Whether you're new to FM and/or CFS/ME, or an experienced patient, there are always new
terms and terminologies coming up. In order to find the medical information you're
looking for, you'll come across medical terminology and medical information you might
This page contains over 200 definitions listed below, with many new words added monthly.
The words are listed in alphabetical order. You can either select a letter from the
box below, or scroll down the page to reveal the word you're looking for.
Contact us if you cannot locate a specific definition.
EEG Biofeedback or Neurofeedback, is a form of biofeedback which allows an individual
to learn voluntary control of their brainwave activity. Electrodes (sensors) are placed
on the surface of the scalp and are held painlessly in place with a paste. The process
is non-invasive. These sensors pick up the brainwave patterns (electrical activity of
the brain) and transmit them to a computer which analyzes them. Settings in the
computer program are individually tailored for the client based on what brainwave
patterns are desired.
An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG, abbreviated from the German Electrocardiogram) is
a graphic produced by an electrocardiograph, which records the electrical activity of
the heart over time. Analysis of the various waves and normal vectors of depolarization
and repolarization yields important diagnostic information.
It is the gold standard for the diagnosis of cardiac arrhythmia's
It guides therapy and risk stratification for patients with suspected acute
It helps detect electrolyte disturbances (e.g. hyperkalemia and hypokalemia)
It allows for the detection of conduction abnormalities (e.g. right and left bundle
It is used as a screening tool for ischemic heart disease during a cardiac stress test
It is occasionally helpful with non-cardiac diseases (e.g. pulmonary embolism or
The electrocardiogram does not directly assess the contractility of the heart. However,
it can give a rough indication of increased or decreased contractility.
Electromyography (EMG) is a medical technique for evaluating and recording
physiologic properties of muscles at rest and while contracting. EMG is performed using
an instrument called an electromyography, to produce a record called an electromyogram.
An electromyograph detects the electrical potential generated by muscle cells when
these cells contract, and also when the cells are at rest.
Developing or originating within the organisms or arising from causes within the organism.
Endometriosis is a common medical condition affecting an estimated 89 million women
of reproductive age around the world. In endometriosis, the tissue that lines the
uterus (the endometrium, from endo, "inside", and metra, "womb") is found to be
growing outside the uterus, on or in other areas of the body. Normally, the endometrium
is shed each month during the menstrual cycle; however, in endometriosis, the
misplaced endometrium is usually unable to exit the body.
The endometriotic tissues still detach and bleed, but the result is far different:
internal bleeding, degenerated blood and tissue shedding, inflammation of the
surrounding areas, pain, and formation of scar tissue may result. In addition, depending
on the location of the growths, interference with the normal function of the bowel,
bladder, small intestines and other organs within the pelvic cavity can occur.
An endotracheal tube (ETT) is used in anesthesia, intensive care and emergency medicine
for airway management and mechanical ventilation. It is regarded as the most
reliable available method for protecting a patient's airway.
Enteroviruses live and reproduce in your intestinal tract, and humans are susceptible
to more than 70 types of them. When it comes to how common they are, they're second
only to "common cold" viruses.
Specific enteroviruses can cause diseases including poliomyelitis, aseptic meningitis,
rhinitis and inflammatory heart disease.
Most enterovirus infections do not lead to disease. When they do make people sick,
it's usually with either mild cold-like symptoms or with a flu-like illness including
fever and muscle aches. Flu-like symptoms are common in people with chronic fatigue
syndrome, and onset of chronic fatigue syndrome often comes after a flu-like illness.
A 2007 study on chronic fatigue syndrome showed a high predominance of enteroviruses
in the gut, which could explain some symptoms. More research needs to be done to
verify this link.
Because the bodies of people with chronic fatigue syndrome show signs of an activated
immune system, scientists have long believed that many case are caused either by an
active viral or bacterial infection, or by an infection that permanently altered the
immune system before leaving the body.
Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG)
Epigallocatechin gallate belongs to the family of catechins. It contains 3 phenol rings
and has very strong antixoidant properties. It is the main active component if green tea
leaves. Black tea leaves also contain epigallocatechin gallate but in much lower
quantities. That's because black tea leaves are fermented, during which many of the
cathechins are oxidized to darker coloured molecules (theaflavin and thearubigen).
Epigallocatechin gallate possess the most potent antioxidant activity of the catechins.
It may provide health effects by protecting our cells from oxidative damage from free
radicals. A number of chronic disease have been associated with free radical damage,
including cancer, arteriosclerosis, heart diseases and accelerated aging. Epigallocatechin gallate interferes with many enzyme systems: it inhibits fast-binding and reversible fatty acid synthase, increases tyrosine phosphorylation of the insulin receptor, activation of
Epigallocatechin gallate can protect the DNA in the human cells from ultraviolet and
visible radiation-induced damage. Epigallocatechin gallate may be effective in promoting
fat oxidation and lowering body weight.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which a person has repeated seizures (convulsions) over
time. Seizures are episodes of disturbed brain activity that cause changes in attention
Epilepsy occurs when permanent changes in brain tissue cause the brain to be too
excitable or jumpy. The brain sends out abnormal signals. This results in repeated,
unpredictable seizures. (A single seizure that does not happen again is not epilepsy.)
Epilepsy may be due to a medical condition or injury that affects the brain, or the
cause may be unknown (idiopathic).
Common causes of epilepsy include:
- Stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
- Dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease
- Traumatic brain injury
- Infections, including brain abscess, meningitis, encephalitis, and AIDS
- Brain problems that are present at birth (congenital brain defect)
- Brain injury that occurs during or near bith
- Metabolism disorders that a child may be born with (such as phenylketonuria)
- Brain tumor
- Abnormal blood vessels in the brain
- Other illness that damage or destroy brain tissue
Epilepsy seizures usually begin between ages 5 and 20, but they can happen at any age.
There may be a family history of seizures or epilepsy.
Also called Human herpes virus 4 (HHV-4), is a virus of the herpes family
(which includes Herpes simplex virus and Cytomegalovirus), and is one of the most
common viruses in humans.
Most people become infected with EBV, which is often
commonly causes infectious mononucleosis. It is named after Michael Epstein and Yvonne
Barr, who together with Bert Achong discovered the virus in 1964. Thought at one time
to be associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
The science and study of the causes or origins of disease.
The cause or origin of a disease or disorder as determined by medical diagnosis.
Etymology is the study of the history of words - when they entered a language,
from what source, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.
To increase the severity, aggravate.
Tending to induce excitation.
Exertion is a concept describing the use of physical or perceived energy. It normally
refers to a strenuous or costly effort related to physical, philosophical actions and
The fascia is a network of fibrous tissues below the skin that encloses muscles
and separates different layers of tissues in your body.
Some researchers are investigating the possible role of fascia in fibromyalgia. A
commonly co-morbid condition, myofascial pain syndrome, involves multiple trigger
points in the fascia associated with regional pain.
Fatigue is a condition of tiredness and reduced capacity or motivation for exertion.
Fatigue is frequently accompanied by weariness, sleepiness, or irritability.
Fatigue can be either acute or chronic. In chronic fatigue syndrome, and to a lesser
degree in fibromyalgia, fatigue is chronic and can be highly debilitating.
While the most predominant symptoms of fibromyalgia include widespread pain and
persistent fatigue, the resulting cognitive impairment of this condition may be its most
Commonly referred to as fibro-fog, this symptom is a conglomeration of cognitive
challenges. Fibro-fog is understood to be a physical symptom of fibromyalgia, not a
psychological one. While research on fibro-fog is scarce, experts agree that it is not
the result of Alzheimer's disease, dementia, or other brain function deterioration
condition. Of utmost importance is recognizing that fibro-fog can be managed and with the
reduction of fibromyalgia's other symptoms, the cloud of fibro-fog will also fade away.
Symptoms of Fibro-Fog
Just as no two individuals experience fibromyalgia in the same way, fibro-fog also has a
varying range of indications, including:
- Mental confusion
- Fuzzy thinking
- Short-term memory loss
- Inability to concentrate or pay attention
- Language lapses
The same lack of information as to fibromyalgia's origin also surrounds fibro-fog. While
a variety of causes have been proposed, including depression, decreased oxygen flow to
the brain, certain medications, poor nutrition, and changes to the Central Nervous System
(CNS), most experts agree that sleep deprivation is the primary culprit of fibro-fog.
Occurring at the deepest level of the sleep cycle, individuals with fibromyalgia
typically lack sufficient restorative sleep. We know that at the deeper levels of sleep,
called delta wave sleep, a person's mind conducts internal housekeeping. During delta
wave sleep, newly acquired information is assimilated and integrated into the brain. The
inability to get sufficient delta wave sleep impairs the ability to recall information
and operate at a normal level of mental efficiency.
Temporal lobe brain abnormalities appear to mimic the presentation of fibro-fog.
According to Dr. Jay Seastrunk, a psychiatrist specializing in fibromyalgia, if the
temporal lobes are mismatched, there will be trouble with memory, recall and
concentration. "Cognitive dysfunction is a right temporal lobe phenomena. Multiple mood
swings, trouble sleeping are all temporal lobe abnormalities. Temporal lobe is
responsible for understanding what we hear, retrieving and restoring our memories even
though the patient may feel they have difficulty with their memory. The problem is
actually the retrieval of this information. Not being able to find the word or you forget
what you are going to do, or blocking, is a left temporal lobe phenomena."
