All posts by Louisa Twum-Baah

10 warning signs that you may have fibroids

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A fibroid is a benign, non-cancerous growth that occurs in or around the uterus. It is also known as leiomyoma, or simply myoma, in medical terminology.

A woman can have a single fibroid or multiple fibroids. These growths constitute fibrous tissues and muscles. Fibroids can be minuscule or conspicuous. However, in most cases, they tend to become extremely large.

According to the National Institutes of Health, most American women are likely to develop fibroids during their lifetimes.

The causes of fibroids remain relatively unknown, although they are mostly genetic. Obese women are more likely to develop fibroids than healthier women.

According to the U.S. Department of Health, 20 to 80 percent of women develop fibroids by age 50. It is especially common in women between age 30 and 40.

Since fibroids thrive on the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone, they are most likely to occur during the reproductive years.

The risk of developing fibroids increases with age during the reproductive years. This is the reason women going through menopause are at the highest risk.

Because fibroids have a tendency to recur, doctors often suggest a hysterectomy to combat fibroid-growth for a hassle-free, post-menopausal life.

While not life-threatening, fibroids can prove highly uncomfortable and adversely affect the overall quality of a woman’s life.

Here are 10 warning signs that you may have fibroids.

1. Excessive & Prolonged Bleeding

If you experience abnormally profuse menstrual bleeding, or if your periods last more than 7 or 8 days at a stretch, you might be suffering from fibroids.

Many women disregard occasional heavy blood flow, or simply do not notice it. Here’s a simple test: if you find yourself using more sanitary products in a day than you would normally use, something’s not right.

 You may also notice the passage of blood clots during menstruation.

According to a 2012 study published in BMC Women’s Health, 9.4 percent of women in the UK reported uterine fibroids.

Of those, 59.8 percent reported heavy bleeding, 37.3 percent reported prolonged bleeding and 33.3 percent reported bleeding between periods.

Consult your doctor if you notice any such abnormalities in your menstrual cycle.

2. Non-Menstrual Pelvic Pain

If you frequently experience pain in the pelvic region outside of your menstrual cycle, this could be indicative of a fibroid growth. Large fibroids exert pressure on and around the surrounding areas.

Sometimes fibroids grow very close to the pelvis, in which case their location, and not their size, is what exerts pressure and causes pain.

Out of the 15 percent of 635 patients who reported uterine fibroids, 2.6 percent reported non-menstrual pelvic pain, according to a 2003 study published in Fertility and Sterility.

Therefore, if you often notice your pelvic region hurting for no reason, especially outside of your menstrual cycle, consult a gynecologist.

3. Abnormal Urinary Patterns

The bladder is located in close proximity to the uterus. When multiple and large fibroids grow from the uterus, they put excessive pressure on the neighboring organs, including the bladder. This causes frequent and often painful urination.

This pressure on the bladder is the highest when laying down. Therefore, the need to urinate especially at night increases with fibroid growth. Loss of bladder control is also a symptom of fibroid growth.

Out of 78 women diagnosed with uterine fibroids, 91 percent reported a spike in nighttime urination, 59 percent reported an increase in urinary frequency, and 45 to 54 percent reported a loss of bladder control, according to a 2011 study published in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery.

Therefore, if you suffer any of these lower urinary tract symptoms, consult a gynecologist as soon as you can.

4. Painful Intercourse

The presence of large fibroids in and around the uterus can make intercourse extremely painful for a woman. A woman may experience acute pain when the fibroids grow around the vaginal tract or the cervix, which connects the vagina and uterus.

The fibroids may exert pressure on the cervix during intercourse and may cause irritation and pain. It can also cause mild bleeding.

That pain might also exacerbate when assuming certain positions.

According to a 2014 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, the majority of the 827 premenopausal women, ages 35 to 49, reported a positive association of fibroids with pain during intercourse.

Fundal fibroids, which occur at the top of the uterus, were more strongly associated with intercourse-pain than other kinds of fibroids, according to the study.

If you experience painful intercourse, get yourself checked.

5. Abdominal Swelling

Multiple and large fibroids jetting out of the uterus can cause the abdomen to appear swollen or larger in size.

Since people are more likely to associate a large abdomen with weight gain, it is one of the most misunderstood and ignored symptoms of a fibroid-growth.

A majority (59.1 percent) of 300 multi-ethnic women with genetic uterine fibroids reported abdominal swelling, according to a 2005 study published in Human Reproduction.

If you have noticed your belly (abdomen, in particular) jetting out and you’ve been blaming it on your poor diet, it is time to reconsider and consult your gynecologist.

