Scientists Seek Ways To Finally Take A Real Measure Of Pain

(AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Is the pain stabbing or burning? On a scale from 1 to 10, is it a 6 or an 8?

Over and over, 17-year-old Sarah Taylor struggled to make doctors understand her sometimes debilitating levels of pain, first from joint-damaging childhood arthritis and then from fibromyalgia.

“It’s really hard when people can’t see how much pain you’re in, because they have to take your word on it and sometimes, they don’t quite believe you,” she said.

Now scientists are peeking into Sarah’s eyes to track how her pupils react when she’s hurting and when she’s not — part of a quest to develop the first objective way to measure pain.

“If we can’t measure pain, we can’t fix it,” said Dr. Julia Finkel, a pediatric anesthesiologist at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, who invented the experimental eye-tracking device.

At just about every doctor’s visit you’ll get your temperature, heart rate and blood pressure measured. But there’s no stethoscope for pain. Patients must convey how bad it is using that 10-point scale or emoji-style charts that show faces turning from smiles to frowns.

That’s problematic for lots of reasons. Doctors and nurses have to guess at babies’ pain by their cries and squirms, for example. The aching that one person rates a 7 might be a 4 to someone who’s more used to serious pain or genetically more tolerant. Patient-to-patient variability makes it hard to test if potential new painkillers really work.

Nor do self-ratings determine what kind of pain someone has — one reason for trial-and-error treatment. Are opioids necessary? Or is the pain, like Sarah’s, better suited to nerve-targeting medicines?

“It’s very frustrating to be in pain and you have to wait like six weeks, two months, to see if the drug’s working,” said Sarah, who uses a combination of medications, acupuncture and lots of exercise to counter her pain.

The National Institutes of Health is pushing for development of what its director, Dr. Francis Collins, has called a “pain-o-meter.” Spurred by the opioid crisis, the goal isn’t just to signal how much pain someone’s in. It’s also to determine what kind it is and what drug might be the most effective.

“We’re not creating a lie detector for pain,” stressed David Thomas of NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, who oversees the research. “We do not want to lose the patient voice.”

Around the country, NIH-funded scientists have begun studies of brain scans, pupil reactions and other possible markers of pain in hopes of finally “seeing” the ouch so they can better treat it. It’s early-stage research, and it’s not clear how soon any of the attempts might pan out.

“There won’t be a single signature of pain,” Thomas predicted. “My vision is that someday we’ll pull these different metrics together for something of a fingerprint of pain.”

NIH estimates 25 million people in the U.S. experience daily pain. Most days Sarah Taylor is one of them. Now living in Potomac, Maryland, she was a toddler in her native Australia when the swollen, aching joints of juvenile arthritis appeared. She’s had migraines and spinal inflammation. Then two years ago, the body-wide pain of fibromyalgia struck; a flare-up last winter hospitalized her for two weeks.

One recent morning, Sarah climbed onto an acupuncture table at Children’s National, rated that day’s pain a not-too-bad 3, and opened her eyes wide for the experimental pain test.

“There’ll be a flash of light for 10 seconds. All you have to do is try not to blink,” researcher Kevin Jackson told Sarah as he lined up the pupil-tracking device, mounted on a smartphone.

The eyes offer a window to pain centers in the brain, said Finkel, who directs pain research at Children’s Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation.

How? Some pain-sensing nerves transmit “ouch” signals to the brain along pathways that also alter muscles of the pupils as they react to different stimuli. Finkel’s device tracks pupillary reactions to light or to non-painful stimulation of certain nerve fibers, aiming to link different patterns to different intensities and types of pain.

Consider the shooting hip and leg pain of sciatica: “Everyone knows someone who’s been started on oxycodone for their sciatic nerve pain. And they’ll tell you that they feel it — it still hurts — and they just don’t care,” Finkel said.

What’s going on? An opioid like oxycodone brings some relief by dulling the perception of pain but not its transmission — while a different kind of drug might block the pain by targeting the culprit nerve fiber, she said.

Certain medications also can be detected by other changes in a resting pupil, she said. Last month the Food and Drug Administration announced it would help AlgometRx, a biotech company Finkel founded, speed development of the device as a rapid drug screen.

Looking deeper than the eyes, scientists at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital found MRI scans revealed patterns of inflammation in the brain that identified either fibromyalgia or chronic back pain.

Other researchers have found changes in brain activity — where different areas “light up” on scans — that signal certain types of pain. Still others are using electrodes on the scalp to measure pain through brain waves.

