Weekly health news roundup: Fibromyalgia, pneumonia, multiple sclerosis, and norovirus outbreak

This weekly health news roundup presents stories regarding fibromyalgia, pneumonia, heart attack, multiple sclerosis, and norovirus 2016 update. We discuss higher suicide risk among fibromyalgia and migraine sufferers, whether pneumonia is contagious, your increasing risk of heart attack due to rheumatoid arthritis, and the differences between multiple sclerosis and Guillain-Barre syndrome.

So if you missed these hot topics earlier this week, here they are for your peruse.

Fibromyalgia migraine suicide riskFibromyalgia and migraine patients are at a higher risk of suicide, study


Fibromyalgia and migraine patients are at a higher risk of suicide, according to research. The findings were published in Neurology. The researchers focused on migraine sufferers and those who also had fibromyalgia (FM). They found that fibromyalgia patients who experienced greater headaches also had poorer quality of sleep.
Migraines and fibromyalgia are often comorbid conditions, with FM reported in 12.5 percent to 31.4 percent of patients suffering from episodic migraines, and in 35.6 percent to 37.6 percent of patients with chronic migraines.

The researchers surveyed patients who sought relief from headaches in a headache clinic. All patients completed questionnaires assessing demographics, headache profiles, and fibromyalgia surveys based on the modified 2010 American College of Rheumatology diagnostic criteria.

Of the 1,318 migraine patients, 10.1 percent were found to also have comorbid fibromyalgia. Of the migraine patients, 37.3 percent reported suicidal ideation and 6.9 percent reported suicide attempts.

The researchers also found an association between fibromyalgia comorbidity and a higher suicide risk in three different migraine subgroups, namely, migraine without aura, migraine with aura, and chronic migraine.

The researchers believe that comorbid fibromyalgia and migraines greatly increase the risk of suicide, which should be assessed among these patients. Continue reading…

Is pneumonia contagiousIs pneumonia contagious? Types and symptoms of pneumonia

If you ever wondered whether pneumonia is contagious, we are here to address your concerns. First of all, pneumonia is inflammation of the lung tissue, caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungus. In pneumonia, the air sacs become filled with pus. What part of the lung is affected and whether it is a single lung or both determines what kind of pneumonia it is – we will explain the types of pneumonia later on.

Pneumonia may be contagious if it is caused by an infectious microbe. But if pneumonia is caused by chemical fumes or other poisons, then it is not contagious.

The different types of pneumonia stem from their cause. For example, there is bacterial pneumonia and viral pneumonia. Pneumonia can also bear a descriptive name, such as community-acquired or hospital-acquired pneumonia. Most of the types of pneumonia are contagious, but not as contagious as the flu, for example. Continue reading…

Multiple sclerosis vs. Guillain-Barre syndromeMultiple sclerosis vs. Guillain-Barre syndrome: Differences in symptoms, causes, and treatment

Multiple sclerosis and Guillain-Barre syndrome are similar in that they both affect the nervous system, but the diseases attack nerves in different ways and, therefore, require different approaches to treatment.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) and Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) are what is called demyelinating conditions that impact the nervous system. Both MS and Guillain-Barre patients experience loss of myelin, which covers the axons of neurons. While multiple sclerosis and Guillain-Barre syndrome are similar in that they both are classified as autoimmune diseases and they both affect the myelin sheath, they affect different types of myelin.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system. This includes the brain and spinal cord. Guillain-Barre syndrome is a disease of the peripheral nervous system, which is the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. Multiple sclerosis vs. Guillain-Barre syndrome comes down to the cells that make up the myelin. Essentially, the cells in the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system are different.

Multiple sclerosis attacks the nerves that send signals to the brain. The disease attacks the myelin, best described as fatty material that protects the nerve. Sadly, any damage to the nerve is irreversible. Since the nervous system is being affected, major functions like movement and vision become impaired. With Guillain-Barre syndrome, the body’s immune system attacks nerves, leading to weakness, numbness, and, in some cases, paralysis. In most cases, GBS happens after an infection. Continue reading…

Norovirus outbreak 2016Norovirus 2016 update: Stomach flu hits cruise ships again, outbreaks in Portland port and historic U.S.-Cuba cruise

Norovirus 2016 update: Stomach flu hits cruise ships yet again, with outbreaks seen in Portland port and historic U.S.-Cuba cruise.
Nearly 260 passengers and crew members on board of a cruise ship the Balmoral – which was the first to board in Portland for the season – have become sick with norovirus. About 76 cruise ships are expected to port in Portland, and this is the first one and it has already been hit with norovirus.

A city spokesperson Jessica Grondin said, “The reality is that many of the ships that come into port have cases of the norovirus (some more severe than others). It just doesn’t often get reported. The ship’s staff typically notifies our port security director upon arrival when there are large volumes of passengers with the virus.”

Although numerous passengers and crew had symptoms like vomiting, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea, only six passengers had to be quarantined. The cruise ship doesn’t quarantine guests just for 24 hours – which is recommended by the CDC – but for up to 48 hours, as this is the period after the recovery during which the person can still be contagious.

Crew members are utilizing stringent cleaning methods and are constantly wiping down all handles, railings, even elevators.

This year alone has already seen nine norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships. The CDC has implemented the Vessel Sanitation Program, which outlines protocol and procedures for sanitization and illness outbreaks. Based on the program, cruise ships must undergo at least two random inspections a year, especially the ships that are away from the U.S. for quite some time.

During its last inspection, the Balmoral scored a 96 of a possible score of 100. Continue reading…

Your risk of heart attack doubles because of thisYour risk of a heart attack doubles because of rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a common problem causing joint inflammation, pain, stiffness, and swelling. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease, and although there is no cure early intervention can improve a patient’s quality of life. But rheumatoid arthritis doesn’t only affect the joints – in fact, a previous study found that individuals diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis have double the risk of a heart attack and an increased risk of heart-related complications.


The condition is known as diastolic dysfunction, which makes the lower chambers of the heart stiff. Diastolic dysfunction also impairs the ability of the ventricles to fill with blood, which can contribute to heart failure. The findings were derived from three studies.

Dr. Hilal Maradit Kremers, lead researcher in one of the studies, said, “Rheumatoid arthritis patients not only have more heart attacks and heart failures, but they also have worse prognosis once they have a cardiovascular event.”

Kremers’ team followed 38 rheumatoid arthritis patients who also suffered a heart attack. These patients were compared to heart attack patients without rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers found that rheumatoid arthritis patients had a 45 percent greater risk of heart failure and heart attack, compared to the patients without rheumatoid arthritis. Furthermore, rheumatoid arthritis patients had a 75 percent higher risk of death. Continue reading…