6. Lower Back Pain

You might be wondering how a growth on the uterus causes pain in the lower back. The mass and position of fibroids determine the parts of the body that are affected and to what degree.

The size of fibroids varies, and some are excessively large and heavy. Furthermore, such large and bulky fibroids are often located on the lower back surface of the uterus. When this happens, your lower back experiences pressure, inducing pain.

While a number of reasons can contribute to lower back pain, if it occurs frequently, and especially with other reproductive symptoms, it might indicate a fibroid growth.

7. Infertility

infertility

Submucosal or endometrial fibroids are the rarest type of fibroids. They develop under the muscles of the uterine lining and toward the endometrium.

Large, submucosal fibroids block the fallopian tubes and hamper the passage of eggs from the ovaries to the uterus.

While studies have not shown a positive association between other fibroids and infertility, submucosal fibroids are known to cause infertility and lower the prevalence of pregnancy.

A 2009 study published in Fertility and Sterility further substantiates that submucosal fibroids increase the risk of infertility and suggests removing the fibroids to increase the rate of pregnancy.

If you have been facing problems conceiving, consult your gynecologist for possible fibroids.

8. Miscarriage

miscarriage

Submucosal fibroids (emerging from the uterine lining) and intracavity fibroids (located within the cavity) can often lead to miscarriages.

When a fertilized egg travels through the fallopian tubes and lodges into the uterine cavity, a submucosal fibroid may obstruct the passage of blood to the embryo.

Fibroids may cause inflammation within the lining and hamper the proper growth of the fetus.

Both these factors can contribute to miscarriage.

Fibroid growth was positively associated in women who had suffered recurrent miscarriages in the mid trimester, according to a 2011 study published in Human Reproduction.

If you have suffered recurrent miscarriages, seek medical attention for possible fibroid growths.

9. Constipation

constipation

Subserous fibroids are those present on the outside surface of the uterine wall.

Large, bulky subserous fibroids exert pressure on the rectum. This hampers the body’s normal bowel functions and can cause constipation. You may also experience rectal pain.

Constipation is one of the major symptoms of fibroids in women, according to a 2011 study published in The Practitioner.

Constipation can occur for a variety of reasons. However, if you suffer from constipation regularly and notice other symptoms of fibroids along with it, consult a gynecologist.

10. Leg Pain

leg pain

Subserous fibroids may press against the spinal nerves. Since spinal nerves directly correlate to the legs, this pressure can cause leg and thigh pain.

Leg pain can also occur for many reasons. However, if you have leg pain along with the other symptoms of fibroids regularly, seek medical attention for possible fibroids.

Source: Top10remedies

A guided tour of the cybercrime underground

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Petya ransomware

The Petya ransomware makes a computer unusable until a ransom is paid

One of the strange features of cybercrime is how much of it is public.

A quick search will turn up forums and sites where stolen goods, credit cards and data are openly traded.

But a glance into those places may not give you much idea about what is going on.

“Everyone can join as long as you speak Russian,” said Anton, a malware researcher at security firm Sentinel One, who has inhabited this underground world for more than 20 years.

“By Russian I mean the USSR, so there is Ukrainians, there is Kazakhstan, there is Belarus. The Romanians are doing all the dirty work like spam and maintenance so they are not really involved in developing malware,” he said. “But, today, is it mainly Russian? Yes.”

Those vibrant underground marketplaces have a long history and Anton adds that he tracks the malware makers to gain insights into what they might do next.

“I was there from the very early stages,” Anton told the BBC. “I guess I started at about the age of 12, when there was not much online community.

“Instead it was many channels where hackers exchanged information and exploits and kind of stuff like that,” he said.

In those early days few wanted to break the law, he said.

“Back then there was not much money involved at all,” he said. “It was only about sharing knowledge, sharing information, sharing various scripts or downloading warez – which is pirated content.”


Analysis

Tony Rowan, director of Sentinel One, which employs Anton to log what happens on crime forums and dark web marketplaces.

“It gives us an insight into the directions these communities are taking.

“We have to monitor these to understand what they are doing, the success they are having and what they are about to do next.

“You have to be prepared rather than just sit back and wait for it to happen to you. It’s essential for us to have this kind of contact because without it we are blind.”

Spam in email inbox

Responsibilities are divided up among different groups on underground forums

Rick Holland, strategy head at security firm Digital Shadows which tracks online hacker groups

“There’s a lot of criminality going on on the open web, particularly when you get into the Russian federation. They do not need to be on the dark web. Some are quite brazen and quite public whereas others have a much higher level of operational security.

