Portable Device May Prevent Migraines

(Neuralieve)

By Anne Harding

THURSDAY, March 4, 2010 (Health.com) — Help may be on the way for people who experience migraines but haven’t found any relief from pain medications. An experimental handheld device that delivers pulses of magnetic energy to the back of the head may be effective at warding off migraines in some patients, according to a new study funded by the device’s manufacturer.

The technique, known as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), could be the first effective non-drug treatment for the excruciating headaches, as well as the first treatment with the potential to prevent migraine before the pain begins.

The study participants were instructed to give themselves two pulses to the back of the head within an hour after experiencing an aura, the visual disturbances that signal an oncoming migraine in up to 30% of patients.

“I think this device is a really good option for people who want to avoid taking medication, or who have contraindications, side effects, or lack of response to available medications,” says lead study author Richard B. Lipton, MD, a professor of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, in the Bronx, N.Y.

Related links:

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Neuralieve, a start-up company based in Sunnyvale, Calif., manufactured the devices used in the study. The company also funded the study, and Dr. Lipton and several of his co-authors have stock options in Neuralieve, or other financial connections to it.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved the device, but if it does earn approval, migraine patients could use it as an alternative to drugs, or in conjunction with medications, Dr. Lipton says.

The FDA has already approved a TMS device to treat depression. Unlike that device, which is heavy and found only in doctor’s offices, the migraine device could be used at home.

Dr. Lipton says he’s not sure how much the device would cost, but that people probably would be able to lease or rent it inexpensively, before buying, to see if it worked for them. “Purchasing a device if you don’t know if you’re a responder doesn’t make any sense to me,” he says.

In the study, published in the Lancet, 82 people who suffer from migraines with aura received a TMS device, and the same number received a fake (or “sham”) version of the device, which looked—and vibrated—just like the real thing, but did not deliver the magnetic pulses.

Next page: TMS outperformed sham device

Thirty-eight percent of the patients who used the real device had no pain two hours later, compared to 22% of those who used the sham device; they also showed greater pain relief 24 and 48 hours later. According to the study, patients given the device also had measurable reductions in other migraine symptoms, including nausea and sensitivity to light and sound, compared to the sham group.

A comparable percentage of people in each group believed they had received the real device both before and after the treatment, which suggests that the participants did not know which device they had.

“The use of TMS could be a major step forward in patients in whom presently available drug treatment is ineffective, poorly tolerated, or contraindicated,” Hans-Christoph Diener, MD, of University Hospital Essen, in Germany, noted in an editorial accompanying the study. But “many research questions remain unanswered,” he added. For example, it has yet to be seen how many pulses are most effective, whether the device will be cost-effective compared to the widely used migraine drugs called triptans, and whether it’s safe for people with epilepsy.

In migraine with aura, many researchers now believe, a wave of electrical activity begins—usually at the part of the brain responsible for vision in the occipital lobe, at the back of the head—and then spreads forward over the brain’s surface. Animal studies have shown that TMS can stop this process, which is likely why it helps some human migraine sufferers.

“What you’re trying to do is arrest the progress, so to speak,” explains Peter Goadsby, MD, a professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, who was a co-author of the study and has also conducted animal research on TMS. Dr. Goadsby has received research funding from Neuralieve in the past, as well as fees for serving as an adviser to the company.

Right now, Dr. Goadsby points out, there is no treatment that can be given to migraine patients during aura; triptans are no more effective than placebo if they are given during aura, before the migraine itself begins.

Dr. Goadsby adds that even though Dr. Lipton and his colleagues didn’t test the device in migraine without aura, the treatment may work for the millions of patients in the U.S. who experience that type of migraine.

Because TMS has already been shown to be safe for the treatment of depression—and at much higher doses (i.e., the number of pulses)—it offers a “gigantic margin of safety” to migraine patients, Dr. Lipton says.

Get Inspired: Woman With Crohn's Shares Bikini Photo With Colostomy Bags

Four years ago, Brittany Townsend would have never guessed that a photo of herself in a bikini would go viral on Facebook. The makeup artist from Worcester, England, has suffered from Crohn’s disease since age 3, and nearly died when her bowel ruptured in 2010. She woke up in a hospital bed with two colostomy bags, which remove waste from her body through an incision in her abdomen. “As soon as I had the colostomy bags, my confidence was totally knocked,” Townsend, 23, told BBC Midlands Today. “I lost so much weight going through all of that. I just wasn’t who I was, anymore.”

Then, last December, Townsend and her husband took a vacation to Mexico. “My husband always said to me, ‘If we go on holiday, I want you to wear a bikini.'” And on her first day there, she did. “I felt like I finally had the confidence after three and a half years of having them.” On June 21, she shared the photo above with the Crohn’s and Colitis UK Facebook page, which has generated more than 200,000 Likes and has been seen by millions.