Dr. Muhammad B. Yunus, a leading chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia researcher,
suggests that SPECT (single photon emission computerized tomography), PET (positron
emission tomography) and BEAM (brain electrical activity mapping) scans of the brain
demonstrate that fibro-fog is a physical anomaly. According to Dr. Yunus, "Cerebral blood
flow imaging by SPECT, PET and BEAM have been reported to be abnormal in a large majority
of patients with CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), showing a pattern different from normal
controls and those with depression. Results of SPECT, PET or BEAM studies specifically in
fibromyalgia have not been reported, but a good number of patients with CFS who had these
tests carried out with abnormal results also had fibromyalgia."
When considering both Dr. Seastrunk and Dr. Yunus' contributions, it is clear that
fibro-fog is represented by physically visible brain variances.
Since fibro-fog is believed to be directly related to non-restorative sleep, putting all
of one's resources into getting good, quality sleep is crucial. In addition to seeking
professional assistance (and possible physician-prescribed sleep medications), the
following suggestions may be conducive to getting a quality night's sleep:
- Adhering to a regular sleep routine – going to sleep and waking at the same time each
- Providing a relaxing atmosphere prior to and during sleep
- Limiting caffeine and food consumption near bedtime
- Listening to white noise prior to and during sleep
- Sleeping on a high quality mattress
- For pain reduction, using pillows in bed to cushion any sore spots
- Using natural sleep aids (always consult your physician)
In addition to focusing on getting restorative sleep, The Arthritis Foundation® shares
nine tips to minimize fibro-fog's impact during the day:
Repeat yourself. Repeat things to yourself over and over again. Repetition will keep
thoughts fresh in your mind.
Write it down. Whether you write in a calendar, in a notebook or on sticky notes, if
you're afraid you won't remember something, putting pen to paper can help.
Pick your best time. If there is something you need to do that requires concentration
and memory, such as balancing your checkbook or following a recipe, pick your best
time to do it. Many people with fibromyalgia say they perform best early in the day.
Get treated. Depression, pain and sleep deprivation can influence your ability to
concentrate and remember. Getting your medical problems treated may indirectly help your
Engage yourself. Reading a book, seeing a play, or working a complex crossword or
jigsaw puzzle can stimulate your brain and your memory.
Stay active. Physical activity, in moderation, can increase your energy and help lift
your fibro-fog. Speak to your doctor or physical therapist about an exercise program that
is right for you.
Explain yourself. Explain your memory difficulties to family members and close
friends. Memory problems often result from stress. Getting a little understanding from
the ones you love may help.
Keep it quiet. A radio blasting from the next room, a TV competing for your attention,
or background conversation can distract your attention from the task at hand. If
possible, move to a quiet place and minimize distractions when you are trying to remember.
Go slowly. Sometimes memory problems can result from trying to do too much in too
short a period of time. Break up tasks, and don't take on more than you can handle at
once. Stress and fatigue will only make the situation worse.
As one of fibromyalgia's most frustrating components, there is hope for fibro-fog
sufferers. Understanding the following about fibro-fog will allay many accompanying fears:
- You are not alone in suffering with fibro-fog
- fibro-fog is not a psychological condition
- fibro-fog is likely a result of non-restorative sleep disturbances
- Improving sleep can reduce fibro-fog
- There are many ways to reduce fibro-fog's prominence in your life
The best news of all is that many individuals report that being committed to managing
their fibromyalgia (by integrating western medicine, alternative medicine and lifestyle
changes), has resulted in their fibro-fog fading away.
- Yunus, MD, Muhammad B., Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Syndrome:
Similarities and Differences, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria,
- http://www.arthritis.org, Clearing the Fog, Arthritis Foundation, 2006.
- http://www.disabilitysecrets.com, Fibromyalgia and Brain Fog or Fibro,
- http://www.drlamb.com, Clearing the Brain-Fog of Fibromyalgia, The Pain Reliever
- [http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/Falls/8173/neurology.html], Neurological Effects
of FM and CFS.
- web.tampabay.rr.com/lymecfs/brainfog.htm, What is Brainfog and how significant is
it?, Marilyn J. Kerr, RN, 2001.
- http://www.suite101.com, Fibromyalgia: Fighting Fibro-Fog, Tamara Peters.
FM is a poorly-understood chronic pain syndrome characterized by:
- Widespread Musculoskeletal Pain
- Non restorative Sleep
- Psychological Distress
- Specific Regions of Localized Tenderness
People with FM may also have other symptoms such as:
- Morning stiffness
- Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
- Headaches, including migraines
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Problems with thinking and memory (sometimes called "fibro-fog")
- Painful menstrual periods and other pain syndromes
While the etiology of FM is unclear, accumulating data suggest that disordered central
pain processing likely plays a role in the pathogenesis of symptoms. Although
various pharmacological treatments have been studied and espoused for treating FM, no
single drug or group of drugs has proved to be particularly useful in treating FM
patients as a whole, and only one drug to date has earned U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA)approval for treating the syndrome in the United States.
The earliest onset of FM can occur in childhood, however most people believe their
pain originated in their early 20's and 30's. Although genetic research is just
beginning, there is already evidence that FM runs in some families leading researchers
to believe it may be hereditary. Although men and women are both affected by FM, women
make up the majority of those affected. The reason is unknown.
While FM is one of the most common diseases affecting the muscles, its cause is
currently unknown. The painful tissues involved are not accompanied by tissue
inflammation. Therefore, despite potentially disabling body pain, patients with FM do
not develop body damage or deformity. FM also does not cause damage to internal body
organs. Therefore, FM is different from many other rheumatic conditions (such as
rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, and polymyositis). In those diseases,
tissue inflammation is the major cause of pain, stiffness and tenderness of the
joints, tendons and muscles, and it can lead to joint deformity and damage to the
internal organs or muscles.
Flare or Flare-up
A flare-up is a time when symptoms are more intense. Many people with fibromyalgia
and chronic fatigue syndrome experience periodic flare-ups separated by remissions,
when symptoms recede.
With work, many people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome can identify
what triggers or intensifies their flare-ups and can use that information to lessen
their symptoms. Sometimes, flare-ups are linked to a woman's menstrual cycle,
especially in fibromyalgia.
GABA is a neurotransmitter. One of its primary functions is to calm brain activity.
GABA is also involved in sleep, muscle function, relaxation, and anxiety regulation.
GABA is derived from the neurotransmitter glutamate, which increases brain activity.
Some research suggests that abnormal levels of GABA or glutamate may play a role in
fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
The gastrointestinal tract (GI tract), also called the digestive tract, the alimentary
canal, or the entrails, is the system of organs within multi cellular animals that takes
in food, digests it to extract energy and nutrients, and expels the remaining waste.
The major functions of the GI tract are ingestion, digestion, absorption, and excretion.
The GI tract differs substantially from animal to animal. Some animals have
multi-chambered stomachs, while some animals' stomachs contain a single chamber. In a
normal human adult male, the GI tract is approximately 6.5 meters (20 feet) long and
consists of the upper and lower GI tracts. The tract may also be divided into
foregut, midgut, and hindgut, reflecting the embryological origin of each segment
of the tract.
A genetic predisposition is a genetic effect which influences the
of an organism but which can be modified by the environmental conditions.
Genetic testing is able to identify individuals who are genetically predisposed
to certain health problems.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder (or GAD) is characterized by excessive, exaggerated anxiety
and worry about everyday life events with no obvious reasons for worry. People with
symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder tend to always expect disaster and can't stop
worrying about health, money, family, work, or school. In people with GAD, the worry
often is unrealistic or out of proportion for the situation. Daily life becomes a
constant state of worry, fear, and dread. Eventually, the anxiety so dominates the
person's thinking that it interferes with daily functioning, including work, school,
social activities, and relationships.
What Are the Symptoms of GAD?
GAD affects the way a person thinks, but the anxiety can lead to physical symptoms, as
well. Symptoms of GAD can include:
- Excessive, ongoing worry and tension
- An unrealistic view of problems
- Restlessness or a feeling of being "edgy"
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty concentrating
- The need to go to the bathroom frequently
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
- Being easily startled
In addition, people with GAD often have other anxiety disorders (such as panic disorder,
obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias), suffer from depression, and/or abuse drugs
What Causes GAD?
The exact cause of GAD is not fully known, but a number of factors -- including genetics,
brain chemistry and environmental stresses -- appear to contribute to its development.
Some research suggests that family history plays a part in increasing the likelihood
that a person will develop GAD. This means that the tendency to develop GAD may be
passed on in families.
GAD has been associated with abnormal levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.
Neurotransmitters are special chemical messengers that help move information from nerve
cell to nerve cell. If the neurotransmitters are out of balance, messages cannot get
through the brain properly. This can alter the way the brain reacts in certain
situations, leading to anxiety.
