Medical News Today: Cervical ectropion: What you need to know

Cervical ectropion is a condition where cells from inside the cervix form a red, inflamed patch on the outside the cervix. What causes cervical ectropion, and does it require treatment?

Also known as cervical erosion, cervical ectropion is not usually a health concern. However, because of the way it looks, it can be hard to distinguish from the early stages of cervical cancer. For this reason, it is essential to understand the difference between the two conditions.

This article explores the causes, symptoms, and treatments for cervical ectropion. It also considers how it differs from cervical cancer and chlamydia.

What is cervical ectropion?

Close up of the cervix - Cervical ectropion
The cervix is the narrow part of the uterus that joins the top of the vagina.

Cervical ectropion is a condition that affects cells in the cervix.

A woman’s cervix has different sorts of cells on the outside (vaginal portion) than it does on the inside (the cervical canal).

The soft cells on the inside of the cervix are known as glandular cells, but the medical term for them is columnar epithelium. The hard cells on the outside of the cervix are known as squamous epithelial cells.

Most women only have glandular cells on the inside of their cervix. Cervical ectropion is when the glandular cells appear on the outside of the cervix.

The area on the outside of the cervix where glandular cells come into contact with squamous epithelial cells is called the transformation zone or the stratified squamous epithelium.


The primary symptom of cervical ectropion is a red, inflamed patch at the neck of the cervix — the transformation zone.

The transformation zone looks red and inflamed because the glandular cells are red, delicate, and easily irritated.

Other symptoms a woman may experience include:

  • pain during sex
  • bleeding during or after sex
  • light discharge of mucus
  • spotting between periods

Some women will only have mild symptoms, while others experience more severe discomfort.

It is important to note that cervical ectropion is not the only cause of symptoms such as these. If a woman has any of the above symptoms, it is a good idea to speak with a doctor to rule out more serious causes.

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two packs of birth control pills
Cervical ectropion may be caused by taking the contraceptive pill.

Some women are born with cervical ectropion. It may also be caused by:

  • Hormonal changes: Cervical ectropion may be caused by fluctuations in hormone levels and is most common in women who are of reproductive age. Women who have gone through menopause rarely get cervical ectropion.
  • Taking the contraceptive pill: Taking birth control pills affects a person’s hormone levels and may cause cervical ectropion.
  • Pregnancy: Being pregnant may also cause cervical ectropion due to the changes in hormone levels.

The symptoms of cervical ectropion are caused by the delicate glandular cells that appear on the outside of the cervix. They produce mucus and bleed easily, which may lead to spotting and pain during or after sexual activity.

Other conditions of the cervix

Women may worry that cervical ectropion may be related to other conditions that affect the cervix. These include:

Cervical cancer

The red, inflamed appearance of the cervix in women who have cervical ectropion may look similar to early signs of cervical cancer. However, the two conditions are not related.

Cervical ectropion is not caused by cancer and is not an early symptom of cervical cancer.

If a woman is spotting or experiencing cervical pain and is unsure that cervical ectropion is the cause, a doctor can do a pelvic examination or recommend a Pap test.


Having cervical ectropion does not mean a woman has chlamydia. However, a 2009 study found that women under 30 with cervical ectropion had a higher rate of chlamydial infection than those who did not.

It is a good idea for women to be tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), particularly chlamydia and gonorrhea, which may not have any apparent symptoms.


Most people with cervical ectropion are not aware they have it. It is usually diagnosed when a doctor carries out a routine pelvic examination.

Cervical ectropion and cervical cancer are not related. However, the cervix of a woman with cervical ectropion may look similar to that of a woman with early-stage cervical cancer.

For this reason, the doctor will need to rule out cervical cancer if a woman’s cervix looks redder or more inflamed than usual. They may carry out the following tests:

  • Pap test: Also known as a Pap smear, this involves a healthcare professional scraping a small sample of cells from the cervix to test for human papillomavirus (HPV) and cancerous or precancerous cell changes.
  • Colposcopy: This is when a healthcare professional examines the cervix more closely with bright lighting and a magnifying instrument.
  • Biopsy: This is when a small tissue sample is taken and tested for cancerous cells. A woman may experience cramping during the procedure.

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cryotherapy to treat cervical ectropion
Cryotherapy, which is also used to reduce swelling, may be used to resolve the symptoms of cervical ectropion.

Cervical ectropion is not a harmful condition and does not usually require treatment.

In this 2008 review, researchers noted that there is no data to support routine treatment for cervical ectropion. However, doctors may recommend it if symptoms are bothersome.

If a woman is experiencing symptoms, such as pain or bleeding, a doctor may recommend cauterization. This is a painless method of removing the glandular cells on the outside of the cervix.

While cauterization usually resolves the symptoms of cervical ectropion, a doctor may need to repeat the procedure if the symptoms return.

There are three different versions of cauterization therapy:

  • Diathermy: This uses heat to cauterize the affected area.
  • Cryotherapy: This uses very cold carbon dioxide to freeze the affected area. A 2016 study found this to be an effective treatment for women with cervical ectropion who were experiencing a lot of discharge.
  • Silver nitrate: This is another way to cauterize the glandular cells.