“If we are tracking a criminal location and we find chatter about our clients that can be of value,” he said. “In the longer term it’s what’s coming over the horizon. What are they dialling up next?

“It’s not trivial to do something like that, it’s definitely not easy to do although I think there’s definitely value in working out what they are doing.”


The underground changed after the millennium turned and e-commerce took off. Forums popped up that talked about how to cash in via spam, phishing, malware and web attacks.

There was another big shift in 2007-08, said Anton, as the criminals sought a way to fleece people that gave better returns than the cruder techniques. The first wave, which started the modern era of cybercrime, used fake anti-virus software.

“They installed some really, really poorly written software on your machine,” he said, explaining the scam. “It looked like anti-virus but it actually does nothing.

“It tells you: ‘We just scanned your PC and we have found many problems. You need to fix it now, you need to buy this software. It only costs $35-40 (£28-32)’,” he said.

This worked better than earlier scams, said Anton, but it took a lot of effort to catch people out and get them to pay.

Often, he said, when people paid via a credit card they reversed the transaction once they found out they had been tricked. Conversion rates, meaning the number of victims who handed over cash, stayed low.

“This meant they must do something better, something more scary.”

Frightened people pay up, said Anton, adding that this drove the next evolution: lockers.

“What they do is they attack your browser and put up a big page on your main desktop, saying you were found with illegal child pornography or something very, very scary,” he said.

Computer code

The early days on the underground were all about swapping code

“People got afraid saying ‘OK, maybe one of my kids did it, maybe, I’m not sure, I’ll pay’,”.

The one-page attacks asked for more money, up to $200 (£160), and proved so successful that many police forces issued warnings that urged people not to pay.

The success, and also the publicity, forced the next stage of crimeware – ransomware, Anton explained.

“I call it an evolution because the same people that did the fake anti-virus before are doing ransomware now. And they were doing the fake police page in the years between 2010 and 2013,” he said.

Ransomware has the best conversion rate, he said, because victims cannot ignore its effects.

“It’s real damage so that you can see that your files are no longer working. And that’s the best proof for the user that he must pay,” he said.

Never stop

Its rise has also been helped by the advent of virtual currency Bitcoin, because it has few of the drawbacks of credit cards or other payment systems.

“Today you cannot talk about ransomware without mentioning Bitcoin because that’s what made this evolution come,” said Anton.

The damage is not just limited to the amount people pay. Estimates from the FBI suggest that the 992 cases of ransomware carrier Cryptowall reported during a 14-month period cost victims $18m (£14.4m). Some of the cost was in the ransom, up to $10,000 (£8,000), but this was multiplied by lost productivity, legal fees and work done to remove the infections.

It is popular, he said, because of another shift in the way that the underground is organised. In the past the groups writing the malware sent the spam, analysed the results and fleeced the victims.

Bitcoin

The advent of Bitcoin virtual cash has driven the rise of ransomware

Not any more, he said. Now, many groups writing ransomware run it as a service.

“They will give you the software with your affiliate ID so if you spread it they will know that it’s from you and you will get a payout,” he said. “You will get 70% and they will get the 30% out of each payment.”

Competition among ransomware writers means some other groups give better returns.

But, he said, those groups may be producing poorly-written malware that struggles to get past the digital defences people and businesses use.

The evolution of the underground has hit a peak with ransomware and Bitcoin, said Anton, and their combined success has kicked off a gold rush.

“It’s getting more and more people attracted to it, like from the criminal side. More and more people are starting to spread it.”

They will not stop, either, he said. “I think if you get easy money and it just keeps coming, why not continue it, right? It’s obvious.”

Source: BBC

Mexico’s foreign minister rejects Trump deportation policy

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A demonstrator holds a placard reading: "No wall. Respect to immigrants and human rights" during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's proposed border wall and to call for unity, in Monterrey, Mexico, on 12 February

“No wall. Respect to immigrants and human rights”:Mr Trump’s immigration policy has led to protests in Mexico

Mexico has condemned new guidelines issued by the United States, under which almost all illegal immigrants can be subject to deportation.

The new rules include sending undocumented people to Mexico, even if they are not Mexicans.

But Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray says his country cannot “accept unilateral decisions imposed by one government on another.”

Two top US officials are in Mexico to discuss the measures.

Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, and the head of Homeland Security, John Kelly, will hold talks with President Enrique Pena Nieto, amid one of the most serious rifts between the two neighbours in recent years.


What is changing?