Trauma and stressful events, such as abuse, the death of a loved one, divorce, changing
jobs or schools, may lead to GAD. GAD also may become worse during periods of stress.
The use of and withdrawal from addictive substances, including alcohol, caffeine, and
nicotine, can also worsen anxiety.
How Common Is GAD?
About 4 million adult Americans suffer from GAD during the course of a year. It most
often begins in childhood or adolescence, but can begin in adulthood. It is more common
in women than in men.
How Is GAD Diagnosed?
If symptoms of GAD are present, the doctor will begin an evaluation by asking questions
about your medical history and performing a physical examination. Although there are no
laboratory tests to specifically diagnose anxiety disorders, the doctor may use various
tests to look for physical illness as the cause of the symptoms.
The doctor bases his or her diagnosis of GAD on reports of the intensity and duration of
symptoms -- including any problems with functioning caused by the symptoms. The doctor
then determines if the symptoms and degree of dysfunction indicate a specific anxiety
disorder. GAD is diagnosed if symptoms are present for more days than not during a
period of at least six months. The symptoms also must interfere with daily living, such
as causing you to miss work or school.
How Is GAD Treated?
If no physical illness is found, you may be referred to a psychiatrist or psychologist,
mental health professionals who are specially trained to diagnose and treat mental
illnesses like GAD. Treatment for GAD most often includes a combination of medication
and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Drugs are available to treat GAD and may be especially helpful for people whose anxiety
is interfering with daily functioning. The medications most often used to treat GAD in
the short-term are from a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. These medications are
sometimes referred to as "tranquilizers," because they leave you feeling calm and
relaxed. They work by decreasing the physical symptoms of GAD, such as muscle tension
and restlessness. Common benzodiazepines include Xanax,
Ativan. Antidepressants, such as Paxil, Effexor, Prozac, Lexapro, and Zoloft, are also being used to treat
GAD. These antidepressants may take a few weeks to start working but they're more
appropriate for long-term treatment of GAD.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
People suffering from anxiety disorders often participate in this type of therapy, in
which you learn to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that lead to
anxious feelings. This type of therapy helps limit distorted thinking by looking at
worries more realistically.
In addition, relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and biofeedback, may help
to control the muscle tension that often accompanies GAD.
Are There Side Effects of GAD Treatment?
Dependency on anti-anxiety medications (benzodiazepines) is a potential complication
of treatment. Side effects of antidepressants vary by specific drug and the person
taking them. Common side effects can include sleepiness, weight gain, and sexual
What Is the Outlook for People With GAD?
Although many people with GAD cannot be cured and symptoms can return from time to
time, most people gain substantial relief from their symptoms with proper treatment.
Can GAD Be Prevented?
Anxiety disorders like GAD cannot be prevented. However, there are some things that you
can do to control or lessen symptoms, including:
- Stop or reduce your consumption of products that contain caffeine, such as coffee,
tea, cola and chocolate.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter medicines or
herbal remedies. Many contain chemicals that can increase anxiety symptoms.
- Exercise daily and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Seek counseling and support after a traumatic or disturbing experience.
- Practice stress management techniques like yoga or meditation.
Glia are cells that are found throughout the brain and also play a role in other parts
of the central nervous system. They have a complex relationship to neurons, supporting
them with nourishment, serving immune functions, and performing other essential tasks.
Glia do not conduct electrical signals like neurons do, but researchers are beginning
to uncover ways in which glia communicate with other cells and make it possible for
neurons to function.
Different types of glia include:
- Schwann cells
Some fibromyalgia research indicates that problems with glia may play a role in the
condition, including disturbances in communication between glia and neurons, sustained
activation of spinal cord glia, and abnormally shaped Schwann cells in the skin.
Researchers are continuing to investigate glial cells' role in the central
sensitization and lowered pain threshold that are key features of fibromyalgia.
Glial research may help with treatments as well -- low-dose naltrexone, a drug that's
showing promise as a fibromyalgia treatment in clinical trials, is believed to inhibit
microglia activity in the central nervous system.
Glutamate is a neurotransmitter normally involved in learning and memory. It also is
an excitatory neurotransmitter, which means it stimulates areas in the brain or other
parts of the nervous system. In some cases, it can be an excitotoxin that appears to
cause nerve-cell death in a variety of neurodegenerative disorders including
Alzheimer's and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (known as ALS or Lou Gherig's disease).
Research shows that people with fibromyalgia have abnormally high levels of glutamate
in the area of the brain called the insula, which is highly involved in pain and
emotion. The insula also is involved in the senses, anxiety, motor skills, cravings,
eating disorders and addiction.
As an amino acid, glutamate is in monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is used in
pharmaceuticals and as a food additive. When consumed, research shows MSG can
stimulate pain receptors in the spinal cord.
Granulocytes are a category of white blood cells characterized by the presence
of granules in their cytoplasm. They are also called polymorphonuclear leukocytes
(PMN or PML) because of the varying shapes of the nucleus, which is usually lobed
into three segments.
The greater trochanter of the femur is a large, irregular, quadrilateral eminence,
situated at the junction of the neck with the upper part of the body.
It is directed a little lateralward and backward, and, in the adult, is about 1 cm.
lower than the head. Part of the skeletal system. It has two surfaces and four borders.
Growth hormone is a 191-amino acid, single chain polypeptide hormone which is
synthesized, stored and secreted by the somatotroph cells within the lateral
wings of the anterior pituitary gland, which stimulates growth and cell reproduction
in humans and other animals.
Hashimoto's thyroiditis or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease
in which the thyroid gland is gradually destroyed by a variety of cell and antibody
mediated immune processes. It was the first disease to be recognised as an autoimmune
disease. It was first described by the Japanese specialist Dr. Hakaru Hashimoto in
Germany in 1912.
Hashimoto's thyroiditis very often results in hypothyroidism with bouts of
hyperthyroidism. Physiologically, antibodies against thyroid peroxidase and/or
thyroglobulin cause gradual destruction of follicles in the thyroid gland. Accordingly,
the disease can be detected clinically by looking for these antibodies in the blood.
It is also characterized by invasion of the thyroid tissue by leukocytes, mainly
T-lymphocytes. It is associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Symptoms of Hashimoto's thyroiditis include weight gain, depression, mania,
sensitivity to heat and cold , paresthesia, fatigue, panic attacks, bradycardia,
tachycardia, high cholesterol, reactive hypoglycemia, constipation, migraines,
muscle weakness, cramps, memory loss, infertility and hair loss.
Hashimoto's thyroiditis is often misdiagnosed as depression, cyclothymia, PMS, and,
less frequently, as bipolar disorder or as an anxiety disorder. Testing for
thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and anti-thyroid antibodies can resolve any
Hashimoto's when presenting as mania is known as Prasad's syndrome after Ashok Prasad, the psychiatrist who first described it.
A pain in the head with the pain being above the eyes or the ears, behind the
head (occipital), or in the back of the upper neck. Headache, like chest pain
or back ache, has many causes.
Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. The clinical signs, prognosis, and treatment
depend on the cause.
Types of hepatitis:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Hepatitis B with D
- Hepatitis E
- Hepatitis F (discredited)
- Hepatitis G
Herpes Simplex Virus
Herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2) are two strains of the herpes virus
family, Herpes viridae, which cause infections in humans. HSV-1 and 2 are also
referred to as Human Herpes Virus 1 and 2 (HHV-1 and HHV-2).
After an initial, or primary, infection, HSV establishes latency, during which the
virus is present in the cell bodies of nerves which innervate the area of original
outbreak. During reactivation, the virus is produced in the cell and transported
outwardly via the nerve cell's axon to the skin. The ability of HSV to become latent
leads to the chronic nature of Herpes infection; after the initial infection subsides,
Herpes symptoms may periodically recur in the form of outbreaks of herpetic sores near
the site of original infection.
Herpes infections are marked by painful, watery blisters in the skin or mucous
membranes (such as the mouth or lips) or on the genitals. The blisters resemble those
seen in chickenpox - an infection caused by a third member of the
alpha-Herpes viridae subfamily, Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV), also known as Human Herpes
Virus 3 (HHV-3). Lesions heal with a crudescent scab, the hallmark of herpetic
disease. Herpes is contagious if the carrier is producing and releasing ("shedding")
virus. This is particularly likely during an outbreak, although individuals may shed
virus between outbreaks. Although no cure is yet available, treatments exist which
reduce the likelihood of viral shedding. An HSV infection on the lips is commonly
known as a "cold sore" or "fever blister" and should not to be confused with a canker
sore; canker sores are not caused by the HSV virus.
Holism is the idea that all the properties of a given system (biological, chemical,
social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) cannot be determined or explained by the
sum of its component parts alone. Instead, the system as a whole determines in an
important way how the parts behave.
Homeopathy is a system of alternative medicine that aims to treat "like with like."
Despite being widely discredited in scientific circles homeopathy has grown in popularity
in recent years.