After the treatment, the doctor may recommend that a woman avoids some sexual activity and using tampons for up to 4 weeks. After this time, her cervix should have healed.

If a woman experiences any of the following after the treatment, she should go back to the doctor:

  • discharge that smells bad
  • heavy bleeding (more than a average period)
  • ongoing bleeding

These symptoms may indicate an infection or another underlying condition, so a woman should not ignore them.


Cervical ectropion is not a harmful condition and does not usually have any medical complications. It is not related to cancer and is not harmful to the baby or the woman if she is pregnant.

The condition typically resolves itself on its own, and many women may not even know they have it. If symptoms are bothersome, cauterization is usually an effective treatment.

If a woman has any concerns about cervical pain, bleeding during or after sex, or unusual discharge, it is a good idea to talk to a doctor.

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Medical News Today: Could this software diagnose fetal alcohol spectrum disorders?

Identifying certain types of alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder has proven challenging, but a new approach using a computer-based facial analysis tool may prove useful.
Facial recognition software
A new study brings facial recognition software into the clinic.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) refers to a range of conditions caused by a mother’s consumption of alcohol during pregnancy.

Alcohol travels through the placenta and is able to damage the growing fetus using a number of different mechanisms. In particular, it affects the development of the baby’s head, face, and brain.

FASDs include fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and partial fetal alcohol syndrome (pFAS), as well as alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorders (ARNDs).

There are well-defined diagnostic criteria for FAS and pFAS. Signs include facial anomalies, a smaller head circumference, growth retardation, and neuropsychological deficits. FAS and pFAS can normally be diagnosed without knowing whether or not the mother consumed alcohol during her pregnancy.

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The challenge of diagnosing ARNDs

However, ARNDs have proven more difficult to spot; diagnosing them relies on the doctor knowing whether or not the fetus had been exposed to alcohol.

It does cause some facial abnormalities, but they are much more subtle and indistinct. The primary signs include a variable range of cognitive and behavioral abnormalities. Although certain cognitive tests have been designed to test for ARNDs, they are complex and unreliable.

Because ARNDs often remain undiagnosed for longer, the person is less likely to receive the extra support they need, increasing the risk of problems further down the line, such as trouble at school, alcohol abuse, and mental illness.

Although facial differences in children with ARND are much more subtle than those in FAS, a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics used a novel approach to diagnosis.

Earlier studies showed that computer-aided analysis of facial differences could pick out subclinical features of patients with ARND. However, the systems involved were complex and relied on expensive 3-D cameras that would not be practical in a clinical setting.

The latest study focused on a system that could carry out facial recognition using photos taken with a standard camera.

The study included participants from the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Epidemiology Research database. Aged 5–9, they came from South Africa, the United States, and Italy and included 36 people with FAS, 31 with pFAS, and 22 with ARND. The study also included a control group of 50 children without FASD.

Each participant was rated by a computer system and two trained dysmorphologists, or experts at recognizing birth defects, who were unaware of the children’s previous diagnoses.

Automated facial analysis was completed by a software tool called Face2Gene, which analyses 2-D photos of faces. This package combines several different techniques to measure a range of angles, lengths, and ratios on faces. These measurements are then statistically analyzed to pull out any dysmorphic features.

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How did the software perform?

The computer-aided method was found to be just as accurate as a dysmorphologist at diagnosing FASDs in general. However, the computer performed significantly better than the human clinicians when it came to the more difficult-to-diagnose ARNDs.

The authors conclude, “We found there was an increased diagnostic accuracy for ARND via our computer-aided method.”

As this category has been historically difficult to diagnose, we believe our experiment demonstrates that facial dysmorphology novel analysis technology can potentially improve ARND diagnosis by introducing a standardized metric for recognizing FASD-associated facial anomalies.”

These findings are important, as FASDs are often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, with potentially dire ramifications for the child further down the line. As the authors write, “Earlier recognition of these patients will lead to earlier intervention with improved patient outcomes.”

Because the technology under trial involves simple 2-D images rather than 3-D ones, it could be made available to clinicians without special dysmorphology training. This might be of particular importance in developing nations, where relevant experts are few and far between.

Although computer-aided photo analysis cannot diagnose FASDs alone, it may help to improve accuracy and speed of diagnosis. Further trials will be needed, but these initial findings are encouraging.

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Medical News Today: How does menopause affect sex drive?

Menopause refers to when a woman stops having her period permanently, but it can affect more than a woman’s menstrual cycle.

Menopause can cause physical and emotional changes that impact a woman’s life, including her sex life.

Some symptoms and side effects associated with menopause include:

  • anxiety
  • bladder control issues
  • decreased sex drive and desire (libido)
  • depression
  • difficulty sleeping
  • thinning hair
  • weight gain

Each of these effects can impact a woman’s quality of life and relationship with her partner.