Townsend hopes her photo will inspire confidence in others with colostomy bags who feel embarrassed or ashamed by their condition. And, bolstered by the positive response her photo has received, she’s decided to begin pursuing a part-time modeling career.What is Crohn’s disease?Crohn’s disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease, causes inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract, resulting in diarrhea, gut pain, and even skin, joint, and eye problems. It’s tough to diagnose and is often mistaken for other illnesses. Crohn’s is most commonly diagnosed in adolescents and young adults, but it can strike at any age.

More about Crohn’s:Myths and Facts About Crohn’s Disease10 Things Not to Say to Someone With Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis11 Celebrities With Crohn’s Disease

Tour de France Riders Burn HOW Many Calories?!

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The Tour de France kicked off on Saturday and if you haven’t seen parts of the race before, it’s a heck of a test of endurance, speed, and tenacity. The world’s top professional cyclists have spent years preparing to compete in the event, which is the most prestigious stage race in cycling.

The riders will cover 2,277 miles in 21 stages over 23 days (yes, that’s a measly two rest days) and—get this—they’ll burn a combined 19.8 million calories by the end of the Tour. That’s a whopping 100,000 calories per rider. (Check out the video above to learn more crazy stats about the Tour de France, and head over to Time.com to learn more about the race, including where to watch it.)

But you don’t need to own an expensive bike or go on a multi-day pedaling marathon to get the fat-melting, muscle-sculpting benefits of cycling. Mere mortals can still torch 500 calories per hour, all while boosting aerobic strength without impact on your joints. Learn how to fix your biking form and try these 3 exercises for cyclists that will improve your ability and help you get more from your ride.

British Airways Tests ‘Happiness Blanket’ to Measure In

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British Airways knows the importance of a “good flight’s sleep,” which is why they began testing its ‘Happiness Blanket’ on passengers last week. Volunteers on board the BA189 Dreamliner service from Heathrow to New York were among the first to try out the hi-tech throw woven with neurosensors and fiber optics to monitor a user’s relaxation patterns.

The custom sleep blankets change color to reflect different levels of brainwave activity; when a tense user starts to unwind, the glowing fabric fades from red to blue. The airline plans to use the transatlantic studies to optimize in-flight relaxation and lessen post-flight jet lag by changing aspects of service and cabin details. Such research could affect anything from meal timing and entertainment options to seat positioning and brightness.

This isn’t their only attempt at helping travelers catch more ZZZZZs—last week British Airways also announced the introduction of ‘Slow TV,’ wallpaper-style programming designed to lull viewers to sleep. Passengers can choose to watch footage of the hypnotic seven-hour train ride from Bergen to Oslo, Norway. BA was also the first airline to have full flat-bed seats in business class. Let’s hope this new technology makes it that much easier to reset your body clock abroad.

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5 Earpieces That Will Make You Want to Answer All Your Calls

Who has the luxury of doing one thing at a time any more? The last time you were able to give a phone conversation your complete undivided attention was probably ages ago. Fortunately, with the help of a headset, you can chat away—without breaking your neck—while you prep dinner, go for a walk, or scroll Twitter (for when you’re on hold, of course).

Plus, if you’re super cautious and you want to separate your head from the radio waves it emits, these are helpful for that, too. (As long as you know the health risks of cell phones are still extremely unclear, and most experts say the effects, if any, are likely negligible.)

All things considered, these headpieces are still pretty nifty. Check ’em out.

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So Seamless

The sleek Jawbone ERA ($100, amazon.com) attaches to the natural contour of your ear, providing the ultimate in comfort. For an extra $4, pick up its super cute carrying case ($4, amazon.com)

Pink Noise

Link the Sony Bluetooth Headset ($35, amazon.com) to your smartphone so you can easily take a call from your best gal pal or jam to your favorite tunes; use the bold-colored clip-on remote to adjust the volume.

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Rain Dance

Don’t let a downpour prevent you from taking that important call from a potential employer—the BlueAnt PUMP HD Wireless Bluetooth headphones ($130; amazon.com) are water resistant so it’s OK if they get a little wet.

Gold Digger

The Mini503 Universal Stylish Stereo Hi-Fi Bluetooth Headsets with Mic ($16; tmart.com) blocks unnecessary noise to ensure that you can hear all of your friends’ dirty little secrets. What’s more, they allow you to stream music wirelessly.

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Wild Child

You’ll make a statement when you pull the retro-looking Native Union Leopard Pop Phone Handset ($30; rakuten.com) out of your purse. Plus when this stunner is on display, folks will think twice about interrupting your chat time.