Homeopathic remedies are extremely diluted agents. The first remedies used by homeopaths
were made from substances such as arsenic that, in undiluted doses, would have
produced similar symptoms in the healthy. The substances on which other, more
recent, remedies are based such as lac humanum (human milk), lac delphinum (dolphin milk)
and adamas (diamond), are not known to produce symptoms from the undiluted
Homeostasis is the property of an open system, especially living organisms, to
regulate its internal environment to maintain a stable, constant condition, by
means of multiple dynamic equilibrium adjustments, controlled by interrelated
A hormone is a chemical messenger from one cell (or group of cells)
to another. The function of hormones is to serve as a signal to the target cells.
The action of hormones is determined by the pattern of secretion and the signal
transduction of the receiving tissue.
Hydrotherapy, formerly called hydropathy involves the use of water for pain-relief and
treating illness. The term hydrotherapy itself is synonymous with the term water cure as
it was originally marketed by practitioners and promoters in the 1800's.
The recuperative and healing properties of hydrotherapy are based on its mechanical
and/or thermal effects. It exploits the body's reaction to hot and cold stimuli, to
the protracted application of heat, to pressure exerted by the water and to the
sensation it gives. The nerves carry impulses felt at the skin deeper into the body,
where they are instrumental in stimulating the immune system, influencing the
production of stress hormones, invigorating the circulation and digestion,
encouraging blood flow, and lessening pain sensitivity.
Generally, heat quiets and soothes the body, slowing down the activity of internal
organs. Cold, in contrast, stimulates and invigorates, increasing internal activity.
If you are experiencing tense muscles and anxiety from your stress, a hot shower or
bath is in order. If you are feeling tired and stressed out, you might want to try
taking a warm shower or bath followed by a short, invigorating cold shower to
help stimulate your body and mind.
When you submerge yourself in a bath, a pool, or a whirlpool, you experience a kind
of weightlessness. Your body is relieved from the constant pull of gravity. Water
also has a hydrostatic effect. It has a massage-like feeling as the water gently
kneads your body. Water, in motion, stimulates touch receptors on the skin, boosting
blood circulation and releasing tight muscles.
Hyperalgesia is an increased sensitivity to pain, which may be caused by damage to
nociceptors or peripheral nerves. Temporary increased sensitivity to pain also occurs as
part of sickness behavior, the evolved response to infection.
Hyperalgesia can be experienced in focal, discrete areas, or as a more diffuse, body-wide
form. Conditioning studies have established that it is possible to experience a learned
hyperalgesia of the latter, diffuse form. The focal form is typically associated with
injury, and is divided into two subtypes:
Opioid-induced hyperalgesia may develop as a result of long-term opioid use in the
treatment of chronic pain. Various studies of humans and animals have demonstrated that
primary or secondary hyperalgesia can develop in response to both chronic and acute
exposure to opioids. This side effect can be severe enough to warrant discontinuation of
Primary hyperhidrosis is the condition characterized by
abnormally increased perspiration, in excess of that required for regulation of
body temperature. Some patients afflicted with the condition experience a distinct
reduction in the quality of life. Sufferers feel at a loss of control because
perspiration takes place independent of temperature and emotional state.
However, anxiety can exacerbate the
situation for many sufferers. A common complaint of patients is that they get nervous
because they sweat, then sweat more because they are nervous. Other factors can play a
role; certain foods & drinks, nicotine, caffeine, and smells can trigger a response.
Hyperparathyroidism is overactivity of the parathyroid glands resulting in excess
production of parathyroid hormone (PTH). The parathyroid hormone regulates calcium
and phosphate levels and helps to maintain these levels. Excessive PTH secretion may be
due to problems in the glands themselves, in which case it is referred to as primary
hyperparathryroidism and which leads to hypercalcemia (raised calcium levels).
It may also occur in response to low calcium levels, as encountered in various
situations such as vitamin D deficiency or chronic kidney disease; this is referred
to as secondary hyperparathyroidism. In all cases, the raised PTH levels are harmful
to bone, and treatment is often needed. Recent evidence suggests that Vitamin D
deficiency/insufficiency plays a role in the development of hyperparathyroidism.
Lithium is associated with an increased incidence of hyperparathyroidism.
Hypochondria refers to an excessive preoccupation or worry about having a serious
illness. Often, hypochondria persists even after a physician has evaluated a person
and reassured him/her that his/her concerns about symptoms do not have an underlying
medical basis or, if there is a medical illness, the concerns are far in excess of what
is appropriate for the level of disease.
Many people with unexplained illnesses, such as Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome, are accused of being hypochondriacs, simply because the medical profession
is unable to properly diagnose these illnesses.
Hypocretin's, are the common names given to a pair of highly
neuropeptide hormones that were simultaneously discovered by two groups of
researchers in rat brains.
Low blood sugar (glucose). When symptoms of hypoglycemia occur together with a
documented blood glucose under 45 mg/dl, and the symptoms promptly resolve with
the administration of glucose, the diagnosis of hypoglycemia can be made with some
certainty. Hypoglycemia is only significant when it is associated with symptoms.
An electrolyte disturbance (disturbance of the salts in the blood) in which the
sodium concentration in the plasma is too low (in this case, below 135 mmol/L).
Severe or rapidly progressing hyponatremia can result in swelling of the brain
(cerebral edema), and the symptoms of hyponatremia are mainly neurological. Hyponatremia
is most often a complication of other medical illnesses in which either fluids rich in
sodium are lost (for example because of diarrhea or vomiting), or excess water
accumulates in the body at a higher rate than it can be excreted (for example in
polydipsia or syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone, SIADH).
Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal - HPA Axis
The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis is a complex set of interactions between
the hypothalamus (a part of the brain), the pituitary gland (also part of the brain)
and the adrenal or suprarenal glands (at the top of each kidney.) The HPA axis helps
regulate things such as your temperature, digestion, immune system, mood, sexuality
and energy usage. It's also a major part of the system that controls your reaction
to stress, trauma and injury.
Research links fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome with abnormalities in
genes involved in the HPA axis. (Primarily the hypothalamus in fibromyalgia and
primarily the adrenals in chronic fatigue syndrome.)
The HPA axis also is involved in anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic
stress disorder, clinical depression, burnout and irritable bowel syndrome.
The hypothalamus, also known as the "master gland," links the nervous system to the
endocrine system via the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus is located below the
thalamus, just above the brain stem.
Hypothyroidism is the disease state in humans and animals caused by insufficient
production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland.
Hypoxemia is an abnormal deficiency in the concentration of oxygen in arterial blood.
A frequent error is made when the term is used to describe poor tissue diffusion as
in hypoxia. It is possible to have a low oxygen content (eg due to anemia) but a
high concentration of oxygen in arterial blood so incorrect use can lead to confusion.
Protected against infection. The Latin immunis means free, exempt.
A complex system that is responsible for distinguishing us from everything foreign to
us, and for protecting us against infections and foreign substances. The immune system
works to seek and kill invaders.
A broad branch of biomedical science that covers the study of all aspects of the
immune system in all organisms. It deals with, among other things, the
physiological functioning of the immune system in states of both health and
disease; malfunctions of the immune system in immunological disorders
diseases, hyper sensitivities (increased sensitivity), immune deficiency).
Urinary incontinence is the involuntary excretion of urine from one's body. It is
often temporary, and it almost always results from an underlying medical condition.
The growth of a parasitic organism within the body. (A parasitic organism is one that
lives on or in another organism and draws its nourishment there from.) A person with
an infection has another organism (a "germ") growing within him, drawing its nourishment
from the person.
Insulin is a polypeptide hormone that regulates carbohydrate metabolism. Apart from being
the primary agent in carbohydrate
has effects on fat metabolism and it changes the liver's activity in storing or
releasing glucose and in processing blood lipids, and in other tissues such as fat
and muscle. The amount of insulin in circulation has extremely widespread effects
throughout the body.
Between the phalanges, or fingers.
Interstitial Cystitis is a urinary bladder disease of unknown cause characterized by
urinary frequency (as often as every 10 minutes), urgency, pressure and/or pain in
the bladder and/or pelvis.
Pain typically increases as the bladder fills and reduces after voiding however some
patients report pain with urination, often in the urethra. Patients may also
experience nocturia, pelvic floor dysfunction and tension (thus making it difficult to
start their urine stream), pain with sexual intercourse, discomfort and difficulty
driving, traveling or working. Research has determined that the quality of life of
IC patients is equivalent to end stage renal failure.
Situated in, occurring in, or administered by entry into a blood vessel.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder characterized most commonly by cramping,
abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. IBS causes a great deal of
discomfort and distress, but it does not permanently harm the intestines and does not
lead to a serious disease, such as cancer. Most people can control their symptoms with
diet, stress management, and prescribed medications. For some people, however, IBS can
be disabling. They may be unable to work, attend social events, or even travel short
As many as 20 percent of the adult population, or one in five Americans, (4-70% of FM
patients), have symptoms of IBS, making it one of the most common disorders diagnosed by
doctors. It occurs more often in women than in men, and it begins before the age of 35
in about 50 percent of people.
