Wednesday, July 30, 2008

July Pain-Blog Carnival | How To Cope With Pain Blog

In Sickness and in Health discussses 2 sides of pain in Chronic Pain: Tormentor and Mentor.

Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living discusses Smoking and Pain.

A Chronic Dose sends in 2 articles.  What's in a Treatment explores the promise of medical research and what makes "good" research for patients.  An Open Mind values open minds in physicians - being open to the less obvious diagnoses, and in patients - believing you can get answers.

One Big Health Nut also treats us to 2 posts.  Relaxation Alleviates Stress describes the health benefits of taking time to relax - are you enjoying that lemonade?  And The Alternative to Hip Replacement for Arthritis Sufferers talks about another, less-promoted procedure that could provide earlier and longer-lasting relief.

Speaking of that lemonade, Working with Chronic Illness realized that she made lemonade out of some pretty bitter lemons in writing a book about working with a chronic illness.  Her post:  Lemonade, Anyone?

Another article which evaluates a type of treatment is by Somebody Heal Me: The Musings of a Chronic MigraineurDeciding Whether to Gamble on Botox for Migraine Prevention evaluates the conflicting and confusing studies around Botox.  (And is that a pretty new picture at the top of your blog?)

And wondering about an epidural?  The Back Pain Blog presents a series on epidural injections, with Sciatica and the Epidural:  Are You a Candidate?

Fighting Fatigue shares some of the latest research which shows that exercise can improve both the mood and physical function of people with fibromyalgia.

Discussing an economic viewpoint on Interstitial Cystitis (a painful bladder condition) is a new contributor to the pain-blog carnival, IC Disease.

Easing Chronic Pain offers a resource to help you find a doctor in your area who specializes in fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue in Finding a Doctor.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Online Legacy of Professor Pausch

Last Lecture' Professor Randy Pausch, 47, Dies

Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon computer science professor whose last lecture became an Internet sensation and bestselling book, has died of pancreatic cancer. He was 47.

Dr. Pausch, whose proudest professional achievement was creating a free computer programming tool for children called Alice, was an improbable celebrity. A self-professed nerd, he pushed his students to create virtual reality projects, celebrated the joy of amusement parks and even spent a brief stint as a Disney "Imagineer.''

Last September, Dr. Pausch unexpectedly stepped on an international stage when he addressed a crowd of about 400 faculty and students at Carnegie Mellon as part of the school's "Last Lecture" series. In the talks, professors typically talk about issues that matter most to them. Dr. Pausch opened his talk with the news that he had terminal cancer and proceeded to deliver an uplifting, funny talk about his own childhood dreams and how to help his children and others achieve their own goals in life. He learned he had pancreatic cancer in September, 2006.

Sitting in the audience was Carnegie Mellon alumnus Jeff Zaslow, a columnist with The Wall Street Journal, who wrote about the speech. Media outlets and bloggers linked to the story, and more than 10 million people have since watched an Internet video of the talk. The lecture was translated into seven languages, and Hyperion published a book version that became a New York Times bestseller.

I was fortunate to meet Dr. Pausch this spring and was amazed by his boyish good nature and optimistic outlook even in the face of death. During an April interview near his home in Virginia, he called the furor surrounding his lecture "a ridiculous chain of coincidental luck.''

"I was thrilled because my whole life anything I could do to get Carnegie Mellon some well-deserved exposure, I always felt compelled to do,'' he said.

But, he added, he never expected so many people to tune in to his advice about letting kids paint on their walls and win stuffed animals at amusement parks. "I didn't set out to tell the world about how to live their life,'' he said.

Dr. Pausch died early today at his home in Virginia. Although Dr. Pausch was famous for his poignant, frank discussion of his impending death, he was also aggressive about seeking treatments that could prolong his life and the time he had left to spend with his wife, Jai, and their three children. A lifetime problem solver, Dr. Pausch was determined to help his wife and children cope with his death. "I haven't found a way to clever my way out of it,'' he told me.

Although cancer and his last lecture helped make him a celebrity, Dr. Pausch said much in his life was the same as always.

"Cancer didn't change me at all,'' he said. "I know lots of people talk about the life revelation. I didn't have that. I always thought every day was a gift, but now I am looking for where to send the thank you note.''

On the Well blog, Dr. Pausch first gave us "Words to Live By,'' followed by a fun contest that led to advice for our kids. Most recently, he gave us "A Lesson on How to Say Goodbye" and talked about "Keeping Priorities Straight, Even at the End."