The changes announced on Tuesday include plans to enforce an existing provision of the US Immigration and Nationality Act that allows authorities to send illegal immigrants back to Mexico, regardless of where they are from.

But it is unclear whether the US has authority to force Mexico to accept foreigners.

The Obama government focussed on deporting immigrants convicted of serious crimes.

Now, the new priorities are broad enough to apply to almost any illegal immigrant, including anyone who has been charged with a crime, misrepresented themselves, poses a risk to public safety, or “abused any programme related to receipt of public benefits”.

The new guidelines also allow Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport people immediately.

Expedited deportations can now be used against undocumented immigrants anywhere in the US, who are unable to prove they have been in the country for more than two years.

US President Donald Trump discusses the federal budget in the Roosevelt Room of the White House

Mr Trump’s stance over immigration has angered Mexicans

Previously, expedited removals were applied to people who had been in the country for less than two weeks and were within 100 miles of the border.

An estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the US, many of them from Mexico.

What has Mexico said?

Mr Videgaray said on Wednesday that Mexico would not accept the new rules. “We are not going to accept that because we don’t have to and it is not in the interest of Mexico.”

“We also have control of our borders and we will exercise it fully,” he added.

He said his country was prepared to go to the United Nations to defend the freedoms and rights of Mexicans under international law.

Roberto Campa, head of the human rights department of Mexico’s interior ministry, said the plan to deport non-Mexicans to Mexico was “hostile” and “unacceptable”.

A man walks to Mexico after crossing the international bridge on the US/Mexico border in Nuevo Laredo

Mexico says it will not accept the new US measures

Relations between the US and Mexico have been tense under Mr Trump, who has said Mexico will pay for a wall he wants to build on the southern border, expected to cost billions of dollars.

Last month, Mr Pena Nieto cancelled a planned meeting with the US president in Washington over disagreements over the wall.


What has the US said?

President Donald Trump made immigration and border control a key part of his campaign.

The government said the new guidelines would not usher in mass deportations, but were designed to empower agents to enforce laws already on the books.

A sign warns against trespassing near the US/Mexico border in Presidio, Texas

Border control was one of main points of Mr Trump’s election campaign

Earlier, in Guatemala, Mr Kelly reinforced that the measures did not signal mass deportations.

“We will be looking primarily at criminal offenders first. But there will be no mass round-ups, and when we do take someone into custody, they’re then put into the American legal justice system, that’s the courts, and the courts will decide what’ll happen to them,” he told reporters.

Despite the tensions, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Wednesday that the relationship with Mexico was “phenomenal right now”.

He said he expected a “great discussion” between US and Mexican officials. The talks are expected to also include drug trafficking and the North American Free Trade Agreement, among other issues.

Source: BBC

Facebook deletes fake child-cancer posts accounts

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Chickenpox child

Jasper Allen was two when the photos were taken – he has since recovered

Facebook has deleted two accounts that used stolen photographs of a sick child to falsely claim he had cancer.

It follows complaints by the three-year-old’s mother that the images had been used as part of a scam. They dated from last year when the boy had a bad case of chickenpox.

The posts claimed Facebook would donate money for surgery if users “liked” them or left comments.

One security expert warned that users who did so had put themselves at risk.

More than a million people had engaged with one of the messages since it was posted at the start of the month.

Googled photos

Sarah Allen, from St Neots, Cambridgeshire, believes the Facebook accounts had sourced the photos from online news stories published about her son’s chickenpox in August 2016.

Jasper Allen’s illness drew attention because of its severity and the fact that his mother had called on the government to make the chickenpox vaccine free for all.

“We were warned people might take his pictures… because if you Google chickenpox his pictures are there,” Mrs Allen told the BBC.

“So, we were well aware that might happen, but not in this respect, to say he had cancer.”

She added that some friends had contacted her after seeing the posts to ask if her son indeed had cancer.

Mrs Allen said she repeatedly messaged Facebook to complain about copyright infringement and was told on 10 February that one of the accounts had been removed for breaching the site’s rules.

Facebook message

Facebook had told Mrs Allen that a profile that posted the images had been removed

However, she said, it was back online within 24 hours, without explanation.

It was only after the media, including the BBC, covered the affair that Facebook instructed its complaints team to revisit the case.

The US-based company initially only removed the posts featuring Jasper before it decided to close the associated accounts completely.

The accounts had also featured posts with identical text that showed images of other children. One example featured a bearded youth – despite the words referring to a “little baby [that] has cancer”.

