Broken Heart Syndrome

New research has shows that people who go through cariogenic shock due to broken heart syndrome have an increase death risk, both short-term and long-term.

Broken heart syndrome is scientifically known as takotsubo cardiomyopathy or stress-induced cardiomyopathy. People who suffer from it claim to feel intense chest pain and very sudden shortness of breath. It is a relatively rare condition that very much resembles the symptoms of a heart, and is much more common in women than men.

Fortunately, most people can fully recover within weeks, even though 1 in 10 people do develop more serious complication.

The leader, Dr. Christian Templin, and his team found that physical stress was more than twice as likely to have caused broken heart syndrome. As said by Dr Templin himself:

For the first time, this analysis found [that] people who experienced broken heart syndrome complicated by cardiogenic shock were at high risk of death years later, underlining the importance of careful long-term follow-up, especially in this patient group.”

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Spine Surgery… In The Womb

“In a United Kingdom first, a team of specialists from University College London (UCL), University College London Hospitals (UCLH), and Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) performed surgeries on two different babies with spina bifida while they were still in their mothers’ wombs.”

The surgeries occurred during the summer being the first of its type, and it has been reported that both the mothers and babies are doing well. The surgery was only possible because the condition ‘spina bifida’  stops the spinal canal from closing completely in the womb. This means that the spinal cord is exposed from an early pregnancy stage. Trying to cure this condition after birth could lead to additional surgical interventions later in life, so tacking the problem as early as possible (aka pre birth) seems to be the best way forward.

Lead surgeon Ja Deprest had this to say:

“Operating in the womb involves opening the uterus, exposing the spina bifida without delivering the baby, closing the defect, and then repairing the uterus to leave the baby safely inside. Closure of spina bifida in the womb using this method is an alternative to postnatal surgery, and has been shown to improve short and medium-term outcomes. While neither intervention is fully curative, in fetal surgery, the defect is closed earlier, which prevents damage to the spinal cord in the last third of pregnancy.”

As this surgery has worked so well, the procedure will be available for free for the first few expectant mothers who need it – this is due to a generous amount of funding by many UK nonprofit organisations, particularly GOSH Children’s Charity and UCLH Charity. Hopefully as time goes on, many more ‘post birth’ surgeries will become available to expectant mothers and their babies/

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5 Strangest Medical Conditions

Today, I’ve decided to write about something a little different to usual – I, for one, am fascinated by unique and unusual medical conditions. So, I’m going to share 5 of some of the strangest ones…


This rare condition actually causes people to experience intoxication and hangovers, without having even drank any alcohol. Another name for this syndrome is ‘gut fermentation’ syndrome, due to the fact that pure alcohol is produced in a person’s gut after eating foods that are high in carbohydrates. The yeast that causes this is called ‘Saccharomyces cerevisiae’, and usually doesn’t cause a person to become fully drunk, but get to the pleasant, tipsy stage. However, there have been cases where the syndrome can cause people’s liver to not function properly and allow the alcohol to accumulate and linger in the system, causing dizziness, hangovers, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Treatments to this condition are: dietary changes (low carbohydrate and high protein content), taking antibiotics, or anti fungal therapies.


Foreign accent syndrome is a speech impediment, usually as a result of a stroke or traumatic brain injury, that causes a person to suddenly acquire a foreign accent. There are recorded accent changes going from Japanese to Korean, British English to French, American English to British English, and Spanish to Hungarian. It has been found out through research that this syndrome is more likely to be suffered by from women between the age range of 25-49 years. There is currently no cure.


This syndrome is due to a person emitting an unpleasant body odour that resembles the smell of a rotting fish due to a specific mutation of the FMO3 gene – this gene produces more of an enzyme that causes the body to break down organic compounds (e.g trimethylamine), thus releasing the unpleasant smell.. As it can probably already be insinuated, this syndrome can have a drastic fatal effect on a persons mental health, causing anxiety, loneliness, and a negative impact on academic performance.


This is genetic degenerative brain disorder that causes a person to have an increasingly severe form of insomnia, leading to more and more significant physical and mental deterioration. It can cause severe problems to a person’s ability to move and feel as a too many proteins are accumulated in the thalamus (a region of the brain). Currently, there is no cure .


This condition causes different types of tissues to grow disproportionately on the body – including the bones, skin, tissue of arteries, and tissue of organs, due to a mutation in the AKT1 gene in the womb. There are no visible signs of this syndrome at birth, but over time this condition gets progressively worse and can cause health problems such as intellectual disability, poor eyesight, seizures, noncancerous tumours, DVT, and abnormal formation of blood clots.

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What is a Pre-existing Medical Condition?