Why Smoothie Bowls Are the Best Thing You Can Do With a Blender

You’ve probably seen “smoothie bowls” like the one above popping up all over your Pinterest or Instagram feeds. This delicious new trend offers the best of both worlds:Â You get the convenience, taste, and texture of a smoothie, but a bowl is even more filling than a traditional blended beverage.

While smoothies are a convenient and healthy way to replace a meal on the go, research has shown that liquid forms of fruits can be less satisfying than whole foods. With a smoothie bowl, in addition to blending in superfoods, you also add fruit, nuts, seeds, or grain on top. So you also get something to chew, which can help make for a yummy whole breakfast or lunch.

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Plus: Making a smoothie bowl is still just as easy. You can use a smoothie recipe you already know and love, or just throw something together. All you have to do is use less liquid or add a little more of something thickening (like an extra half of a frozen banana or a few spoonfuls of oats) and blend as you normally would. Because it’s thicker, you may need to stop your blender and stir or shake the ingredients and then blend again.

As with regular smoothies, what you put in bowls depends on your taste. So feel free to get creative! Here is a list of ingredients to get you started, with some of my own experiments sprinkled in.

Vegetables

I like frozen spinach, but you can use kale, romaine, or even cucumber. Also, think beyond greens: pumpkin and cooked squash (like butternut) make delicious smoothie bowls, as do carrots (best to lightly steam or shred them before blending).

RELATED: 26 Quick, Healthy Juice and Smoothie Recipes

Fruit

Frozen berries are always great and frozen bananas can lend a creamy, ice cream-like texture. Dried dates can also add thickness and a caramel-like sweetness, but be sure to pit them first. If they feel hard, soak them in hot water until they soften, then drain, reserving the liquid, and pat dry. You can use the liquid to thin and sweeten your smoothie bowl.

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Protein

There are plenty of powders to choose from, if you like (check the label; some can be very high in added sugar). Personally, I prefer nut butter or seeds, like hemp or chia. Hemp seeds are loaded with nutrition, and they’re a neutral-tasting thickener that lend additional creaminess to smoothies.

Liquid

You can use regular or low-fat milk of course, but nut milks, coconut water, unsweetened decaf iced tea, even plain water can also work and add interesting flavors. Start with very little and add sparingly to make sure you don’t thin out your smoothie bowl too much.

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Fat

If you haven’t added some fat with nut butter or seeds, toss in a bit of avocado or a spoonful of coconut oil. Fats help you feel full and satisfied, are essential for absorbing certain nutrients, and they keep your hair and skin healthy.

Tasty extras

These are all optional, but they’re good to have on hand in case you taste your smoothie bowl base and it’s missing a little something. If you need a touch of added sweetness, throw in a tiny bit of honey or maple syrup. Cacao powder ($11, amazon) or cacao nibs (or unsweetened cocoa, if that’s what you have on hand) also offer that unbeatable chocolate flavor and get you tons tons of fiber and minerals. I enjoy adding maca in my smoothie bowls (this dried South American root vegetable has a nice butterscotch flavor). Spirulina or matcha powder are also good for powering up your bowl with nutrition.

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And finally, toppings!

Anything you might add to yogurt works: granola or muesli, toasted unsweetened coconut, sliced fruit, whole chia or hemp seeds (if they’re not blended inside already), or nut. Experiment, and have fun with it. Grab a spoon and enjoy!

Move of the Week: V

You don’t have to do crunches to get a flat, toned stomach. Fitness expert Kristin McGee demonstrates a different body weight exercise that’ll get the job done in the video above.

Here’s how to do it: Lie on your back with your legs together, feet pointed, and arms resting on the ground overhead. Engage your abs as you bring your legs and arms up toward each other in front of you and try to touch your toes. Try to keep your back as straight as possible. Hold for a count of one, then return to the starting position.

Try this move: V-Up

 

Recovery From Bunion Surgery Faster Than in Past

FRIDAY, March 13, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Improvements in bunion surgery have led to faster and less painful recovery, according to foot doctors.

A bunion is a bump near the base of the big toe that is caused by the misalignment of bones in the foot. About two-thirds of American adults will develop a bunion at some point in their life, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS).

Bunions can become inflamed and increasingly painful, especially if aggravated by tight footwear. Wearing shoes with a larger toe box can help, but surgery may be necessary if bunion pain is constant or interferes with the ability to work or do other activities.

“There is a common misunderstanding among patients considering bunion removal surgery that they won’t be able to walk for weeks or months,” Dr. Alan Catanzariti, a Pittsburgh-based foot and ankle surgeon, said in an ACFAS news release.

“The reality is that the surgery has changed dramatically in the last 10 years, and recovery time is often four to six weeks,” he said.

