Celine Dion’s diagnosis with stiff-person syndrome has brought public attention to the rare neurological disorder, which affects roughly one or two out of every million people.
Fidel Info reports that Dion announced Thursday that she had postponed dates for her European tour next year due to the condition.
“While we’re still learning about this rare condition, we now know this is what’s been causing all of the spasms that I’ve been having. Unfortunately, these spasms affect every aspect of my daily life, sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal cords to sing the way I’m used to,” the singer said in an Instagram Video.
People with stiff-person syndrome often experience rigidity in their torso and limbs, as well as severe muscle spasms that can cause them to fall down. The spasms can occur at random or be triggered by certain stimuli, including loud noises, touch and emotional distress.
Dr. Richard Nowak, an assistant neurology professor at the Yale School of Medicine, said the condition “has a range of severity, from quite mild — easily managed with a little bit of medication — to folks that are quite severe that can be, frankly, quite disabled from it.”
Stiff-person syndrome overall disrupts the normal pathways of communication between the brain and the muscles.
“There’s a massive firing that’s occurring from the central nervous system, down through the spinal cord, down through the nerves as they plug into the muscles, and it’s causing them to become rigid or go into spasm, which equals the stiffness,” Nowak said.
In most but not all cases, people with stiff-person syndrome have elevated levels of antibodies that target a particular protein involved in the process of controlling muscle function. Doctors consider these patients to have an autoimmune condition.
“In stiff persons, the pathways that are attacked are the brake pathways, so you’ve lost your brakes on your muscles,” said Dr. Simon Helfgott, a rheumatologist at Harvard Medical School. “Once your muscle starts to contract, it doesn’t have a way to stop itself from contracting.”
Helfgott estimated that about two-thirds of stiff-person patients have these antibodies, which can be picked up by a blood test. But around 30% don’t, he said, so researchers don’t fully understand what’s driving their illness.
A small minority of cancer patients may also produce antibodies that attack the nervous system and trigger stiff-person syndrome, Helfgott added.
Symptoms of the syndrome go beyond the normal muscle cramps that most people experience from time to time, Helfgott said; instead, the muscles tend to lock up. Some of his patients have had difficulty walking or required wheelchairs, he added.
“This is just such a severe diagnosis to have, especially if you’re an entertainer [on] the world-class type of stage,” Helfgott said. “It’s going to be very, very challenging to be able to continue.”
Because many symptoms of stiff-person syndrome overlap with those of Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia or anxiety, it often takes time to diagnose. Doctors rely on several tools to do that, including MRIs of the brain or spinal cord, blood tests or electromyography tests that use tiny needles to measure a person’s muscle and nerve responses.
Helfgott said the syndrome is harder to treat than other autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn’s disease, and there is no cure.
Muscle relaxants or Botox injections can help relieve milder symptoms like spasms, Nowak said. Patients with more severe symptoms are often prescribed intravenous immunoglobulin, an infusion that has been shown to reduce people’s stiffness and sensitivity to noise, touch and stress.
But the symptoms and their severity levels can vary minute by minute, Helfgott said, and it’s difficult to predict whether a patient’s condition will get worse over time.
“In some cases, the condition can level off and stay the way it is. I have people who are like that — they’re no different now than they were 10 years ago,” he said. “In others, it is a slow, subtle decline.”
Just In: Visa flagged Naira Marley’s credit card for fraud – Expert tells court
The 10th prosecution witness, PW10, in the trial of Nigerian singer, Azeez Fashola popularly called Naira Marley, Dein Whyte, jas revealed to the trial court how Visa, a card payment platform, flagged one of the credit card details found on a device belonging to the singer, due to fraudulent transactions.
Whyte, an investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Thursday, revealed this to Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos.
This was contained in a statement published on the Facebook timeline of the Commission.
Naira Marley is standing trial on 11-count charges bordering on conspiracy and credit card fraud brought against him by the EFCC.
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Bilikisu Buhari, the PW10 was quoted to have said: “As part of the findings from the investigation, forensic analysis revealed that malicious programmes that are being used to illegally obtain credit card information, which can be used for card non-present transactions, were found on the device that was recovered from the defendant upon his arrest.
“Also revealed were malicious tools used to disguise the active location of an internet user when his or her devices are connected to the internet.”
Whyte was also quotes to have disclosed that, “tools that are used to verify the validity, active state and accuracy of credit card credentials as well as the region of the issuer of that card were discovered on the defendant’s device.
“The analysis further revealed the website that had been accessed on the computer of the defendant through his browser history. The websites include sites where credit card information are illegally traded.”
He explained further that the phone and the laptop recovered from the defendant were both registered with his credentials, name and email address.
When asked by the prosecution counsel to state the result of his findings on the credit card details on the defendant’s device, Whyte responded, “With respect to the card details recovered from the device of the defendant, investigations revealed that he also exchanged those details with other persons.”
He further stated that one of the cards was reported to have been fraudulently used for a transaction by Visa.
According to him, the card details that were in possession of the defendant’s device neither belonged to him nor were issued to him by any financial institution.
Under cross-examination by the defendant’s counsel, Olalekan Ojo, SAN, Whyte informed the court that a letter of investigation was written to Visa and that it confirmed that the card had been flagged for fraudulent transactions.
He, however, said that Visa didn’t link the credit card fraud to the defendant’s device “because the investigation was on the card and not on the device being used for the fraud.”
He also stressed that Visa is a payment platform and not a telecommunication company.
Justice Oweibo adjourned the case to March 6 and 7, 2024 for continuation of trial
Thank God for strength – Actress Jumoke Odetola grateful as she bags masters degree
Nollywood actress Jumoke Odetola has bagged a masters degree in business administration.
The actress announced the good news via Instagram on Thursday with photos of herself in a graduation gown.
In her caption, she thanked God for giving her the strength to complete the degree despite persistently falling ill.
She also thanked her sister, @fatimoh.salami.33, for being supportive.
@josephmomodu: “And she did itttttt, it’s official, now u can finish us with more gangantua gaga 😂😂😂😂😂congratulations 🎊🍾🎉🎈”
Portable’s Actress Wife, Ashabi Dances Joyfully As She Graduates From School
Nollywood actress Akinyanju Omobolarinde, aka Ashabi Simple who is one of the baby mamas of singer Portable has successfully graduated from school.
She took to her social media page to share a video of herself dancing to celebrate the special day.
Ashabi and her son wore matching clothes as she carried him to take pictures.
She showed off the medium-sized cake and other gifts she was surprised with for her graduation.
In the clip, Portable who is out of the country, called his wife to greet her for her recent achievement and Ashabi blew him a kiss over the phone
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