Ultimately, NIH wants to uncover biological markers that explain why some people recover from acute pain while others develop hard-to-treat chronic pain.

“Your brain changes with pain,” Thomas explained. “A zero-to-10 scale or a happy-face scale doesn’t capture anywhere near the totality of the pain experience.”

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Life & Style – Black America Web


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Rita Simons cheers as she finally arrives back at the posh Versace hotel after being voted off I’m A Celeb

RITA Simons cheered as she finally arrived back at the posh Versace Hotel after being voted off I’m a Celebrity.

The former EastEnders actress became the fourth celebrity to leave the jungle last night, and was delighted to be reunited with her mum.

Rita Simons cheered as she finally arrived back at the Versace Hotel in Australia
Australia Media

After being interviewed by hosts Declan Donnelly and Holly Willoughby, Rita, 41, was finally allowed to head back to the luxury hotel for a hot shower and a comfy bed, and she couldn’t have looked more thrilled.

As she pulled up outside, Rita punched the air and cheered with joy before hopping out of the people carrier to applause from fellow guests and the loved ones of her other camp mates.

Hugging her mum, Rita posed for pictures before greeting her jungle pal Sair Khan.

The star’s departure sparked further fix claims last night, as viewers claimed she knew she would be leaving after receiving her letter from home.

The former EastEnders actress punched the air as she climbed out of her car
Australia Media
Rita was the fourth celebrity to be voted off during last night’s show
Australia Media

Predict Sunday’s winner and be in with a chance to win daily Amazon vouchers and a holiday worth £5K

Rita clearly couldn’t wait to get a hot shower and into a comfy bed
Australia Media

The remaining campmates were given notes from their loved ones during last night’s episode and Rita seemed excited about seeing her family before she knew she was going to be voted off.

She said: “It’s so tangible that I’m about to see my family. My barriers have come down a bit and I just miss them all massively.”

Rita did not seem shocked or saddened when host Dec announced she would be leaving the show later in the episode.

A delighted Rita grinned and said: “I’m sorry, I’m just so happy.”

The star posed with her mum before heading into the hotel
Australia Media
Rita was greeted by Sair Khan and the loved ones of the other I’m a Celeb stars
Australia Media

Taking to Twitter, one viewer wrote: “Rita knew she was leaving before they come into the camp to tell them. Stating something along the lines of “Im about to see my family” after her letter was read out. And was then “voted” off 20 minutes later.”

Another person commented: “Well i’ll be! Its happened again @antanddec ! Rita had her coat on so she knew she was goin!!”

Someone else remarked: “Rita said earlier on in the show “I’ll be seeing my friends and family soon” like again is it FIXED?? She knew??”

Listen to new podcast Jungle VIP, talkRADIO’s cheeky, no-holds-barred take on the action Down Under. Hosted by Jamie East with daily guests, including former campmates and celeb reality TV fans the gang will dish the dirt on the REAL behind-the-scenes gossip. Read more here.

Got a story? email or call us direct on 02077824220.

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How To Finally Lose The Weight? Use Your Head


After helping folks lose over 2 million pounds, I realized the most overlooked factor for permanent weight loss, is MENTAL MASTERY… That means you have to have motivation, discipline and focus to get to your goal weight. You must get your mind right and, Think Yourself Thin gives you the strategies, habits and behaviors to get to your goal weight once and for all.


Normal weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week, but detoxing accelerates the body’s ability to release toxins, which releases fat, so detoxing increases weight loss, and is safe and healthy.


Stage 3 is “The Stall” the weight loss plateau….most people quit here.  Most people don’t know that a weight loss plateau is normal and happens to everyone so they give up in this stage.  But a way to break through a weight loss plateau is to “Trick Your Metabolism” and eat more cheat meals.


1) You have lost and gained, lost and gained but still struggling to get to your goal weight.  2) You have tried 3 or more diets, and every new diet that hits the market, but still haven’t gotten to your goal weight.  3) You have given up on getting to your goal weight because it’s been too difficult.  Think Yourself Thin solves all of these struggles.

The Green Smoothie Cleanse is a ten-day detox/cleanse in which you’ll lose 10-15 pounds, feel more energized, improve your sleep and have less hunger and cravings…its also a great way to improve digestion and overall health. In two years, folks have lost over 2 million pounds on this 10-day cleanse.

So the results have been pretty amazing!  Green Smoothies are made up greens, fruit and water… Best part is their healthy, filling and delicious… So it’s nothing like those nasty green drinks. Some recipes people write me saying they can’t believe how good they taste and how their kids keep drinking up their green smoothies.

