Weekly health news roundup: Fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, kidney stones, and psoriasis

This week’s health news roundup covers stories regarding fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, kidney stones, and psoriasis. This week we learned that sleep problems can negatively impact cognitive issues in multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and CFS may be improved by B12, IBS can be treated with peppermint, and psoriasis may be completely cleared with a new drug.

In case you missed these top-rated stories, we have compiled them together for your peruse.

A Caucasian female hand holding a vitamin next to a glass of waterFibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome can be improved with vitamin B12 and folic acid: Study


New research suggests that fibromyalgia and myalgic encephalomyelitis (also known as chronic fatigue syndrome) can be improved through therapy based on vitamin B12 and folic acid.

Myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME, has some of the same characteristics as fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is best described as chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain. However, it also involves fatigue, stiffness, and numbness in certain body parts, along with headaches, sleep disorders, and mood changes. Both fibromyalgia and myalgic encephalomyelitis can impact a person’s ability to carry out daily tasks, thus lowering the quality of life.

Nutritionists and medical scientists will tell you that vitamin B12 and folic acid are important in maintaining good health. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep our nerve and blood cells healthy. It also helps prevent a type of anemia that makes people feel tired and weak. Folic acid is crucial to cell development and metabolism.

Myalgic encephalomyelitis patients have responded well to frequent vitamin B12 injections with oral folic acid. In the study, researchers analyzed close to 40 ME patients with or without fibromyalgia who received the B12 at least once a week for anywhere from six months to several years. Patients were grouped into good and mild responders for B12 and folic acid therapy. It turned out that 80 percent of the good responders had myalgic encephalomyelitis and 52 percent of mild responders had ME and fibromyalgia.

The research team discovered that good responders received more B12 injections with a higher doses and for a longer time, as well as higher daily amounts of the oral folic acid. Most of the good responders did not use strong painkillers along with the B12 and folic acid to treat their symptoms. About 70 percent of the mild responders did use painkillers, yet still reported more pain and discomfort than the good responders. Some experts suggest that analgesics (painkillers) may interfere with B12/folic acid treatment.

When asked how they felt, the good responders said that they felt their health improved ”very much”.

Conducted by researchers at Sweden’s Gottries Clinic, the study revealed that many good responders were also under treatment with thyroid hormones, which could also contribute to the positive impact of the B12 and folic acid therapy.
While the Swedish researchers concluded that B12/folic acid treatment indicated an overall “positive health response” in patients with ME and fibromyalgia, they also recommend that thyroid dysfunction be taken into consideration when developing clinical trials for ME and fibromyalgia patients. Continue reading…

Multiple-sclerosis-thinking-problemMultiple sclerosis thinking problems worsened by poor sleep, sleep apnea

Poor sleep has been found to worsen multiple sclerosis-related thinking problems. Co-firth author of the study Dr. Tiffany Braley said, “Since obstructive sleep apnea is a treatable condition that is also commonly seen in MS, we wondered, ‘What if some of the thinking and processing difficulties that MS patients experience do not stem directly from the MS itself, but from the effects of sleep apnea or other sleep problems?”

The study included 38 multiple sclerosis patients who underwent thinking and memory tests along with being assessed for sleep apnea. Results of the study revealed that 33 percent of patients also had sleep apnea.

Co-first author Anna Kratz also explained, “Multiple measures of sleep apnea severity directly correlated with poorer performance on several [thinking] tests. In particular, problems with attention and multiple aspects of memory, including memory for words and images and working memory, which plays a role in problem-solving and decision-making, were all associated with poorer sleep.” Continue reading…

Irritable bowel syndrome pain relieved by spider venom and peppermint: Study

Recent studies suggest that one can get relief for the pain of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) from the most unexpected quarters — spider venom and, hold your breath, peppermint. The full details of the research are published in the journal Nature.

IBS is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder symptomized by abdominal pain, diarrhea /constipation and bloating. The pain is often described as a mechanical pain, and women are twice as likely to experience Irritable Bowel Syndrome. IBS affects about 10-15 percent of Americans, and 20 percent of Australians. But it’s not limited to these countries alone.

There are case studies in Europe and Canada which show how people experienced IBS symptoms that persisted for at least eight years, after they food poisoning resulting from contaminated water supplies.

Many people find their symptoms appear after consuming fatty and spicy foods, coffee and alcohol, but there is more to IBS than food stimulation. As the cases from Europe and Canada show, there appears to be a definite link between gastroenteritis and IBS.

As there are currently are no effective treatments for IBS, it drains the economy of millions of dollars each year in lost productivity, work absenteeism, and health care. But all that is about to change.

A team comprising scientists from from The University of Queensland (UQ) and the University of Adelaide, identified a specific protein involved in transmitting mechanical pain. They used spider venom to identify this pain, which mimics the pain experienced by patients with irritable bowel syndrome.

According to Professor Glenn King from the UQ Institute for Molecular Bioscience, “Spider venom is an effective tool for investigating pain signaling in the human body”. He further added that this spider-venom discovery was a vital step forward in developing treatments for IBS. Continue reading…

Urine test stripsKidney stones vs. urinary tract infection (UTI) differences in symptoms, causes, and treatment

Although kidney stones are often described as one of the most painful occurrences a person may experience, in its early stages, the condition may often be confused with urinary tract infections (UTIs), which may delay treatment. Kidney stones and urinary tract infections share many similarities, but also have distinct differences which tell each condition apart.

The urinary system is comprised of the kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra. The kidneys’ main role is to cleanse the blood and allow for waste to be expelled through urine. Urine then travels down the ureters into the bladder where it remains until released.

Infections can occur anywhere along the urinary system resulting in either bladder infection, kidney infection, urethritis or the general term urinary tract infection. Infections anywhere in the urinary system can be dangerous if left untreated, so seeing your doctor soon after symptoms become present can begin treatment immediately to minimize complications.

Here we will focus on kidney stones and urinary tract infections and discuss the differences in symptoms, causes and treatment. Continue reading…

Severe-psoriasisSevere psoriasis can be completely cleared with a new drug: Studies

Psoriasis, a relatively common skin condition that causes patches of thick, red skin with silvery scales, can be found on various parts of the body. For many people it can be mild, but others experience severe psoriasis, which can cause a great deal of stress and self-confidence problems. Now, three large clinical trials seem to suggest a new drug can completely clear up severe psoriasis, offering hope to those who have been battling the skin condition.


Imagine for a moment what it would be like to live with pain, swelling, heat, and redness on your face, legs, lower back, palms, or the soles of your feet. This is where psoriasis can show up. For some people, the thick, red spots can even appear on genitals and inside the mouth. Now, consider after years of living with such a condition, there is hope thanks to an effective new treatment.

Three large, long-term clinical trials, led by Northwestern Medicine Investigator and professor of dermatology Kenneth Gordon, indicated that 80 percent of people with moderate to severe psoriasis experienced a complete or almost complete recovery from the skin condition with a new drug called ixekizumab. Gordon has reported that the results show “the great majority of responses persist at least 60 weeks”.

It is bad enough that psoriasis is itchy, uncomfortable, and unsightly, but experts say it is also linked to an increased risk of depression, heart disease, and diabetes. Finding effective treatment is important not only for comfort level, but overall good health. Continue reading…