Tag Archives: system

Free prescription age may rise to 66 but system could change further – ‘Unnecessary!’

STATE pension age may become the new point at which free prescriptions can be accessed for older people. However, there have also been general concerns sparked, particularly amongst this age group, as issues of overprescription of medicine have come to the fore in a new report which could also impact how items are dispensed in future.

Read more here Daily Express :: Finance Feed

How to get yourself a younger immune system – 6 easy tricks for healthier living

Immune systems are an intensely clever network located inside each human being. These systems work to protect humans against a range of potential health threats. With the lifting of restrictions this week and “personal responsibility” being the new status quo, it is more important than ever to maintain good immunity. Express.co.uk has compiled a list of six easy ways to protect yourself and lower your immunity age.

The immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins which work together to protect your body against infection.

This body system keeps a record of all germs, called microbes, it has ever defeated.

Therefore you will be able to recognise and destroy this microbe quickly if it ever enters your body again.

There are several abnormalities associated with your immune system which take the form of allergies, immunodeficiencies and autoimmune disorders.

READ MORE: Diabetes type 2: Four symptoms found in mouth

The immune system consists of organs, cells and chemicals designed to attack infections.

The main components of this system include white blood cells, antibodies, the complement systems, the lymphatic system, spleen, thymus and bone marrow.

These are the elements of your immune system which work to actively defeat the infection.

As well as your immune system, your body also protects itself from disease using your skin, lungs, digestive tract and body fluids.

Obesity and exercise

Regular exercise is one of the key factors which can help prevent a decline in your immune system.

One’s immune system declines by two to three percent a year from your 20s.

But those who exercise regularly will have extra protection against this rate of decline.

Research in the British Medical Journal found those who walked for at least 20 minutes a day had 43 percent fewer sick days due to the common cold.

Smoking and binge drinking

Smoking has a number of negative influences including increasing your immune age.

This in turn reduces your risk of combatting serious illness and means you are likely to live for a shorter period of time.

Binge drinking prompts a reduction in white blood cells which are used to combat infections.

Therefore avoid binge drinking alcohol as it makes your immune system less active.

Protein and diet

Poor gut health can increase one’s immune age according to scientists, whereas a healthy microbiome can slow down this ageing process.

You should try to eat as much plant food as possible as these support antibodies.

Slow fermented sourdough bread is also very helpful to your gut.

Protein does not necessarily have to mean meat or fish – eating a range of different proteins is also very helpful to extending your immune body’s lifespan.

A study of 120 older adults found that a Mediterranean diet, high in vegetables, fruit, pulses, wholegrains, oily fish and olive oil, had a positive impact on ageing immune cells.

Vitamins

Vitamin D has a long-established role in one’s immunity.

Spending plenty of time outside in the sunshine and taking supplements when the sun’s rays are insufficient is crucial to extending your immune system’s functionality.

An estimated third of people in the UK are vitamin D deficient and therefore supplements of this kind are often advised for Britons especially.

Stress

Stress is one of the most devastating influences on health.

It can impact your sleep pattern and mental health hugely and therefore avoiding and managing stress effectively is essential.

Those quick to anger tend to have immune systems which are constantly primed for inflammation which means they weaken with age.

Socialisation

Social connection is also important as loneliness can cause immune systems to go into stress.

This prompts an inflammatory response which can cause long-term damage.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Health
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Government: The data attack on the Norwegian parliament’s email system was carried out from China

Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide (H) called in China’s ambassador to a meeting in relation to the data attack on the Norwegian parliament’s (Storting) email systems that took place in March.

“This is a serious incident that affected our most important democratic institution. 

“After a thorough review of our intelligence information, it is our assessment that the very serious data breach against the Storting was carried out from China,” Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide stated in a press release.