Other posts from the accounts showed images of children in hospital claiming that viewers would experience years of bad luck if they scrolled down without liking and sharing.

One security blogger said it appeared to be have been a case of “link farming”, in which scammers seek to make people interact with a Facebook post so they can either direct further messages to them or sell on the profile and all its contacts.

“There are a lot of scams that use these kind of emotional images – oftentimes it’s done to make money,” Graham Cluley explained.

“They may later post something that claims you’ve won a prize and try and get you to enter your mobile phone number and then sign you up for a premium rate service, or ask for other personal information.

“The problem is that people just believe things that are posted online, and they need to be a lot more careful about what they like and share.”

Source: BBC

6 ways to find out about your partner’s past relationships

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The past is the past when it comes to relationships. And, of course, we have to respect our partner’s privacy and boundaries. So if they don’t like talking about their past relationships, or offer very little information, that’s the end of that.

But what if you’re dating someone new and you’re dying to know who and how they dated in the past? You don’t want to appear suspicious and insecure; you’re just … curious.

While the experts agree that deceit can be dangerous — and you definitely don’t want to lose your partner’s trust — there are ways to obtain information about a partner’s dating history without looking like a total stalker.

#1: Start with elicitation.

This is the art of coaxing information out of someone without their knowing it, says B.D. Foley, a retired CIA operations officer and the author of “CIA Street Smarts for Women.” “Direct questions will only cause a [man/player] to be defensive, evasive, or more on-guard. Elicitation can draw them out subtly, and is really the only effective way to vet someone, to learn his true intentions, to find out about his past.”

Flattery: An elicitation ploy begins with compliments. Open the door to his ego. “It will uncover arrogance if he drones on about his accomplishments, or exploits, which might include his multiple partners. (for example, [saying something like] ‘A handsome guy like you has probably had a lot of girlfriends.’) An arrogant jerk might let slip that he has had many women,” says Foley.

Attribution: This ploy consists of telling him, “I heard that …”  “It can be something as innocent as ‘I heard from some classmates that you have slept with a lot of women.’ The thought that she already knows, from a source, could compel him to confess, thinking that it is too late to lie,” says Foley.  Or, try mixing attribution with a little flattery by saying, “I heard that you hooked up with five girls in just your senior year.” He might feel compelled to correct the record by saying something like, “Nope, it was 15,” Foley adds.

Assumption: We don’t want you assuming the worst in your partner, but this is an easy way to get more details on their past. “You can just make an assumption based upon looks, physique, or what frat/sorority they belonged to. “Example: ‘My roommate dated one of your teammates; you guys are players.’ Again, it is harder for him to deny something that is established, in his mind, than just asking him a direct question such as ‘Have you had sex with a lot of women?'” says Foley.

#2. Plan an evening with their friends.

Relationship expert Audrey Hope suggest going out with both girl and guy friends, and listening for signs. “Do your best to bring up your partner’s past in conversation with them, but don’t be too obvious about it. Mix it up with newer topics about life today, and then revert to older ones about life then,” she says.  Even better, Hope says try to go with your partner to their class reunions.

#3. Have dinner with your partner’s parents.

We know how moms love to share stories about their baby boy.  “She may say something like, ‘Oh, we had such a hard time with him/her five years ago.’ These are the keys that will start to put a story together. Also, getting chummy with their sister or brother is always a safe bet as well, especially since siblings tend to embarrass one another by spilling the beans on everything!’ says Hope.

#4. Patiently probe the past.

You can find out a lot by asking subtle questions about his or her exes in appropriate contexts. It’s a gradual process, but it allows you to piece together information on past flings. “This slow, patient approach might even give your partner the space to actually open up about the past in a meaningful way. This method, while requiring patience, has the advantage of not requiring any stalking at all,” says dating coach Jonathan Bennett.

#5. Take advantage of publicly provided information.

In other words, Google them. Look at work websites, blogs, and any articles and reports that may pop up. “While some might consider that to be stalking, there’s nothing wrong with examining what your partner posted with the express purpose of showing the world anyway. It’s unfair to use the word ‘stalking’ when your new partner decides to look at all the stuff you freely and happily shared with the world,” says Bennett.

#6. Social media may be the answer to your prayers.

Even if your partner has deleted all online proof of their ex, there are still stops you can pull out. Dating expert and matchmaker April Davis says, “If you know their ex’s first or last name, try to check his/her friends or family’s Facebook friends. Chances are, someone is still friends with the ex online. Same goes for Twitter and Instagram.”

