Fibromyalgia Is Not All In The Head, It’s In Skin, Paper Concludes
Fibromyalgia is a blanket term for a general painful condition that affects approximately 10 million people in the United States.
Because it lacks consistent symptoms and treatments, some doctors believe an unknown number of instances are psychosomatic but a new paper in PAIN MEDICINE concludes that fibromyalgia may have a rational biological basis, located in the skin.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread deep tissue pain, tenderness in the hands and feet, fatigue, sleep disorders, and cognitive decline. However, routine testing has been largely unable to detect a biological basis for fibromyalgia, so standard diagnosis is instead based upon subjective patient pain ratings, further raising questions about the true nature of the disease.
In many instances, the disorder is considered psychosomatic (“in the head”) and even sometimes attributed to patients’ imagination or faking illness. Currently approved therapeutics that provide at least partial relief to some fibromyalgia patients act solely within the brain, where imaging techniques have detected hyperactivity of unknown origin referred to as “central sensitization.” An underlying cause has not been determined, leaving many physicians still in doubt about the true origins or even the existence of the disorder.
Trapped in an Underwater Air Bubble for Three Days
Harrison Okene’s shipwreck survival wasn’t a miracle. It was fascinating physics.
Being buried alive is usually near the top of any worst-ways-to-die list. But how about being buried alive 100 feet below the ocean surface in a tiny pocket of air? For Harrison Okene, a 29-year-old Nigerian boat cook, this nightmare scenario became a reality for nearly three grueling days.
The story began on May 26 at about 4:30 a.m., when Okene got up to use the restroom. His vessel, a Chevron oil service tugboat called the AHT Jascon-4, swayed in the choppy Atlantic waters just off the coast of Nigeria. What caused the tugboat to capsize remains a mystery, though a Chevron official later blamed a “sudden ocean swell.”
Okene was thrown from the crew restroom as the ship turned over. Water streamed in and swept him through the vessel’s bowels until he found himself in the toilet of an officer’s cabin. As the ship settled on the ocean floor, the water stopped rising. For the next 60 hours, Okene—who was without food, water, or light—listened to the sounds of ocean creatures scavenging through the ship on his dead crewmates. Like a living Phlebas the Phoenician, he recounted his life’s events while growing more resigned to his fate.
Unbelievably, Okene survived his underwater ordeal long enough to be rescued. Basic physics, it turned out, was on Okene’s side the whole time—even if Poseidon wasn’t.
Injecting gold nanorods into a male’s testicles and heating them with a near-infrared laser could work as a reversible male contraceptive, new research suggests. The study in mice found that the method killed sperm cells when it heated testes to between 37 and 40 degrees Celsius, but after a few months sperm production began to return to normal. Other researchers are looking at using these gold nanoparticles to heat up and kill tumor cells.
Breakthrough! A new material has been developed that could create the first optical invisibility cloak. Until now, scientists had struggled to make a Harry Potter-style invisibility cloak as they needed a material with negative refractive index over all optical wavelengths. Now researchers from Standford University have succeeded in designing a metamaterial that has negative refractive index over pretty much the entire rainbow, and will effectively be invisible to the human eye.
What does an entomologist do? What’s it good for? One way people are using beneficial insects is to help clean wounds:
Maggot therapy is a real thing, and yes, it works.
A message from Michelle: Maggots of Lucilia sericata (greenbottle fly) are great at cleaning up wounds, and kill bacteria in the process. We’re currently crowd funding a trial to use maggots against the flesh eating bacterium Mycobacterium ulcerans, that causes Bairnsdale ulcer (aka Buruli ulcer). Hoping for reduced time to healing. The project is based at Deakin University in Australia, and we’ve got four days to go and currently 77% funded. Come like visit us athttp://www.pozible.com/project/22449
Steve Haddock remembers every detail about his first ocean encounter with a comb jelly. The open water was a bottomless deep blue. The animal, about the size of a tennis ball, shimmered with bioluminescence. “It was just cruising along like a hover craft,” says Haddock, a marine biologist at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, Calif. “Comb jellies are more alien than any aliens people imagine,” he says.
Start with their appearance: The marine animals resemble translucent balloons rigged with flashing, colored lights. Some species glow. When startled, some flash electric blue. Vertical rows, or combs, made of hundreds of iridescent, hairlike cilia run the lengths of their globular bodies (thus the name comb jellies). In some species the cilia are 2 millimeters long — 200 times the length of cilia in other animals — and they beat in coordinated waves, propelling the jellies forward, backward and diagonally in search of prey.
It’s not just their appearance that is wondrous: Slice a comb jelly embryo in two and you get two half-adults that can fertilize themselves to give birth to a perfectly whole offspring. Some can reproduce while they’re still larvae. Though jellies lack eyes, Haddock and his colleagues have discovered proteins that comb jellies use to sense light. Comparative biologists like to joke that on the eighth day, God created comb jellies.
Comb jellies are gelatinous like jellyfish, but the similarity ends there. In body plan, jellyfish resemble the largely sessile, almost plantlike sea anemones, corals and other cnidarians: a group that dates back at least 550 million years. While jellyfish and other cnidarians have nerve cells that form a loose network in their bodies, comb jellies have a more sophisticated nervous system with a rudimentary brain and cellular connections called synapses that are also found in flies, humans and most other animals.
Yet, detailed looks at the genomes of two species of comb jellies suggest, surprisingly, that they are the more primitive animals, and not the jellyfish, sea anemones or corals, as has long been thought. It’s even possible that the sophisticated comb jelly lineage may have evolved before the brainless, gutless, muscle-less sea sponges.
NASA has eight new astronauts — its first new batch in four years.
The space agency announced its newest astronaut class Monday. Among the lucky candidates: the first female fighter pilot to become an astronaut in nearly two decades. A female helicopter pilot also is in the group. In fact, four of the eight are women, the highest percentage of female astronaut candidates ever selected by NASA.
The eight were chosen from the second largest pool of applications ever received — over 6,100 — NASA said.
Among them are Nicole Aunapu Mann, 35, a Marine Corps major and F/A 18 pilot; and Anne McClain, 34, a major in the US Army and OH-58 helicopter pilot.
The others are Jessica Meir, 35, an assistant professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and Christina Hammock, 34, who is National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Station Chief in American Samoa.
The male astronaut candidates are former naval aviator Josh Cassada, 39; Navy lieutenant commander and F/A 18 pilot Victor Glover, 37; Tyler Hague, 37, a US Air Force colonel working to tackle improvised explosive devices; and Andrew Morgan, 37, an army major and physician of emergency medicine.
Astrophysicists have discovered why high-power X-ray light is so often detected around black holes, when its gravity apparently prevents light from escaping . Their research revealed that gas being sucked into a black hole passes through a region 2,000 times hotter than the Sun and is heated up so much that it’s inevitable for high-power X-rays to be released.