Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Student collapses every time she laughs

Kay Underwood, 20, has cataplexy, which means that almost any sort of strong emotion triggers a dramatic weakening of her muscles.

Exhilaration, anger, fear, surprise, awe and even embarrassment can also cause sufferers to suddenly collapse on the spot.

Victims are often left paralysed for several minutes, although they always retain the ability to hear what is going on around them.

Kay, of Barrow-upon-Soar, Leicestershire, who was diagnosed with the condition five years ago, once collapsed more than 40 times in a single day.

She said: "People find it very odd when it happens, and it isn't always easy to cope with strangers' reactions.

"Once, when I collapsed on some stairs, a woman walked past, hit me over the head and said I should have collapsed in a more convenient place.

"But I've learnt to live with it. I can tell when it's going to happen and have learnt to fall in a comfortable position or find something to lean on."

Like most cataplexy sufferers, Ms Underwood is also battling narcolepsy - a condition that makes her drop off to sleep without warning.

Narcolepsy affects around 30,000 people in the UK and about 70 per cent of them also have cataplexy.

Dad's Army star Arthur Lowe was cruelly afflicted by the problem in later life and once famously dozed off during a live TV interview.

There is no cure for either condition and theories on the causes range from brain chemical inbalances due to an immune problem or as the result of an infection.

Ms Underwood is now hoping new medicine can give her a normal life after visiting a specialist in sleep disorders at Leicester General Hospital.

Dr Andrew Hall, who treats around 200 narcolepsy sufferers, said science had still to determine the exact cause of both conditions.

He added: "Cataplexy affects people in different ways. It's not just laughter than can make them collapse - it's usually extreme emotion.

"I had one patient it happened to whenever he had an overwhelming feeling of smugness. But the causes aren't really known."

Original here

Introverts And Extraverts: Can’t We Just Get Along?


Being an introvert is a bad thing, right? Well, a lot of people seem to think so, judging by the number of articles I’ve read about how to “cure” introversion. In response to these articles, I wrote The Introverts Strike Back, in which I argued that (1) introverts can’t become extraverts, and (2) they shouldn’t particularly want to.

First, let’s get clear on what we’re talking about. I’m going by the definitions used by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. According to the MBTI, introverts get their energy from the internal world of ideas and images, and they feel drained if they spend too much time with people. On the other hand, extraverts (and yes, that IS the correct spelling as used in the MBTI) get their energy from the external world of people and things, and they go crazy if they spend too much time alone. It really has nothing to do with social skills, as evidenced by introverts like Jerry Seinfeld.

Whether you prefer the internal world or the external world, that preference is fixed. You can force yourself to act outside of your element, but an introvert can’t become an extravert and vice versa. Let’s face it, if hosting The Tonight Show for 30 years didn’t turn Johnny Carson into an extravert, I doubt tips like “say hi to more people” will do the trick.

However, introversion certainly has its advantages. For example, introverts make up a slight majority of the upper levels of government, the military, and the corporate world, despite being only 30% of the population. The social outcast doesn’t represent all introverts, any more than the dumb jock represents all extraverts.

But I’m not here to debate whether it’s better to be an introvert or an extravert. The fact is, we all have to interact with both types every day. Regardless of which type you are, you can greatly improve your relationships by learning to get along better with people of the other type. Here are some tips for getting started.

For Introverts:

1. Indicate to others when you’re busy.

When an extravert sees you reading, writing, or maybe just thinking, they might assume that the only reason you’d do this is because you don’t have someone to talk to. So they think they’re doing you a favor by striking up a conversation, when they’re actually interrupting.

To prevent this, be sure to give an indication that you’re in the middle of something and aren’t looking for socialization right now. This can be a visual sign (e.g., closing your door) or verbal (e.g., “I’m sorry John, but I’m racing to get this done. Can I get back to you later?”).

I know one person who tended to get a lot of visitors at work, and while he was actually an extravert, the frequent visits were slowing him down too much. He put a sign on his door saying “If I don’t make eye contact or respond to you, I apologize. I’m not trying to be rude, I just have a lot of work to do. Thank you for understanding.” While I don’t think many people need to go that far, it certainly worked!

2. Try to verbalize your thoughts more.

Introverts tend to keep most of their thinking to themselves while they’re working out ideas, and not speak much until they’re sure of what they want to say. The problem with this is that other people can’t see you thinking. If someone comes to you for your opinion on something, and they don’t hear you talking, they might assume you don’t care.

To show that you are in fact considering what they said, try doing some of your thinking out loud. It’s OK if you verbalize rough drafts of thoughts that you end up changing. If all else fails, just say you need time to think about it (e.g., “Lisa, this is very interesting, but I’m not sure what to suggest just yet. Let me give it some more thought, and I’ll get back to you.”).

3. Realize that extraverts often need to talk.

Because extraverts are more in touch with the external world, for them talking is sometimes as necessary as breathing. They might think out loud by bouncing their thoughts off other people, and they might need to chat in order to boost their energy.