It’s an amazing way to detox with fruits and veggies. You don’t have to buy any pills or supplements. Head to produce aisle to get your ingredients and jumpstart your weight loss!  The free support group for the 10-day green smoothie cleanse is here.

To lose weight, you have to get your mind right.  Most folks focus on “what to eat,” but they already know, they just can’t stick to healthy eating or a workout regime.

Even after they lose weight, they don’t have the MENTAL MASTERY… That means they don’t have the motivation, discipline and focus to keep the weight off, which is why I wrote THINK YOURSELF THIN!

In a very small way, what you eat plays the most significant role in being slim and healthy. It doesn’t matter what your mom or dad’s size, it matters what you eat every day. 80% of weight loss is what you eat.


They don’t know how to break through a weight loss plateau. You can’t eat the same way, workout the same way, month after month and continue to lose weight… mixing things up and tricking your metabolism is key!

Intermittent fasting is safe and I teach it in my private VIP group. IF is about when to eat, not so much what to eat.  It’s an effective way to burn fat, slow aging and reverse many health conditions.

They are just that trends, fads that will help folks lose weight in the short-term, but rarely do folks ever keep the weight off.  People try low-carb diets, high-protein diets, low-fat diets, high fat, all kinds of fad diets, and then still gain the weight back.

So, the diet is not the answer. Diets are simply not the most effective way to lose weight permanently. Your goal should be to change your lifestyle, including proper nutrition and getting physically active, as a way to achieve your weight-loss goals. Think Yourself Thin teaches how to forget about dieting and lose weight permanently!


JJ Smith is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of “Green Smoothies For Life” and “Think Yourself  Thin”. She’s a nutritionist, certified weight-loss expert, passionate relationship/life coach, and inspirational speaker.  JJ holds a B.A. in Mathematics from Hampton University in Virginia.

She continued her education by completing the Wharton business school executive management certificate program, as a certified nutritionist and weight management expert. She’s also a member of the American Nutrition Association.

Currently, she serves as vice-president and partner in an i.t. consulting firm, she’s also the youngest African –American to receive a vice-president position at a Fortune 500 company.




Life & Style – Black America Web


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‘The Haunting Of Hill House’ Helped Me Finally Understand My Own Family

Television in 2018 has frequently seen a different kind of family drama than what’s so often appeared prior; something darker, something more dysfunctional. Dare I say it, something more realistic, in tone, if not in content.

There’s been HBO’s Sharp Objects, a six-part adaptation of the Gillian Flynn novel of the same name, which, despite being a Southern Gothic murder mystery, one with a side of Munchausen by proxy no less, was frequently tender and frequently the-radiator-is-broken warm. More recently there’s been Netflix’s The Haunting Of Hill House, in which director Mike Flanagan, whose CV is predominantly filled with modern horror films, took the much-adapted Shirley Jackson-penned source material, and used the supernatural as allegory for how trauma can be passed from one generation to the next. And, from the year prior, and again from HBO, Big Little Lies took Liane Moriarty’s brutally frank novel and carved it up into a powerful familial drama that pulled no punches, literally.

It’s kind of fitting that, within an era where the most wholesome family drama, ever, The Cosby Show, really doesn’t feel so wholesome anymore, and wherein your favourite TV mum, Rosanne, has been asked to leave the family home until further notice, the family TV drama has reinvented itself. Even NBC’s smash hit This Is Us, weaves themes like grief, anxiety, miscarriage and rehab throughout the nice bits.

Came For the Scares, Stayed For the Horror

Of them all, The Haunting Of Hill House has resonated with me most. I came for the scares. What kept me enthralled was the horror. The horror of family. The horror of family falling apart, the glue between the joints that keeps units bound, like a piece of furniture you never get around to replacing so instead you just patch it up, stretching, fraying, falling apart the more strained relationships become. It helped me look at my own family in a way that’s proved helpful.

Here’s something I’ve never talked about outside of the therapy session. When I was younger, I spent thousands of hours lying on my bed wondering if my family was normal. In many ways, it seemed like it. We ate dinner on Sundays together. There’s photos of us all on holiday. We’re smiling. I remember lots of laughs. I never didn’t feel like my existence wasn’t not a thing of wonder to them. But there were also the secrets. The things we weren’t supposed to talk about. Snatches of conversation I could never quite understand. People crying in parts of the house I knew I couldn’t enter. And, thick in the air, like smoke-filled carriages in the days you could smoke on trains, the dense, stifling, overwhelming feeling that something wasn’t right. I spent a lot of my time growing up trying to solve a puzzle, a sprawling multi-generational mystery, which ultimately led only to more pieces I couldn’t find.