Menopause and libido

sad middle aged woman sitting on bed
Menopausal symptoms can have a negative effect on a woman’s relationship with her partner.

Libido refers to sexual interest and sexual enjoyment.

Some women going through menopause report reduced libido, but the causes vary from person to person.

According to one review, the reported rates of sexual problems in postmenopausal women are between 68 and 86.5 percent.

This range is much higher than in all women in general, which is estimated to be between 25 and 63 percent.

Why does menopause affect libido?

Decreased estrogen levels can result in reduced blood flow to the vagina, which can cause the tissues of the vagina and labia to become thinner. If this happens, they become less sensitive to sexual stimulation.

Decreased blood flow also affects vaginal lubrication and overall arousal. As a result, a woman may not enjoy sex as much and may have difficulty achieving orgasm. Sex may be uncomfortable or even painful.

Fluctuating hormone levels during perimenopause and menopause can also affect a woman’s mental health, which in turn, may cause a decrease in her libido.

Stress can also impact a woman’s libido, as she may be juggling a job, parenting, and be caring for aging parents. The changes in hormone levels a woman may experience during menopause may make her irritable or depressed, so dealing with everyday stress may feel more difficult.

According to an article published in the Journal of Women’s Health, women who have more significant side effects associated with menopause are more likely to report lower libido levels.

Examples of these side effects include hot flashes, depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, and fatigue.

Other factors that make a woman going through menopause more likely to experience a reduced libido include:

  • history of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, or depression
  • history of smoking
  • engaging in low levels of physical activity

A woman should talk to her doctor about how these conditions could affect her sex drive.

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Tips for improving libido

There are several steps a woman can take to increase her libido. These include medical treatments, lifestyle changes, and home remedies.

Medical treatments

middle aged couple enjoying a bike ride
Spending time together on shared hobbies, exercising, and planned dates will help increase a couple’s intamacy.

If a woman experiences changes to her vaginal tissue, such as thinning and dryness, she may wish to consider estrogen therapy.

Prescription estrogen can be applied directly to the vagina in the form of creams, pills, or vaginal rings. These usually contain lower doses of estrogen than regular birth control pills.

Some women may wish to take estrogen pills that contain higher levels of hormones. This treatment, known as hormone replacement therapy, might help reduce symptoms, such as hot flashes and mood changes, but may also carry risks.

A woman thinking about hormone replacement therapy should discuss it with her doctor before starting to take any medication.

One study found that women using hormone therapies reported higher levels of sexual desire compared with women who did not.

Less commonly, a doctor may prescribe testosterone therapy. However, not all women respond to this treatment, and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not approve it for treating sexual disorders in women.

A woman may not experience any changes in her sex drive after using estrogen or testosterone therapies.

A woman may also choose to see a therapist who specializes in sexual dysfunction or enhancing sex. Sometimes, couples may want to attend therapy together.

Lifestyle changes

Some women may benefit from using water-soluble lubricants during sex. These can be purchased over-the-counter at most drugstores.

However, women should avoid non-water soluble and silicone-based lubricants, as these can break down condoms used to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Increasing physical activity, such as getting 30 minutes or more of exercise on a routine basis, may help reduce menopause-related symptoms, including a low libido. Eating a healthful diet can also enhance a person’s overall sense of well being.

Changing sexual habits

There are many ways a person can foster a sense of intimacy with their partner, including:

  • Changing sexual routines: Try spending extended periods on foreplay, use vibrators or other sex toys to enhance an intimate experience, or engage in sexual activity or touching without the goal of orgasm.
  • Relieving stress together: There are many stress-relieving techniques a couple can do outside of the bedroom to increase intimacy. Examples include going on planned dates together, taking a walk, or spending time doing hobbies together, such as exercise, crafts, or cooking.
  • Practicing masturbation: Spending time alone and exploring what types of touch and sexual stimulation work well for an individual can help them talk to a partner about their needs and preferences. It can also help a person feel more comfortable with sexual activity without the pressure of a partner.

Natural remedies

Some women use natural supplements to try to increase their libido. It is important to keep in mind that the FDA do not regulate herbs and supplements, so women should be sure to choose a reputable brand.

Some natural remedies used to increase libido in women include:

  • black cohosh
  • red clover
  • soy

A woman should discuss these remedies with a doctor before taking them to ensure they will not interact negatively with other prescriptions and supplements she may be taking. Soy contains estrogen, so it may react with other estrogen therapies.

When to see a doctor

A woman should speak to her doctor whenever perimenopause or menopause is having a significant impact on her day-to-day activities, including sexual activity.

Sometimes, a doctor can recommend changes in health habits as well as discuss whether prescription medications may help relieve the symptoms, including a low libido.

Speaking with a doctor can also rule out any other underlying medical conditions that may cause a reduced libido. These conditions include urinary tract infections, uterine prolapse, endometriosis, or pelvic floor dysfunction.

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woman speaking with a doctor
A doctor will be able to rule out other conditions that may be responsible for a reduced sex drive.

While some women do experience a decreased libido in menopause, others do not.