For an introvert, this can be the most difficult part of dealing with an extravert. The same conversation that energizes the extravert also drains the introvert. But keeping in mind that the extravert is not being intentionally malicious, the introvert has at least two options for handling this in a polite way. They can patiently participate in the conversation, and then when it’s over they can be alone to recharge. Or they can cut off the conversation early by mentioning something else they need to be doing, or even by saying “I’d like to help, but I’m not sure that I’m the right person for you to be talking to.”

Of course, sometimes a conversation can be very enjoyable for an introvert, in which case this isn’t a problem.

4. Don’t forget to socialize.

As great as your internal world is, don’t forget that the external world is also good in moderation. Be sure to set aside some time to spend with other people, and take advantage of social opportunities that present themselves to you. And when you’re around other people, make yourself fun to be with!

For Extraverts:

1. Ask if someone is busy before spending time with them.

If someone appears to be lonely, they might not be. Even if they’re just sitting there and don’t seem to be doing anything, they could be deep in thought and not at a point where they want to be interrupted.

If you need something, try to ask for it up front (e.g., “Mary, do you have a few minutes to talk about a problem I’m having?”). Otherwise, look for clues that they might not feel like talking right now, such as lack of eye contact.

If they seem uninterested, don’t take it personally. You just don’t know what you’re interrupting.

2. If someone doesn’t speak up, ask them what they think.

Sometimes when you’re talking to someone, they’ll be so engrossed in thinking about what you said that they forget to tell you what they’re thinking. If you’re waiting for someone’s feedback and they’re not giving it to you, try asking them what they think.

3. Realize the draining effect a conversation can have on someone.

No matter how fabulous a person you are, keep in mind that introverts simply prefer their internal world to the external world. They might start off with a fully charged battery, but while they’re engaged in conversation, that battery is steadily draining. How long it lasts depends on various factors, but be sure to keep an eye out for when they’re starting to lose interest. Be more to the point with introverts, and save most of your chatting for extraverts who will appreciate it more.

4. Remember that introverts need their alone time.

Perhaps the hardest thing for extraverts to understand about introverts is that someone could actually want to be alone. Not because they don’t like to have fun, or because they hate people, but just because they prefer their internal world, and they need to return to it to be energized. If someone doesn’t want to hang out with you, don’t try to push them, because they just need their “me” time. Of course, there’s always the possibility that they just don’t like you!

The world has lots of introverts and lots of extraverts. Instead of debating which is better or asking how we can change people, let’s try to be more accepting of others. With a little effort, we can all get along just fine.

Orgasms 'at the touch of a button'

Courtesy of the Slightest Touch
The manufacturers say sales are about to hit the 4,000 mark
Women around the world are being told they can now have an orgasm at the touch of a button.

The makers of "Slightest Touch" say their device can give women longer, better and more intense orgasms.

They claim their device can trigger an orgasm without touching a woman's genital area.

According to the manufacturers, Slightest Touch works by stimulating the body's sexual nerve pathway.

'Turned on'

Women start by drinking an electrolyte sports drink 20 minutes before using the device.

They then apply two white electrode pads inside their ankles.

These pads are connected to the Slightest Touch device, which is about the size of a personal stereo.

If women feel they have problems with either sex or relationships, it's better to go and get professional advice about the possible causes, before spending a lot of money on a particular product
Family Planning Association spokeswoman
With the flick of a switch, women can literally get turned on.

The device stimulates the nerves sending gentle pulses up the woman's leg for between 10 and 30 minutes leaving women on the verge of climax.

"The Slightest Touch does not provide an orgasm," said Cherisse Davidson, the company's director of customer support.

"It gently stimulates the sexual nerve pathways taking the woman to a pre-orgasmic plateau where she dangles on the edge of orgasm for as long as she wants.

"From there, gentle stimulation can then effect the orgasm."

BBC News Online has been unable to get independent scientific verification that the product works.

But Ms Davidson, who first tested the device three years ago, insists it is effective.

"It can be of great benefit to many women," she told BBC News Online.

"I've been using mine for three years and I just love it."

She said the product can help women who simply want to improve their sex lives and those who have problems achieving orgasm.

However, the Slightest Touch, which sells for $139.95, is not suitable for everyone.

It is not recommended for women taking anti-depressants, those who are pregnant or those with some underlying medical conditions such as heart problems.

The product which was launched in the United States six months ago is now starting to getting attention in Europe.

Ms Davidson said the company had now sold almost 4,000 devices - some to customers in Britain.

However, the UK's FPA, formerly the Family Planning Association, urged women to get professional advice before spending their hard earned cash.

"If women feel they have problems with either sex or relationships, it's better to go and get professional advice about the possible causes, before spending a lot of money on a particular product," said a spokeswoman.

Original here

In Case of Privacy Invasion: Use Balloon

Original here