Pop star Sia reveals battle with chronic pain disorder

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Sia reveals she is suffering from chronic pain disorder

Singer Sia has revealed she suffers from a disease which gives her chronic pain.
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Chronic fatigue: Overactive immune system ‘may trigger ME-like symptoms’

Researchers say the study is a “light in the fog” in the search for the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome.
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Child passive smoking ‘increases chronic lung risk’

A study shows higher risk of fatal lung disease in adults exposed to cigarette smoke in childhood.
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Q. & A.: Tell Us 5 Things About Your Book: The Many Costs and Confusions of Chronic Illness

In “Sick,” Porochista Khakpour writes about the ongoing physical, emotional and financial challenges she has faced with late-stage Lyme disease.
NYT > Books


GP-led keep fit classes for those with chronic illness

A new scheme is offering boxing and ‘chair-obics’ to those who want to fight off chronic illnesses.
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‘Chronic’ at Cannes: Tim Roth As a Depressed Male Hospice Nurse

Tim Roth gives an outstanding performance in Michel Franco’s new film Chronic, which just premiered at Cannes, as a male nurse who bizarrely goes beyond the call of duty to care for his dying patients. The film follows him as he takes care first of one patient (until the funeral), and then another — and then another — each time scrupulously washing the patient’s back, with dedicated strokes, or encouraging him or her to speak about their lives. The nurse even goes so far as to buy an architecture book for one of his crotchety patients (an architect), and to visit one of the homes he designed. What is odd is that his care for his patients is absolutely deadpan — and he, for an unfathomable reason, deeply depressed.

Tim Roth in person — whom I saw joking at poolside with a hotel woman who called to him from her balcony — is quite opposite from the role he plays. Lively, funny (“I love you too!” he called up to the woman at the balcony) and jocular. In the film, he is brooding, with his body tensed up like that of a former high school wrestler, who never got out of the pose. At the press conference, in fact, the actor remarked that: “For this role, I stripped myself bare. I played the nurse very quiet. I didn’t want to distract from him, so I tried to keep myself low.”


Chronic is a riveting film — because of Roth — and may very well win an award tomorrow night. But it is tough to watch, just as it is tough to be at the hospital bedside of a patient in chronic pain (one after another). There is no joy in the movie, and very little warmth. The other characters in the film (mostly family members of the patients) have little affect: Perhaps because they are dealing with a loved one’s chronic illness (as the director noted at the press conference), but more likely because the director has chosen to put the spotlight on how estranged we human beings are from each other. The nurse, in his strange dense way, is the most “human” character. The others, in contrast, seem cold, rushed, or indifferent, and speak to each other in monotone.

A sense of mystery is what propels the story: Something traumatic happened in this nurse’s past that spurs him in his overzealous activity. The mystery works: We are gripped to the “cold” story before us, one that (plot spoiler) ends up as icy as it begins.

I went to meet the young Mexican director, Michel Franco, to ask him why he created such a disturbingly bleak universe.


Why did you make a film in which humans seem not to care about each other? Is this how you see people?

I should not be very pessimistic as in my personal life I am lucky with my friends and family. My family came all the way from Mexico to be here with me. Nevertheless, I am intrigued by how we can be well-educated and civilized, and still have trouble communicating. Humans are complicated; we always make mistakes with each other. It is the same pessimistic view that you will find in my other films.

Almost all of the relationships in the film are cold, except for the one at the end, with Tim Roth and the cancer patient “Martha.” Can you comment on Martha?

Oh yes, Martha. It’s true they end up being close. Still, I don’t know if Martha is manipulating him. We don’t know if from the very beginning, she is trying to manipulate him.

Really! I didn’t see her this way.

It’s not clear. I will have to see it again and tell you what I think of Martha. Every time I see the film I think differently about Martha. I am suspicious of people’s motives. We all have our worries, and our minds are complicated, and even if we love each other, we harm each other…

Some viewers will be disappointed that this film has no arc of triumph, no evolution. In a conventional film, a protagonist who begins a film depressed will evolve and, by film’s end, have a surprising realization or recovery.

My film is close to real life, in that life rarely has that arc where everything changes and is better at the end. I like movies that do not solve the conflict, because when the conflict is solved, it satisfies the spectator and all is finished, forgotten in an hour. But if the conflict is not solved, like in my film, you are forced to keep thinking about it. Usually in a film, the audience is told from the beginning: Be prepared for the final [triumphant] end. I just shot my film in a way I like: subtle. I don’t give things to the audience. I feel like the audience is tired with being disrespected.

You say life has no arcs. Do you really believe that?

When my professional life is going well, I am happy, and then I am down again. Yes, I have those kinds of professional arcs.