“Several of our allies, the EU and Microsoft, have also confirmed this. Chinese authorities must prevent such attacks from taking place. We expect China to take the matter very seriously so that similar incidents do not happen again,” Søreide warned.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

Do you have a news tip for Norway Today? We want to hear it. Get in touch at info@norwaytoday.no

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This post originally posted here Norway Government & Politics News

Potential Concerns with NuVasive MAGEC System Implants – FDA Safety Communication

Date Issued: July 15, 2021

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is informing patients, their caregivers, and health care providers of potential mechanical failures and concerns about tissue incompatibility (biocompatibility) associated with components of the following NuVasive Specialized Orthopedics’ MAGEC devices:

  • MAGEC Spinal Bracing and Distraction System
  • MAGEC 2 Spinal Bracing and Distraction System
  • MAGEC System 
  • MAGEC System Model X device
  • MAGEC System Model X rod
  • MAGEC System Rods

In February 2020, NuVasive issued an Urgent Field Safety Notice recalling its MAGEC devices to address a mechanical component failure where the endcap was separating from the rod part of the device. In July 2020, the FDA cleared a modified version of the MAGEC Model X rod, designed to mitigate endcap separation events.

Additional biocompatibility concerns potentially related to the existing endcap failures were raised in December 2020 when NuVasive issued an updated Field Safety Notice intended for customers in the European Union. In addition, the FDA began receiving reports in early 2021 describing local tissue reactions potentially related to endcap separation events with the MAGEC devices.

As NuVasive continues to investigate the root cause of these issues, the FDA is working with the manufacturer to evaluate new biocompatibility testing results and assess whether there is any clinically meaningful impact to patients with MAGEC devices.

Recommendations for Caregivers and Patients Considering a MAGEC Device

  • Talk to a doctor about the benefits and risks of the MAGEC device. The FDA believes the benefits of a MAGEC device outweigh the risks for U.S. patients based on the current FDA-cleared indications for use and labeling. Indications for use and labeling may vary in other countries.

Recommendations for Patients Who Have a MAGEC Device and their Caregivers

  • At this time, the FDA does not recommend the removal of functioning MAGEC rods prior to the two years after implantation.
  • Be aware that if a patient experiences increasing levels of unexpected back pain with a MAGEC device, the health care provider should perform an additional examination of the patient’s back, including obtaining x-rays to evaluate the condition of the MAGEC implant.
  • If patients are experiencing a problem with a MAGEC device, the FDA encourages patients and their parents or caregivers to report the problem to their health care provider and to the FDA through the MedWatch Voluntary Reporting Form.

Recommendations for Health Care Providers

  • Follow current U.S. labeling instructions.
  • Be aware MAGEC devices are:
    • Cleared for implantation for no more than two years.
    • To be implanted only in skeletally immature patients less than 10 years of age with severe progressive spinal deformities associated with or at risk of Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome (TIS). See current device labeling for the complete Indications for Use Statement.
  • Perform a full evaluation, including radiographs, of a patient, presenting with unexplained symptoms of back pain, inflammation, or deformity. 
  • Decisions about removing or exchanging a MAGEC device should be made by health care providers in consultation with the patient and their caregivers on a case-by-case basis. Discuss with patients and their caregivers that, at this time, the FDA does not recommend removal (prior to two years post implantation) of asymptomatic MAGEC devices that are stable and well-functioning. 
  • Report any adverse events or suspected events experienced with a MAGEC device through MedWatch, the FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting program.

Device Description

MAGEC is a growing spinal rod system intended for use in children under 10 years of age. MAGEC devices use magnets to help correct spinal deformities as the child grows. They are designed to help avoid multiple operations to correct the spinal curve.

Potential Risks Associated with MAGEC Devices

The FDA is aware of reports describing endcap separation, O-ring seal failure, and of potential exposure of internal components of this device to living tissue that may lead to adverse local tissue reactions.

Endcap Separation

In 2020, NuVasive made changes to the MAGEC device design to address endcap separation problems. The risk associated with endcap separation is unanticipated exposure of patient’s tissue to internal components of the device that have not been completely tested for biocompatibility. In July 2020, the FDA cleared a new version of the MAGEC X rod, and this version of the MAGEC X device (MAGEC 2b) is designed to mitigate endcap separation. The recommendations in this communication apply to all MAGEC devices, including the modified MAGEC Model X rod cleared by the FDA in July 2020.

Biocompatibility

On April 5, 2021, and updated April 9, 2021, NuVasive informed health care providers of biocompatibility testing concerns, and voluntarily placed all MAGEC devices on a global ship hold.

To evaluate whether the components covered by the endcap are biocompatible and to satisfy updated testing standards, NuVasive has been conducting additional biocompatibility testing. The FDA is working with the manufacturer to evaluate the new biocompatibility testing results.