Fear and Family

The bent-neck lady ghost in The Haunting of Hill House.

I’ve never seen a ghost. I was at a friend’s house once that was supposed to be haunted. For years they’d told me of the things they’d seen there. I never saw anything, but something grabbed me there once. Grabbed me in a way that felt physical. Squeezed my shoulder. It could have been a muscle spasm. It could have been my brain, filled with stories of apparitions and orbs, wanting to believe, playing tricks on me. I’m no neurologist, and I can’t understand a lot of how my brain works, even when I’m not sat supping tea in supposedly haunted houses. But within a few episodes of watching The Haunting Of Hill House, I’d unquestionably seen a ghost, if a ghost is an echo of the past, which I think is what they most likely are.

I spent so much of my childhood scared. Nobody is to blame for that. Nobody wanted that for me. The road to hell is paved with good intentions as they say. But I’d certainly never seen that sort of fear featured within TV drama before. HBO’s Six Feet Under came along in my teens and not so much scratched — not so much an itch, even — but levelled out a twinge of an idea that maybe I wasn’t completely alone. But it didn’t knead the tissue deep enough. What it did do was ignite a spark inside me that made me wonder whether it wasn’t my family that made me think we weren’t normal, but the families I saw on TV. Sometimes on a Sunday, when Channel 4 showed repeats of The Waltons, I hoped their stupid house would collapse upon them and kill them all. Years later, when I learned the child actors in the show weren’t paid with money, rather with baskets of muffins, I felt quite bad about that.

As Long As There Is Love

The Crain family in The Haunting of Hill House.

I saw it in the faces of The Haunting of Hill House’s Crain family though. The bewilderment in the children’s faces, their underdeveloped brains not being entrusted with the truth, or at least not all of it, them all striving to plug the gaps, failing pathetically. I saw it in the father, him desperately pleading to ‘fix’ problems in the present that had begun decades before. I saw it in the mother, the downturned facial muscles that accompanied the revelation that, despite having done everything she could to protect her brood, it still hadn’t been enough. Because if we’ve learned anything about the chaos of human existence, it’s that we can’t protect ourselves from life.

This isn’t a sad story. This is a story about how The Haunting Of Hill House confirmed the growing belief in me that my family was normal, at least in the sense that ‘normal’ has little business being used in the same sentence as the word family. Because as well as fear in those faces, I saw love. And in turn, it reminded me of the love I have for these people I’ve been thrust into a relationship with; no agreement, no escape. Not only that, but as much as this sounds like the opening line in the worst power ballad ever conceived, if you’ve got love, at least you’ve got something to embolden you in your fight against the demons.

New Netflix Show ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ is an Instant Horror Classic

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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN: -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News


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A Rape Accusation Against Cristiano Ronaldo Is Finally Getting Attention. It’s About Time Soccer Had Its #MeToo Moment

Cristiano Ronaldo is Portugal’s most famous soccer player and arguably the most famous athlete in the world. But in the last few days, his name hasn’t been in headlines for winning championships or crying on the pitch after being issued a red card. His name is flashing across screens because of a 34 year-old woman named Kathryn Mayorga, has come forward to say Ronaldo brutally raped her in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2009.

How is it possible that a story that sports media in North America had no interest in publishing less than two years ago, is now splashed all over every screen and social media platform? This case was not reported on by any major outlet except for a story in 2017 by the independent German newspaper Der Spiegel. Except for a select few commenting on social media (myself included), the case against Ronaldo got no traction. Fast forward 18 months, and Der Spiegel published another story. This time, it was a detailed account from Kathryn Mayorga herself. The publication spent more than 20 days with her and held countless interviews, fact checked and re-checked before it published.

The documents acquired by der Spiegel were damning and according to a recent Twitter thread by one of the main authors, Christoph Winterbach, there were more than 20 staff involved in working on the article. In response. Ronaldo’s lawyer and his team made a lot of noise as part of their legal posturing and even accused der Spiegel’s piece of being “illegal” because “it violates the personal rights” of Ronaldo. Laughable at best.

For those who understand the law, and the severity of the crime, there is much substance in this story. Back in 2009, Mayorga’s inexperienced lawyer (who had specialized in traffic violations) was no match for Ronaldo’s PR mega-machine and legal team, ended up settling with them for $ 375,000 on the condition Mayorga not . But Mayorga’s new legal team is disputing that contract and arguing that she was mentally deficient due to trauma from rape, and was not competent enough to make a proper decision at the time.