What about non-professional arcs? How about going through an emotional upset or loss, and then changing through it, or achieving some kind of resolution? This is a way many people approach tragedies…

I would say no, that does not happen. Most things you have to accept them and move on, if they are really bad. You don’t change them and it is better to accept and move on. These people who believe in change are in therapy for ten years or always reading a book about how to be happy, but then they fall into another problem. I am more simple. As long as there is no trouble in my life, I focus on work.

I am going to guess that you are an atheist: and think there is nothing after death.

Right. I do think there is nothing after life. Death is scary. It is a horrible thought, pessimistic, but it is good to embrace that thought because if you accept it, it makes you make the most of your life.

One critique of your film: The father/daughter relationship is not quite believable. The Tim Roth character sees his daughter after many years of absence, and she just casually welcomes him back with a, “Nice to see you!”

True, but I wanted to make the father-daughter story as small as possible. With the daughter, I just wanted to make a point that the nurse is welcomed back easily by his [estranged] family, so even that cannot explain his depression. The real problem for him is that he cannot cope with life; it’s not a matter of external factors.

Where did you get the idea for your story?

My grandmother got sick in 2010, and she was tied to a bed for several months before she passed away. I was very moved by the angel who took care of her. I asked this nurse, Beatrice, how many years she had been doing this! The work kept her down. She was depressed. Yet, she said she liked her work. She was always thinking about her patients. Nurses are close to certain matters that we try to escape; they are brave and they do it. My film is a character study.

The reason I chose to make it a male nurse is because of Tim Roth. I won the Certain Regard with my film After Lucia a couple years ago [2012]. Tim Roth was on the jury. He came up to me after the awards ceremony and said, “Let’s work together!” I told him I was making a film about a nurse and he said, “If you make her a male, I’ll be that nurse!” And so I did.

Does the fact that you are from Mexico — a very unsettled place right now — influence your filmmaking and choice of subjects?

Mexico has always been a very complicated society, not just now. It is a really troubled country [with corruption etc.] which is why we have good film directors — which is why Greece has interesting film directors now. I like chaos. My first movie really comes out of that Mexican context; my second film has some of it. The third was shot in the streets of Mexico, with homeless people. My beginnings were tied to Mexican reality, but now I am growing out of it, and becoming more personal.

You are a Jewish Mexican, and as you tell me, your mother is Israeli. Do you feel connected to your Jewish roots?

Culturally, I do (laughs.) Perhaps I have some of the pessimism.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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In Sickness and In Sleep: Married to a Chronic Sleep Walker

I don’t nag my husband, Isaac, to do chores around the house. But sometimes I wake him up in the middle of the night screaming that there are enormous spiders in our sheets, and evil guinea pigs in the closet. I don’t complain when he watches football all day or puts his dirty clothes on the floor directly next to the hamper. But I have been known to sneak down to the kitchen and eat the lunch he so carefully packed for work the next day. I don’t mind that he leaves the toilet seat up after every trip to the restroom, and I don’t hold onto grievances from past arguments. But sometimes in the dead of the night, I will sit straight up and whisper spine-chilling things to him. Things that would give Marilyn Manson nightmares. And for the remainder of his sleepless night, Isaac will lay next to me wondering what he got himself into when he said, “I do.”

In my opinion, Isaac knew exactly what he was getting into when he married me. It’s not like we said our wedding vows and suddenly my sleep walking and sleep talking disorder was activated. I was not a sleeping beauty whose subconscious beast was awaiting a prince charming to kiss it to life. In fact, very early into our relationship, Isaac got a taste of the “crazy train”, as he so lovingly calls it.

He was playing poker with friends one night when I called screaming that someone was trying to break into our apartment. I was hysterical and told him to please hurry home, I wasn’t sure if I could hold the door shut for much longer. I remember wrestling with the door knob, my sweaty hands desperate to hold it shut while the villain on the other side fought to open it. Isaac raced home not knowing what he would find– his girlfriend missing or dead? His apartment burglarized? He found neither. Instead, Isaac screeched into the driveway and flung the door open to find a soundly sleeping girlfriend, no burglar in sight. He woke me up and I immediately knew what had happened– I had acted out (an Oscar-worthy performance, I might add) the nightmare I was having.

My sleep talking isn’t always of the horror movie variety. There was a night a few weeks ago where I sang so loudly (and badly) in my sleep that I was eventually awoken by Isaac’s howling, tears of laughter streaming down his cheeks. A few weeks before that, I was the one doing the laughing. In the middle of a dead sleep, I began giggling uncontrollably. I wandered around the house to try and stifle my giggles, but it proved futile. I could not stop laughing. Isaac said while funny at first, sleep-laughing with a zombie-like, distant expression on my face became exceptionally creepy after 15 minutes.

