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Ever Heard Of Thunderclap Headaches; Causes, Symptoms And Treatments

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For all the spicy-food lovers, this one may come off as a scary piece of news. After a man engaged in a hot pepper challenge where he had to eat a Carolina Reaper (the world’s hottest pepper), he was struck by thunderclap headaches. The thunderclap headaches are just as fierce as its name. It started with dry heaves and was accompanied by severe neck pain and headaches. The thunderclap headaches occurred quite often for several days and continued for many seconds. However, his medical emergency showed normal neurological conditions. After 5 weeks, the man returned to his normal condition. Previously, consumption of these peppers has been linked to heart attacks as well.
What are thunderclap headaches?

A thunderclap headache, just as the name suggests, is a severe headache which starts suddenly and lasts for several seconds. These headaches do not get fierce with time; instead, they are extreme right from the beginning. It is sometimes described as the worst headache of a person’s life. These headaches could be indicative of a life-threatening situation like bleeding in the brain and should get medical attention immediately. Even if they do not indicate a life-threatening situation, they should be given medical attention.

Neurologist Dr Praveen Gupta says, “Thunderclap is also known as an acute severe headache. It feels as if the head has been struck by a thunder. It starts within seconds and reaches its peak in minutes. It can be a symptom of many life-threatening conditions which should be diagnosed in time. The commonest cause for this is bleeding in the brain.”

 

What are the causes of thunderclap headaches?

According to Dr Praveen, thunderclap headaches are usually a symptom of a life-threatening condition. These conditions require immediate medical attention and must not be ignored under any circumstances. The most common cause is a bleeding in the brain which can sometimes be missed in a CT scan as well. Other causes include:
Blockage of sinuses in the brain which can be worsened due to coughing or sneezingRupture of the arteryA sudden and severe rise in blood pressureHemorrhage inside the pituitary glandInflammation of a blood vesselMild or moderate brain injuryBlocked, ruptured or inflammation blood vessel in the brainStroke

Other lesser common causes include

Exertion

Sexual intercourse

Bowel movement which causes strain

Injury

What are the symptoms of thunderclap headaches?

Irrespective of the reason, thunderclap headaches show similar symptoms. They have no specific trigger reach its peak in 60 seconds. Usually, they go away after an hour but in some cases, they may last for as long as a week. The symptoms include:

A severe headache cropping up from nowhere

Nausea and vomiting

Pain in any part of the head

Neck and lower back pain

Fainting

What are the treatment options for thunderclap headaches?

Dr. Praveen says that a CT scan, MRI, and angiography to identify the cause of a headache. He said, “Identification of the cause is important because the treatment will be decided on the basis of the cause. Once the serious and life-threatening causes have been eliminated, analgesics can be given to the patient for relief. A primary thunderclap headache is not caused due to a life-threatening condition and can, therefore, be treated with the help of medication.”

(Dr. Praveen Gupta is the Director and Head of the Department of Neurology at Fortis Hospital) Courtesy NDTV


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Health

Health Problems from Wearing Heels

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Heels are one of those great inventions that make anything look fabulous, but is a torture device at the same time. Podiatrist have a distinct hatred for heels and the health problems it brings to the wearer. We wear heels as part of our professional attire or for fashion, but at the end of the day we all slump up on our sofa saying “my feet is killing me”. Who knows why we still allow ourselves to go through this torture, but wearing heels does make you feel a little bit more powerful.

Human feet are not designed to wear heels all the time. Our feet are designed at a 90 degree angle to fully support our frame, altering it to a 60 or 45 degree angle will alter the foot function and position causing health problems. Below are some of the health problems you will encounter from wearing heels overtime.

Posture

 

Heels will increase the pressure on your forefoot and making you adjust your posture to maintain balance. Your lower body will tend to lean forward as your lower body leans backward. Long period of keeping this position will affect the posture.

Back

The back and spine have a normal S- curve that helps absorb shock and lessen pressure on the spine. Wearing heels will flatten this structure and alter the body’s positioning. This poor alignment will cause you to use more muscles, causing muscle pain and back pain. Posterior displacement can be fixed with the help of a medical professional.

Toe Pain and Ankle Pain

Wearing heels will increase the pressure that your toes and ankle face. Trying to balance out your body structure while wearing heels can wear down the joints in your ankles and cause muscles inflammation and calluses on the feet and toes.

Corns and Keratin Build-up

Corns and Keratin build-up will start to appear on the feet due to the pressure on the skin. Corn usually appears under the balls of the foot where most of the weight is pressed down. This corns will feel like small rocks and can cause discomfort.