Abdominal pain, bloating, and discomfort are the main symptoms of IBS. However, symptoms
can vary from person to person. Some people have constipation, which means hard,
difficult-to-pass, or infrequent bowel movements. Often these people report straining
and cramping when trying to have a bowel movement but cannot eliminate any stool, or
they are able to eliminate only a small amount. If they are able to have a bowel
movement, there may be mucus in it, which is a fluid that moistens and protect passages
in the digestive system. Some people with IBS experience diarrhea, which is frequent,
loose, watery, stools. People with diarrhea frequently feel an urgent and uncontrollable
need to have a bowel movement. Other people with IBS alternate between constipation and
diarrhea. Sometimes people find that their symptoms subside for a few months and then
return, while others report a constant worsening of symptoms over time.
Researchers have yet to discover any specific cause for IBS. One theory is that people
who suffer from IBS have a colon (large bowel) that is particularly sensitive and
reactive to certain foods and stress. The immune system, which fights infection, may
also be involved.
Normal motility, or movement, may not be present in a colon of a person who has IBS. It
can be spasmodic or can even stop working temporarily. Spasms are sudden strong muscle
contractions that come and go.
The lining of the colon called the epithelium, which is affected by the immune and
nervous systems, regulates the flow of fluids in and out of the colon. In IBS, the
epithelium appears to work properly. However, when the contents inside the colon move
too quickly, the colon looses its ability to absorb fluids. The result is too much fluid
in the stool. In other people, the movement inside the colon is too slow, which causes
extra fluid to be absorbed. As a result, a person develops constipation.
A person's colon may respond strongly to stimuli such as certain foods or stress that
would not bother most people.
Recent research has reported that serotonin is linked with normal gastrointestinal (GI)
functioning. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, or chemical, that delivers messages from
one part of your body to another. Ninety-five percent of the serotonin in your body is
located in the GI tract, and the other 5 percent is found in the brain. Cells that line
the inside of the bowel work as transporters and carry the serotonin out of the GI
tract. People with IBS, however, have diminished receptor activity, causing abnormal
levels of serotonin to exist in the GI tract. As a result, people with IBS experience
problems with bowel movement, motility, and sensation-having more sensitive pain
receptors in their GI tract.
A joint is the area where two bones are attached for the purpose of motion of body
parts. It is usually formed of fibrous connective tissue and cartilage.
Ketoacidosis is a type of metabolic
acidosis which is
caused by high concentrations of keto acids, formed by the
Lability refers to something that is constantly undergoing change or something that
is likely to undergo change.
In medicine, the term "labile" means susceptible to alteration or destruction. For
example, a heat-labile protein is one that can be changed or destroyed at high
temperatures. The opposite of labile in this context is "stable."
Latent means that something is dormant and may become active in the future, as in a
That is, potentially existing but not presently evident; also commonly used to
describe a medical condition that is present but not active or causing symptoms.
The lateral epicondyle of the humerus is a small, tuberculated eminence, curved a
little forward, and giving attachment to the radial collateral ligament of the
elbow-joint, and to a tendon common to the origin of the Supinator and some of the
Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) is a form of chronic leukemia characterized by
increased and unregulated clonal production of predominantly myeloid cells in the
CML is a myeloproliferative disease associated with a characteristic
chromosomal translocation called the Philadelphia chromosome.
Historically, it has been treated with chemotherapy, interferon and bone
marrow transplantation, although targeted therapies introduced at the beginning of
the 21st century have radically changed the management of CML.
Levothyroxine, also known as L-thyroxine, or synthetic T4 is a synthetic form of
thyroxine (thyroid hormone). The natural hormone is chemically in the L-form, as is
the pharmaceutical agent. Dextrothyroxine (D-thyroxine) briefly saw research as
an anti cholesterol agent but was pulled due to cardiac side-effects.
Fibrous tissue that connects bones (or two different parts of a single bone). They
are sometimes called "articular ligaments", "fibrous ligaments", or "true ligaments".
Liothyronine sodium, also known as T3 is a thyroid hormone drug used to treat
hypothyroidism. It is a major component of the medication Cytomel.
A lipoma is a growth of fat cells in a thin, fibrous capsule usually found just below
the skin. Lipomas are found most often on the torso, neck, upper thighs, upper arms,
and armpits, but they can occur almost anywhere in the body. One or more lipomas may
be present at the same time. Lipomas are the most common noncancerous soft tissue growth.
The cause of lipomas is not completely understood, but the tendency to develop them is
inherited. A minor injury may trigger the growth. Being overweight does not cause lipomas.
- Are small [0.4 in. (1 cm) to 1.2 in. (3 cm)] and felt just under the skin.
- Are movable and have a soft, rubbery consistency.
- Do not cause pain.
- Remain the same size over years or grow very slowly.
Often the most bothersome symptom is the location or increased size that makes the
lipoma noticeable by others.
A lipoma can usually be diagnosed by its appearance alone, but your health professional
may want to remove it to make sure the growth is noncancerous.
Lipomas do not generally require treatment. Because lipomas are not cancerous growths
and cannot become cancerous, they do not need to be removed. There is no known treatment
to prevent lipomas or affect their growth.
A lipoma may be surgically removed if symptoms develop, such as if the lipoma:
- Becomes painful or tender.
- Becomes infected or inflamed repeatedly.
- Drains foul-smelling discharge.
- Interferes with movement or function.
- Increases in size.
- Becomes unsightly or bothersome.
Most lipomas can be removed in the doctor's office or outpatient surgery center. The
doctor injects a local anesthetic around the lipoma, makes an incision in the skin,
removes the growth, and closes the incision with stitches (sutures). If the lipoma is in
an area of the body that cannot be easily reached through a simple incision in the skin,
the lipoma may need to be removed in the operating room under general anesthesia.
Lipomas occur in all age groups but most often appear in middle age. Single lipomas
occur with equal frequency in men and women. Multiple lipomas occur more frequently
Low Levels of Cytokines
A recent German study examined the cytokine protein profiles of 40 patients with
chronic widespread pain, 26 of whom had fibromyalgia. The study found that the
patients with chronic widespread pain had significantly lower levels of two types of
cytokines, IL-4 and IL-10 than individuals who do not, suggesting a link between low
levels of cytokine proteins and fibromyalgia syndrome.
Cytokines are a type of protein that are key to the normal functioning of the immune
system, as they serve as messengers that order the body’s immune cells to activate,
grow and die. Cytokine cells also help white blood cells ward off infection, a process
that results in inflammation.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disorder. It may
affect the skin, joints, kidneys, and other organs.
Normally, the immune system controls the body's defenses against infection. In SLE and
other autoimmune diseases, these defenses are turned against the body and rogue immune
cells attack tissues.
Antibodies may be produced that can react against the body's blood cells, organs,
and tissues. These lead immune cells to attack the affected systems, producing a
chronic (long-term) disease.
Lyme disease, which is also known as Lyme borreliosis, is an infection transmitted by
the bite of deer ticks carrying the spirochete (spiral-shaped bacterium)
The disease was named for Lyme, Connecticut, the town where it was first diagnosed in
1975 after a puzzling outbreak of juvenile arthritis. The organism that causes the
disease was identified in 1982 and named for its discoverer, Willy Burgdorfer.
Malaise is a feeling of general discomfort or uneasiness, an "out of sorts" feeling,
often the first indication of an infection or other disease.
Malaise has been referred to as "the creeping crud" (especially in reference to the
malaise caused by communicable diseases such as influenza and the common cold). This
usage may have originated in folk medicine, but it is adopted from the French word
meaning "discomfort", "feeling faint", "feeling sick".
Magnet therapy, magnetic therapy, or magnotherapy is an alternative medicine
practice involving the use of static magnetic fields. Practitioners claim that
subjecting certain parts of the body to magnetostatic fields produced by permanent
magnets has beneficial health effects.
Magnet therapy is considered pseudoscientific due to both physical and biological
implausibility, as well as a lack of any established effect on health or healing.
Although hemoglobin, the blood protein that carries oxygen, is weakly diamagnetic
and is repulsed by magnetic fields, the magnets used in magnetic therapy are many
orders of magnitude too weak to have any measurable effect on blood flow.
Massage therapy is a hands-on treatment that is becoming more and more popular, both
with fibromyalgia patients and other pain sufferers. In massage therapy, your muscles
and soft tissues are manipulated in order to relieve stress, reduce pain, and increase
flexibility. Usually done with the hands, there are a variety of different techniques
used to give a massage. Common techniques involve stroking, kneading, and palpating
the muscles. Sometimes, a special instrument or device is used to help relieve tension
in tight muscles. Hot and cold therapies are also used during massages in order to
increase blood flow and relax muscles.
Massage therapy can really reduce the pain, stiffness, and tender points caused
by fibromyalgia. But how does it manage to do this? Well, no one is 100% sure on how
massage actually reduces pain, but it may have something to do with the central nervous
system. It is theorized that massage therapy actually enhances the production of certain
pain blockers, including endorphins, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These hormones work
to counteract pain signals conducted by the brain, and this would explain why massage
offers such dramatic pain relief.
