A woman who suffers from a rare genetic condition that has left her body covered in thousands of skin tags is speaking out after years of cruel comments from strangers. Megan Crews, 31, first developed Neurofibromatosis (NF) at birth but it wasn't until her early 20s that tags started to appear on her skin. The special needs teacher from Salisbury, Wilts, said that she's often stared at in public because of her tags - and revealed dates have even asked her if she has an STI. Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes non-cancerous tumours to grow on nerve endings. Megan said: "Living with neurofibromatosis can be painful, exhausting, embarrassing, stressful, upsetting and life-changing. "But, if you allow it, it also brings strength, love, laughter, friendships, experiences, and life lessons that no one else has the opportunity to have. "Keep holding your head high, keep on fighting, keep on spreading the awareness, keep on wearing what you want, going where you want to go and … [Read more...] about Teacher covered in thousands of skin tags asked if she has STI by cruel strangers
Rare health conditions
What is mental illness? There are dozens of different kinds of mental illness, from common disorders that affect tens of millions of people such as depression and anxiety, to rarer afflictions like paraphilia (sexual compulsion) and trichotillomania (a compulsion to remove hair). The “bible” of mental illness, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (its fifth iteration, DSM-5, was published in 2013), groups them under about 20 subheadings* (see below). Mental illness is not sadness, insanity or rage (though it can involve these in some of its forms); it is not binary or exclusive, but complex and universal. Another way to think of it is as a spectrum, a continuum that we all sit on. At one end is mental health, where we are thriving, fulfilled and at ease. In the middle reaches, people can be described as coping, surviving or struggling. At the far end sit the range of mental illnesses. Most us move back and forth along this line our entire lives. How … [Read more...] about Mental illness: is there really a global epidemic?
UK Turn up at your GPs with anxiety, depression or insomnia and the chances are you will be prescribed antidepressants. It will of course vary from doctor to doctor, and some will have a better idea of which drug is more effective at dealing with which symptom. But access to psychiatry on the NHS is rare and usually only reserved for cases in which the doctor feels the patient is a very real threat to him/herself. The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme has started trying to offer more talking therapies but coverage is patchy. Private psychiatry is formidably expensive; for anyone buying health insurance, it may be worth inquiring about psychiatric cover too. You are more likely to fall prey to depression than to get run over by a bus. France The treatment of depression in France is very medication-based. Sometimes doctors will prescribe antidepressants (one for the day and another lower dose to help the patient sleep at night), as well as tranquillisers. Depression … [Read more...] about How depression treatment differs throughout Europe
Inside a laboratory in suburban Southampton, a corporate display board includes a portrait of Paracelsus, the 16th-century Swiss “father of toxicology”. It sits above his most memorable adage: “All things are poison … the dosage alone makes it so a thing is not a poison.” Next to this is the logo of British American Tobacco (BAT), whose cigarettes have poisoned to death more people than it would probably care to calculate. The lab, part of the tobacco company’s sprawling research and development centre, is a rare indoor space where smoking is legal. Marianna Gaca, a BAT biologist, shows me a robot. A dozen or so steel mouths spin on a wheel, each designed to hold a cigarette. Fat syringes draw the tobacco smoke along tubing into sealed petri dishes that contain human lung cells. The machine used to be part of BAT’s doomed attempts to make its cigarettes safer. Today, it has a different role: the smoke it draws serves as a toxic point of … [Read more...] about Up in smoke: are we wrong about the dangers of vaping?
MOST people know that you can survive without your appendix, spleen or a kidney when push comes to shove. But now it turns out you can even live without half a brain. Incredible new scans from six patients reveal how people are still able to function fully without half a brain. Each of the individuals had one of their brain hemispheres removed during childhood to reduce severe epileptic seizures. And their scans have now shown how the brain can miraculously rewire itself to help the body to function as if the brain were intact. In particular, the case study, which appears in the journal Cell Reports, revealed that the brain makes unusually strong connections between different functional brain networks.And medics have now revealed their shock at just how able patients with half a brain are. Author of the study Dorit Kliemann, a post-doc at the California Institute of Technology, said: "The people with hemispherectomies that we studied were remarkably high functioning. "They have intact … [Read more...] about Incredible scans from six patients show how it’s possible to survive with HALF a brain