Source: foxnews

South Africa’s decision to leave ICC ruled ‘invalid’

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ICC in Ivory Coast in 2013

Africa has 34 signatories to the Rome Statute, the treaty that set up the court

South Africa’s decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) has been ruled “unconstitutional and invalid” by the High Court.

South Africa notified the UN of its intention to leave last October, accusing the ICC of undermining its sovereignty.

But the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) argued that the government had to first seek parliamentary approval.

The court ordered the government to revoke its notice of withdrawal.

The decision to pull out came after a dispute over Sudanese President Omar al-Bashar’s visit to the country in 2015.

South African authorities refused to arrest Mr Bashir despite him facing an ICC arrest warrant over alleged war crimes.

Mr Bashir was attending an African Union summit in Johannesburg, when the government ignored an ICC request to arrest him.

The DA welcomed the judgement.

“The withdrawal by the South African government from the ICC was irrational and unconstitutional,” DA lawmaker James Selfie told AFP.

“We would like South Africa to stay in the ICC because we believe that it is consistent with our constitution and with the legacy of Nelson Mandela.”

Source: BBC

Why You Can’t Move When You Wake Up in the Middle of the Night

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Imagine falling into a sound sleep, when suddenly you wake up and you can’t move a muscle. Sounds frightening! But it’s an experience that many people have at some point in their lives.

This weird phenomenon is known as sleep paralysis, where an individual cannot move, speak or react for a brief moment when falling asleep or awakening. It is a transitional state between wakefulness and sleep, which is often accompanied by hallucinations.

Hallucinations, such as the presence of someone in the room or someone sitting on your chest, are common and may make it difficult for the person to breathe. Physical experiences like a strong current running through the upper body are also common.

Sleep paralysis is relatively common, according to a 2011 systematic review published in Sleep Medicine Reviews. The review analyzed 35 studies reporting lifetime sleep paralysis rates of more than 36,000 participants in total.

Researchers found that 7.6 percent of the general population experiences sleep paralysis, rising to 28.3 percent in high-risk groups, such as students who have a disrupted sleep pattern. Among people suffering from mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression, 31.9 percent experienced episodes of sleep paralysis.

why you cant move in the middle of the night

This study sheds light on the need for more research on sleep paralysis to determine its impact on an individual’s physical and emotional state. Also, its relation to psychiatric and other medical conditions should be further analyzed.

When Does Sleep Paralysis Occur?

Usually, sleep paralysis occurs within two specific times during the sleep cycle.

  • While you are falling asleep, which is known as hypnagogic or predormital sleep paralysis. As you fall asleep, your body slowly relaxes and you may notice that you cannot move or speak.
  • While you are waking up, which is known as hypnopompic or postdormital sleep paralysis. During sleep, your body alternates between REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep. At the end of NREM, your sleep shifts to REM, where the eyes move quickly but the rest of your body remains very relaxed. REM is the deepest part of your sleep cycle when your brain has vivid dreams. At this time, the muscles of your body are essentially turned off so that you do not act out your dream with your body. If you wake up before your REM cycle is over, you become fully conscious but your body is still in the REM sleep mode, leaving you unable to move voluntarily.

What Types of Hallucinations Occur in Sleep Paralysis?

Three types of hallucinations can occur during sleep paralysis, according to a 1999 study published in Consciousness and Cognition.

  • Incubus: In this type, people feel intense pressure on their chests and feel they cannot breathe. Here, the body is still in REM breathing mode.
  • Intruder: Here, people experience the feeling of a presence, fear, and visual and auditory hallucinations. It is described as a “hypervigilant state of the midbrain”, where people may be aware of even the smallest stimuli.
  • Unusual bodily experiences: In this type, people have an out-of-body experience like flying or floating. Here, different areas of the brain are active at the time the person awakens.

Who Can Have Sleep Paralysis?

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, people experience sleep paralysis for the first time between the ages of 14 and 17. It can affect men and women of any age group and it is estimated that it occurs in between 5 and 40 percent of people.

sleep paralysis

Moreover, a 2015 study published in the Journal of Sleep Research notes that sleep paralysis is moderately heritable. However, further studies are still required to come to a definitive conclusion.

Some of the common risk factors linked to sleep paralysis are:

  • Improper sleep.
  • Frequent changes in sleep schedules.
  • Mental problems, such as anxiety, high stress or bipolar disorder.
  • Genetic predisposition.
  • Sleeping on the back.
  • Sleep problems, such as narcolepsy or nighttime leg cramps.
  • Use of certain medications.
  • Substance abuse.

Can Sleep Paralysis be Prevented or Treated?