Massage therapy is actually one of the most beneficial treatments for fibromyalgia pain
and fatigue. In fact, in a survey completed by fibromyalgia sufferers, massage therapy
was rated the best fibromyalgia treatment option by an overwhelming margin. Massage
therapy benefits include:
- increased blood circulation to the muscles, allowing for faster muscle repair
- increased flexibility
- increased range of motion
- decreased stress and depression
- reduced pain
- reduced stiffness
- improved sleep patterns
In a 1996 study, fibromyalgia sufferers reported a 38% decrease in pain symptoms after
receiving just ten, 30 minute massage sessions. They also reported a significant decrease
in their sleep difficulties: they began sleeping for longer periods at a time and were
disturbed less by sleep disorders.
A hormone derived from serotonin. The two hormones help regulate your sleep-wake
When you're in dark conditions, your brain raises melatonin levels so you can sleep.
Bright conditions, on the other hand, decrease melatonin release and increase
serotonin production. Many people with insomnia take melatonin supplements to help
It's suspected that, because serotonin levels are often low in people with
fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, the brain may not be able to produce
enough melatonin. The low levels may throw off the body clock and can make it difficult
to sleep or wake in the morning.
Methocarbamol is a
central muscle relaxant for skeletal muscles, used to treat spasms.
Robaxin® is a trade name
for methocarbamol. It is structurally related to
Migraine headaches are caused by constrictions of your blood vessels and arteries, and
are also known as vascular headaches. Due to stress, fatigue, or illness, the blood
vessels in your head and neck begin to constrict and then dilate, causing severe
pain, nausea, dizziness, and eye pain.
A migraine headache can also move around your head, shifting from side to side. The
common migraine is usually preceded by episodes of anxiety, depression, and fatigue. The
less common type of migraine is the "classic" migraine, and is always immediately
preceded by visual symptoms including double vision, blurry vision, flashing dots, bright
lights, or distorted vision. These visual symptoms are often called the migraine aura.
Sufferers of the "classic" migraine may experience these symptoms for 15 to 60
minutes immediately before a migraine. Migraine symptoms typically last about 4 hours,
though they can plague you for as long as a week. Migraines can develop also into
Learn More About Migraines
In cell biology, a mitochondrion (plural mitochondria) is a membrane-enclosed
organelle, found in most eukaryotic cells. Mitochondria are sometimes described as
"cellular power plants," because they convert NADH and NADPH into energy in the form
of ATP via the process of oxidative phosphorylation.
A mitogen is a chemical, usually some form of a protein, that encourages a cell to
commence cell division, triggering mitosis. Mitogens trigger signal transduction
pathways in which mitogen-activated protein kinase is involved, leading to mitosis.
Mitral Valve Prolapse
Mitral valve prolapse is a heart valve condition marked by the displacement of an
abnormally thickened mitral valve leaflet into the left atrium during systole.
In its non classic form, MVP carries a low risk of complications. In severe cases of
classic MVP, complications include mitral regurgitation, infective endocarditis, and,
in rare circumstances, cardiac arrest usually resulting in sudden death.
Micro vascular Disease
Micro vascular disease is a disease of any small blood vessels in the body. This
sometimes occurs when a person has had diabetes for a long time. The walls of the
vessels become abnormally thick but weak, and therefore they bleed, leak protein,
and slow the flow of blood through the body. Then some cells, for example in the
retina (diabetic retinopathy) or kidney (diabetic nephropathy), may not get enough
blood and may be damaged. Nerves are also damaged and may lead to loss of function
Monamine Oxidase Inhibitors
Of all the antidepressant drugs, monamine oxidase inhibitors are used less often than
any others due to the serious risk of interactions they pose. They are still
regarded, however, as extremely useful for atypical cases of depression that do not
respond to other, milder forms of treatment. They are also effective in helping
cigarette smokers to kick their habit.
These drugs protect monoamine neurotransmitters from breaking down. They work on levels
of serotonin, melatonin, adrenaline, noradrenaline, phenylethylamine, and dopamine.
In addition to interacting with other prescription medications, monamine oxidase
inhibitors cause high blood pressure and can damage the liver.
A disease seen most commonly in adolescents and young adults, characterized by fever,
sore throat, muscle soreness, and fatigue. White patches on the tonsils or in the back
of the throat may also be seen, (resembling strep throat).
Mononucleosis (Mono) is usually caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which infects B
cells (B-lymphocytes), producing a reactive lymphocytosis and atypical T
cells (T-lymphocytes) known as Downey bodies.
The virus is typically transmitted from asymptomatic individuals through blood or
saliva (hence "the kissing disease"), or by sharing a drink, or sharing eating utensils.
The disease is far less contagious than is commonly thought.
There are two main types of mononuclear leukocytes: monocytes and lymphocytes. They
normally account for about 35% of all white blood cells. With infectious mononucleosis,
this can rise to 50-70%. Also, the total white blood count may increase to 10000-20000
per cubic millimeter.
Morton's Neuroma is a pain condition that affects your feet and toes. If you are
suffering from Morton's Neuroma, a growth of tissue has developed over one of the
nerves running from your feet into your toes. This growth can cause inflammation and
pain whenever you use your foot.
A type of benign tumor, Morton's Neuroma typically develops in the space between the
third and fourth toes, although it can also form between the second and third toes.
When you walk, the bones and ligaments in the top of your foot press down on this
growth, causing pressure and pain.
Unfortunately, the cause of Morton's Neuroma remains unknown to researchers. It is
likely that a variety of factors may play a role in the development of this condition,
including the presence of chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity; in broad terms it means an unusually severe
sensitivity or allergy-like reaction to many different kinds of pollutants
including solvents, VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds), perfumes, petrol, diesel,
smoke, "chemicals" in general and often encompasses problems with regard to pollen,
house dust mites, and pet fur & dander.
Multiple chemical sensitivity unlike true allergies - where the underlying
mechanisms of the problem are relatively well understood widely accepted, is
generally regarded as "idiopathic" - meaning that it has no known mechanism of
causation & it's processes are not fully understood.
The problem here is made more difficult still, due to the variable nature of
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity from one patient to the next & this often makes
treatment with conventional medicine & practices ineffective or inappropriate; for
most sufferers with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, the avoidance of
pollutants/toxicants is the key.
Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. The
disease results in injury to the myelin sheath (the fatty matter that covers the axons
of the nerve cells), the oligodendrocytes (the cells that produce myelin) and, to a
lesser extent, the axons and nerve cells themselves.
The symptoms of multiple sclerosis vary, depending in part on the location of plaques
(areas of thick scar tissue) within the central nervous system. Common symptoms
include weakness and fatigue, sensory disturbances in the limbs, bladder or
bowel dysfunction, problems with sexual function, and ataxia (loss of coordination).
Although the disease may not be cured or prevented at this time, treatments are
available to reduce severity and delay progression.
Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. There
are three types of muscle in the body. The muscle responsible for moving extremities
and external areas of the body is called the "skeletal muscle." Heart muscle is
called "cardiac muscle." Muscle that is in the walls of arteries and bowel is called
Muscle Relaxers are not really a class of drugs, but rather a group of different drugs
that each has an overall sedative effect on the body. These drugs do not act directly
on the muscles, rather they act centrally (in the brain) and are more of a total
Typically, Muscle Relaxants are prescribed early in a course of back pain, on a
short-term basis, to relieve low back pain associated with muscle spasms. There are
several types of muscle relaxant medications that are commonly used to treat low back
Muscle Relaxers are also used for relief of spasticity in neuromuscular diseases, such
as multiple sclerosis,
as well as for spinal cord injury, stroke and
conditions. They may also be used for pain relief in minor strain injuries and
control of the muscle symptoms of tetanus.
Muscle Relaxants are divided into only two groups,
The centrally acting group, benzodiazepines, appears to act on the central nervous
system, and contains 10 drugs which are chemically different.
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD's) can affect the body's muscles, joints, tendons,
ligaments and nerves. Most-work related MSD's develop over time and are caused either
by the work itself or by the employees' working environment. They can also result
from fractures sustained in an accident. Typically, MSD's affect the back, neck,
shoulders and upper limbs; less often they affect the lower limbs.
Health problems range from discomfort, minor aches and pains, to more serious
medical conditions requiring time off work and even medical treatment. In more
chronic cases, treatment and recovery are often unsatisfactory, the result could
be permanent disability and loss of employment.
The acronym ME/CFS refers to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome, according to the Canadian Case Definition.
The patient community has felt
That the term chronic fatigue syndrome trivializes the seriousness of this illness, as
the illness is typified by many severe symptoms in addition to fatigue, and fatigue
is generally regarded as a common symptom experienced by many otherwise healthy
individuals in the general population.
The term Myalgic Encephalomyelitis had been
used prior To the use of the term chronic fatigue syndrome (Acheson, 1959). Some
individuals Have preferred to use the term Myalgic Encephalomyelitis rather than
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, as the former term does not suggest brain inflammation.
Myalgic means 'muscle aches or pains'. Encephalomyelitis means 'inflammation of the brain
and spinal cord', and is characterized by prolonged fatigue associated with a wide range
of accompanying symptoms.
Myasthenia gravis is a neuromuscular disorder characterized by variable weakness of
voluntary muscles, which often improves with rest and worsens with activity. The
condition is caused by an abnormal immune response.