They have filed a civil suit on Mayorga’s behalf and the case has since been re-opened by the Las Vegas police. In Nevada, the statute of limitations has not expired for this crime. Mayorga has not only suffered physically (the hospital documented her injuries in a rape kit when she reported the crime), but she continues to suffer from that trauma to this day and—according to her lawyer—is in “active therapy.”

Ronaldo initially called the allegations “fake news” and insinuated that Mayorga was trying to get famous using his name. I have worked with survivors of violence and have yet to meet or know of a victim who has enjoyed any of the bullying, shame, societal isolation and mental health upheavals, and wanted to claim some type of infamy from an attack. And I won’t even dignify the ridiculous notion of “false accusations.”

Writing about rape culture in the soccer world is a struggle. Before the 2015 UEFA Championships, I heard about allegations against Spanish goalkeeper and Manchester United star David De Gea, who was implicated in a horrible rape case. I pitched that piece to at least ten different outlets and no one was interested in publishing it and paying me for my work. Thankfully, I found it a home at a soccer site entirely run by women. And they backed me up when the online harassment started to descend. I have only tweeted about Ronaldo thus far and the responses to my tweets have been violent and angry—presumably from Ronaldo supporters. Another indication of the hatred casually flung at women for speaking up.

Mayorga’s attorney has said that she was enabled by hearing survivors in the #MeToo movement disclose their own stories. There is a strong tide of women speaking up courageously, slowly washing away the impunity often enjoyed by powerful misogynists and abusers. Perhaps #MeToo has finally transcended into the realm of sports, a realm where it is desperately needed. With cases like Patrick Kane, Kobe Bryant and Baylor University’s football team, and other men who rarely face consequences for their actions, it is needed now more than ever.

Predictably, the same sports media who initially had no interest in this story have become “experts” in criminal law, and on sexualized violence. The vacuous reporting and unnecessary reflections are mostly done by men, and center the 33-year-old star. Opinions on due process (reminder: it’s a legal system not a justice system) and about Ronaldo’s athletic prowess and teams don’t have anything to do with this case in which he is accused of anally raping a woman, who by his own accord, told him “no.”

The way that these stories are reported by sports journalists who have little or no training in reporting accurately on sexualized violence can be re-traumatizing for many survivors. Instead of investing in proper media tool kits compiled by advocates for victims of violence (all free), editors unleash a bevy of unhelpful pieces that contribute to an unhealthy society steeped in rape apologism. On that night in 2009, Mayorga was dancing with Ronaldo. Does that mean she invited rape? No. These outlets are complicit in the way that victim blaming and shaming become part of natural discourse when rape is reported.

Then there is the sexist sports establishment itself. Since the most recent news broke out, the predictably irrelevant statements of solidarity from Ronaldo’s supporters have emerged. His current team Juventus FC tweeted out nonsensically reminding Twitter that Ronaldo has conducted himself with “professionalism” and “dedication.” The issue at hand is not whether he is a “champion.” How Ronaldo performs on the pitch is not correlated to the fact that he may have brutally violated a woman. The issues must not be conflated.

Ronaldo was left off of the Portuguese national team roster for upcoming international matches—but not because the Portuguese football federation felt it necessary to exclude him from the squad for being charged with a violent crime. They somehow managed to explain this decision while singing his praises. Portugal national men’s coach Fernando Santos said in a news conference on Thursday, “[Federation] president Fernando Gomes and I spoke with Cristiano Ronaldo and we considered it best for the player not to be included in this and November’s call-ups.

He went on to wax poetic about the alleged rapist: “I personally always support my players, and this is not even a question of solidarity, but I believe what the player said publicly. He considers rape to be an abominable crime and clearly reaffirms that he is innocent of what he is being accused of. I know Cristiano well and I fully believe he would not commit a crime like that.”

How nice for Ronaldo for people to believe him because he works hard and people are familiar with his persona. And while Nike and EA Games, two of Ronaldo’s major corporate sponsors, are “concerned” with the allegations, it is not enough to have them pull their money away—even though Ronaldo allegedly used sponsorship money to settle with Mayorga in 2009. The reluctance to cut ties with a powerful athlete underlines that the dignity of a woman is not worth sacrificing profits from soccer cleats.

#MeToo has yet to be championed the way that alleged rapists are.

Sports – TIME