, is there forgiveness? Without grief, is there joy? How can one love life unless he or she is occasionally reminded of his or her mortality?

They say you never know what you had until you’ve lost it, and I think that’s unfortunately common, though not necessarily true. It doesn’t take much to realize what you have, as long as you realize why you do the things you’re doing.

Take some time out of each day to remember that without the bad, there’d be no good, and without the price, there’d be no payoff.

Opinion vs Fact

Variety is often said to be the spice of life. There are so many choices for us to make, what to wear, what to eat, who to love, who to hate, who to talk to, who to ignore, what to think… and it’s all based on our own opinions, which we’re all entitled to. The great mysteries of the world are even up for debate based on opinion.

Occasionally, I’ll find myself discussing something with someone, and I’ll actually feel comfortable enough to express my opinion, but generally I like to keep my opinions to myself. It’s not that I feel that my opinions are offensive or that I just don’t feel like sharing, but because it’s very irritating to me when someone states their opinion as fact, and in my experience that seems to be something that most people find difficult to avoid.

We’ve all been in conversations that start with a statement like “Boy, I could go for a coffee” and end with someone saying “Coffee is disgusting!”.

Not only do I disagree with that statement, but the sentiment as well. I happen to love coffee, and I’m sorry if you don’t. However, calling it disgusting as though it’s a well known fact not only suggests that I am wrong or not entitled to my own opinion, but that I too must cause you some great displeasure by the simple fact that I like that by which you are disgusted …

Yet, I’ve never seen such a person actually cringe or shudder when being around me while I drink coffee, even after exclaiming that they hate it, and it’s disgusting. Were they lying? …No, they weren’t.

What I think is happening in this case is we’ve been told since early childhood that we’re all entitled to our opinions and so encouraged to share them, that we don’t think before we express them as if they are law. Further, people who are on the receiving end of such statements are more apt to exaggerate their own opinions, in an attempt to convey that they disagree, and that their opinion is dominant. It’s the “Is too!” – “Is not” argument we hear children get into, only a little more complicated.

I think if we tell our children that their entitlement to their opinions does not grant them the right to disrespect those of others, we’d be much more well off.

Brookline MA Can Thank Me for Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Years and years ago, growing up in Brookline MA, there was a Carvel’s ice cream on the corner of Rt. 9 and High Street. Don’t bother looking for it now, these days it’s a Dunkin Donuts, like everything else I remember being something else when I was a kid.

Around the age of 11, I used to walk down and buy a hoodwich, which if you don’t know was two chocolate chip cookies pressed together around a block of ice cream that was frozen so solid you needed a chisel to get through it.

Actually that’s not entirely true; I used to buy whole packages of 5 of those. I was a fatty.

Ice cream was always and will always be one of my favorite things to eat. One day, I was talking with a cousin of mine, and he told me about this mystical ice cream flavor that was chocolate chip cookie dough. A combination of two amazing things, I thought! The next trip to Carvel, I checked. They didn’t have it. I was crushed. I probably bought two packages of hoodwiches that day.

Incidentally, they probably weren’t called hoodwiches at Carvel since hoodwiches come from hood, and Carvel sells their own stuff… But anyway, you get the idea.

Some time later in the week, I’d come back to blow some more allowance, and I decided this day, I would sit in the dining area and eat my food there with a friend of mine. That day, I only bought one. I was poor that week.

As I sat bullshitting with this friend of mine, I noticed the manager of the establishment sitting with another fellow who was flipping through pages on a clip board. They were discussing what flavors to order in the upcoming weeks.

“Anything else you wanna try, we have some new flavors.” the clip board guy said.

“Uh, no, nothing that I can think of that we don’t already have,” said the manager.

“You should get Cookie dough” I said, butting in with my 2 cents.

“You know, I think he’s right,” said the manager.

Epic Victory for the town of Brookline! Yay for me!

Had I never inserted my opinion as a consumer, Brookline MA may never have known the wonder that is, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream.

Couple years later, Carvel shut down there, but I don’t think it had to do with me.

Were you ever responsible for contributing directly or indirectly to your own town’s obesity the way I was?!

Comcast Vs. Megapath

A client of mine is experiencing the following message every time he emails someone with a Comcast account:

Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Delay)

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

THIS IS A WARNING MESSAGE ONLY.

YOU DO NOT NEED TO RESEND YOUR MESSAGE.

Delivery to the following recipients has been delayed.

The message eventually times out.

I called his ISP, Megapath, and was transfered to Technical support. The tech ( Vern ) said “Ugh, please have the client forward the delay message to abuse@megapath.com and ask them to figure out why Comcast is blocking us AGAIN.”

This went on for some time. Eventually, we found that Comcast was blocking all mail from our location on port 25. We were advised to change it to 587 on the exchange server, and everything started flowing again.