FMS Community Newsletter #34
Thursday, December 26, 2002

 

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Featured link: Living Well With Fibromyalgia

This week's article at the CFIDS/Fibromyalgia Self-Help program is "How
I Created a Good Life with Fibromyalgia." Read Joan Buchman's account
of how she used determination, lifestyle changes and mental adjustments
to develop a fulfilling life with chronic illness. Her article is the
latest in our series "Success Stories," personal accounts of successful
coping and recovery.

Check it out: http://www.cfidsselfhelp.org
AOL users: <a href="http://www.cfidsselfhelp.org">Read it here</a>

This week's news: ----------------------------------------------------------------------
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1) You're invited - to an online holiday party
2) Protesting May Be Good for Your Health
3) Are we making our children sick?
4) Brain hormone tied to seasonal affective disorder
5) Sleep Mediates Pain and Fatigue in Fibromyalgia
6) Recent Advances in the Understanding of Skeletal Muscle Fatigue
7) Systematic review of mental health interventions for patients with
common somatic symptoms: can research evidence from secondary care be
extrapolated to primary care?
8) Want a better memory? Practice, practice, practice
9) CFS/FMS Free International Pen Pal Program
10) The expert assessment of fibromyalgia
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1) You're invited - to an online holiday party

Mothers Against Myalgic Encephalomyelitis would like to add to what we
hope is a general uplifting of spirits at this time of year.
May our spirits rise, even if our bodies can't!

Based on the belief that humor is beneficial, if not "the best
medicine", we have created a "Holiday Party" website for everyone to
enjoy during those breaks in the holiday festivities where you must take
to your bed or seek refuge in your computer niche. Or perhaps you are
housebound or bedbound, so this is particularly for you.

Please enjoy the jokes, cartoons, hints for coping with the holidaze,
games and just generally silly and light-hearted holiday humor.

Check it out: http://www.geocities.com/welcome_to_mame/
AOL users: <a href="http://www.geocities.com/welcome_to_mame/">Read it
here</a>
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2) Protesting May Be Good for Your Health

LONDON (Reuters Health) - Taking part in protests and demonstrations can
be good for your physical and mental health, a new British study
suggests.

Psychologists at the University of Sussex found that people who get
involved in campaigns, strikes and political demonstrations
experience an improvement in psychological well-being that can help them
overcome stress, pain, anxiety and depression.

The finding fits in with other studies suggesting that positive
experiences and feeling part of a group can have beneficial effects
on health.

"Collective actions, such as protests, strikes, occupations and
demonstrations, are less common in the UK than they were perhaps 20
years ago," researcher Dr. John Drury said in a statement.

"The take-home message from this research therefore might be that people
should get more involved in campaigns, struggles and social movements,
not only in the wider interest of social change but also for their own
personal good."

The results emerged from in-depth interviews with nearly 40 activists
from a variety of backgrounds. Between them, they had more than 160
experiences of collective action involving groups of demonstrators
protesting against a range of issues. These included fox-hunting,
environmental damage and industrial matters.

Volunteers were asked to describe what it was about taking part in such
collective action that made them feel so good.

"Many published activist accounts refer to feelings of encouragement and
confidence emerging from experiences of collective action," said Drury.
"But it is not always clear how and why such empowerment occurs, so we
aimed to explain what factors within a collective action event
contribute to such feelings."

He said the interviews revealed that the key factors were that
participants felt they had a collective identity with fellow
protestors. They also derived a sense of unity and mutual support from
taking part.

Such was the strength of the feelings they experienced that the effects
appear to be sustained over a period of time.

"Empowering events were almost without exception described as joyous
occasions," said Drury. "Participants experienced a deep sense of
happiness and even euphoria in being involved in protest events. Simply
recounting the events in the interview brought a smile to the face of
the interviewees."

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3) Are we making our children sick?

It is a medical mystery marked "urgent." Across America growing numbers
of children are suffering from asthma, childhood cancers like leukemia,
as well as learning and behavioral disabilities. Scientists are
searching for clues to the causes of these illnesses, and a growing body
of research suggests that everyday environmental toxins - what kids eat,
drink, and breathe - may put them at risk. Equipped with new technology
and more sophisticated analysis, these scientists are asking compelling
questions about the health risks to children growing up exposed to an
ever-increasing number of untested chemicals in our environment.

Kids and Chemicals, a special edition of NOW with Bill Moyers to be
broadcast on PBS, Friday, December 27 at 9 p.m. (ET), features medical
investigators and health officials engaged in the latest research on
links between childhood illness and environmental contamination. The
program looks at families around the country who are coping with the
consequences to their children of potentially toxic exposures.

Find out more about how scientists are studying environmental toxins and
join the ongoing discussion about the critical issues covered in NOW
online.

Check it out: http://www.PBS.org/now
AOL users: <a href="http://www.pbs.org/now">Read it here</a>
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4) Brain hormone tied to seasonal affective disorder

THURSDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthScoutNews) -- New research on the hormone
serotonin provides more proof that the effect of sunlight on brain
neurotransmitters is a significant factor in seasonal mood disorders.

That's the finding of a report by Australian scientists in this week's
issue of Lancet.

Previous evidence suggested serotonin plays a role in causing seasonal
depression. However, scientists had found that concentrations of
serotonin and other neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and
norepinephrine, are normal in the cerebrospinal fluid of people with
seasonal affective disorder.

Check it out:
http://www.healthcentral.com/news/NewsFullText.cfm?id=510649
AOL users: <a
href="http://www.healthcentral.com/news/NewsFullText.cfm?id=510649">Read
it here</a>
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5) Sleep Mediates Pain and Fatigue in Fibromyalgia

Poor sleep quality appears to account for the positive relationship
between pain and fatigue in patients with fibromyalgia, suggesting a
cyclical pattern of heightened pain and non-restful sleep.