Some women may even experience a heightened libido after menopause. This can be due to reduced stresses over pregnancy and fewer child-rearing responsibilities.

If a woman’s libido is impacted after menopause, she should talk to her doctor about treatments that could enhance her quality of life.

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Medical News Today: Multiple sclerosis symptoms improved with fruit and veg

Eating a healthful diet comprising fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may be linked with reduced disability and fewer multiple sclerosis symptoms among people with the condition, according to a new study published in Neurology.
a selection of fruits and vegetables
Researchers say that a healthful diet may help to improve symptoms and disability for people with MS.

Back in July, Medical News Today examined the evidence for the Swank diet, developed in the 1950s as a treatment for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Proponents of the Swank diet believe that it can reduce the frequency of flare-ups and lessen the severity of symptoms related to the disease.

But the National Multiple Sclerosis Society state that there is not currently enough evidence to recommend any one diet as best for people with MS.

The author of the new study, Kathryn C. Fitzgerald — who works in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD — acknowledges that there is a lack of evidence on the potential influence that diet may have on MS symptoms.

“People with MS often ask if there is anything they can do to delay or avoid disability,” explains Fitzgerald, “and many people want to know if their diet can play a role, but there have been few studies investigating this.”

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Severe disability reduced by 20 percent

To examine the role that diet may play in MS, Fitzgerald’s team looked at questionnaires completed by 6,989 people with MS as part of the North American Research Committee registry.

As well as providing information regarding their lifestyle, weight, physical activity, and whether or not they smoke, the participants were asked whether or not they had had a relapse of MS symptoms in the past 6 months.

The participants also reported their level of disability and how severe their symptoms were for fatigue, pain, mobility, and depression.

Participants in the group that was considered to have the best diet ate an average of 1.7 servings of whole grains and 3.3 servings of fruits, vegetables, and legumes per day.

The participants in the group that was considered to have the worst diet ate an average of 0.3 servings of whole grains and 1.7 servings of fruits, vegetables, and legumes per day.

After adjusting the results for confounding factors — such as age and how long the participants have had MS — the team found that people in the group with the most healthful diet were 20 percent less likely to have more severe physical disability than people in the group with the least healthful diet.

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The new study also reports that “people with an overall healthy lifestyle were nearly 50 percent less likely to have depression, 30 percent less likely to have severe fatigue, and more than 40 percent less likely to have pain than people who did not have a healthy lifestyle.”

“While this study does not determine whether a healthy lifestyle reduces MS symptoms or whether having severe symptoms makes it harder for people to engage in a healthy lifestyle, it provides evidence for the link between the two,” concludes Fitzgerald.

However, the participants in this study were mostly older white people who had been diagnosed with MS for an average of 20 years. This means that although people with all types of MS were included in the study, the findings might not apply to everyone who has the disease.

The authors confirm that another limitation of the study is that its design does not provide an insight into whether healthful diets influence MS symptoms in the future.

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Medical News Today: How a single bout of exercise instantly protects the heart

A new review of existing studies examines the evidence behind the idea that an acute bout of exercise is able to offer immediate protection for the heart against cardiovascular disease through a mechanism called “cardiovascular preconditioning.”
illustration of man running and heart
An acute episode of exercise can ‘train’ the heart and protect it against future damage.

The results of the new research — led by Dick Thijssen, who is a professor of cardiovascular physiology and exercise at the Liverpool John Moores University in the United Kingdom — have been published in the journal JAMA Cardiology.

As Prof. Thijssen and colleagues explain, it is a widely accepted fact that exercise protects the heart over time. However, it is less known that it can also do so within hours, and that a single workout episode is enough to yield clinically significant benefits.

This under-appreciated advantage of exercise may be due to a phenomenon called ischemic, or cardiovascular, preconditioning.

The team explains the reasoning behind the theory of cardiovascular preconditioning: repeatedly exposing the heart to short, non-life-threatening episodes of ischemia — an inadequate supply of blood to the heart — makes the heart more resistant to a more serious, future ischemia episode.

The “paradox” of ischemic preconditioning is a concept first introduced in the mid-1980s, and it has been suggested that one of the ways to induce this cardioprotective effect is through exercise.

So, the review by Prof. Thijssen and colleagues aimed to examine the evidence for this theory in existing preclinical studies.

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Protection through exercise preconditioning

The review found that between one and three workout sessions per week can provide “strong” protection for the heart.

Moreover, one single workout episode can provide cardioprotection for 2–3 hours, and even stronger and longer-lasting benefits emerge 24 hours after the exercise session has finished.

“Importantly,” the authors write, “these associations are present on the first episode of exercise, with subsequent exercise sessions reactivating protective pathways and leading to ongoing beneficial effects.”

This cardioprotective effect could be explained by ischemic preconditioning, write the researchers, given that an intense episode of exercise can have systematic effects such as inducing myocardial ischemia.

Although factors such as obesity and age may interfere with some of these immediate protective effects of exercise, regular training can restore these benefits. The authors explain:

Taken together, cardioprotection through exercise preconditioning is a facile, inexpensive, and potent therapy that deserves greater recognition and further resources to establish the optimal dose.”