New Molecule Could Treat Heart Failure

When the heart is contracting effectively, calcium is able to circulate efficiently in and out of the cells in a process known as “calcium cycling”. If this process becomes impaired, calcium becomes dysregulated and the rate at which cardiac muscle can pump out blood decreases – this can therefore lead to development of heart failure.

The team that underwent research to find new treatments for failure found that DWORF (a micropeptide known as “dwarf open reading frame”) could displace a molecule called phospholamban, which inhibits SERCA activity – SERCA is a target molecule that transports calcium ions, ensuring the relaxation of the heart muscle – when SSERCA doesn’t function properly, heart failure occurs. This means that DWORF is able to help boost SERCA, which ultimately means the heart can regain its ability to contract and relax efficiently.

The researchers tested this molecule on rodents, and they found that ‘By comparing genetically engineered rodents with normal ones, the scientists noticed that the mice with higher DWORF levels had better calcium cycling than regular mice.’

This new discovery will hopefully be developed on in the future, making it an attractive candidate for a gene therapy drug for heart failure.

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Aspirin as a Treatment for Cancer

More and more studies have started to show that aspirin improves the outlook of cancer treatment by 20-30%. Peter Elwood, from the University of Cardiff, said that “The use of low-dose aspirin as a preventive in heart disease, stroke, and cancer is well established, but evidence is now emerging that the drug may have a valuable role as an additional treatment for cancer, too.” After his research, his analysis revealed that the chances of surviving a cancer diagnosis were 20–30 percent greater among people who took aspirin compared with those who did not. This was true at any given point after receiving the diagnosis.’ There was also evidence to show that aspirin can reduce the risk of dying from colon cancer by 25%, the risk of dying from breast cancer by 20%, and the risk of dying from prostate cancer by 15%.

Another point Elwood wanted to emphasise was the importance of allowing patients to access evidence – if patients know the evidence from recent studies they are more likely to make more informed and beneficial decisions about new treatment options.

Thank you for reading this weeks blog. It has been quite some time since I wrote my last blog, but I’m back from taking a break and I will start to write my blogs weekly / fortnightly again.



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The Effect of Religion on the Brain

Religion has been believed by humans for as long as can be remember, but have you ever considered the effect religion has on the brain scientifically? Well, today you are going to find out.

I’ll start off by saying that the effect of religion on the brain is truly astonishing – people who have religious belief can benefit from an increased lifespan and better coping of disease. In fact, a religious experience can activate the same circuits / initiate the same enjoyment as sex and drugs.

As you probably would have expected (or maybe not), different religions actually have different effects on the brain. Christians and Buddhists have increased activity in the frontal lobes of the brain, but, other religious practices can have the opposite effect on the same brain areas. For example, Islamic prayer reduces the activity in the prefrontal cortex and the frontal lobes connected with it, as well as the activity in the parietal lobes.

The final topic I want to talk about is if it would be possible to create a ‘God’ on demand. The answer to this is very well put out by Medical News Today:

“This is not just a theoretical question because in the 1990s, Dr. Michael Persinger — the director of the Neuroscience Department at Laurentian University in Ontario, Canada — designed what came to be known as the “God Helmet.”

This is a device that is able to simulate religious experiences by stimulating an individual’s tempoparietal lobes using magnetic fields.

In Dr. Persinger’s experiments, about 20 religious people — which amounts to just 1 percent of the participants — reported feeling the presence of God or seeing him in the room when wearing the device. However, 80 percent of the participants felt a presence of some sort, which they were reluctant to call “God.””

So, I think its safe to say that its possible for people to believe they have found God just due to the passion, eagerness and devotion they have. Hopefully as people continue to research into this, we will find out just how far the human brain can go to find the presence of something spiritual.

Thank you for taking the time to read this weeks short blog, if you found it interesting feel free to comment down below!



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Migraine Relief Tips

So during one of my A level exams, I suffered from my first ever migraine (bad timing, I know). So, I’m going to share some tips I found on providing relief during a migraine, just incase any of you reading ever find yourself in a similar situation.

1. Acupressure

This is the application of pressure to specific parts of the body, especially the pressure points.

2. Diet changes

Common food triggers for migraines include: processed foods, red wine, alcohol, chocolate and caffeine.

3. Essential oils

For example, lavender is commonly used as a remedy for stress, anxiety and headaches.

4. Ginger

The effectiveness of ginger powder has been compared to a common migraine drug known as sumatriptan. And whats more, ginger provides no side effects.

5. Stress managemenT

Stress is already known to be a common trigger for migraines , so managing stress using exercise / meditation etc can help to prevent migraines in the future.