Researchers at the California School of Psychology, in San Diego,
California, United States, evaluated the predictors of fatigue in
patients with fibromyalgia, using cross-sectional and daily assessment
methods.

In a sample of 105 fibromyalgia patients, greater depression and lower
sleep quality were found to be concurrently associated
with higher fatigue. But, while pain was correlated with fatigue,
regression analysis revealed that it did not independently
contribute to fatigue.

However, for a subset of patients (n=63) who participated in a week of
prospective daily assessment of their pain, sleep quality, and fatigue,
multiple regression analysis revealed that previous day's pain and sleep
quality predicted next day's fatigue.

An analytic model in which between-subject variability was removed and
in which pain was predicted to contribute to lower sleep quality and
greater fatigue revealed that poor sleep quality fully accounted for the
positive relationship between pain and fatigue.

This substantiates the role of sleep quality in mediating pain and
fatigue, the researches say. "The findings are indicative of a
dysfunctional, cyclical pattern of heightened pain and non-restful sleep
underlying the experience of fatigue in fibromyalgia," they
conclude.

Pain 2002 Dec;100(3):271-9. "The contribution of pain, reported sleep
quality, and depressive symptoms to fatigue in fibromyalgia."

Copyright (c) 1995-2002 Doctor's Guide Publishing Limited
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6) Recent Advances in the Understanding of Skeletal Muscle Fatigue

from Current Opinion in Rheumatology
Posted 12/18/2002
Håkan Westerblad, MD, PhD, David G. Allen, MD, PhD

Abstract

Prolonged or repeated contractions of skeletal muscles lead to impaired
muscle function, ie, fatigue develops. Fatigue may be caused by factors
within the muscle cells (peripheral fatigue) and diminished activation
from the central nervous system (central fatigue). The relative
importance of peripheral versus central fatigue depends on the type of
physical activity. Central fatigue may be more prominent in elderly
subjects. Increased concentration of inorganic phosphate seems to be of
major importance for acute peripheral fatigue. There is frequently a
long-lasting depression of force production after fatiguing muscle
activity, especially at low stimulation frequencies. This low-frequency
fatigue seems to be due to "structural" changes in proteins involved in
intracellular Ca2+ handling. Contractions in which the muscle is
stretched (eccentric contractions) cause muscle weakness and damage. The
initial defect induced by eccentric contractions is overstretched
sarcomeres, but these appear to cause localized membrane tears that
subsequently contribute to muscle weakness and damage.

Check it out:
http://www.medscape..com/viewarticle/444388?mpid=7729&WebLogicSession=

Pgjq2tJUw2jXzjRZ5oQZFvGc2Y27LZh2hqdL1g9Yo1PJB6mxSz9m|-
5570224374174351705/184161391/6/7001/7001/7002/7002/7001/-1


AOL users: <a
xSz9m|-5570224374174351705/184161391/6/7001/7001/7002/7002/7001/-1">Read
it here</a>
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7) Systematic review of mental health interventions for patients with
common somatic symptoms: can research evidence from secondary care be
extrapolated to primary care?

Abstract:

Objectives: To determine the strength of evidence for the effectiveness
of
mental health interventions for patients with three common somatic
conditions (chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and
chronic back pain). To assess whether results obtained in secondary care
can be extrapolated to primary care and suggest how future trials should
be designed to provide more rigorous evidence.

Design: Systematic review.

Check it out: http://www.cfsresearch.org/cfs/research/treatment/9nf.htm
AOL users: <a
href="http://www.cfsresearch.org/cfs/research/treatment/9nf.htm">
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8) Want a better memory? Practice, practice, practice

Ever been envious of a friend who knows everyone's telephone number by
heart? Or of your partner's ability to never forget a name?
Having an excellent memory may not be as elusive as you think.

People with superior memories don't have brains different from those
less successful at remembering, a new study by British researchers has
found. Rather, people renown for their memory have trained certain parts
of their brain to store and retrieve information, a feat that others
with less proficient memories have not yet mastered.

Check it out:
http://www.healthcentral.com/news/NewsFullText.cfm?id=510793
AOL users: <a
href="http://www.healthcentral.com/news/NewsFullText.cfm?id=510793">Read
it here</a>
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9) CFS/FMS Free International Pen Pal Program

The CF Pen Pal Alliance is a free, international pen pal program for
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, M.E. and Fibromyalgia sufferers of all ages,
as well as their families and caregivers. All information is kept
strictly confidential and pen pals are matched by gender, age and
interests. This is a friendship connection, not a dating service.

Please mail completed pen pal applications with a SASE (if outside of
the USA, send an International Reply Coupon) to:
CF Pen Pal Alliance
P.O. Box 9204
Bardonia, NY 10954 USA

or print an application from http://www.funwishes.com
AOL users: <a href="http://www.funwishes.com">Read it here</a>

Visit us at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CFPenPal/
AOL users: <a href="http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CFPenPal">Read it
here</a>
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10) The expert assessment of fibromyalgia

(Article in German)
Z Rheumatol 2002 Dec;61(6):661-6
Spath M, Neeck G.
Friedrich-Baur-Institut Klinikum der Ludwig-Maximilians- Universitat
Ziemssenstr. 1a 80336 Munchen, Germany.
PMID: 12491129

Research on fibromyalgia over the last ten years has focused on the
broad variety of pathogenetic aspects of a pain amplification syndrome.
This emphasizes pain as the leading symptom. The sociomedical
implications are obvious and considerable, and therefore fibromyalgia
has increasingly become the subject of expert assessments.

The expert assessment should not discuss the existence or non-existence
of fibromyalgia, but evaluate the individual impairments, disabilities
and handicaps which may lead to an individual degree of dysfunctioning.
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