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“Nonetheless,” they continue, “as is so often the case with the benefits of exercise, its prescription follows the cardinal rule: use it or lose it.”

Prof. Thijssen comments on the results of the study, saying, “This is a key review summarizing how a single bout of exercise can have a clear impact in keeping the heart adequately supplied with blood.”

“Firstly,” he explains, “this means that one bout of exercise can cause clinically relevant protection against cardiovascular disease.”

“Secondly,” Prof. Thijssen continues, “this means that benefits of exercise are present, even in the absence of changes in risk factors. These are both important and powerful messages for all who want to take up exercise.”

The team explains that the findings could be used to help cardiac patients through a procedure of so-called prehabilitation; an optimized dose of physical exercise in the days before a cardiac intervention may help to decrease in-hospital mortality and disease, they suggest.

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Medical News Today: What are bone lesions? Types and treatment

Bone lesions are areas of bone that are changed or damaged. Causes of bone lesions include infections, fractures, or tumors.

When cells within the bone start to divide uncontrollably, they are sometimes called bone tumors.

Most bone lesions are benign, meaning they are not cancerous. Some bone lesions are cancerous, however, and these are known as malignant bone tumors.

What are bone lesions?

Doctor looking at x-ray of spine in office, next to model of human skeleton.
Bone lesions are a masses of tissue that can form in any part of the bone.

Bone lesions can affect any part of the body and develop in any section of bone, from the surface to the bone marrow in the center.

They are caused by cells in the bone that start to divide and multiply uncontrollably, leading to a lump or mass of abnormal tissue.

A growing lesion can destroy healthy tissue and weaken the bone, making it more vulnerable to fractures.

Most bone lesions are benign, not life-threatening, and will not spread to other parts of the body.

Some bone lesions, however, are malignant, which means they are cancerous. These bone lesions can sometimes metastasize, which is when the cancer cells spread to other parts of the body.

Malignant bone tumors are divided into two types:

  • Primary bone cancer, which is cancer that starts in the bone.
  • Secondary bone cancer, which is when cancer starts somewhere else and spreads to the bone.

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Causes and treatment

The cause of a bone lesion depends on whether it is benign or cancerous, in addition to other factors.

Benign bone lesions

Most bone lesions are benign, meaning they are not cancerous or life-threatening. There are also some diseases and conditions that resemble bone lesions.

Causes of benign bone lesions include:

  • non-ossifying fibroma
  • unicameral (simple) bone cyst
  • osteochondroma
  • giant cell tumor
  • enchondroma
  • fibrous dysplasia
  • chondroblastoma
  • aneurysmal bone cyst
  • osteoid osteoma

If the lesion is benign, a doctor may recommend a period of monitoring with regular X-rays. Some lesions, especially those in children, may disappear over time.

Other bone lesions can be treated successfully with medications. In some cases, it may be necessary to surgically remove the lesion to reduce the risk of a bone fracture.

Benign lesions may come back after treatment. in rare cases, they may spread or become malignant.

Malignant bone tumors

Causes of malignant bone tumors or cancerous bone lesions depend on whether the cancer is primary or secondary.

The most common causes of primary bone cancer lesions are:

Multiple myeloma

Micrograph of multiple myeloma neoplasm from bone marrow biopsy
Multiple myeloma usually affects those over the age of 50, and is the most common form of primary bone cancer.

Multiple myeloma is a malignant tumor of the bone marrow, which is the soft tissue in the middle of bones responsible for producing blood cells.

It can affect any bone in the body and is the most common primary bone cancer, affecting about six people per 100,000 every year. Most people who get multiple myeloma are between 50 and 70 years old.

Multiple myeloma is usually treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Occasionally, surgery may be required.

The 5-year survival rate for multiple myeloma is 49 percent. That means that just under half of people diagnosed with the condition will be alive 5 years after diagnosis.


Osteosarcoma is the second most common primary bone cancer. It is still rare, occurring in between two and five people in every million each year.

Most cases of osteosarcoma are seen either side of the knee in the thighbone or shinbone of teenagers and children. It can also sometimes occur in the hip or shoulder.

Treatment usually involves chemotherapy and surgery. The 5-year survival rate is 70 percent for children and young people with osteosarcoma in one location when they are diagnosed.

The usual treatment options for osteosarcoma are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation.

Ewing sarcoma

Children and young people between the ages of 5 and 20 are most likely to experience Ewing sarcoma.

The upper and lower leg, pelvis, upper arm, or ribs tend to be the bones affected by this type of tumor. It can also develop in the soft tissue surrounding a bone.

While Ewing sarcoma can develop at any age, more than half of those diagnosed with it are between 10 and 20 years old.

The overall 5-year survival rate for children and young people with Ewing sarcoma that has not spread is about 70 percent. If the tumor has already spread at the time of diagnosis, the prognosis is not as good.