On July 15, 2021, NuVasive posted an updated statement informing U.S. health care providers that the ship hold in the U.S. has been lifted for the MAGEC devices. The FDA believes it is in the best interest of patients to make the modified MAGEC X device available in the U.S. at this time because (1) the overall benefits of the device outweigh the known risks for on-label use in the U.S. compared to alternative treatments, (2) the U.S. indications and instructions for use, which restrict use to patients less than 10 years old and for a two-year implantation time, further mitigate known risks, (3) the modified MAGEC X (MAGEC 2b) device, designed to mitigate endcap separation events and related biocompatibility concerns, will be the only device version currently available for sale in the U.S., and (4) the U.S. labeling has been updated to include a discussion of known risks associated with the device.

FDA Actions

The FDA is working with NuVasive to:

  • Evaluate additional biocompatibility testing intended to address specific theoretical biocompatibility concerns with these devices and collect additional data to better understand potential risks to patients. 
  • Provide health care providers and patients access to an adequate supply of modified MAGEC devices, which are magnetically distractable growing rods designed to reduce the number of surgeries needed compared to alternatives.
  • Ensure patients with a MAGEC implant continue to receive appropriate follow-up monitoring.

The FDA will keep the public informed if significant new information becomes available.

Reporting Problems with a MAGEC Device

The FDA encourages health care providers to report any adverse events or suspected adverse events experienced with NuVasive MAGEC device system implants.

Prompt reporting of adverse events can help the FDA identify and better understand the risks associated with medical devices.

Questions?

If you have questions, email the Division of Industry and Consumer Education (DICE) at DICE@FDA.HHS.GOV or call 800-638-2041 or 301-796-7100.

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This post originally posted here The European Times News

Lawmakers fled their state with a message: The US political system is nearing a meltdown

Texas state lawmakers, enacting an intricately plotted escape, left their posts and the Lone Star state itself and took flight to Washington on Monday on an extraordinary mission to halt Republican restrictive voting bills built on former President Donald Trump’s fraud lies.
After stepping off two chartered jets, they insisted they planned to stay until a highly unlikely scenario unfolds in which moderate Democratic senators kill filibuster rules used by the GOP to block voting rights reform.
“We are coming to DC to put pressure on them to act, because this isn’t just Texas,” Texas Democratic state Rep. John Bucy III told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Monday.
“All over the South and in Republican states, we are seeing voter suppression bills. We need Congress to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act,” said Bucy, who unlike his colleagues set off the long drive from Texas to the US capital.
The spectacle is the latest stunning example of how the US political system is on the edge of meltdown as a result of turmoil triggered by Trump’s false claims of a stolen election, which are now taken as fact by millions of Republican voters. The move also represents the growing desperation of Democrats who believe that their chances of winning future elections, including in 2022 and 2024, are being undermined by orchestrated assaults on the voting system by the GOP.
In effect, the fleeing Texas House Democrats are denying Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott a quorum in a special session he called partly to pass a new measure that critics say severely curtails access to voting, especially for Democratic and Black voters. The dramatic gambit is the ultimate act of civil disobedience by the Texas lawmakers. It is intended to provide a stark contrast with federal Democrats — like West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin — who are unwilling to break their own conventions to overturn the Senate filibuster.
The lawmakers hope that they can hold off the passage of the Texas law to give them time to somehow convince senators to pass new federal measures that would supersede their state’s legislation, which is likely to eventually pass.
Chris Turner, chairman of the Texas House Democratic Caucus, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper after landing at Dulles International Airport outside Washington that he had a clear message for the US Senate.
“You have to act, and you have to act now. There’s no more waiting,” he said. “We need Congress to pass federal voting rights legislation to save our democracy because these Republican attacks will continue to occur, over and over again, in Texas and across the country.”
But the action of the Texas Democrats raises its own uncomfortable questions about the health of American democracy — as did walkouts by state Republican lawmakers in Oregon in recent years, for example, to block the passage of progressive legislation by Democratic majorities.
While the sincerity of Texas Republicans appears tainted by political opportunism, their majorities in the state legislature and Abbott’s position in the governor’s mansion were themselves the product of fair and democratic elections. In this case it is Democrats, rather than Republicans, disrupting regular order and challenging the principle that power follows certified elections in which the will of voters are expressed.