The Online Legacy of Professor Pausch

It was the power of the Internet that propelled computer science professor Randy Pausch to fame around the world after his inspiring last lecture and helped launch his bestselling book. So it seems a fitting tribute to document the many links, videos and other items that make up his online legacy.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Saunier Duval team rider Angel Gomez of Spain lies on the ground after a crash during the third stage of the 95th Tour de France cycling race between Saint-Malo and Nantes, July 7, 2008. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel

Thursday, July 03, 2008

June Pain-Blog Carnival: Summer! | How To Cope With Pain Blog

Vacations can mean flying by plane.  Spine Health gives us 5 tips to make flying pain-free.

Rhymes with Migraine share some tips she's learned from her own travels to make the journey more pleasant and do-able.

Don't want to fly… or even leave home?  Somebody Heal Me writes about vacationing at home.   "Living well with chronic health conditions is all about adapting things to work for you.  By staying home, you can get the relaxation you crave, while also accommodating your health needs."

Even if you don't work or if you need to take things easy because of pain, you still need a vacation.  Working with Chronic Illness tells us the wise reasons why.

Summer also means having extra time for reading.  Here are some other great submissions:

Migraine Chick shares with us some rules about living with migraines and chronic pain that she's learned the hard way.  How many can you relate to?!?

I'm in so much pain.  Fighting Fatigue writes about the risks of faking it - pretending nothing's wrong, when you're really in a lot of pain.

If you have to stay in bed, you can still be productive.  Read 75 great suggestions at Sitting Up is for Suckers: Tools, Tips and Hacks to Work from Bed.

The Back Pain Blog educates us about the difference between acute and chronic pain, and what morning neck pain could be.

Psychology of Pain writes about a new website, Pain Explained, which has info for both patients and healthcare providers.

Natural Pain Relief shares some natural products that might potentially help neuropathy (nerve pain).

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Babies need more than sugar to ease their pain, study finds

Contrary to commonly held views, giving newborns sucrose does not significantly reduce the pain they suffer while undergoing routine procedures shortly after birth, according to a new Canadian study that may throw the common practice into question.

"It means sucrose is not the panacea," said Anna Taddio, lead author of the study and associate professor at the University of Toronto's Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. "People need to know it's not enough."

The study's findings, published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, could have significant consequences for the way health professionals approach infant pain management.
In addition to minimizing discomfort, controlling a newborn's pain during medical procedures is important because it can affect how they respond to pain in the future and also play a critical role in the nervous system's development.

"If you don't treat pain there may actually be a physiologic consequence," Dr. Taddio said.
Sucrose is widely believed to activate the body's pain-relieving opioid system and is put into the mouths of babies before painful procedures as a way to avoid using medications whose effects on infants may be unknown or not well studied.

Although infants are routinely given a sugar solution as an analgesic during routine procedures that occur in the first few days of life, including blood tests and vitamin K injections, few studies have measured its impact on pain reduction, Dr. Taddio said.

"We actually didn't know how well sucrose was working for all the procedures that we do," said Dr. Taddio, who is also an adjunct scientist at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children. "What was interesting and new about it is that we found that sucrose didn't work as well as we expected it to in the first day of life."

In the study, researchers examined a group of 240 newborns - some of whom had been given sucrose as an analgesic, and some who had received a placebo. The researchers considered newborns from diabetic mothers and non-diabetic mothers separately because babies with diabetic mothers had to undergo more heel lances, a painful procedure in which blood is taken from the heel in order to monitor their glucose levels.

In addition, newborns usually receive vitamin K injections and venipuncture, in which blood is drawn from a vein.

Surprisingly, researchers discovered that sucrose seemed to be a very effective analgesic during venipuncture, but not for the other procedures. After examining their facial and physiological responses, researchers determined that newborns who had been given sugar only experienced a "modest reduction" in pain compared with those who received placebo.

"Over all, it didn't really work as well as we thought," Dr. Taddio said.

Researchers used the established Premature Infant Pain Profile, which measures the baby's facial expressions, heart rate and oxygen saturation to gauge overall pain levels. They found that infants who received sucrose experienced an overall pain reduction of about 16 per cent, which they considered to be only a modest difference. When they examined pain during individual procedures, researchers found that while sucrose effectively reduced pain during venipuncture, it had no significant impact during heel lances or vitamin K injections.

Dr. Taddio said more studies need to be done to determine why sucrose doesn't appear to be a very effective analgesic for certain procedures. But there doesn't seem to be any harm in administering it, she said.

Medical professionals should explore methods other than administering sucrose to enhance pain control, such as giving babies pacifiers or other treatments, she said.

"People like sucrose for obvious reasons. Nobody's terribly afraid of giving sugar water. At the same time, it's not the answer for everything and it's not enough."

Another study being published today in the CMAJ found that applying a topical spray can reduce pain by 34 per cent in children undergoing intravenous procedures, compared with those taking placebo.
The study examined children between the ages of 6 and 12, not infants, however. The vapocoolant spray used is a rapid-acting alternative to topical anesthetics.