Chondrosarcoma is a malignant tumor made up of cells that produce cartilage. It is seen mainly in people between 40 and 70 years of age. These tumors tend to develop in the hip, pelvis, or shoulder area.

Chondrosarcoma is usually treated with surgery,but the type of operation needed will depend on the stage and severity of the cancer.

During limb-sparing surgery, the affected part of the bone is removed and replaced with either a metal replacement or bone graft.

Occasionally, if the cancer cells have spread from the bone into nerves and blood vessels, the affected area may need to be amputated.

Chondrosarcoma is slow-growing cancer, and most cases are low grade when diagnosed.

Secondary bone cancer lesions

Types of cancer that begin elsewhere in the body and can spread to bone include:

  • breast
  • lung
  • thyroid
  • renal
  • prostate

In the case of secondary bone cancer that has spread from elsewhere, the treatment options and outlook will depend on the type and severity of the primary cancer.


Man holding his back in pain, leaning against wall.
The symptoms of bone lesions may include dull pain, stifness, and swelling in the affected area.

Sometimes, bone lesions can cause pain in the affected area. This pain is usually described as dull or aching and may worsen during activity. The person may also experience fever and night sweats.

In addition to pain, some cancerous bone lesions can cause stiffness, swelling, or tenderness in the affected area. The pain may come and go and may be worse or better at night.

Not all people will experience these symptoms but may instead notice a painless mass somewhere on their body.

Bone lesions can weaken the bone tissue, making it vulnerable to fractures. Therefore, a person with a bone lesion may break a bone without having any injury.

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A doctor will carry out a full physical assessment and several tests to diagnose the cause of a bone lesion. They might ask about general health, medications, and symptoms, as well as any family history of lesions or cancer.

During a physical examination, a doctor will look for swelling or tenderness, any changes in the skin, the presence of a mass, and if there is any effect on nearby joints.

They will also order imaging tests, which can include X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, or computed tomography (CT) scans.

A biopsy may also be needed to make a diagnosis. During a biopsy, a small sample of the lesion will be removed for examination under a microscope. Blood and urine tests may also be taken.


The outlook for people with a bone lesion will depend on the kind of bone lesion they have.

Benign lesions may only require watchful waiting or treatment with medications, though they may return after successful treatment.

People with malignant bone lesions will need to visit their doctor regularly, usually every few months, after treatment and be monitored for signs of recurrence.

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Medical News Today: Subdural hematoma: What you need to know

A person with a head injury requires immediate medical attention. Although a person may not initially feel as if much is wrong, bleeding can occur within the skull. Internal bleeding can lead to serious consequences, including brain damage and death.

One type of internal bleeding in the skull is called subdural hematoma. People should be aware of the signs and symptoms of head trauma and seek treatment immediately if they or someone around them experience a head injury.

What is a subdural hematoma?

young male doctor examining brain scans
Subdural hematomas are the result of head injuries where the blood collects between the surface of the brain and the skull.

A subdural hematoma occurs when a vein located beneath the skull ruptures and starts to bleed. The blood collects between the brain and the skull. As this space begins to fill with blood, the increasing pressure causes some of the symptoms of subdural hematoma.

Subdural hematoma bleeding occurs in one of the layers of tissue between the brain and the skull called the meninges. The outermost layer is called the dura.

If pressure continues to build against the brain, a subdural hematoma may lead to long-term health problems or life-threatening situations. In the worst case scenarios, untreated subdural hematomas can lead to unconsciousness or death.

Subdural hematomas are a result of injury to the head. The severity of the injury determines how the subdural hematoma will be categorized.

There are two types of subdural hematomas: acute and chronic.

Acute subdural hematoma

A subdural hematoma caused by a severe head injury is considered acute. Likely causes may include car accidents or a fall from a height.

Cases of acute subdural hematoma are often harder to treat and more likely to lead to long-term consequences or death. The risk of death from an acute subdural hematoma is more than 50 percent.

Chronic subdural hematoma

Chronic cases of subdural hematoma are either due to repeated or mild head injuries.

Older adults are more likely to develop chronic subdural hematoma due to increased frequency of falls.

Older adults are also at higher risk because a person’s brain shrinks as they age, and this shrinkage causes the tiny veins on the surface of the brain to stretch, making them more vulnerable to tearing

While chronic subdural hematomas are easier to treat, there is still the risk of death or long-term health consequences.

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The symptoms of subdural hematoma can vary from person to person. Common symptoms include:

  • severe headache
  • change in mood or behavior
  • seizures
  • slurred speech
  • loss of consciousness or passing out
  • apathy
  • weakness
  • vision problems
  • dizziness
  • vomiting
  • confusion

Symptoms of an acute subdural hematoma occur quickly following the injury. In cases of chronic subdural hematoma, symptoms are more likely to develop slowly or may not develop at all.

The symptoms occur at different rates due to the speed at which blood starts to pool and put pressure on the brain.

In cases of chronic subdural hematoma, small veins on the outer surface of the brain may tear. The tears cause bleeding in the subdural layer of tissue. In these cases, symptoms may not appear for several days or even weeks.