Nerves

Pinched nerves or neuromas can cause mild to severe pain to wearers in the future, leaving it untreated can cause severe damage in the future.

Crack on the Bones

Wearing heels for a long period of time will result in cracks in the bones of the feet and stress fractures.

Tips:

Choose low heels that have a slightly thicker heel. This will allow more balance and spread the pressure on your feet.

Wear soft insoles. Wear rubber soled shoes instead of leather, this will absorb pressure better.

Wear heels when there is limited standing or walking. Bring flat shoes when commuting or walking for a long period of time.

Stretch every day, especially leg and calf stretches in the morning and at night.

Take in calcium supplements to make the bones stronger.

Wear heels are seldom as possible.

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Health

Obesity can impair learning, memory: Study

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Obesity can break down our protective blood brain barrier resulting in problems with learning and memory, a study has found. Chronic activation of the receptor Adora2a on the endothelial cells that line this important barrier in our brain can let factors from the blood enter the brain and affect the function of our neurons, scientists said.

The team from Augusta University in the US have shown that when they block Adora2a in a model of diet-induced obesity, this important barrier function is maintained. “We know that obesity and insulin resistance break down the blood brain barrier in humans and animal models, but exactly how has remained a mystery,” said Alexis M Stranahan, neuroscientist at Augusta University and corresponding author of the study published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

In the brain, adenosine is a neurotransmitter that helps us sleep and helps regulate our blood pressure; in the body it’s also a component of the cell fuel adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.Adenosine also activates receptors Adora1a and Adora2a on endothelial cells, which normally supports healthy relationships between brain activity and blood flow.

 

Problems arise with chronic activation, particularly in the brain, which is what happens with obesity, Stranahan said in a statement. People who have obesity and diabetes have higher rates of cognitive impairment as they age and most of the related structural changes are in the hippocampus, a centre of learning and memory.Fat is a source of inflammation and there is evidence that reducing chronic inflammation in the brain helps prevent obesity-related memory loss.

For the study, young mice fed a high-fat diet got fat within two weeks, and by 16 weeks they had increases in fasting glucose and insulin concentrations, all signs that diabetes is in their future. In the minute vasculature of the hippocampus, the researchers saw that obesity first increased permeability of the blood brain barrier to tiny molecules like fluorophore sodium fluorescein, or NaFl. Diet-induced insulin resistance heightened that permeability so that a larger molecule, Evans Blue, which has a high affinity for serum albumin, the most abundant protein in blood, also could get through.

When they looked with electron microscopy, they saw a changed landscape. Resulting diabetes promoted shrinkage of the usually tight junctions between endothelial cells and actual holes in those cells. When they gave a drug to temporarily block Adora2a, it also blocked problems with barrier permeability. Whether that could work in humans and long term as a way to avoid cognitive decline in obese humans, remains to be seen, Stranahan said.

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‘Love hormone’ may help treat alcoholism, says study

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A nasal spray of ‘love hormone’ oxytocin may help treat alcohol use disorder, according to a study conducted in mice.

Oxytocin plays a role in social bonding, sexual reproduction, childbirth, and the period after childbirth.

The study, published in the journal PLOS Biology, found that oxytocin blocks enhanced drinking in alcohol-dependent rats.

 

Targeting the oxytocin system may provide novel pharmaceutical interventions for the treatment of alcohol-use disorder, said researchers from the National Institutes of Health and The Scripps Research Institute in the US.

Administering oxytocin can decrease consumption, withdrawal symptoms, and drug-seeking behaviour associated with several drugs of abuse, researchers said in a statement.

This shows promise as a pharmacological approach to treat drug addiction, they said.

Researchers tested the hypothesis that oxytocin administration could normalise the maladaptive brain changes that occur in alcohol dependence and thereby reduce alcohol drinking in an established rat model of alcohol dependence.

They investigated oxytocin’s effects on dependence-induced alcohol consumption and altered signalling of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in the central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) – a key brain region in the network affected by alcohol dependence.

The experiments demonstrated that oxytocin administered systemically, intranasally or into the brain blocked excess drinking in alcohol-dependent but not in normal rats.

Moreover, oxytocin blocked GABA signalling in the CeA, researchers said.

Taken together, these results provide evidence that oxytocin likely blocks enhanced drinking by altering CeA GABA transmission.

These results provide evidence that aberrations in the oxytocin system may underlie alcohol use disorder, researchers said.

Targeting this system, possibly by intranasal administration, could prove a promising therapy in people who misuse alcohol, they said.

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