- Muscle weakness, including:
- Swallowing difficulty, frequent gagging, or choking
- Muscles that function best after rest
- Drooping head
- Difficulty climbing stairs
- Difficulty lifting objects
- Need to use hands to rise from sitting positions
- Difficulty talking
- Difficulty chewing
- Vision problems:
- Double vision
- Difficulty maintaining steady gaze
- Eyelid drooping
Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease:
- Hoarseness or changing voice
- Facial paralysis
- Breathing difficulty
There is no known cure for myasthenia gravis. However, treatment may result in
prolonged periods of remission.
Lifestyle adjustments may enable continuation of many activities. Activity should
be planned to allow scheduled rest periods. An eye patch may be recommended if
double vision is bothersome. Stress and excessive heat exposure should be avoided
because they can worsen symptoms.
Some medications, such as neostigmine or pyridostigmine, improve the communication
between the nerve and the muscle. Prednisone and other medications that suppress
the immune response (such as azathioprine, cyclosporine, or mycophenolate mofetil)
may be used if symptoms are severe and there is inadequate response to other
Plasmapheresis, a technique in which blood plasma containing antibodies against the
body is removed from the body and replaced with fluids (donated antibody-free plasma
or other intravenous fluids), may reduce symptoms for up to 4 - 6 weeks and is often
used to optimize conditions before surgery.
When other treatments do not improve systems, patients may receive intravenous
Surgical removal of the thymus (thymectomy) may result in permanent remission or less
need for medicines.
Patients with eye problems may try lens prisms to improve vision. Surgery may also
be performed on the eye muscles.
Several medications may make symptoms worse and should be avoided. Therefore, it is
always important to check with your doctor about the safety of a medication before
Crisis situations, where muscle weakness involves the breathing muscles, may occur.
These attacks seldom last longer than a few weeks. Hospitalization and assistance with
breathing may be required during these attacks. Often plasmapheresis is used to help
end the crisis.
Mycoplasma fermentans is considered to be a commensal in the human mucosal tissues and
has often been found in saliva and oropharyngeal of 45% of healthy adults. Also,
M. fermentans organisms have been isolated from the human urogenital tract and are
suspected of invading host tissues from a site of mucosal colonization.
Although mycoplasma's are recognized primarily as extra cellular parasites or pathogens
of mucosal surfaces, recent evidence suggests that certain species may invade the
The molecular and cellular bases for the invasion of M. fermentans from mucosal cells
to the bloodstream and its colonization of blood remain unknown.
Also, it remains unclear whether M. fermentans infection of white blood cells is
transient, intermittent or persistent. It is not clear how these stages influence
any disease progression. The invasion of host blood cells by M. fermentans is due
to inhibition of phagocytosis by a variety of mechanisms, including antiphagocytic
proteins such as protease's, phospholipases and by oxygen radicals produced by
Myositis is inflammation of your skeletal muscles, which are also called the
voluntary muscles. These are the muscles you consciously control that help you move
your body. An injury, infection or autoimmune disease can cause myositis.
The diseases dermatomyositis and polymyositis both involve myositis. Polymyositis
causes muscle weakness, usually in the muscles closest to the trunk of your body.
Dermatomyositis causes muscle weakness, plus a skin rash. Both diseases are usually
treated with prednisone, a steroid medicine, and sometimes other medicines.
Narcolepsy is a chronic central nervous system (CNS) disorder of unknown etiology that is
characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS), hypnogogic hallucinations, cataplexy, sleep paralysis, and disrupted nocturnal sleep. Mistakenly considered a rare disorder, it
is now estimated that one in every one to two thousand Americans may be afflicted with
this disease, a prevalence approximating that of multiple sclerosis.
The symptoms of this disorder adversely impact the psychological and social functioning of those afflicted, and is especially debilitating because the disease onset occurs most
often in the second and third decade of life, a time of increasing responsibility at
school and work. The diagnosis and treatment are often delayed because the complaint of
fatigue and sleepiness is often not taken seriously. It is often attributed to events
surrounding the psychosocial milieu of the individual, even though the complaint of
excessive daytime sleepiness always has an organic, nonfunctional explanation when an
organized clinical evaluation is attempted. Both the primary care physician and the
specialist play a pivotal role in screening and making appropriate referrals for
narcolepsy and other disorders of excessive sleepiness. A high index of suspicion will
lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of this disabling disorder.
Recognizing Symptoms of Narcolepsy
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS): EDS is common with estimates in the general
population ranging from one to five percent. Sleepiness has a circadian tendency with
peaks of sleepiness in midafternoon and early morning. In normals, if the sleep need is
satisfied, the tendency to doze during periods of idleness or boring situations is
greatly reduced. Sleepiness indicates a sleep disorder when it persists and cannot be
resolved by increasing amounts of sleep. Patients with the complaint of fatigue and
sleepiness should be asked about their bedtime, wake up time, and napping behavior to
determine if sleep deprivation is the cause. Patients will often explain their sleepiness
using social or occupational demands to explain or justify this symptom. The astute
clinician will ignore these trivial explanations and come to his own conclusion regarding
the patient's sleep wake behavior.
Cataplexy: Cataplexy results when the atonia of REM sleep intrudes into
wakefulness. It occurs in about two thirds of patients with narcolepsy and the severity
of the symptom is quite variable. The symptom is very important because it is pathognomic
for narcolepsy. Cataplectic attacks are triggered by emotion such as laughter,
excitement, and anger. Attacks of cataplexy may be partial or complete. Limited attacks
affect the face or neck muscles and are characterized by drooping eyelids, sagging jaw,
or an inclined head. Speech may be slurred or stuttering. More complete episodes may
result in a buckling of the knees and a fall. During a cataplectic episode the
narcoleptic is fully aware of their surroundings but cannot move. The duration of the
episode, whether partial or complete, may vary from a few seconds to thirty minutes.
Cataplexy may occur only a few times in a lifetime with very strong emotion or may be
totally disabling with multiple attacks in a given day. Cataplexy may not occur for the
first time until months to years after the onset of EDS.
Sleep Paralysis: Approximately sixty percent of individuals with narcolepsy report
the experience of sleep paralysis. The frequency of episodes varies from a few lifetime
events to daily episodes. The episodes are frequently accompanied by vivid dreams. Sleep
paralysis may be hypnopompic or hypnogogic. During an episode the patients find
themselves unable to move their extremities or to speak, respiratory distress is rare as
phrenic nerve function is preserved.
Hypnogogic Hallucinations: Vivid dreams described as hallucinations occur at the
onset of nocturnal sleep, but may also occur during daytime naps or inadvertent sleep
episodes. Approximately seventy percent of narcoleptics experience these hallucinations,
which occasionally occur in association with sleep paralysis.
Fragmented Night Sleep: Although patients with narcolepsy fall asleep quite easily, they paradoxically often experience insomnia. At least sixty percent of patients with
narcolepsy report severe disruption of nocturnal sleep. Many of the patients will present
with an insomnia complaint and delay the diagnosis of narcolepsy if it is not considered
in the differential diagnosis.
Other Manifestations: Approximately fifty percent of narcoleptic patients
experience automatic behavior with retrograde amnesia. 8 Automatic behavior occurs when
sleep has partially overtaken the brain, but the body continues to perform familiar tasks
without conscious awareness of doing them. These episodes are sometimes confused with
partial complex seizures. Periodic leg movements during nocturnal sleep occur with a
higher incidence in narcoleptics than in the general population.
In narcolepsy the goal of treatment is to provide symptom control and specifically to
relieve the most troubling symptoms, EDS and cataplexy. EDS is primarily treated with
stimulants or wake promoting agents. The commonly prescribed stimulant agents include
amphetamine, methylphenidate, and pemoline. These are CNS stimulants that increase
alertness and assist the patient to remain awake. These agents are associated with some
undesirable side effects, which include insomnia, hypertension, palpitations and
irritability. Tolerance to long-term stimulant therapy may occur necessitating an
increase in dosage to achieve the same control. Methylphenidate is the most widely used
stimulant. The dose required for effective treatment varies widely from patient to
patient. The usual range of methylphenidate dosage is 30-60 mg per day in the adult.
Reports of severe liver toxicity due to pemoline have limited its usefulness. Modafinil
is a novel wake promoting agent recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) for the treatment of narcolepsy. 15 It has been shown to reduce daytime sleepiness
with few side effects. Because of its improved safety profile and Schedule IV labeling,
many experienced clinicians utilize the drug modafinil as the drug of first choice in the
treatment of EDS of narcolepsy.
Stimulants and modafinil are not effective in the treatment of symptoms associated with
abnormal REM sleep, hypnogogic hallucinations, sleep paralysis and cataplexy. These
symptoms respond to tricyclic antidepressants that include imipramine, protriptyline,
clomipramine and selective seratonin re-uptake inhibitors (fluoxetine, sertraline and
fluvoxamine). These agents appear to act by suppressing REM sleep. Although the doses
generally used to treat cataplexy are lower than those required to treat depression, side
effects, particularly with the tricyclic group, are common. These include dry mouth,
constipation, tachycardia, urinary retention and impotence.