Other factors may influence a person’s symptoms. A person’s age or other medical conditions both play a role in how quickly symptoms start to develop.


warfarin tablets
Warfarin and other blood thinners may increase the chances of developing a subdural hematoma.

The most common cause of a subdural hematoma is a severe injury to the head. Minor head injuries are a less common cause and more typical in older people.

Sometimes, subdural hematomas may occur spontaneously as a result of another medical condition.

Risk factors that increase a person’s chances of developing subdural hematoma include:

  • blood thinners, such as warfarin or aspirin
  • medical conditions that cause blood clotting issues
  • long-term alcohol use or abuse
  • repeated head injuries, such as from falls or sports
  • very young or very old age

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It is important to diagnose cases of acute subdural hematoma quickly so treatment can begin immediately. Rapid treatment may minimize the risk of death or long-term effects.

Cases of chronic subdural hematoma may be more difficult to diagnose, as symptoms do not develop rapidly or may not have an obvious cause.

To diagnose subdural hematoma, a doctor will usually use computed tomography (CT), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to get a clear picture of the brain. The doctor will examine the scan for signs of bleeding.

If the doctor identifies bleeding, they will determine the source of the bleeding and develop a plan of action to address the issue.

The doctor may also check a person’s blood pressure and heart rate, as well as order blood work to get blood cell and platelet counts. These screenings and tests are designed to look for internal bleeding and blood loss.


neurosurgical brain surgery
Surgery is generally carried out to remove the blood clot and any leaked blood.

A person with a subdural hematoma will usually require surgery. For acute cases, the person will likely undergo a craniotomy.

During this procedure, a surgeon first removes a portion of the person’s skull near the site of the subdural hematoma. The surgeon will then remove the clot and will then use suction and irrigation techniques to remove any leaked blood.

A craniotomy is a risky procedure. In some circumstances, however, it necessary to save a person’s life.

For chronic subdural hematomas or when an acute hematoma is smaller than 1 cm in diameter, a surgeon may use burr hole surgery. During this procedure, the surgeon drills a small hole into the person’s skull and inserts a rubber tube to drain the blood.

After surgery, a doctor will usually prescribe anti-seizure medication. A person may need to take the drugs for several months or years. Taking these medications can help prevent a seizure that could cause another subdural hematoma.

Doctors typically prescribe medications to help reduce swelling around the brain, which may help prevent or reduce pressure in the skull in the days following surgery.

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Recovery times vary greatly between individuals. The speed of recovery often depends on the extent of damage the subdural hematoma has caused to the brain.

Only between 20 and 30 percent of people can expect to see a full or nearly full recovery of brain functioning.

Often, people treated quickly have the best chances of full recovery. Younger people and people whose swelling is controlled are more likely to see better results during recovery.


Even after treatment, a subdural hematoma has the potential to lead to death or permanent brain damage. A quick medical response and care are essential to give a person the best chance of survival and full recovery.

It is essential for a person to follow all recommendations for post-surgery treatment to increase the chances of a favorable outcome.

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Medical News Today: What are the early signs of a depression relapse?

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Medical News Today: The mysteries of sniffing unraveled

Our sense of smell is still relatively mysterious. Recently, though, researchers have started to explore how sniffing helps to identify odors, as well as how our nose tells the sensation of air entering the nose and aroma apart.
Man sniffing wine
There’s more to sniffing than meets the eye.

The world is a complicated place, which is why our skulls house a particularly complex piece of equipment to make sense of it.

Because our brains do such a wonderful job of unraveling the information from our senses and stitching it into a seamless narrative, it is fairly easy to forget what an incredible job it is doing.

From a cacophony of signals, our senses are able to pick out the important information and bring it to our attention.

Of all the senses, olfaction often gets the least attention. Despite being our oldest sense, we rely on it much less than vision and hearing. However, it is an intriguing area of study and can offer insight into the way that our brains code and relay information in general.

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The sniffing conundrum

Imagine, if you will, walking into a chocolate shop and sniffing the air. Each aromatic component of the chocolatey aroma activates specific neurons in your nose. These will converge on glomeruli, which are structures on the olfactory bulb. In this way, they create a specific “chocolate” pattern.

At the same time, as we sniff, the mechanical pressure that is caused by the air entering our nose also triggers glomeruli. But the air triggers both chocolate and non-chocolate receptors. Until recently, it was unclear how the brain could differentiate between the two signals.

When nerves fire, they essentially send out an identical message each time, which are called action potentials. So, it was difficult to see how the brain could determine whether the action potential was coming from the airflow or the sweet, sweet chocolate.

Researchers from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, led by Takeshi Imai, recently attacked this question head-on. They discovered that the answer lies in the timing.

Surprisingly, we found that temporal firing patterns of neurons can distinguish between airflow-driven mechanical signals and those generated by odors. Not only that, we discovered that the mechanosensation actually improves olfaction by acting as a pacemaker for temporal patterning.”

Takeshi Imai

Their results were recently published in the journal Neuron.