Biden to address voting rights

The walkout — which could force the lawmakers to stay out their home state until the end of the special session, well into August — also comes as President Joe Biden travels to the incubator of US democracy in Philadelphia Tuesday. He will give a major speech devoted to what the White House says is the “sacred, constitutional right to vote.”
Biden however so far is not in favor of abolishing the Senate filibuster in order to pass voting rights legislation, despite warning parts of the US are falling back into the days of Jim Crow laws that established barriers Black Americans had to surmount before voting.
Given Abbott’s capacity to call any number of special sessions and to take other steps to potentially compel attendance from lawmakers, their exodus may be hard to sustain in the long-term. Democrats are accusing Abbott of rushing through voting measures — and a raft of other controversial legislation, including a ban on the teaching of critical race theory in schools — to boost his own reelection race next year among Republican voters and potentially a presidential run in 2024.
Their protests — along with the GOP’s success in thwarting broad voting rights legislation in the Senate and a recent Supreme Court decision further neutering the Voting Rights Act — might add up to Democratic futility.
Such an outcome could mean that the only chance that Democrats in Texas and elsewhere will have in countering Republican restrictive voting laws will be in using them to supercharge turnout in the midterms and the next presidential election. That will be a tall task since the Brennan Center for Justice, a law and policy institute, says there are now 28 new restrictive voting laws in 17 states.

Lawmakers allege racial motive in new voting laws

The Texas lawmakers say they had no choice but to take desperate measures after walking out of a regular session of the legislature in June to prevent the passage of Senate Bill 7, which would have made mail-in voting more difficult, banned drive-thru voting introduced in the pandemic and prevented 24-hour voting allowed by Houston, one of the state’s most populous Democratic strongholds that is key to that party’s hopes of turning Texas blue.
“This bill will make it harder for the people of Texas to vote. The secretary of state’s office in Texas told us that our elections ran smoothly, securely, and were a success,” Bucy said as he drove from Texas to Washington.
“So, you have to question what is the problem these bills are trying to solve? Clearly, all they are trying to do is make it harder for the people of Texas to vote, specifically individuals with disabilities, women and people of color.”
The previous Democratic boycott did appear to work in removing several of the most contentious measures from the legislation. It does not contain new restrictions on the Sunday voting that is popular with Democratic Party activists for maximizing turnout from Black churchgoers. But it does make it harder to cast ballots by limiting the collection of ballots by third parties, introduces new restrictions for voting by mail and takes further steps to water down the non-partisan nature of the counting and certification of ballots.
Abbott reacted to the departure of the Texas Democrats by accusing them of failing to show up to work on behalf of their constituents.
“As they fly across the country on cushy private planes, they leave undone issues that can help their districts and our state,” the governor said.
So far, Abbott has not mentioned potential sanctions, including the use of law enforcement officers or the possible use of fines against the lawmakers to compel attendance. Texas Republican House leader Dade Phelan vowed to use “every available resource under the Texas Constitution” to establish a quorum — the minimum number of members legally required to hold a valid legislative session. And Texas US Sen. John Cornyn mocked the Democrats, saying their behavior insulted the self-image of hard-driving Texans. “It’s not very Texan. “You stay and you fight — you don’t run away,” he told CNN’s Manu Raju.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, meanwhile, hit the angle that the “immature” behavior by the Democrats was in itself an affront to the political process. “It is a disgrace to democracy,” Paxton said in a statement.

Harris praises Texas Democrats

A source familiar with the group’s plans said they hoped to set up meetings with Democratic senators in Washington.
But they have already had a strong endorsement from Vice President Kamala Harris, who mentioned their “extraordinary courage and commitment,” during a voting rights event in Michigan on Monday.
“They are leaders who are marching in the path that so many others before did when they fought — and many died — for our right to vote,” said Harris who has been tasked by Biden with leading the administration’s voting rights battle.
“I do believe that fighting for the right to vote is as American as apple pie.”
Texas Republicans have argued that Democrats should not have advantages — such as increased voting hours — that are not available to conservative voters in sparsely populated rural areas. That principle effectively makes it harder to vote in high density cities long known for long lines on Election Day than in regions where polling places are less crowded.
There is no evidence of widespread fraud in Texas or anywhere else in last November’s election. Multiple efforts by Trump to prove there was have been thrown out of court — often by judges appointed by GOP presidents.