It can be difficult to treat or prevent sleep paralysis, as it is related to heredity and is linked to a whole bunch of other sleeping and health issues. However, there are many things you can do to help deal with this problem.

  • Try to reduce and manage stress in your life.
  • Exercise regularly, but not before going to bed.
  • Get sufficient rest and maintain a regular sleep schedule.
  • Never take any medicine without consulting your doctor.
  • If you have a mental disorder, such as anxiety or depression, take the medication prescribed by your doctor regularly.
  • Avoid sleeping on your back. Try to sleep on your side to reduce the occurrence of sleep paralysis.
  • To come out of sleep paralysis, try to move a finger or a toe and focus on that. Once a muscle moves, the paralysis is broken.

Remember, sleep paralysis is nothing to worry about. If it occurs, it is normal and can be managed with the right measures and precautions.

Source: Top10remedies

Mugabe: ‘Stop working for white people’

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Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters shout political slogans and hold placards during a protest against the Zimbabwean government on May 28, 2016 in Bulawayo.
The oposition say Mr Mugbabe’s policies have caused poverty

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has called on black people to stop thinking of working for European investors and to focus on becoming  “masters of our own economy”.

In an interview with state media to mark his 93rd birthday, Mr Mugabe said his government had achieved its objective to increase land ownership among black people following independence in 1980.

“I would say we have continued to give land to the people and most of the land which used to be in the hands of the settlers is now in the hands of our people,” Mr Mugabe said.

“I think we have done that well,” he added.

But, on the business front, his concern was that Zimbabweans did not want to form companies and preferred to work for “Europeans as directors, managers [and] chief executives”.

“We would want to see our people turned into entrepreneurs. Have we really  become producers of our own goods? Have we become masters of our own economy or are we still thinking of whites as the best entrepreneurs and Africans as the labourers for these entrepreneurs?” Mr Mugabe said.

Mr Mugabe’s critics say his policies have ruined the economy, and that a corrupt ruling elite has benefited the most from his land reform programme.

Zimbabwe does not have its own currency, and introduced “bond notes” last year because of a shortage of US dollars, the main currency people used in the country.

Source: BBC

South Sudan warns of hundreds of thousands facing famine

By | World | No Comments
Families with malnourished children wait to receive treatment at the Leer Hospital, South Sudan, 7 July 2014

Civil war and an economic collapse have been blamed for the situation in South Sudan

A famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan, the first to be announced in any part of the world in six years.

The government and the United Nations report that 100,000 people are facing starvation, with a million more on the brink of famine.

A combination of civil war and an economic collapse have been blamed.

There have been warnings of famine in Yemen, Somalia and north-eastern Nigeria, but South Sudan is the first to declare one.

Last week, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) warned that more than 20 million people may face starvation in a series of famines over the next six months.

The WFP’s chief economist, Arif Husain, said a combination of wars and drought meant that for the first time in recent years, aid workers were now talking about four simultaneous famines in separate parts of the world.

He added that despite record levels of international humanitarian aid distribution, there was not enough to look after all the people in need.

Source: BBC

10 foods that make you stink and no.3 will shock you

By | Lifestyle | No Comments

Most of us are very self-conscious about the way we smell, especially when we need to attend an important event like an interview, a date or a get-together with family and friends.

At times, our body smell resembles the food we’ve eaten and no matter how much we shower, deodorize or splash on our favorite perfume or cologne, nothing seems to mask the smell.

Odor-producing foods can lead to unpleasant body odor, bad breath as well as foul-smelling urine and bowel movements.

Instead of trying to deal with body odors after the fact, look to the foods you eat that may be responsible for the bad smell. This article will give you some tips on how to avoid the problem.

Here are the top 10 foods to avoid that make you stink.

1. Garlic

Garlic is a great immune-boosting herb and has many other health benefits. But garlic can also give you bad breath that is hard to bear.

In fact, the strong garlic smell can linger in your breath up to 72 hours. Garlic can even pass odor along through your urine.

garlic causes body odor and bad breath

Garlic contains allicin, a sulfur compound that is released when garlic is cut or crushed. Allicin breaks down quickly after consumption, which causes bacteria to mix with sweat and saliva and leads to a strong body odor and bad breath.

If you are worried about garlic odor, avoid eating it in raw form. Always cook the garlic thoroughly to reduce the amount of methyl-mercaptan that causes the odor.

Also, avoid eating large amounts of Chinese and Italian food as it uses garlic abundantly.

2. Onions

Just like garlic, onion also imparts a foul body odor and bad breath. In fact, a nasty onion smell can linger in the mouth for quite a while.