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Visualizing neuronal responses to a sniff

To gain this new insight, they researchers designed a way to control rhythmic sniffing in mice. They found that when the mice were presented with deodorized (aroma-free) air, lots of glomeruli were activated by the airflow alone. The activity ebbed and flowed in cycles that matched the rate of sniffing.

They identified that although the rate of activity was the same, the glomeruli were all out of phase with each other. So, one might be triggered 200 milliseconds after each sniff, another at 230 milliseconds, and another at 400 milliseconds. The pulses were of the same duration, but the activation was staggered.

The following video illustrates the activity rate of glomeruli as the mice sniffed:

As the scientists increased the airspeed, glomeruli activity also hotted up. However, the so-called phase coding remained similar, in that the firing patterns were more intense but still staggered in the same way.

But when an odor was presented to the mice, the timing of glomerulus activity shifted substantially within the sniff cycle. And interestingly, regardless of how strong the aroma was, the phase was shifted the same amount.

The following video shows the glomerular firing pattern with and without an aroma:

The importance of phase code

The next question to answer was why the receptors in the nose are sensitive to airflow at all. In order to investigate this, the team maintained a constant airflow (no pulsing air as you would get when sniffing) and found that the precision of the phase code was diminished, especially if there were only traces of the odor. This would make it much more difficult to tell odors apart.

Phase coding is a relatively poorly understood phenomenon in the field of neural coding — that is, how neurons respond and translate stimuli into signals.

“Although it has also been found in the hippocampus in relation to memory formation,” Imai says, “we still do not know much about it.

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“Hopefully,” he continues, “our finding will facilitate a better understanding of how neurons communicate with each other and how meaning can be derived from their signals.”

There is still much to learn about phase coding. Next, Imai wants to “understand how the precise temporal patterns are generated in the olfactory bulb, and why they are affected by odors but not mechanically originating signals.”

Olfaction still holds a great many mysteries, but this work provides a small piece of the puzzle. It also helps to lift the lid on how neurons transmit detailed information with such a simple language.

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Medical News Today: Why facial recognition is the future of diagnostics

It’s 2049 and you’re feeling sick. Instead of going to the doctor — which has become an obsolete profession — you take out your phone and take a diagnosing “selfie.” Fiction? More like soon to be a fact; scientists have designed a computer model that accurately predicts your health based on the shape of your face.
facial recognition model
A facial recognition computer model can accurately predict your BMI, body fat, and blood pressure, new research shows.

Here’s a futuristic little nugget that the latest Blade Runner appears to have missed: in the year 2049, replicants would have also come in a “doctor model,” because androids with superior diagnosing abilities are becoming easier and easier to fathom.

If that sounds too far-fetched, just consider this: a computer model has not only managed to accurately “guess” aspects of health just by looking at a face, but the human brain was also recently found to work in the exact same way.

Dr. Ian Stephen, of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, and his colleagues used facial shape analysis to correctly detect markers of physiological health in more than 270 individuals of different ethnicities.

“We have developed a computer model,” explains Dr. Stephen, “that can determine information about a person’s health simply by analyzing their face, supporting the idea that the face contains valid, perceptible cues to physiological health.”

The findings have now been published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, and they make the idea of a computer-enhanced super-doctor whose brain has been optimized for flawless diagnosing appear more scientific than fictional.

Or, in the meantime, maybe just a very cool app will do.

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Model predicts body fat, BMI, blood pressure

Dr. Stephen explains how the study was carried out: “First, we used photos of 272 Asian, African, and Caucasian faces to train the computer to recognize people’s body fat, BMI, […] and blood pressure from the shape of their faces.”

“We then asked the computer to predict these three health variables in other faces, and found that it could do so,” says Dr. Stephen.

Next, the researchers wanted to see whether or not humans would detect health cues in the same way. So, Dr. Stephen and his colleagues designed an app that enabled human participants to change the appearance of the faces so that they would look as healthy as possible.

The parameters of the app could be changed according to the computer model.

“We found that the participants altered the faces to look lower in fat, have a lower BMI and, to a lesser extent, a lower blood pressure, in order to make them look healthier,” says Dr. Stephen.

“This suggests that some of the features that determine how healthy a face looks to humans are the same features that the computer model was using to predict body fat, BMI, and blood pressure.”

In other words, our brains work in much the same way as the computer model, and they can predict health from a facial shape with surprising accuracy.

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Dr. Stephen goes on to speculate about the evolutionary significance of the findings. He says, “The results suggest that our brains have evolved mechanisms for extracting health information from people’s faces, allowing us to identify healthy people to mate with or to form cooperative relationships with.”

“This fills an important missing link in current evolutionary theories of attractiveness,” he adds.

“The findings,” Dr. Stephen concludes, “provide strong support for the hypothesis that the face contains valid, perceptible cues to physiological health, and while the models are at an early stage, we hope that they could be used to help diagnose health problems in the future.”

But will the future still have doctors in it? Or simply health-diagnosing apps? Or even super-capable healthcare replicants performing the jobs that humans no longer wish to do? It remains to be seen…

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