Following surgery, most people can walk on their own if they use a special surgical shoe or walking boot. And most people recover fully from surgery in six weeks, according to researchers who presented findings recently at the ACFAS annual meeting in Phoenix. Findings presented at meetings are generally viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

“Bunion surgeries have been performed for more than 100 years. Techniques used today ensure minimal pain, earlier and improved mobility, and decrease the likelihood that a bunion will return later in life,” Dr. Luke Cicchinelli, an Arizona foot and ankle surgeon, said in the news release.

“As long as people are realistic about the shoes they’re wearing post-surgery, there is minimal chance that a bunion will return,” Cicchinelli added.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about bunions.


Chapped Lips? Try One of These 6 Cult Favorite Lip Balms

Is your pout feeling the brunt of winter? Because lips are thin and lack oil glands, they’re more prone to dehydration from the icy and windy conditions outside, plus the dry heat inside.

To the rescue: Six cult favorite balms to give your pucker the extra TLC it needs just in time for spring.

Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15

The rosy hue enhances the natural color of your lips for a just-kissed finish, while infusing them with antioxidants and vitamins A, C, and E to bolster moisture. ($23, sephora.com)

EOS Organic Lip Balm Smooth Spheres

Easy to apply—check! Packed with moisturizers—check! Bonus points for the cute egg shape. This soothing balm uses shea butter and jojoba oil to lock in moisture. ($3, ulta.com)

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By Terry Baume de Rose Multi-Protecteur

This ultra-luxe pick is packed with essential oils so it glides onto lips, leaving them silky, not sticky. ($60, bloomingdales.com)

Burt’s Bees Squeezable Beeswax Lip Balm

Just one squeeze of this hard-hitting all star will instantly quench the most dehydrated lips. Its combo of beeswax and peppermint oil protects and repairs flaky skin. ($4, drugstore.com)

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Clarins HydraQuench Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm

Infused with moisturizing ceramides—the natural lipids found in skin—and rice oil, it leaves lips looking radiant and plump. ($24, macys.com)

RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek

A favorite of supermodel Miranda Kerr, this organic balm uses coconut oil to nourish lips and paints your pout with a subtle stain of lustrous color. Bonus: It can be used on cheeks for a natural-looking flush. ($36, rmsbeauty.com)

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This Site Posted a Recovering Anorexic Woman's Photos as Weight

Recovering from an eating disorder takes time, often years, and can come with relapses and countless roadblocks. So in an effort to share what she has been through, Anne Marie Sengillo posted her own eating disorder recovery journey on Reddit, which chronicled her rapid, unhealthy weight loss in 2007—she went from 150 pounds to 90 pounds in one year, and at one point even got as low as 70 pounds—and her slow road to better health since then.

The photos in the post were meant to send a cautionary message—not an aspirational one. Yet TheChive.com picked up the images and included them in an article about amazing weight loss transformations.

“That was the exact opposite reason of why I posted those photos,” Sengillo told People. “Those pictures you see online of super skinny girls? Most of the time it’s either done dangerously or they have a really high metabolism, and that’s only a few percent.”

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The Chive has removed her photo and issued apologies both publicly and to Sengillo privately. “We had previously discovered the photo somewhere out there in the internet echo chamber which contained no frame of reference whatsoever,” reads the statement on its site. “We obviously had no idea Anne Marie had anorexia but that doesn’t excuse the action at all. It was a mistake, completely unintentional, and the photo was removed the second we found out about it.”

Now, we’ve all felt inspired by “before and after” weight loss photos, but when the “after” photos are of someone who is dealing with a serious medical disorder and are taken out of context, the message becomes disturbing and detrimental.

Especially considering what Sengillo was going through when her eating disorder first began. In her original post, Sengillo said, “My dad died and other crap snowballed my weight loss into some monster of a thing. It started out innocently enough, but became a 5 hour a day workout and 500 calories a day.”

She then went on to describe how she put on weight in 2008, but reverted back to a dangerously low weight again in 2009. A caption under one shot reads, “My first relapse. I had a few more. I had more stress at school and started a job. I would diet and work out to calm my OCD and PTSD thoughts.”

At the end of the post there’s a recent picture of her shoveling the snow with the caption, “Fox news did a segment on me because I have been shoveling the sidewalks and driveways in my neighborhood for free since I am out of work. Back in my 70lbs I would never have been able to lift a shovel.”

We’re happy that Sengillo is in a healthier place now, but she’s still facing the consequences of her disorder. “I have osteoporosis in my hips and knees and I’m only 27,” she told People. “I have liver and kidney problems. I have to get blood tests done every week. There’s a possibility I won’t be able to have kids.”

All things you’d never see in a photo.

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