The sulfurous compounds in them are responsible for this problem. When raw onion is digested, the odorous molecules reach the lungs via the bloodstream, and cause a foul onion breath when you exhale.

Raw onions make your breath smell stinky for hours, however cooked onions do not cause this problem. Hence, avoid eating raw onions in excess.

3. Red Meat

People who love to eat red meat eventually experience an unpleasant body odor.

This mainly happens because red meat takes a long time to travel through the digestive tract, and it rots throughout the process. This results in bad breath as well as foul body odor.

red meat causes body odor and bad breath

A 2006 study published in Chemical Senses analyzed the effect of meat consumption on body odor attractiveness. Researchers found that the bodies of people who followed a vegetarian diet were much more appealing than meat-eaters’ bodies.

It is best to cut red meat out of your diet entirely, as it can cause many health problems along with bad odor. If a vegetarian’s diet is not for you, try cutting out some meat and replacing it with seafood.

4. Asparagus

Asparagus is another food that can affect your body odor. It contains thioesters and methanethiol, the sulfur compounds that break down into smelly chemical components. This in turn makes your urine smell.

A 2011 study published in Chemical Senses reports that the urine of people who have recently eaten asparagus has a sulfurous odor, which is distinct and similar to cooked cabbage. But people who lack the digestive enzyme that breaks down the vegetable into its smelly components may not develop asparagus pee.

If you develop smelly urine after eating asparagus, then it is best to avoid it. Opt for a tasty asparagus alternative, such as bell peppers that can also be roasted or grilled.

5. Cruciferous Vegetables

Though high in potassium and antioxidants, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower can cause unpleasant body odor.

These vegetables contain sulfur, a chemical that can intensify your odor when released through sweating after digesting it.

As these vegetables are incredibly healthy for you, there is no need to completely cut them out of your diet. Just cut back on the amount you eat. Also, it is recommended to parboil the vegetables in lightly salted water. Then, cook them as you normally would.

6. Alcohol

A drink once in a while will not cause body odor. But when you drink in excess, it may be released through your pores in the form of sweat. This in turn gives your body the same smell as beer or wine. Also, your breath smells really bad.

alcohol causes body odor and bad breath

The obnoxiously bad smell is hard to mask, even after using breath mints and mouthwashes. The only recovering element for such a foul smell is time.

In the meantime, try drinking a lot of water to keep your body hydrated. As you drink, you urinate more and the uric acid becomes less concentrated.

Avoid drinking in excess and pair your drink with a healthy, high-protein meal.

7. Fish Oil Supplements

Fish oil supplements are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that benefit your health abundantly. Their anti-inflammatory properties are particularly beneficial for heart health.

On the downside, most fish oil supplements contain impurities that trigger a fishy body odor. Plus, you will be amazed to learn that fish oil capsules go rancid quickly. Hence, most of these capsule available in the market are actually rancid!

In addition to the stinking problem, fish oil supplements can also cause side effects like belching, nausea and acid reflux in some people.

Taking fish oil capsules that are enteric-coated can help reduce the gastrointestinal symptoms to some extent as they dissolve in the intestines not the stomach.

8. Fenugreek

Another herb and spice that can have a very noticeable effect on the tang of your urine is fenugreek.

Fenugreek is high in the compound solotone that, after passing through the urinary tract, boasts a strong smell in your urine. Interestingly, solotone is used commercially as one of the main ingredients in artificial maple syrup.

If your urine smells like fenugreek after eating a large amount of fenugreek leaves or seeds, it is best to avoid it or restrict its intake. Try some other herbs that are as healthy as fenugreek.

9. Coffee

Much like alcohol, coffee has a diuretic effect and can make your urine smell really bad.

This morning pick-me-up beverage also activates your sweat glands, which can give you body odor.

coffee causes body odor and bad breath

Plus, being highly acidic, coffee dries your mouth out, which can contribute to bad breath. Over time, excessive consumption of coffee can also encourage bad bacterial growth in the mouth and cause halitosis.

Skip the coffee and opt for some better-smelling herbal tea. Not only is it a healthier choice, but it actively keeps bad breath at bay.

10. Cumin

Cumin is a strong spice that when consumed in excess can cause your pores to secrete an odor for a few days afterward.

This spice passes the odor-causing chemicals through the kidneys, making them very strong-smelling and pungent and ultimately the same for your body.

If you want to smell great for an important event, be sure to avoid foods that contain cumin and curry powder.

Source: Top10remedies