Sodium oxybate or gammahydroxybutyrate (GHB) is an endogenous compound found in many
tissues of the body that appears to be very effective for the treatment of cataplexy. 16
This compound is currently being considered for approval by the FDA. Data from clinical
trials suggests that this drug consolidates sleep and increases slow wave sleep time,
resulting in suppression of the auxiliary symptoms of narcolepsy and improving daytime
sleepiness. Sodium oxybate is given at bedtime and repeated four hours later. It has been
shown to be well tolerated and it is believed by this clinician to be the most effective
agent for the treatment of cataplexy.
Guilleminault C. Narcolepsy Syndrome. In: Kryger MH, Roth T, Dement WC, eds. Principles
and practices of Sleep medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders 1994 549-561.
- Aldrich MS. Diagnostic Aspects of Narcolepsy. Neurology 1998; 50 (Suppl 1):52-57.
- Goswami M. The Influence of Clinical Symptoms on Quality of Life Inpatients with
Narcolepsy. Neurology 1998; 50 (Suppl 1):531-536.
- Mignot E. Genetic and Familial Aspects of Narcolepsy. Neurology 1998; 50 Mahowald MW,
What is Causing Excessive Daytime Sleepiness? Postgrad. Med. (Suppl 1):516-522.
- Lin L, Franco J, Li R, et al. The Sleep Disorder Canine Narcolepsy is Caused By a
Mutation in the Hypocretin (orexin) Receptor 2 Gene. Call 1999; 98:365-376.
- Mahowald MW. What is Causing Excessive Daytime Sleepiness? Postgrad.Med 2000;
- Basetti C, Aldrich MS. Narcolepsy. Neuro Clin 1996; 14:545-571.
- Chaudhary BA, Husain I. Narcolepsy. J. Family Practice 1993: 36:207-213.
- ASDA Standards of Practice Committee. Practice Parameters For the Use of Stimulants
in the Treatment of Narcolepsy. Sleep 1994; 17:348-351.
- US Modafinil in narcolepsy multicenter study group. Randomized trial of Modafinil For
the Treatment of Pathological Somnolence in Narcolepsy. Annals of Neurology 1998;
- Scharf MB, Lai AA, Branigan B, et al. Pharmacokinetics of Gammahydroxybutyrate (GHB)
in Narcoleptic Patients. Sleep 1993; 21:507-574.
A narcotic is a drug derived from opium, or a synthetic compound, that has powerful
pain-killing effects. Narcotics also are associated with significant alteration of
mood and behavior, and they're potentially addictive. With prolonged use, many
people develop a tolerance for them, meaning they need more of the drug to get the
Examples of narcotics include:
Natural Killer (NK) Cells
A type of cell in the immune system that destroys tumor cells or cells that are
infected with some types of organisms. NK cells play a "front line" role in
controlling infection by keeping it under control until the body can mount a full
Research suggests that some people with chronic fatigue syndrome have decreased
function of NK cells, which is one piece of evidence supporting one chronic fatigue
syndrome theory that attributes symptoms to chronic immune system activation possibly
triggered by infection.
Naturopathic medicine (also known as naturopathy) is a school of medical philosophy
and practice that seeks to improve health and treat disease chiefly by assisting the
body's innate capacity to recover from illness and injury.
Naturopathic practice may include a broad array of different modalities, including
manual therapy, hydrotherapy, herbalism, acupuncture, counseling, environmental
medicine, aroma therapy, nutritional counseling, homeopathy, and so on.
Practitioners tend to emphasis a holistic approach to patient care. Naturopathy has
its origins in the United States, but is today practiced in many countries around the
world in one form or another, where it is subject to different standards of regulation
and levels of acceptance.
Naturopathic practitioners prefer not to use invasive surgery, or most synthetic
drugs, preferring "natural" remedies, (i.e. relatively unprocessed or whole
medications), such as herbs and foods.
Licensed physicians from accredited schools are trained to use diagnostic tests such
as imaging and blood tests before deciding upon the full course of treatment.
Naturopathic Practitioners also employ the use of prescription medications and
surgery when necessary and refer out to other medical practitioners.
Neoplasia is abnormal, disorganized growth in a tissue or organ, usually forming a
distinct mass. Such a growth is called a neoplasm, also known as a tumor.
It is important to note that the term "neoplasm" is not synonymous with cancer,
since neoplasms can be either benign or malignant. Leiomyoma (fibroids of the uterus)
and melanocytic nevi (moles) are the most common types of neoplasms - both are benign.
Neuroendocrine cells are a specialized group of nerve cells (neurons) that produce
hormones. These hormones may be amines, neuropeptide's, or specialized amino acids.
They package the hormones in vesicles and send these packages via long processes (axons)
to blood vessels.
When stimulated (by hormones from the blood stream or other neurons) the neuroendocrine
cells secrete the hormones into the blood stream. The hormones then travel to their
target cells and may stimulate, inhibit or maintain function of these cells. The target
cells may feed back information to these neurons that regulates further secretion.
Specialized groups of neuroendocrine cells can be found at the base of the third ventricle
in the brain (in a region called the hypothalamus). This area controls most
anterior pituitary cells and thereby regulates functions in the entire body, like
responses to stress, cold, sleep, and the reproductive system.
The neurons send processes to a region connecting to the pituitary stalk and the
hormones (called releasing or inhibiting hormones) are released into the blood stream.
They are carried by portal vessels to the pituitary cells where they may stimulate,
inhibit, or maintain the function of a particular cell type.
A neurochemical is an organic molecule that participates in neural activity.
A branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the nervous system. Physicians
specializing in the field of neurology are called neurologists and are trained to
diagnose, treat, and manage patients with neurological disorders.
Your brain is made up of billions of cells called neurons that communicate with each
other to control everything that goes on in your body. Communication between neurons
relies on chemicals called neurotransmitters, which create and control signals. Every
time you feel an itch, hear a noise, or experience an emotion, neurotransmitters are
responsible. In addition, they tell your heart to beat, your lungs to breathe, and
your stomach to produce digestive enzymes.
Each bodily function and emotion is linked to the operations of specific
neurotransmitters. When your levels of a particular neurotransmitter are too high or
too low, things can start to malfunction. FMS and ME/CFS have been associated with
irregular levels of several neurotransmitters, including:
- Serotonin (the sleep cycle, pain processing, body temperature, appetite, sex drive,
- Norepinephrine ("fight or flight" response, alertness, memory)
- Dopamine (mental focus, movement disorders, motivation)
A lot of treatment research has focused on how to regulate these neurotransmitters
in order to alleviate the symptoms of FMS and ME/CFS. So far, experts don't know why
neurotransmitter levels are abnormal in these conditions, but we do know they're
responsible for a host of symptoms.
Technical term used to describe the disease of substance dependence, an interruption
of the brains neuron activity.
New Drug Application (NDA)
Part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration drug approval process.
The purpose of the NDA is to determine:
- whether a drug is safe and effective for its proposed use
- whether benefits of the drug outweigh the risks
- what information the drug's labeling should include
- that manufacturing methods are adequate to maintain the drug's quality, strength
Nociceptors are specialized nerve endings that respond to pain or other unpleasant
sensations and transmit information about those sensations to the central nervous
For reasons that aren't fully understood, nociceptors can become chronically activated
and send persistent pain signals that can make you feel itching, burning, tingling
or knife-stabbing pain. The level of pain depends on the level of irritation at the
Many researchers believe that the pain associated with fibromyalgia and chronic
fatigue syndrome comes from this kind of chronic nociceptive activity, which is part
of central sensitization.
Norepinephrine is a hormone and a neurotransmitter. As a hormone, it's secreted by the
adrenal gland and works with epinephrine (adrenaline) to give you sudden bursts of
energy in response to stress (the "fight or flight" mechanism.) As a neurotransmitter,
it sends signals between nerves.
Studies show that norepinephrine levels are low in people with fibromyalgia and
chronic fatigue syndrome. Medications that inhibit the reuptake (reabsorption) of
norepinephrine and serotonin (SNRIs) are effective at treating symptoms in many people
with the conditions.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAID's, are drugs with analgesic antipyretic
and anti-inflammatory effects - they reduce pain, fever and inflammation. The
term "non-steroidal" is used to distinguish these drugs from steroid, which (among a
broad range of other effects) have a similar eicosanoid-depressing, anti-inflammatory
action. The most prominent members of this group of drugs are:
little anti-inflammatory activity, and is strictly speaking not an NSAID.
Part of the popularity of NSAID's is that, unlike opiods, they do not produce sedation
or respiratory depression and have a very low addiction rate. NSAID's, however, are
not without their own problems. The two main adverse drug reactions associated with
NSAID's relate to gastrointestinal (GI) effects and renal effects of the agents.
If you are taking a COX-2 inhibitor such as:
use a traditional NSAID (prescription or over-the-counter).
GI Problems: Nausea/Vomiting,
, stomach ulceration/bleeding, Diarrhea
Risk of ulceration increases with duration of therapy, and with higher doses.
NSAID's are also associated with a relatively high incidence of renal adverse drug