6. Yoga or stretching

Yoga improves blood flow and reduces muscle tension, hence reducing the symptoms of migraines.

7. Biofeedback therapy

This is a therapy that involves relaxing tight muscles that might be triggering migraine pain.

8. Acupuncture

Studies have shown that acupuncture might be able to help reduce migraine pain, although this must be don’t by a licensed practitioner.

9. Massage

This can again relieve muscle tension and reduce stress.

10. Herbal supplements

Two of the most helpful ones found are butterbur and feverfew. However, there can be risks with using these and people should talk to their doctor first before using them.

11. Magnesium

Deficiency of this can trigger visual disturbance, that occurs at the onset of a migraine.

12. B-complex vitamins

These have been found to reduce migraine frequency and severity.

13. Stay hydrated

Dehydration is a well known migraine and headache trigger.

14. Rest

Getting 7-9 hours of sleep can reduce stress, which can then prevent migraines.

15. Compresses

Placing a cold or warm compress on the head can be an effective way to sooth migraine pain.





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Chemical Pregnancy

A Chemical Pregnancy is a pregnancy that typically ends in the first few weeks after an initially positive pregnancy test. A woman’s hCG levels rise enough to produce a positive test initially, but the pregnancy does not continue, and the levels fall soon after.

The clearest indication of Chemical Pregnancy is a positive result on a pregnancy test followed by a negative result, and research has actually shows that up to 25% of pregnancies result in a miscarriage before the woman has missed her period or had any pregnancy symptoms. Fortunately however, a Chemical Pregnancy does not usually need medical intervention or treatment from a doctor.

Signs and symptoms:

  • mild spotting a week before an expected period
  • mild abdominal cramping
  • vaginal bleeding close to the time of an expected period


  • chromosomal abnormalities preventing fetal development
  • advanced maternal age
  • insufficient hormone levels (especially of progesterone)
  • low BMI
  • uterine abnormalities (irregularities in the uterine lining prevents the embryo from implanting in the uterus)

With regards to how soon a woman can get pregnant after an early pregnancy loss, doctors have said that it is possible to ovulate and become pregnant as soon as 2 weeks after an early pregnancy loss. You may think that having been through a Chemical Pregnancy will make it harder to get pregnant again in the future, but it is actually the opposite. A chemical pregnancy means that an embryo reached the preimplantation phase of development. This is a positive sign that a woman could get pregnant in the future.

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The Link Between Diet and Acne

Whether you have been reading my blogs for a while or not, you will surely know what acne is. It is the most common skin condition in the country and even though there is currently no definite cure, there are many prescription medicines and over-the-counter gels and creams that can be used to reduce symptoms and prevent breakouts.

New research has suggested that diet can have an affect on acne. As written on Medical News Today…

“Acne develops when pores in the skin become clogged with dead skin cells, bacteria, or both. This clogging also occurs when the body produces too much sebum, an oil that keeps the skin from drying out. Clogged pores can lead to inflammation and cause pimples and other types of lesion to form. During puberty, the body produces more of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Some studies suggest that IGF-1 may increase the production of sebum and worsen symptoms of acne. Certain foods can also raise IGF-1 levels. Avoiding these foods may help improve symptoms of acne and help prevent breakouts.”

Finally, I’m going to list some examples of foods that should be avoided and some that are recommended in order to improve acne.


  • bread
  • sweetened breakfast cereals
  • some fruits and vegetables (melons / pineapples / pumpkins)
  • pasta
  • short grain white rice

Recommended foods:

  • fish
  • eggs
  • soy products (e.g tofu)
  • spinach and kale
  • grass-fed beef
  • nuts
  • flaxseeds
  • mustard seeds
  • wild rice

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The 16:8 Fasting Diet Method

The 16:8 diet is a form of intermittent fasting that has proven to be a fast and effective way to lose weight. Studies have shown that the 16:8 diet is the most effect out of all intermittent fasting methods and is able to reduce obesity and high blood pressure.

In daily fasting, or the 16:8 diet, people eat whatever they like for 8 hours and fast for the remaining 16. On average, when compared with the control trial, those on the 16:8 diet consumed 350 fewer calories, lost 3 percent of their weight, and had lower blood pressure.

This is what the researchers had to say about the discovery:

“The take-home message from this study is that there are options for weight loss that do not include calorie counting or eliminating certain foods. The 16:8 diet is another tool for weight loss that we now have preliminary scientific evidence to support. When it comes to weight loss, people need to find what works for them because even small amounts of success can lead to improvements in metabolic health.”

Thank you for reading this weeks blog, I hoped you enjoyed it.



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Why is Intermittent Fasting Effective?