The stories go on and on. Almost every night I put on some sort of show, even if it’s simply to ask Isaac if Santa Claus brought him the shirt he is sleeping in, to proclaim that I am wetting the bed followed by maniacal laughter (I didn’t actually wet the bed), or to yell at him to not spill any salsa in the sheets (he never eats salsa in bed).

My sleep stories have definitely been a source of comedy in our relationship, but we recently wondered if there may actually be something wrong with me, and my brain. While Isaac would argue that yes, there is definitely something wrong with me (sleep disorder or not), a visit to a neurologist and a gold star on my sleep study proved otherwise. As it turns out, I am simply in the 3.6% of adults who have a sleep walking disorder. In fact, I even used the intercom to sleep talk to the technician monitoring my sleep study! Regardless, the doctor said I had one of the best sleep studies he had ever seen. Of course I did.

Since the sleep study, I have thankfully found ways to naturally decrease my somnambulant adventures. While Isaac recommended a skilled exorcist or priest, I instead tried altering my diet by cutting out all sugar and preservatives. Within just a few days, my nightmares and night terrors became nonexistent. I still sleep walk and sleep talk, but they are never prolonged, terrifying episodes like they used to be. I also cut down on binge-watching crime TV shows which, to nobody’s surprise, seemed to exacerbate my already overactive dream state. Sorry Detective Benson, it’s not you, it’s me.

Do you need some marriage perspective? Consider yourself lucky if your wife has never sat up in a pitch black room and whispered, “She wants to know what your insides look like.” Is your husband’s sloppiness driving you crazy? Be thankful that he has never frantically rearranged the bedroom in his sleep, moving everything to higher ground in preparation for the approaching flood he is dreaming about. Do you enjoy uninterrupted sleep? Be grateful that your spouse doesn’t push you off of the bed in a moment of panic because you are “sleeping on a pile of puppies who need rescuing.”

While Isaac and I, over the span of our marriage, will surely encounter the relationship problems that most couples face, at least we know things in the bedroom will never get dull.
Comedy – The Huffington Post
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User's Guide To Chronic Fatigue & Fibromyalgia

User's Guide To Chronic Fatigue & Fibromyalgia

User''s Guide to Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia is a Basic Health Books publication.
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You Don't Look Sick!: Living Well With Chronic Invisible Illness

You Don't Look Sick!: Living Well With Chronic Invisible Illness

You Don''t Look Sickchronicles one person''s true-life story of illness and her physicians compassionate commentary as they journey through the four stages of chronic illness-Getting Sick, Being Sick, Grief and Acceptance and Living Well. The authors address such practical aspects as hiring a doctor, managing chronic pain, coping with grief and loss of function, winning battles with health and disability insurers, countering the social bias against the chronically ill, and recognizing the limitations of chronic illness care and charting a path for change and more. This warmhearted resource helps you focus on building a meaningful life as opposed to a life of frustration and fear.This book is thoroughly revised and updated based upon feedback from readers of the first edition. The authors have added a new section on Grief and Acceptance, address the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act and Dr. Overman has added practical travel tips that bring organization and focus to each phase of the journey. Designed for people at all stages of the chronic illness journey, this book is also illuminating for caregivers and loved ones.
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Chronic Hepatitis B: An Update, an Issue of Clinics in Liver Disease

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A recent Institute of Medicine report has concluded that ‘there is a lack of knowledge and awareness about chronic viral hepatitis on the part of health-care and social-service providers, as well as among at-risk populations, members of the public, and policy-makers. Due to the insufficient understanding about the extent and seriousness of this public-health problem, inadequate public resources are being allocated to prevention, control, and surveillance programs’. It is with these concerns in mind that Dr. Tsai assembled a group of experts in this field to present their expertise in such a level, where the practicing clinicians who deal with this disease in their daily practice can understand thereby implement this knowledge into their own practice. Dr. Brian McMahon discusses the natural history of chronic hepatitis B with his vast knowledge and experience working with the high endemic population of Inuit in Alaska. Drs. Marc Ghany and Ed provide a very easy-to-understand description of HBV virology. Dr.Kyon-Mi Chang contributes an article on HBV immunology, which is the least understood area of this disease but has the most potential to improve our knowledge in the management of chronic hepatitis B. Dr. Anna Lok provides an authoritative review on the current issues and controversies of treatment of chronic hepatitis B. Dr. Stephen Locarnini, who has extensive experience in anti-viral resistance and its management, presents important issues in the usage of currently available anti-viral oral agents. Dr. Myron Tong discusses the current understanding of HBV carcinogenesis and updates HCC surveillance and treatment – the most dreadful outcome of this disease. Dr. Paul Martin discusses management of end- stage chronic hepatitis B – anti-viral therapy, montherapy vs combo therapy, choice of agent, when to start therapy and post-transplant patients including duration of HBIG therapy, HBcAb(+)only recipient) and Occult HBV infection. Dr. Tram Tran discusses the trea…

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