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This post originally posted here CNN.com – RSS Channel – HP Hero

Long COVID reveals how little we understand the human immune system

Temma Ehrenfeld is a writer and ghostwriter in New York drawn to philosophy and psychiatry. Her most recent book is Morgan: The Wizard of Kew Gardens. This story was originally featured on Undark.

A year before the pandemic, I was diagnosed with a condition called mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS). A hallmark of the syndrome is hypersensitivities in more than one organ system: Food and other triggers can give me abdominal pain and severe diarrhea; my nose swells and I sneeze and wheeze. That sounds like allergies, but I’ve never tested positive on an allergy test.

Mast cells are among the immune system’s first line of defense. They are abundant in the parts of the body that have close contact with the outside world, including the skin, airways, and intestines. Mast cells gone wrong cause allergic symptoms, secreting histamine and giving us itchy eyes, hives, and rashes. Less well understood is their role in modulating the responses of other immune cells. Before the pandemic, researchers had suggested that mast cell dysfunction could explain severe cases of the flu—and highlighted the cells’ role in shutting down inflammation in a variety of situations. In my case, probably because of a genetic peculiarity, my mast cells overreact.

I was fairly stable on my medication, and then I became sick with Covid-19. Months after the virus had passed and I no longer had pneumonia, I was still fighting fatigue and breathlessness. My symptoms also flared up erratically. On some mornings, for example, the oatmeal I had relied on for years could cause me abdominal pain. “Once the mast cell response is turned up, it doesn’t wind down just because the infection is gone,” explained my doctor, Leo Galland, a New York internist who specializes in difficult cases.

MCAS often seems to first emerge after a virus. Could it explain any of the symptoms of the growing group of patients with long Covid? Congress has now dedicated more than a billion dollars towards research into why so many post-COVID patients—roughly a quarter, more often women—still feel ill long after their infection. In Facebook groups and elsewhere, people with plausible symptoms—for instance, severe lingering rashes and months of hives—have been trading information about remedies for the disease. Severe fatigue after exercise suggested myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, which some say is linked to MCAS. Others became lightheaded when they stood up, which might mean they had postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). Spend an hour searching online, and you’ll find papers saying POTS, too, may be a manifestation of MCAS.

But getting a workup for the syndrome can be a long ordeal. The full range of tests and treatments aren’t routinely covered by insurance, leaving some patients to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket. Before you get there, you need to find a sympathetic doctor: Researchers don’t agree on whether the illness is rare, or quite common.

I was lucky; Galland took me on in the 1980s. Long before the microbiome became a news item, he diagnosed me with intestinal dysbiosis—a disturbed gut. We don’t know why I got sick when I did, but when I showed up in Galland’s office, I was a young woman on an absurdly limited diet with a myriad of fluctuating symptoms. On a trip to Tucson, as just one example, my face and arms ballooned, and then shrank on the plane home. I had been exposed to a fungus in the desert. My grandmother commiserated; when her face swelled up, her doctors in Antwerp, in the 1930s, pulled out all of her teeth. She had no explanation.

Interestingly, disturbances in the gut may be linked to severe COVID-19, and correcting them a possible path to health for long COVID sufferers. Mast cells may have a unique role in communicating with gut bacteria. In midlife, I fit the profile for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the abdominal pain, often accompanied by diarrhea or constipation, that afflicts as much as 20 percent of the population, and often sets in after a virus. Desperate, in 2018, I had just completed a trial of hypnotherapy for IBS when my digestion took an embarrassing turn, with accidents in taxis, and I could no longer eat outside my home.

A new dietician, Tamara Duker Freuman, author of “The Bloated Belly Whisperer,” helped me identify the worst offenders: foods that are high in histamine, which can be found in everything from alcohol to avocados. After further testing, Galland put me on a regime: an arsenal of mast cell modulators and anti-histamines, including Pepcid, which also blocks histamine.

And I got better.


