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Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Art of Facial Paralysis


Professional photographer Sage Sohier spent 3 years in a Boston ENT clinic photographing patients suffering from facial paralysis along with family members.

These intimate portrayals document the personal struggles patients with facial paralysis go through that is shared with family. Patients shown include children suffering from this malady.

Her collection of photographs include people with mild to complete degrees of facial paralysis, a condition that usually occurs on just one side of the face and can result from Bell’s palsy, cancer, stroke, accident, surgery, and congenital nerve damage. Sohier documented patients as they progressed through treatment capturing their progress over time, witnessing hope and excitement as they regained the ability to smile, speak, and eat.

Her collective photos resulted in a book About Face as well as a showing of her photographs to be displayed at the New York City Foley Gallery on April 17.

Learn more about facial paralysis here.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Mal de Debarquement Syndrome - Rare Cause of Dizziness

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The BBC recently printed a story describing a rare condition called mal de debarquement which causes dizziness, typically after a boat cruise, though can occur with airplane flights and even a long drive in a car with switchbacks (going up/down a mountain).

Two signs that a patient has mal de debarquement are if they feel a rocking sensation for weeks or months starting AFTER a cruise and two, if they're much better when in motion like vigorous exercise, but feel much worse when staying still.

Read the story here.

Unfortunately, no great treatment for this condition beyond displacement type exercises (walking, running, bicycling... but NOT on a treadmill or stationary bike).

This condition was also in an article by the Washington Post in 2010.

Some Facts About Q-Tips and Ears

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In this week's episode of "Girls," Hannah, grappling with OCD, inserted a Q-tip deep into her ear canal and "heard air hiss out the hole" due to perforating her eardrum.

Although this scene came out of a TV show, this scenario is not uncommon and results in many ENT office visits every month.

Some facts about Q-tips as it relates to the ear...

It should never be used to clean earwax within the ear canal. In fact, on Unilever's website (the maker of Q-tips), the company explicitly states that Q-tips should only be used to "gently around the outer ear, without entering the ear canal." [link]

In fact, the word "ear" appears less than a dozen times on the entire Q-tip website.

Apparently, Q-tips are meant for many other uses beyond ears which play only a very small role in the world of Q-tips.

• Cleaning tiny spaces in ventilator grates
• Applying polishes to silverware
• Dust picture frames
• Clean keyboards and the computer screen
• Applying wood stain
• Clean tracks and grooves of medicine cabinets
• Clean small compartments of washing machines
etc, etc, etc
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