Mast cells were first named in 1878 by a German-Jewish Nobel Prize winner, Paul Ehrlich, a father of modern immunology who is most famous for discovering the cure for syphilis. At the turn of the century, scientists discovered anaphylaxis, the classic mast cell allergic reaction. The word comes from the Greek ana (against) and phylaxis (protection). The idea that an immune response could actually hurt us, rather than protect us, came as shock. Current research about the gut and immunity may change the paradigm again.

Five decades later, in 1949, scientists described a rare genetic disorder called mastocytosis, in which mast cells produce clones, building up in the skin, bones, and other organs. It wasn’t until the 1980s that researchers began to notice that mast cells could become hyper-responsive or over-activated without cloning.

On a separate track, since the 1990s, researchers have explored mast cell activity in IBS. (A clinical trial of Pepcid and Zyrtec for difficult IBS cases is currently underway at the University of Cincinnati.) Kyle Staller, director of the Gastrointestinal Motility Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital, now sometimes prescribes Pepcid if he sees other signs like hives, to patients who ask him to consider a histamine or MCAS issue. “I think anyone who’s been following the science closely has to start wondering, ‘How much could this be playing a role in that IBS patient who’s in front of us on a given day?’” he told me.

The disagreement has led to two camps. In camp one, the condition is rare; in camp two, it occurs in up to 17 percent of the adult population.

Competing proposals for diagnostic criteria emerged after 2010. Both proposals say that doctors should rule out other explanations for a person’s symptoms, and that symptoms should appear in a least two organ systems (in my case, it affects my gut, nose, and skin). Both proposals require lab tests—but they disagree on which tests are necessary, and on the ranges that would indicate someone has MCAS, as well as other details. Because lab results are elusive, Galland and some other doctors rely on a medical history instead.

The disagreement has led to two camps. In camp one, the condition is rare; in camp two, it occurs in up to 17 percent of the adult population. Specialists in camp one say patients are misled: “More and more patients are informed that they may have [mast cell activation syndrome] without completing a thorough medical evaluation,” an international group of 24 authors, led by Peter Valent, a hematologist and stem cell researcher at the Medical University of Vienna, wrote in April 2019 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

A year later, a largely American group of 43 authors led by Lawrence Afrin, one of the earliest mast cell activation researchers, countered in the journal Diagnosis that patients are suffering and even dying from underdiagnosis. By then the pandemic had arrived, and Afrin suggested that some patients with long COVID might be experiencing MCAS.

Patients were seeing links as well. For example, the distinct POTS symptom of extreme lightheadedness, once often dismissed as a problem of anxious young women, emerged as one of the odder long Covid symptoms. POTS, which has been reported by patients who experienced Lyme and other infections, may involve histamine and several other chemicals released by mast cells. It is known to overlap with MCAS.

Last fall, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on what it labeled multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS), the name rang bells: MCAS is clearly a multi-system inflammatory syndrome. Theoharis Theoharides, a professor of immunology at Tufts University who has studied mast cells for more than 40 years, wrote that MIS patients should be evaluated for MCAS.

Mariana Castells, director of the Mastocytosis Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told me in an email that she’s seen no data showing that long COVID patients have the requisite diagnostic markers of MCAS.

Observers agree that the long COVID group probably includes people with different vulnerabilities. It would be marvelous indeed, if, one day, we found a single powerful concept to understand post-viral illness.

In the meantime, you might not need to fit either group’s criteria for MCAS, a difficult and chronic illness, to experience your mast cells’ betraying you sometimes. “Like many, many conditions, over time we [may] learn that there’s a spectrum of disease,” Staller said. “It’s not an all or nothing phenomenon.”

Even the group that sees MCAS as rare acknowledges the existence of a less severe form of mast cell activation that does not meet MCAS criteria. Theoharides has detailed several categories of the illness. He told me that he’d guess half of patients diagnosed with IBS might have mast cell activation of some kind.

If mast cell dysfunction is truly common, I trust the online buzz to help us find out. Crowdsourcing on patient forums is here to stay. And it’s good, after all, that sick people shared information, found support, and made long COVID a “thing” with ontological status.

Growing up, I had wondered if my grandmother’s multiple “allergies” were real. We didn’t laugh, but we didn’t exactly believe her. Then it happened to me.

Author: Purbita Saha

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